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How to Draw a Brick Wall

Updated on March 31, 2013

A Brick Wall

 Drawing of a red brick garden wall. We see a tree peaking out over the top of the wall and some grass growing on the outside. What wonders could be hiding behind these bricks? Joseph Martin Kronheim (1810-1896)
Drawing of a red brick garden wall. We see a tree peaking out over the top of the wall and some grass growing on the outside. What wonders could be hiding behind these bricks? Joseph Martin Kronheim (1810-1896) | Source

How to Draw a Brick Wall

How you go about this task depends on its intended outcome. If your intention is to have a simple brick wall in the background of a drawing which you are looking at it head on, a realistic brick wall is relatively simple to achieve with a few easy steps. Your approach will be slightly different if you are looking at the brick wall from an angle so that the wall recedes into the distance in one point perspective. This is still not particularly difficult to achieve. We will look at both in a few simple steps.


One important consideration is that it is unnecessary to draw every single brick that you see. Simply indicating the bricks with the marks you make on the paper is enough. The human eye will fill in the rest of the detail. You can demonstrate the effect of light simply by leaving the entire section exposed to the light blank- or with very few minor details, while the remainder of the wall, the section in shadow, is darker, has more contrast and more detail. These kind of tricks, in addition to drawing in perspective, add realism, depth and dimension.

Drawing a Brick Wall Head On

A brick wall partially illuminated by a ray of light. The light that separates the light from the dark.
A brick wall partially illuminated by a ray of light. The light that separates the light from the dark. | Source
Source

Drawing Brick Wall Head On

Observation is the first rule of drawing anything correctly. Look at your subject and draw what you actually see, not what you think you see. The only way you can accomplish this is to look at the thing you are drawing more than you look at your actual paper. This is a skill that takes practice as most peoples natural instinct is to spend more time looking at the paper.


  • Draw the overall shape of the wall. If it is directly in front of you, this is likely to be as simple as drawing a rectangular shape.
  • Notice the shapes of the bricks and spaces that lie between them, the cement.
  • Begin by lightly sketching the horizontal lines that make up each line of bricks.
  • Notice the positive shape of the bricks and lightly sketch in some individual bricks. Are they mostly rectangular in shape with rounded edges where the cement cuts off some of the corners? Are some of them broken? Are some bigger than others? Notice anything about the wall which adds character to it, making it unique among walls! Sketch such details in, but don't get too bogged down in the details.
  • Notice what direction the light source is coming from. Draw the line that seperates the light from the dark. In most situations where you have a unidirectional light source, there will be a defined line that seperates the light from the shadow. Lightly sketch in this line.
  • Begin to shade the shadow side of the wall in a medium but consistent tone, all the way up to the point where the line separates the light from the dark starts. Make sure the shadow is a consistent colour all the way across the shadow side of the wall.
  • Begin to sketch in the detail of a few bricks on the dark side in a bit more detail. Shade the bricks in a darker tone to the shadow and vary your strokes to indicate the texture of the bricks. Leave the space between the bricks- where the cement joins the bricks together the same tone as the overall shadow. Do not draw in every single brick, but feel your way, draw in as many bricks as it takes to fool the eye into thinking that it is looking at a brick wall. Stand back from your drawing often to check your progress and remember to keep looking at the wall.
  • If you have a lot of light shining on the right hand side of the wall, the chances are that the details on that side of the wall will be bleached out by the bright light. Leave out the details here- sketch them in very lightly and lightly shade where necessary to hint at the texture and shape of bricks. Leave some white paper exposed to fool the eye into seeing a bright light source
  • Depending on the finish you want to go for, feel free to use a blending stump or your finger at this point to very lightly blend some of the drawing until you get the look you desire. Do not go overboard here as you don't want it to appear too soft. It is a brick wall you are drawing, not cotton wool!.

Drawing a Brick Wall in Perspective

Source
Ebbinghaus illusion. Although the drawing's suggestion of perspective causes the sphere to the right to seem larger, in reality both spheres are exactly the same size.
Ebbinghaus illusion. Although the drawing's suggestion of perspective causes the sphere to the right to seem larger, in reality both spheres are exactly the same size. | Source
Source

Drawing Perspective Further Reading

Drawing a Brick Wall in Perspective

The same rules apply here, but the trick is to get the basic perspective of the overall shape correct before you start filling in the bricks.


If you are looking at a wall which stretches away from you into the distance, the part closest to you will appear bigger and the part furthest away will recede into the distance appearing smaller. This means that the bricks closest to you will appear much bigger and more detailed than the bricks furthest away from you. It is wise to use a ruler for this exercise especially if you are a beginner.

  • Start by drawing in your horizon line, that is, the line which lines up with your eye level. This should be a horizontal line going across your page.
  • Assuming the wall is in front of you, to your right hand side, stretching out into the distance toward the left of your field of vision, draw a vertical line close to the right hand edge of your drawing pad from the top to the bottom.
  • Place the ruler at the top point of your vertical line and angle it down so that it meets the horizon line. Put a small dot at the point where the ruler meets the horizon line.
  • Using the ruler, draw a light line from the top of the vertical line to the dot. This is the top of your brick wall.
  • Place the ruler at the bottom point of the vertical line. Line the ruler up with the small dot you just placed there. Draw a light line from the bottom of the vertical line to the dot. This is the bottom of the wall.
  • Observe where the wall ends. Does it go all the way into the distance as far as the eye can see, ending up at your dot, or does it stop at some point before the horizon line? If it stops before the horizon line, use your ruler to draw a vertical line where it stops. Stretch your arm out in front of you and hold up your pencil to gauge approximately where into the distance this point would be.
  • Now you have the basis for your wall. Make it look 3D by Drawing another vertical line on the right hand side of the vertical line you drew at the beginning Connect the top and bottom of the wall with short horizontal lines.
  • Notice where the line separates the light from the dark and sketch it in.
  • Notice that the side of the wall closest to you is in sharp detail and has more contrast than the side that stretches away from you. The further the wall gets away from you, the less detail you see.
  • Draw horizontal lines which are parallel with the top and bottom edges of the wall to indicate the lines of bricks. As the lines recede more into the distance, lighten your touch so that they are not as dark.
  • Start to fill in the details of the bricks as described in the previous section. The guide lines you drew for the bricks will naturally make the bricks in the distance appear much smaller than the bricks in the foreground.
  • Use the shading tricks previously described for the details. Shade the bricks furthest away with less detail.

Study one, two and three point perspective to get more realism into your work whether you are drawing a brick wall, buildings or people. There are plenty of free resources available online.

Comments

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    • Georgina_writes profile image

      Georgina Crawford 3 years ago from Dartmoor

      Great tutorial on drawing brick walls. I just love the texture of brick and stone and your article teaches how to capture that, and to use perspective really well. Rating up.

    • unvrso profile image

      Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

      Interesting hub on how to draw brick walls.

      Voted useful!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 5 years ago from the short journey

      Enjoyed this guide on painting brick walls. I enjoy painting bricks/blocks on walls. It really is easy and the shading is fun because I like to watch the effects evolve.

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