Re: Madame Butterfly III - Cairns Birdwing
Hey, great drawing!
The "drafting" is really quite good. The figure is very believable. The rendering of the form with darks and lights may have been whacked in the process of scanning, which can happen.
In some cases you can only be as good as your materials, so maybe using a set of pencils in various hard and soft grades is in order. If you are using a 4B to 9B, you can get VERY dark values. Also, you may try to work from hard pencils to soft pencils. Draw the whole thing in 4H, then draw over it again with 2H, then again with 2B, then 4B, then 6B, which will let you find some very subtle grays, and then push very dark shadows.
When you work, keep the pencils sharp enough to hurt your finger if you poke your finger with them. When you have sharp pencils, crosshatch with them the same way you use an ink pen, and build your light shadows and then your dark shadows. Make the crosshatching follow the form and planes of the figure. Another suggestion is to use a high quality illustration board that has a very good even surface finish. If you are doing very delicate detailed work, a smooth finish is better than a rough finish. Just dont use clay coated paper that is shiny and too slick for the pencil to stick to it.
For giggles, sometime get a small piece of illustration board, and a set of graded pencils, and make a value chart using 1x1 inch squares. Maybe 5 to 7 squares. Use crosshatching to get a good finish in the graphite.