Industrial design beginners can learn to draw spheres with cast shadows quickly and easily!
With my simple and straightforward drawing tutorial, achieve your goals in no time—let’s get started now!

how to draw a sphere with easy shadow

How to Draw a Sphere | Easy Shadow Technique

  1. Draw a circle
  2. Draw the cast shadow with an ellipse
  3. Draw hatching for the shadow
  4. Draw 3d volumes with 2 ellipses only
  5. Draw the core shadow
  6. Light source from the left

There are plenty of complex explanations of
“How to shade a sphere” on the Internet.

And they are overwhelming!

The following 6 steps shadow drawing tutorial is made easy:
I made it simple for Industrial design beginners to start gaining confidence in sketching with “How to draw a sphere with easy shadow”.

How to draw cast shadow on sphere step by step
Today, we simplify a realistic sphere in a 30 seconds sketch!

I believe in learning to take baby steps
before jumping into “expert drawing techniques”
in Industrial Design Sketching.

This step-by-step drawing tutorial for beginners
shows you how to draw a 3D sphere super fast and easy
– without any complicated theory about light and shadow.

Get a ballpoint pen and let’s start drawing
with this SIMPLIFIED method for cast shadows on the sphere!

1. Draw a circle

Draw a circle using the ghost drawing allows you to draw the circle with fluidity.
You simulate the circle movement before drawing it.
To complete your circle, do not hesitate to draw it with 3 or 4 “loops”.

Draw a circle

2. Draw the cast shadow with an ellipse

The ellipse represents cast shadow.
Do not draw the ellipse literally below the circle.
Make sure the ellipse overlaps the circle.

Mistake drawing a cast shadow

3. Draw hatching for the shadow

Draw inside the ellipse with oblique hatching.
Avoid drawing vertical and horizontal hatching

Avoid horizontal and vertical hatching for cast shadow

4. Draw a 3D volume adding 2 ellipses only

Draw 1 horizontal ellipse (on the widest part of the circle)
Draw 1 vertical ellipse (on the highest part of the circle)
In just a few seconds, the 3D volume of the sphere appears!

Create a 3D volume drawing ellipses on your sphere

For clarity, draw two little crosses.
One in front, and one in the back of the sphere.
(The cross in front is a bit bigger and bolder than the one behind.
It makes the front cross closer to us.)

Show the front and the back to draw a 3D sphere with clarity

TRY THIS: The “3D link axis”

Remember the 2 crosses (one in front, one in the back)
Connect them to create that “Link axis”
It enhances, even more, the 3d sphere effect!

Sphere drawing with cast shadow - Try showing the 3d sphere axis

5. Draw the Core shadow

Add the core shadow (peanut shape) to the sphere.
Make sure you leave a bit blank below the shadow.
Do not fusion the core shadow with the cast shadow.

Sphere drawing with cast shadow - Common sketching mistake

NOTE: Be aware of the Bounce light

  • The bounce light creates the white/blank space below the core shadow.
  • Imagine the light rebound on the white table, and reflecting below the sphere.
Sphere drawing with cast shadow - Bounce light

TRY THIS: “Unfinished Shadow Tracing”

Don’t finish your core shadow where the light is the highest.
Draw the hatching as if the line tracing was there.
The brain will magically reconstitute the form. : )

Sphere drawing with cast shadow - Unfinished tracing
A visual trick to lighten your sphere drawing

6. Light source from top left

TIP: To help you better visualize,
spot the contact point below the sphere touching the ground.

Common mistake on lighting a sphere
Common mistake on shadow of the sphere
  • The (peanut) Core shadow is also on the right side of the sphere
Core shadow on sphere

How to go from Beginner doodles to Professional drawings

When you start practicing, your doodles are clumsy.
That’s normal, it is because you are acquiring knowledge.

That’s a good thing!

Know your brain limits, and you will learn happily.
The brain is not made to multitask.
Focusing on learning both the theory + making nice drawings is tough.

So first, absorb the techniques of making doodles.
Then when you feel ready, practice drawing with fluidity and with lighter lines.
Your sketch will become much more Lively!

Phase 1: When you practice, it is ok to doodle clumsy. Focus on understanding the technique.
Draw with fluidity and confidence a sphere
Phase 2: Then only you can focus on practicing drawing neat sketches.

WHAT’S NEXT: Advanced Preview

I like to popularize a technique first.
Then make you ready to jump on more advanced tutorials to learn the actual proper technique.

I will create a step-by-step tutorial on How to draw cast shadows on the sphere.
For now, I wanna give you a preview of it as a “visualization insight”.

  • When you draw the core shadow, imagine these 4 arrows projecting on the ground.
  • You got here an ellipse on the right of the sphere.
Advanced technique to draw light and shadow on sphere

And if you want to start with this technique now, you can follow the steps of How to draw cast shadows on boxes (parallel source light).

The 2 sources of light

There are mainly 2 types of light sources:

2 types of source light to draw shadow projection
Lighting/shadow on elevated sphere

Practice Practice Practice!

Like how my friend and Concept artist Edward Eyth says:

Enjoy learning the simple way and fun matters to be able to practice so much.
Learn to love the process and you will grow your design sketching skills with more complex and cool drawings. You will raise your confidence and soon reach a professional level.

It’s like learning to ride a bike with the 2 extra little wheels first.
So you can soon ride freely without them and learn how to ride on more challenging roads!

drawing many spheres with ballpoint pen

Remember, if you want to step up like crazy,
information is nothing without practice!

drawing many spheres with ballpoint pen close view

Practice drawing plenty of spheres filling your paper recto verso.

love sketching and practice

Take a pen, get started drawing now, and let me know how it goes :).

To carry on with spheres,
here is a funny game drawing plenty of circles and making them become a crowd of Minions!

how to draw minions
Learning how to draw and having fun!

1 comment

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  • I dont udernstant how you drawd your sphere and his shadow its says that you “will create a step-by-step tutorial on How to draw cast shadow on the sphere. For now, I wanna give you a preview of it as a “visualization insight” but I dont see it on this page web w
    here is it?