Realistic Pencil Drawing: Grid Drawing - Falcon

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Lesson Description

In this lesson series, we’ll draw an accurate drawing of a falcon on Canson Heritage hot press watercolor paper with Blackwing pencils using the grid technique.

Lesson 1 - Materials and Grid

In this lesson, we take a quick look at the materials. We explore the grid technique and how to ensure accuracy in a drawing using this technique.

Lesson 2 - Head and Eye

In this lesson, we begin developing the texture and values of the head and eye of the falcon.

Lesson 3 - Body Feathers

In this lesson, we continue working on developing textures, working down the back of the falcon.

Lesson 4 - The Beak

In this lesson, we develop the textures and values of the beak of the bird.

Lesson 5 - Finishing the Falcon

In this lesson, we complete the drawing by addressing the remaining feathers and the background.

Lesson Materials

  • Canson Heritage Hot Press Watercolor Paper (140 lb.)
  • Blackwing Graphite Pencils (Pearl, 602, Matte)
  • Blending Stumps
  • Vinyl or Plastic Eraser

Lesson Resources


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Photo Reference

Gridded Photo Reference

Finished Drawing

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Lesson Discussion

  1. Hello Matt! Another excellent lesson! For these type of realistic drawings the ‘key’ is obviously…SLOW DOWN & TAKE YOUR TIME! I’m really seeing that this makes a HUGE difference in the final drawing!
    Thank you!

    p.s.: Incidentally how long did it take you to complete this drawing of the Falcon?
    I find it interesting to see how experienced work through things and the time it takes to achieve the successes they do!

  2. Hi Matt,
    I love this series. For all these lessons I would find it really useful if you could note somewhere (maybe in the description tab?) how long each section took you. Like many beginners, I find it hard not to rush but if I know how long it should take at a minimum to complete the section covered in each separate video I find it easier to make myself slow down. I can set aside the hour or whatever it should take and pace myself better. I find your live lessons series absolutely excellent for learning to slow down because they are real time and I can mimic your pace.

    • Hi Isabel,

      This drawing took me around 5-6 hours. Keep in mind that we all work at different paces. Some folks may finish a drawing like this in a much shorter amount of time, while some may take twice the amount of time.

  3. Matt, can you please clarify about the Blackwing pencils? Amazon has a set of Palomino Pearl, 602 and Original. Is Original the same as Matte, or would I need to get the Matte separately?

    • Hi Susan,

      Of the Blackwing pencils, I think the only one that is really special is the 602 pencil. The others are too similar to standard drawing pencils. I’m not sure what the difference between “original” and Matte is.

  4. The Blackwing pencil set that I got from Amazon was perfect, because they matched what you were using in the lesson. I have to say Wow! What a great lesson, and series of lessons! I went to art school in the 70’s and never learned what you are teaching. This is like boot camp for pencil drawing. The falcon was really intense, but fun, and turned out reasonably well. Thank you!

  5. Hi matt
    first i would like to thank you for this amazing course i am learning quite a lot i have 1 question im left handed and sometimes i find it difficult to do drawings that are on the right side is there anything i can do to fix that or could i be doing anything wrong ?

    • Hi Sana,

      It does not matter which hand you work with. The essence of drawing is observation. The order in which you apply the material only matters when you are protecting parts of the drawing from smearing. Since you are left handed, you may choose to start in the upper right hand corner and work down and to the left. Whereas a right handed person may start in the upper left hand corner and work downward and to the right.

  6. Hi,
    I just discovered your courses via your youtube channel and so far I love it! I’ve been trying to improve my shading and looking for videos and this is the best I’ve found so far!

    I use the grid method a lot when working with a photo and I have a tip for getting a light line that is easy to erase, I discovered that when you use a mechanical pencil for your grid it’s so much easier to get that really light line and it’s so much easier to completely erase without residual lines showing that just won’t come off the paper. It’s been a game changer for me.

    Thanks again for the wonderful lessons and I’m looking forward to watching the others especially the colored pencils.

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