How to sketch a fruit still life

Jaysen Batchelor
A free video tutorial from Jaysen Batchelor
Illustrator & Designer
4.5 instructor rating • 13 courses • 619,414 students

Lecture description

In this lecture we will be doing a still life drawing of a banana and some fabric. This lecture will be a demonstration of how to draw a still life using cross hatching. It's important to watch how others draw so make sure you pay close attention to this lecture.

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The Ultimate Drawing Course - Beginner to Advanced

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11:07:03 of on-demand video • Updated January 2019

  • Draw objects out of your head
  • Draw realistic light and shadow
  • Understand the fundamentals of art
  • Draw perspective drawings
  • Draw the human face and figure
English [Auto] Art in this lecture we're going to be creating a still life drawing of this banana that's on this fabric. Now like I said doing still life studies are very important to becoming a good artist because you need to study real life and understand how light and shadow as well as shape works. And the best way to do that is to draw pictures that are from real life. So let's go ahead and get started. The first thing I'm going to do is unwind to take a measurement of the height of my banana. So from the tallest point on my banana to the bottom of that point we're going to go ahead and measure that with our pencil and our thumb. Once we get that measurement we want to make sure that our arm is completely extended out. So when we come back and take our horizontal measurement we have the same proportions. So let's go ahead and take this measurement and apply it to our paper so we're going to go ahead and lay it down just like so and mark that point. Next I'm going to go ahead and measure the width of my banana. So using my pencil once again and fully extending my arm I'm going to go ahead and mark that with my thumb and then I can go ahead and apply that to my paper. So Mark that just like so and so now we have the basic shape and distance of where we can create our banana. I'm going to go ahead and draw a line down here at the bottom. That way I have more of a composition than I'm going to go ahead and start lightly sketching in the shape of my banana. So remember to always keep things light until you know exactly where you want them because otherwise it's going to be very difficult to come back. Any race things. So I'm just very lightly sketching in the basic shape of that banana. No detail yet. Just the basic shape. And these are just the contouring windes all work on the second banana. And again I'm looking back at my banana as much as possible and try not to look at my drawings so much but really studying that banana and where that sheep is going. So remember you want to be spending at least 50 percent of your time looking at your actual object rather than looking at your drawing. It's even better if you're looking at your object 60 percent of the time. Then go ahead and start sketching in there. Some of the detail on that fabric. So I'm trying to stay away from adding too much light and shadow. I just want to add in some contouring lines as my guideline so I can come back in there and add in that highlight and shadow. So again it's really important to go back and really study your object to make sure you're copying it correctly and also look at things in proportions see how they relate to each other and how far apart each thing is. So continue to add in that detail for my fabric and I add very minimal type of shadowing in there. And I for the most part I just want to make sure that I have some guidelines that I can use to create my final drawing. Now I know very often when you're drawing pictures like this you're really going to want to start adding in some detail. But trust me. Wait until you have the whole drawing laid out and have your shapes correct. Once everything is correct shape wise then you're going to be allowed to go in there and add in all of your detail and shadows and highlights. You may be dissatisfied because it won't look realistic because your shapes are all off. Now I'm going to go ahead and start adding in some value. So I'm going to be using crosshatching to create my drawing. And so as you can see here I'm just adding lines to create those values which are shadows and I'm looking at my drawing as much as possible to figure out where those Darcus values are. And also don't be too quick to add in those shadows. Make sure that you're looking back at your reference or your object. That way you know exactly what you need to draw in there. So and if you're not sure don't add it in until you're completely sure or added in very lightly you can always come back and erase it. And you want to make everything exactly as you see it. So if you see a shadow line pay attention to whether it's hard or soft. Also pay attention if it's soft on one side meaning that it slowly blends into the value next to it or if it has a very hard line meaning that there's a very distinctive line between one value and another value. So right here I'm really blending that in so it's a nice soft edge. Same with right here it's a nice soft edge and Mr adding in some detail on to my banana stem now to go ahead and start darkening this edge because I know by looking at my reference that's the dark area of my banana and a banana is split up into different sections or different quarter sort of. And so I want to make sure I include that in there. And so now I'm adding in that bottom shadow by adding some crosshatching then add some crosshatching like so to start creating that second piece of my banana or the second quarter of my banana. And then darken the edge so it stands out more because don't forget we want to incorporate contrast in here. So the more dark values next to light values we have the better it's going to look underneath this banana is going to be a lot of shadow on that fabric. Then I'm the go ahead answer and in some detail to this end of the banana. And again I'm always going back and looking at my bananas to make sure that I'm doing things correctly. So rather than trying to trod on my head like a lot of people do. I'm trying to look at my object and draw exactly what I see. And so in order to do that I always need to be looking back at my bananas or my reference to make sure that things are being drawn correctly. And I'm always adding things a little bit at a time. I never really jump in there and add the whole thing all at once. You'll see I always come back to areas and add in more detail more shading just so I make sure that I get it correctly. And just like all of our drawings up to this point we want to make sure that we work certain areas all at the same time. So rather than work in one area and then being done with it we want to work it for a while and then move on to another area so that we can work the entire picture and never overwork an area. This will help us create a good overall drawing and help us so that we make sure that everything's in proportion and has the correct values. Then I'm going in there and adding some of this detail to just sort of little brown spots on my bananas. But it's what's really going to make it look realistic is adding in every little detail that I see denim hiding in the shadow right here. So this is an example of it may not make sense that that shadow is on that top side of the banana but it's still there in real life. And so you need to draw it. This is why it's really important to draw from still lifes is because you're going to encounter things that you don't encounter when you're looking at things that involve math or guidelines or anything like that you're going to encounter things that only happen in real life and you're going to start to understand how real life lighting and stuff like that works a lot better. So now I'm adding some darker detail down here. And so you see as the drawing goes on I start to commit to a lot of the shadows a lot more by darkening them but only once I'm completely sure they're where they need to be. So now Mr. darkening and this cast shadow for my banana it's also very important to pay attention to the way that you light your still lives. So in this particular photograph of the bananas they're actually lit with one lamp. In some cases you might want to have a lamp on both sides to try different types of lighting. And I recommend that you try lighting things in different ways and then drawing them so you can understand how different forms of lighting affect your objects. Now I'm adding in a ledge right here with a little bit of shadow so that way my banana is broken up into different quarters. And really what I'm doing is I'm not trying to think about how the banana works. I'm just trying to think I'm just trying to copy exactly what I see the exact shape the exact values. I'm not trying to think how the banana is made I'm not trying to think how it works in perspective. I'm just trying to copy exactly what I see. Go ahead and add in some more of that brown speckling detail in their also noticed that I wait towards the end to start adding in all my little details so you want to start with the biggest parts of your drawings the things with the least detail which are going to be your shapes and your large areas of value. And then after you start working with that you can start whittling that down into more detail until you get towards the end where you're going to add in your very fine detail such as those little brown specks and little wrinkles in your fabric. Also make sure you lay out a piece of paper for your hand to rest on. That way it doesn't smudge your graphite while you're drawing. Now I want the focal point my drawing to be the bananas. So I'm creating the most contrast there. So that's where you'll see the lightest in the darkest values next to each other. So as I get out to these outer edges of my fabric I'm going to add less contrast in less detail also. And it's also going to get a lot lighter and not be so dark and that's why I create my focal point and remember the focal point is just where the viewers eyes go first. And that happens because of multiple different things. But the biggest one is because of contrast makes you take some time to look at your drawing and then look at the reference and make sure that everything is matching up. If you see something that's not matching up go ahead and get in there and change it. Don't be afraid to draw or a race on your drawing. So now I'm just going in there and adding my final details and making sure that everything is correct checking my image and making sure that it matches up with my drawing. And I think that it's completely done now. So that brings us to the end of this lecture. So in this lecture you were able to watch me do a still life drawing of this banana and the fabric that it's playing on and you really should have gotten a good idea of how you can do this yourself because I didn't want to just give you an assignment to draw something from life without showing you how I do it. So your assignment for this lecture is to go ahead and either draw this image of the bananas which you can download in the next lecture or even better yet. And I really highly recommend this. Find your own objects to draw and lay them out and go ahead and do a still life drawing of that and try to copy exactly what you see. Now if you really want to get really good at drawing you need to do at least 20 of these. And if you want to get amazingly good at drawing you need to do 100 to 1000 of these. Now I know that's a lot but some of you may not be that dedicated and that's all right. But for those of you that really want to become a great artist you need to do a lot of still life studies. Thanks for watching this lecturer and I really look forward to seeing you in the next one.