I’ve been drawing for several years. I dabbled in watercolor, a little acrylic, a tiny bit of oil painting–but my first love is good old-fashioned pencil drawings. When I discovered the joys of toned paper it freed me to really explore the medium. Portraiture has always been my passion. There’s nothing quite like finishing a drawing and having the satisfaction of seeing a recognizable likeness staring back at me from the paper.

Using the gray toned paper you’ve already achieved that middle tone–that skin tone–then all you have to do is bring out the darks and lights. I’ve been using (shameless plug) Faber-Castell Polychromos monochrome pencils (available at fine art supply stores everywhere). These pencils give me the range of tone I need to create a wholly realized drawing full of character and personality. If you are interested in black and white drawing–I highly suggest giving this technique a try. The following images were created in this style. I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed creating them!

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Hello, Dali. This eccentric artist has the kind of face begging to be drawn–so, I did

Barney Fife. One of my all-time favorite TV characters. His face certainly tells a story!

Frank Sinatra – 1938. A very young Sinatra staring into the mugshot camera

Ron Swanson. Great character from the show Parks and Rec

Old Sailor. Some faces tell stories

Kim. A portrait of my wife–she has great eyes!

Grant. Portraits are a great gift for friends and family

Lily. A face full of character!

Sam. Chock full of personality

Self-Portrait. I was home on vacation (complete with “vacation hair”) and decided to draw myself

Tom Petty. Went to see Tom Petty live in Memphis on his current U.S. 40th Anniversary tour. Side note: guitars are not easy to draw!

Tough Guy. Saw this guy’s face in a magazine ad. Thought he was sketch-worthy