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How to Draw a Pumpkin

Learn how to draw a pumpkin from artist Rebecca Schweiger in this Howcast drawing tutorial.


We'll talk about how to draw a pumpkin. I highly suggest having a pumpkin in front of you, or a photo of a pumpkin. A lot of us think we know what something looks like, but in reality, everything has a unique personality, including you, so you want to really bring your personality and your self-expression into the drawing.

If you look at a pumpkin, you really have almost a circular form, but what happens is the top is almost like the top of a heart. Right in the middle where the stem is, it's almost like the top of a heart, and then it loops around like a circle, a little bit wider than a circle. Then it just continues right around.

To start, you want to have this oval form with this little area that's almost like the top of a heart, but it's just that part. Then you have the stem right in the middle. That is almost like a circle, as well. It's very helpful to just sketch that in. It doesn't have to be exact; it doesn't have to be perfect, we're just laying out the basics for now.

The next thing is you can start to look at all of these different shapes that come from the stem. Basically all they are, are either straight lines or curved lines. They go right around 360 degrees, right around from the center of the pumpkin. Focus on one line at a time. This line, it's basically just a straight line, curves right around. This line comes over, curves right around. This line, straight across, curves right around. Again, it comes right over, and then this one comes all the way down and over slightly. You're going to continue doing that all the way around. You're going to take just one part of the pumpkin at a time. This one comes over, down, and it tucks right under. It does not have to be perfect.

The most important thing is for you to experiment with the materials that you're working with and enjoy the process. Working with charcoal is definitely helpful, because anytime you want to make a change, you can just rub the changes right out. What I'm going to do is I'm going to take my eraser, and I'm going to erase my initial guidelines. Remember that first circle that we drew? I'm going to just erase those so that all we'll have now is the actual pumpkin. You can erase it, or you can even use your fingers to just smudge it right out.

If you want to continue, you can break your charcoal into a little piece, and you can add just a touch of shading, again, just the side of your charcoal now, rather than the tip. When you use the side of the charcoal, you'll cover more surface area. It's also very freeing, it's very freeing, it's very playful. If you ever do anything with charcoal that you're not crazy about, you can always just wipe it away with the touch of a finger. I'm bringing in just a touch of shading. Anywhere that I look at the pumpkin that it's a little darker, I'm just shading it right in. I'm going to use my finger and just blend it a little bit, using circular motions or back-and-forth. This will give some dimension to the pumpkin.

Last, but not least, I'm going to take my eraser. Again, this is just a regular eraser from the back of a pencil, and I am just going to redefine some of these edges of the sections of the pumpkin, just so that some of these areas can really stand out. The whole purpose of shadowing, or shading, is to create a look that makes the drawing look like it's 3-dimensional. I'm just going to use my eraser, the same way I would use an eraser any other way, but now it's on my drawing. I'm using it in the direction of the pumpkin so that it really does create some texture and movement. The eraser actually is one of my favorite drawing tools. I use the eraser as much as anything else.

Lastly, I'm going to come in with a charcoal one last time and just give a little bit of a pop of any area that is the darkest in the pumpkin. I'm using the tip, rather than the side, just to get it really nice and dark. Maybe I'll redefine a couple of the lines. I'm going to come back into the stem and just darken it slightly. There you have the beginnings of a pumpkin.

If I were going to continue this, I would continue just playing with the shading, pushing out the lights and the darks, and spending more time on all of the shading. If I want, as a final touch, I could add a little bit of a shadow in the front just to show that the pumpkin is sitting on a surface. There you have the drawing of a pumpkin.

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