Inside Realism

Apr 04,2018

I would interpret Realism as the art of defining proportions and mastering patience. It is the very imitation of reality or simply put - Realism art is transforming all of what you see onto your canvas. Here are some tips to help you on your journey.


Perfect your proportions

Perfecting proportions is perhaps the most important factor when mastering this art form, any flaw or deficiency even in the slightest will affect the final result of the artwork.


Select your medium

This type of art isn’t exclusive to any artistic material or medium. Only one medium like charcoal or pastel can be used to complete an artwork, or different materials may be used together, for example pencils, colored pencils and pastel all can be used in one drawing, as long as those materials blend harmonically creating consistent details.


Creating the process

There aren’t any rules that define the process of a realistic drawing, the only guideline to follow is that you must commit to accuracy. Create and invent your own methods, choose your tools and style, sometimes you may use an unusual tool, like a Q-tip or a bird’s feather, but if this process satisfies you then go with it.

Trust the grid

Since precision is what realism is all about, every artwork must start with a consistent modular grid. Your eyes may trick you, but the grid never does.

Don’t be scared of the black

Start shading with the darkest color values, be bold and go for the black - it is the most dominant and the only real color, This will also help you analyze the other color values in your drawing.

Don't forget - details are only defined by contrast.

Layer upon layer upon layer

To be able to transform the real image into a realistic drawing you have to comprehend its structure. It is important to understand how shades are formed and how colours get saturated. Everything we see consists of layers of shades, which means your drawing should consist of layers of colors and details.

Don’t just add shades, add layers of them.

Give it time and have fun

Practice and pursue, don’t be disappointed if your work doesn't looks realistic quickly, beautiful things take time to create, and remember that the key for to your success is drawing what you love. 

Good Luck and Have Fun!


About the writer

Sana Maarrawi is a self-taught wildlife realism artist based in Dubai. Specialized in charcoal, pencils, pastels and colored pencils. Her passion for contrast is depicted in her work. For more information visit, or follow the artist on Instagram @sana_mar_art