In any art or field of work one's understanding of their tools is essential to mastery. Many may argue that the tool doesn't matter and all that one should be focusing on is their own skills.
There is no denying that honing one's skills is of utmost importance but that doesn't mean that you should forego your tools.
I will start with most basic - your pencil.
Normally, people tend to use the pencil in a very limited manner. There are so many ways you can use this tool other than using its tip or side to draw.
I will not go through all the ways of using your pencil but I will show you the most useful and efficient techniques.
First, I suggest, if you hadn't already, to change how you sharpen your pencil. You should expose more of your pencil's lead, making it look as the picture below:
Check out this link for a how-to video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rz9x49vG9Rk
By making the tip of your pencil like this, you give yourself more room to draw in details while seeing clearly your page. Without this, your fingers will block your view.
Another advantage for this method is that you will be able to draw from various angles and cover more areas with shadows.
Moving the second tool - the eraser.
Many beginners don't know that they can use their erasers to draw, not only to fix their errors. In fact, using an eraser can do wonders to your art.
For instance, you can use the eraser to create stunning highlights or very realistic textures.
The eraser technique is ideal when you're drawing hair. Look at the example below:
Similar to what we did to the pencil, the same can be done to the eraser. Take a normal eraser and sharpen it's edges, and you will be able to draw detailed highlights like the ones in the hair in the example above.
Of course you could buy a mono eraser (a very thin tip eraser) and avoid the hassle, it's all up to you.
Try out these modification and tips, and let me know if they were useful.
Until next week, keep working diligently and make sure that you never ever get frustrated or give up.
"All you want is here, you needn't strive for it, you needn't struggle, just wake up to it"