Tips to More Realistic Digital Pencil Drawings




The pencil is both simple in execution but hard to master in practice.


In this guide, I will try to explain some methods and techniques that can help you achieve more realistic results on a digital canvas.


Let’s get started!

1. Picking Your Brushes

In terms of picking the perfect brush for pencil illustrations, you can of course work with the brush included with Clip Studio Paint itself.


However, there is a better solution!

Intoxicate Pencil Set (よわ太鉛筆セット)

By ×ェ×


The Intoxicate Pencil Set is one of the best brush packs in my personal opinion for pencil drawings in CLIP STUDIO PAINT.


It replicates not only the texture of the pencil, but has the most important part of any pencil in real life: The softer the pressure, the more the stroke is spread outward

By getting sharper and darker lines while applying more pressure and softer and more expansive washes by applying less pressure you will create work that better simulates a real pencil.


*All further examples in this guide will be using the brushes from this set as their main tool.

2. Stroke, Washes, and When to Apply Pressure

Pencils are the best at these 3 major aspects:


Stroke: Defined lines that when numbered and connected create the image.

Wash: The soft texture that fills the voids and creates volume/shading in the image.

Pressure: The amount of medium present in a specific part of the image.


Creating a combination of these elements can at first seem hard as they feel defined in their own lanes like below.

But in reality, you can make the art by combining them all together or just using one element alone!

The mood. the expression, the goal of your work should always be in mind when making a piece.


How you balance out the percentages in a work can give you drastically different results!

3. Define Your Shading Through Stroke

Whether you are going to be inking over your work or using it solely for the sketching process, your linework should be defined by its stroke and shading.


Shading can be smooth, it can be hard, it can be made through lines, and it can do all of the above.


Don’t get lost in the project’s focus, as it can hamper or ruin a work later on!

Heavy shading with defined edges on a profile/figure, in contrast with a very light or thin stroke background or foreground elements, helps bring the viewer’s eye to a single spot in an illustration!

4. Blend Colors Through Layering

Pencil doesn’t blend together perfectly unless you really work it out.


So, apply that digitally as well!


If you are coloring with pencil, slowly build up the parts until you end up with the final product instead of using a soft gradient brush to make a digitally smooth transition.

At a larger scale, the blending between colors can get a lot smoother, so if you can work at a large scale do it!


This can be something like:

  • 16inx19in

  • 24inx36in

  • 18inx24in

  • 12inx12in

Play around a bit and see what works best for you!

5. Paper Textures or Grain

A quick but easy solution is the application of a texture of paper or grain to your illustrations.


The blending mode Multiply can be applied to the texture with it lying on top of the illustration, or it could be applied to the illustration with it laying on top of the texture layer.


Knowing which way to order them depends on the effect you are going for, so experiment with it!

6. Conclusion

These are all the tips I got for you this time round, but I hope they were helpful in learning to create better beautiful digital pencil illustrations!


Remember to practice what you’ve learned, and using references is a good way to learn techniques and approaches a lot faster!


Keep on learning my friends!

A Quiet Moment, created using the Intoxicate Pencil Brushes set!



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