The Two-Pencil Method

The Revolutionary Approach to Drawing It All

About the Book

From the best-selling artist and YouTube art instructor, this book features step-by-step lessons that show you how to draw professional-quality portraits, landscapes, travel sketches, and animals using only two ordinary pencils.

Great art doesn't have to be expensive. For the cost of a regular graphite writing pencil and an equally ordinary black colored pencil, you can create drawings worthy of framing and displaying. In this straightforward, aspiring artist's guide to rendering a variety of popular subjects with only two pencils, artist and art instructor Mark Crilley presents a direct, approachable, and achievable method for drawing just about anything. The Two-Pencil Method breaks down Crilley's techniques across six chapters of five lessons each. In each lesson, you'll learn how the two-pencil method can add depth and shading, allowing you to create bold and distinctive drawings that go beyond mere sketchbook doodles. The book moves from a primer on drawing basics to step-by-step examples of still lifes, landscapes, animals, travel sketches, and portraits. With each chapter, Crilley's confident and encouraging voice and expert insights demonstrate how to achieve stunning artistic results from the simplest of art materials.
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Praise for The Two-Pencil Method

“I've been drawing comics for years, and I learn something new every time I read one of Mark's books. The Two-Pencil Methodbreaks everything down in to simple and concise lessons that are straight to the point and full of wonderful knowledge." --Will Sliney, artist of Spider-Man 2099 and Scarlet Spider for Marvel Comics. 

Praise for The Drawing Lesson:

"An original and accessible way to learn to draw." --Kirkus Review

"An artful balance of character and technique, of observed human moments and carefully pitched instruction, that will appeal to students with artistic aspirations." --School Library Journal
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The Two-Pencil Method


My Two-Pencil Method is exactly what it sounds like: an approach to drawing that relies on just two different types of pencils—an ordinary graphite pencil and a black colored pencil. The graphite pencil allows you to get a drawing started and to fine-tune shading. The black colored pencil allows you to dramatically heighten the contrast. Using these two humble drawing tools, you can create pictures as beautiful as any you’ve ever seen. That’s not a grand promise. It’s a simple truth. 

I’m going to bet that you’ve already got a serviceable writing pencil nearby. That means the black colored  pencil may be the only pencil that you need to go out and acquire. As of this writing, that pencil shouldn’t cost you much more than a dollar. Let’s say $1.39. There you have it—Mark Crilley’s idea of what the barrier to entry ought to be for an aspiring artist.

In the lessons ahead, you’ll see how I use the Two-Pencil Method to complete a wide variety of drawing projects. I’ll start with simple projects designed for the absolute novice, then move toward subjects that are a little more ambitious: landscapes, travel sketches, portraits, and the like. I’ll show you what and how each pencil contributes to each drawing, and take special care to indicate when you should bring in the black colored pencil to work its magic. If you are patient and complete every lesson in the book, I have no doubt you can master this approach and make it your own.

You’ll need some moxie and determination, for sure. Those, sadly, can’t be bought. But I’m sure that you have a little of both already.

Even the people who adore their art supplies can agree with me on at least one point: those fancy materials won’t do you a lot of good if they’re collecting dust in a drawer. Whether my Two-Pencil Method becomes your technique of choice or not, promise me that you’ll draw. Keep at it. Draw every day if you can. Draw like crazy. If you draw, and draw, and draw, until your two pencils have been worn down to two little stumps, you will make progress. You will hone your skills. And one day, you will become the artist you were always meant to be.
And that is something you won’t want to trade for all the money in the world.


About the Author

Mark Crilley
Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from Kalamazoo College, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan that he created the Eisner Award–nominated comic Akiko on the Planet Smoo, which spawned a series of graphic novels and prose novel adaptations. In 1998, Mark Crilley was named to Entertainment Weekly’s It List of the 100 most creative people in entertainment. More by Mark Crilley
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