From 2D Design To 3D Shape With A Pencil And A Plan

Don't Panic ButtonThis three dimensional shading exercise is much easier than it looks because it’s created with the same style of gradation around each “petal” of the form. I’ve inserted the Don’t Panic button though, just in case you think you might need it but, honestly, you won’t. :)

Eight Section 3D Shape

Eight Section 3D Shape

Mental Health Note: There’s no need to finish this drawing in one sitting, and drawings never really have to be perfect, so stay mellow my fellow pencil sisters and brothers. Like nearly everything else in life, drawing is more fun when you’re relaxed.

Supplies: You’ll need an HB pencil, a sharpener, smooth or medium drawing paper, a kneaded eraser, a battery powered eraser if you draw your own design, and there’s a template to download at the bottom of the post.

Line Drawing Creation

Line Drawing Creation

If you want to draw this eight section design yourself, you can see how I did it in this image.

I got lucky and picked the right sized large and small circle templates on the first try, but the trick is that the small circles need to be about the width of one section to fit side by side in larger circle. For the most shapely petals though, make the small circles large enough to overlap each other a bit.

To finish the design, I drew an arc from each small circle to the center of the large one.

Extra Lines Erased

Extra Lines Erased

Here’s the design with the extra marks erased.

I used a kneaded eraser to lighten the lines as much as I could first, and then used a battery powered eraser to remove the rest of them. I used the kneaded eraser first as a precaution because sometimes battery powered erasers smear heavily applied graphite with such force that it leaves an embedded smudge that’s nearly impossible to remove.


Flat Pencil Tip

Flat Pencil Tip

I used an HB pencil for the entire drawing and a flattened pencil point for the hatching. I wanted to preserve the hatching’s texture so I didn’t use any blending tools. (Blending tools smear hatching.)

Brief Flat Pencil Point How-To

Create a flat pencil point by running it back and forth over scrap paper and use it by bringing the flat point directly over to the drawing without shifting your grip on the pencil.

1. Outlined petal.

1. Outlined petal.

A three step process to shade each petal.

1. Draw a dark line around the edge. (I wouldn’t normally start a drawing this way, but in this case I wanted the edge around each shape to be the deepest part, and deepest equals darkest in this situation.)

In the simple lighting used for this shape:
Light = Up
Dark = Down

2. Gradated edge.

2. Gradated edge.

2. Shade around the inner edge with a short gradation that lightens to the middle of the petal.

3. Filled with hatching.

3. Filled with hatching.

3. Fill in the rest of the shape with a light hatch.

Finish with highlights.

Finish with highlights.

A Graceful Ending

To finish, shape a kneaded eraser into a medium round tip and use a tapping motion to lighten the center of each petal. So that the petals all match, save this step for last so you can work on all of them at the same time.

Kneaded Eraser Tip Shapes

Kneaded Eraser Tip Shapes

The tapping motion lifts and lightens the graphite and leaves the texture alone.

To smooth any unevenness or get rid of distracting dark spots, gently tap those areas with a small round or pointed tip.

Variations:

  • To give a petal more depth, deepen the edge by darkening the outer edge of the gradation.
  • A short edge gradation and wide top highlight makes a petal look wide and shallow.
  • A smaller top highlight and long edge gradation makes a petal look taller and more tapered.
Tidy Line Drawing

Tidy Line Drawing

Here’s a tidy line drawing to download if you want to trace the design. This a large version that you can reduce to the size you prefer.

Line Drawing PDF

Draw, relax, and have fun everyone,
c

Other Things You Might Like:

About Carol

I'm an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I've been writing this website since 1999.
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6 Responses to From 2D Design To 3D Shape With A Pencil And A Plan

  1. jackie says:

    I love the way you teach easy follow. You are great please keep helping. I never was able to afford art calsses all i know how taught myself.

    • Carol says:

      Hi Jackie,

      Thank you and I do plan to keep making lessons and posting them here. Lots of people are in your situation, and it’s possible to teach yourself how to draw just by reading books, watching videos, and finding lessons online.

      Good luck!
      c

  2. kendell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these lessons, I will tell my grandchildren about them as I am sure they will help understand there art lessons at school easier. These are really appreciated

  3. zizwe says:

    I liked your step by step approach, as well as your innovative methods when takling drawing problems. I was also taken by your simple and comprehensive technics.

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