I first drew this with a white background, like the original photo. I thought it needed something else, as his features were too bland, so I next did a gradual shade from the lower left corner toward his face, getting lighter toward his face. I felt that still didn't look right, SO I darkened the whole background black. However, that made the hair shorter. I'm not 100% happy with his mouth. It looked a bit un-natural in the photo, and of course here? His lower lip looks to thin? Oh well...on the to the NEXT one!
People ask me this all the time. How do I get such dark backgrounds on my drawings. The answer is complex, so I will step it out below.
1) The paper you use MATTERS! I use only Bristol, which is 2 or 3 times thicker than drawing paper, so it has a strong tooth to the paper 2) I use either B or 2B. The softer you go (3B-9B) the more wax is in the graphite, which makes it like a crayon and hard to blend. 3) I KEEP the pencil SHARP, and I hold it SIDEWAYS. 4) I do small sections at a time 5) I TURN the pencil in my fingers as I darken 6) I use a scraping motion 7) I end up going back over it more than once before finished 8) I LATER use a harder pencil (H, F) and go over the dark area again 9) I use a "workable spray fixative" made by Krylon which reduces glare 10) I never use a flash on the camera when taking the photo of it 11) I ONLY take the photo during the daytime, under natural light, by laying it on the carpet near a window. 12) I NEVER use a software program to darken the photo of the drawing