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How To Draw A Sphere

Updated on February 1, 2015

How To Draw A Sphere

The sphere is one of the most basic objects one can learn to draw. One starts with a circle drawn on a piece of paper and with a few quick strokes of the pencil, that circle is transformed into a 3-D sphere.

Follow the steps outlined below and you will soon be on your way to creating many realistic 3-D drawings. Use the included video to guide you through this lesson.



Tools to Start With

Needed Tools

You do not need much in the form of tools to begin to learn to draw. All you need is a sketch book, some pencils, and an eraser. I bought my sketch book from Walmart for around five dollars. I bought a pencil set off of Amazon when I bought the "You Can Draw in 30 Days" book. The pencil set cost around eight dollars and consists of eight graphite pencils, 2H to 8B, 2H being the hardest and 8B being the softest, three charcoal pencils, one sketch stick, two charcoal sticks, one pencil sharpener, one charcoal sharpener, one kneaded eraser, and one plastic eraser.

Do not go expensive at this point. We just need to put some lines on paper right now. Learn the techniques first then you may invest in some more expensive drawing tools later on such as watercolor pencils or professional markers.

Important Drawing Concepts to Keep in Mind

The following concepts apply to all drawings you may complete. These concepts help you make your drawings more realistic and 3-D.

  • Foreshortening: Distorting an object so it looks as if part of the object is closer to your eye
  • Placement: Placing an object lower on the paper to make the object appear closer to the eye
  • Size: Drawing an object larger to make it appear closer to the eye
  • Shading: Darkening an object on the opposite side of the light source
  • Overlapping: Drawing one object in front of another to creat the illusion that it is closer to the eye
  • Shadow: Drawing darkness on the ground opposite the light source to create depth
  • Contour Lines: Curved lines drawn on an object to give volume and depth
  • Horizon Line: A reference line that creates the illusion of objects being various distances from ones eye
  • Density: Creating the illusion of distance by drawing an object lighter with less detail

Let's do a Pre-Test

We will begin these instructions with a pre-test. This pre-test will allow one to assess where one's skills lie. You will need to get a piece of paper and a pencil to continue on in this lesson........Welcome back. Now that you have the tools needed to start this lesson, turn to page one in your sketch book and write in on the top of page and every page here after.

  • Lesson 1 of 30
  • Pre-test,
  • today's date


Let's begin the pretest.

You will now take two minutes each to draw a house, an airplane, and a bagel. See you in six minutes. GO!!!

OK, as you will see in the video below, my pre-test drawings are not that great either buy hey, we all need to start somewhere. We will do this exercise again at the end of 30 days and you will be amazed at the results you will achieve.

Example of Light Source, Shadow, and Shading

How to draw a 3-D Sphere: Let's Begin

Step one: On the top of the page write the following three items

  1. Lesson 1
  2. The Sphere
  3. Today's date

Step two: We will start by lightly sketching a circle. Don't worry if it's not a perfect circle, if you watch the video you will see my circle is nowhere near perfect.

Step three: Next we will determine the position of our light source. I will put my light source in the upper right hand side of the page. You can put your light source wherever you like. This light source will determine how we will shade our sphere and where the cast shadow will fall.

Step four: Look at your light source. If your light source is in the top right like I have draw your cast shadow will fall on the bottom left side of the circle. The placement of this shadow will begin to make this drawing "pop" and begin the transformation of this circle into a 3D sphere.

Step five: Darken the edge of the circle that touches the shadow you have drawn. Make sure you darken not only the outline of the circle but take the darkening a little into the inside of the circle. This shading will eventually become the back side of the sphere that is not facing your light source.

Step six: Blend the shading you just did with your finger by rubbing your finger through the darkened part of the drawing. Follow the contour of the circle just like you are drawing with your finger. This will lighten the shading towards the center of the circle..

Step seven: Take your pencil and continue shading and blending the interior of your circle making sure you go lighter on the pressure of the pencil as you go towards your light source. At this point you can also touch up the outline of your circle.

Step eight: To complete your drawing, draw a horizontal line, "the horizon line," across the page. You can draw this line above your sphere or draw this line intersecting the sphere. This line will create a sense of depth and add to the 3D effect of your drawing.

There it is, your circle has transformed into a 3D sphere.

Full Video Lesson of How To Draw A Sphere : Lesson 1 From You Can Draw in 30 Days

What is in the video Lesson 1: The Sphere

This video takes us through my Pre-test drawings and Lesson 1 of "You Can Draw in 30 Days" written by Mark Kistler. I will be uploading all 30 Lessons from this book. Grab your sketch book, pencils, and erasers and join me on an adventure.

Don't be embarrassed as to how your picture turned out. We all need to start somewhere. Please do not be afraid to join me on Facebook, Instragram, or Twitter and share your drawings with me. We will all learn together

Join me back here in a few days for Lesson 2: Overlapping Spheres

Final Thoughts: AKA: Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice drawing spheres about 20 minuets per day and soon you will be a pro. Each lesson has a bonus challenge at the end. These bonus challenges make practicing more interesting and focus on drawing real world objects...well, most of the time they are real world objects. For example: the bonus challenge at the end of Lesson 1 is to draw an apple. Not the easiest thing to draw for us beginners but it does give one a goal to shoot for.

Keep practicing, send me your pictures, and I'll be seeing you again in a few days. Please take the quick little quiz at the bottom of this page and feel free to comment on this lesson.

Lesson 1 Quiz


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