How To Draw A Sphere

Welcome to the sphere lesson! This is where we take a plain circle and make it look spherical.

You can think of the sphere as a rounded cube.

We will draw a circle. There are many methods to draw a circle and you are welcome to try them but this is what most pro artists do and it’s what I use.

First, hover over the paper and make circular motions just above the surface.  Then gradually lower the pencil until it touches the paper. Lightly trace out a circle.

It’s ok if it looks a little sketchy. Just erase some of the outer lines to clean up the drawing. If you are having a problem making a decent circle just, make a bunch of them and then pick the best. It takes practice to make a decent circle so don’t feel bad if it doesn’t look round. Keep practicing.

You could also use a compass to draw perfect circles.   

Next trace over the edge of the circle to darken the form.

How do we turn it into a sphere?

That’s where the magic of shading comes in. Darken the side opposite the imaginary light source and fill in the cast shadow.

A sphere with shading and a cast shadow at the base
A sphere with shading and cast shadow added.

Now you have a sphere that you can be proud of. Just wait and see what we can draw with this simple object.


The sphere is essential to portrait drawing.

Here are some examples of how to tilt the sphere in different directions. For aspiring portrait artists, I recommend you practice drawing the sphere from different angles. Draw a line through the center and tilt it up, and down. Change the direction of the light source and the angle of the centerline. 

Experiment with the L.S. on your own. Try lighting a sphere from all directions, above, below, etc., and see how the light covers the object. 

We can also turn the circle into an ellipse and the ellipse into a cylinder. In future lessons, we will make lots of drawings with these three shapes.

Check out how to transform a circle into various size ellipses. First draw a circle. Then gradually narrow the circle until it turns into a straight line. 

Circle turning into an ellipse or a foreshortened circle.

Spend some time drawing circles, ellipses, cylinders, and spheres. The exercises will help in human-figure and portrait drawing. Remember all these complex subjects are made up of shapes. 

Try doing this exercise on your own and draw many, many cylinders. Like in the above example. I promise this will help with advanced art topics. 

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Or go to the next lesson one-point perspective


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