Here’s a profile that I worked on for about four hours or so, spread out over three weeks. The paper is from a 9×12 recycled sketch pad, with 65 lb weight. I primarily used graphite pencils, with some conte in the last step.
Step 1 – The Initial Line Drawing
I was pretty happy with the likeness after this, though if you look closely you can see where I had to make the nose a bit bigger. The mouth took a while, too, until I realized that the top lip was parallel to the bottom of the nose. The expression looked okay after that.
Step 2 – Initial Tones
The keys to this step for me were the shapes in the neck and the shadows under her cheekbone and jaw. Filling in the background to accent the light tones of her face also had the drawback of altering the lines of some of the features. For example, the nose became smaller again.
Step 3 – Blending Tones
I used a blending stump for most of the blending, though I used my finger on occasion too. The whites were reinforced with a kneaded eraser as required. I also had to alter her right shoulder, and I actually re-drew the collarbone completely, though it ended up looking pretty much the same.
Step 4 – Conte
This was my biggest risk at the time, as I was just discovering the power of adding conte to graphite drawings, and Conte is much more permanent. After making the graphite darks a bit darker, I started adding in black conte for the hair and scarf, as well as to the darkest parts of the facial features and the necklace to try to balance it out.