Hand Drawing Tutorial #12, Part 2: Making a Pencil Look 3D

May 2nd, 2011

This is Part 2 of Tutorial #12.  If you haven’t already, please go through Part 1 first.

Left: Tutorial #12 hand pose. Right: Closeup of pencil held in this pose.

Shading the pencil in this hand pose is another opportunity to help your vision shift over to “right brain” mode.  If you can accurately locate the highlights and shadows in the pencil – including in that shiny metal holder on the eraser – you will be able to draw it realistically.

Shading the pencil so it looks 3-dimensional

Take a few minutes to really look at the pencil in the closeup above.  What gives the pencil a three-dimensional appearance?  First, notice the long highlight up the length of the wooden part of the pencil.  Is it narrow or wide?  Does it extend the full length of the pencil or only part way?  Does it run up the center of the pencil, or more toward one side?

As for the metal eraser holder, let’s break down what appears complex into simple shapes.  Squint your eyes really hard at the eraser photo (left) to help you identify the highlights and shadows of the metal.   What are the brightest highlights?  What are the darkest darks?  What are the basic subdivisions of the metal piece?

Below is a schematic of how I was seeing the pencil eraser (in “right-brain mode”) while I was drawing.  In the top left image below, I’ve placed lines on the photo of the pencil eraser demonstrating how I first drew its basic subdivisions.

Left: "Right-mode" view of eraser. Right: My drawing

If you can train yourself to see complex forms as simple component parts, you’ll be able to draw them easily.

Video of part of shading process for Hand Drawing Tutorial #12

To see the initial drawing phase of this hand pose, please see Part 1.

At the end of this drawing (Frame 21), I used white acrylic paint, applied with a very small brush, to intensify highlights particularly in the metal eraser holder.

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