How to draw a cylinder in stages?

Each artist, taking the path of professional development, strives to master the skill of academic and linear-constructive drawing: building objects through and through with knowledge of physics and geometry gives the artist the opportunity to tamper and make the drawing firm and convincing, and the correct imposition of hatching over the drawing allows to emphasize the shape object and make the graphics more expressive.


The study of academic drawing begins with the construction of basic geometric objects, with the help of which in the future it is possible to simplify more complex structures and forms, for example, the human hand breaks into parallelepipeds and cylinders, and only then smooth shapes are given to its bends. Today we will look at how to draw a cylinder in pencil in stages.

Preparation of tools

Before getting started, it is necessary to sharply sharpen simple pencils, which will make your drawing more accurate. For the initial construction of objects using hard or hard-soft pencils (marking T, TM or H, HB).

pencils kokhinorchiki

The paper is chosen rather dense, drawing - this will allow it to withstand several dozen work corrections without loss of quality. It is preferable to choose a soft eraser, which is careful to the texture of the paper. If circumstances permit, you can purchase formoplast at the art store, a small piece of silicone that makes it possible to evenly facilitate the tone and line of the pattern. Now you are armed with everything you need and are ready to learn how to draw a cylinder.

Preliminary measurements

If you are drawing from life, then measure the height of the cylinder (the distance between the upper and lower boundaries) with a simple pencil, holding it on an outstretched arm, extended at the elbow. Pencil tip with slate - your starting point.

proportion measurement

Use your thumb to fix the mark that corresponds to the bottom of the cylinder. Then do the same procedure with a cylinder width: this comparison of two quantities will help you to correctly determine the proportions in order to understand how to draw a cylinder.


Imagine that you are right in front of a cylinder - this is the simplest case of perspective (spatial distortion of shapes and sizes) to get your first experience on how to draw a cylinder with a pencil.

perspective distortions

Draw a long vertical line that corresponds to the height of the cylinder and will divide it in half. Its name is the centerline.

Then add two groups of paired horizontal lines at some distance from each other. The upper pair is responsible for one plane, and the distance between these lines will be slightly smaller than between the lower lines: the lower edge is wider due to perspective distortions.

Then add two vertical lines on the sides of the future cylinder, which are its width. These lines are equally removed from the centerline. So, the first step to how to draw a cylinder in stages, is done.


We have prepared the frame. In each of the small rectangles, you must put a cross: hold the diagonal, and also divide the rectangles by a horizontal line in half. These steps will simplify the process of creating ellipses, which should be inscribed in rectangles. Ellipses can be represented by two arcs, which are tight to the frame and smoothly transform into each other. At first, it will be difficult to create smooth and soft ellipses, but with proper skill in the future, you will be able to do without additional help lines and wondering how to draw a cylinder — you will learn to do this almost automatically.

cylinder frame

Face selection

Before proceeding to this stage, you should slightly loosen the drawing made with a soft rubber band in the event that you draw with a soft pencil.

How to draw a cylinder realistic? In the drawing and painting there are such concepts as the division to the foreground and background. Everything is logical: what is closer to the viewer, refers to the foreground, the rest - to the back. Therefore, the foreground should be distinguished by thicker lines than the main ones, namely the sides of the cylinder, the lower arc lying at the base of the ellipse, as well as the arc closest to the viewer of the upper ellipse, and the uppermost arc should be marked with a clear but thin line.

Cylinders in stages

In general, at this stage, you will have a division into 3 lines in thickness: the most impressive lines of the foreground, the usual in thickness line of the background and the barely visible, but still visible lines to build the frame.

Hatching overlay

Now you can arm yourself with a soft pencil and start applying shading on the cylinder. There are many techniques of hatching, try to start with a diagonal, apply strokes in the shape of a cylinder. How to draw a top hat with a shadow? Start from the darkest areas - this is important,because if you start to hatch from the light areas, you may not have enough tone of a pencil to parse the image according to lightness.

Glare, light, partial shade, own shadow, reflex and falling shadow are all elements of light and shade that make up the tonal analysis of the cylinder. The brightest of them is the flare - it is left untouched, then barely streaked through the world, the penumbra is the main tone of the object, its own shadow is the darkest part of the object, and the reflex is a reflection of the space on the cylinder (almost equal to the penumbra, located near the object’s edge) . The drop shadow is the darkest and thickest part of the stroke. It is always the opposite of the source of light.

The picture below shows a detailed tonal analysis of the cylinder. Use it when applying hatching.

tone analysis

Try to work evenly so that at each stage of the hatching your work looks complete and ready for demonstration. Congratulations! Now you know how to draw a top hat with a pencil step by step with a shadow.


Once you have mastered building a cylinder from a straight angle, you can experiment and develop further.Learn the aerial perspective and the vanishing point rule, go beyond your skills!

perspective cylinders


Today you got acquainted with the linear-constructive pattern and learned how to draw a cylinder with a pencil with a shadow. Let this knowledge be the basis for your work on the way to the top of creative Olympus.

Successes and inspiration!

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