Knowing how to draw a sphere is one of the most basic and useful skills a figurative artist should master.
Because in figurative drawing you are shading basic shapes that are combined in different ways to represent the more complex shapes of the whole object.
Once you have mastered shading techniques and can apply them to simple shapes, you will find it much easier to shade larger works.
Let’s concentrate on drawing and shading a sphere first.
Instructions on how to draw a sphere
Step 1: Draw the outline of the sphere
First the outline of the sphere must be drawn. The outline of a sphere is always a circle – no matter from which direction you look at the sphere.
Admittedly, it is not easy to draw a perfect circle. Either use dividers or approach a circle using this method:
Draw a square. Then draw quarter curves in the corners of the square. Erase unnecessary lines and improve the shape until satisfaction.
Use a HB pencil to draw the outlines. The outline should be as bright as possible so that it can be easily erased if necessary.
The drawn circle does not have to be absolutely perfect. That is not what this exercise is about. It is more important to understand the shading and to apply the shading technique.
Step 2: Select the position of the light source
The position of the light determines how the object reflects the light and where the shadow is placed. In our example, the light hits the sphere from the frontal direction at the top right.
Draw the darkest areas on the sphere according to the incoming light with the 2B pencil. You can also draw the shadow on the surface on which the sphere lies in the same step.
Make sure that we leave some space on the left side of the sphere for a lighter area created by the light reflected from the surface back to the sphere.
Step 3: Continue shading
Once you have drawn the first areas as orientation, you can start shading the rest of the sphere with the 2B pencil. Do this layer by layer and slowly work your way into darker areas.
Now take the 4B pencil and emphasize the dark areas of the sphere and the surface. Make sure that there is a harmonious transition from the darker to the lighter areas of the sphere. Where the light hits the sphere frontally, no hatching is needed.
Step 4: Finalize the shading of the sphere
If you are satisfied with the shading, you can easily hatch the area left out in step 2 with a 2B pencil. Again, this area should have a transition with the dark area next to it.
Step 5: Blur the hatching
Once you have completed the hatching, you can now devote yourself to the simple part of this guide. Here, we’ll look at how to make smooth transitions out of the visible pencil lines.
Use a blending stump, a cotton swab or wiping paper that you rub lightly over the surface. Small circular movements are very effective in transforming the visible pencil strokes into a homogeneous surface.
More tips for drawing a sphere
There are a few things to keep in mind when learning how to draw a sphere:
- Selecting a specific light source is essential for this exercise. In our case, the light hits the sphere from the top right.
- Pay attention to the shadow the sphere casts on the surface.
- Also note that the darkest part of the sphere is not in the area where it rests on the surface. A surface reflects some of the light that strikes it back to the sphere.
- The darkest shade in our case is high up on the left side of the sphere.