In this tutorial, discover the step-by-step process of drawing a realistic pineapple. Drawing a pineapple can be a bit challenging due to its complex textures and unique shape. However, with the right techniques and guidance, you can create a stunning depiction of this interesting fruit.
Draw a Pineapple: Video Tutorial
Check out our Youtube video tutorial on drawing a pineapple for a visual guide.
Step 1: Identify the Direction of Light
Begin by analyzing your reference photo to determine the direction of the light source. This information will help you understand where to place highlights and shadows. Converting the reference photo to black and white can provide better clarity in identifying the tonal values.
In our reference photo, the light source is coming from the right side. As a result, the right side of the pineapple, including the fruitlets and leaves, reflects more light, while the left side appears darker. The strong contrast in this image provides an excellent opportunity to practice capturing value relationships.
Step 2: Create Guidelines
To ensure accuracy in your drawing, establish guidelines and reference points. Using a hard pencil (F), lightly sketch a rectangular box with a height just over double its width. The height of the crown (leaves) should be approximately equal to the height of the fruit. Draw a horizontal line across the rectangle to mark this midpoint. Additionally, create a vertical line to serve as an extra reference point.
Mark the edges where the pineapple intersects your guidelines. These markers will serve as reference points when connecting the lines.
Step 3: Sketch the Outline
Using the guidelines as references, carefully sketch the outline of the pineapple. Remember that a pineapple’s shape is organic and may not be perfectly symmetrical. Pay attention to the bottom of the fruit, which appears flat and resembles a slightly asymmetrical oval.
Next, focus on drawing the leaves. The leaves are smaller and more curled towards the bottom, gradually increasing in size towards the top of the pineapple. Pay close attention to the direction in which the leaves curl.
Step 4: Add Details
Now it’s time to add more intricate details to your drawing. Pay particular attention to the sections of the pineapple’s skin and the smaller leaves sprouting from each section. Together, these sections form a diagonal crisscross pattern across the pineapple’s body. In the reference photo, these sections appear darker in value. Begin by lightly sketching the sections and gradually apply more pressure as you gain confidence in the placement of the details.
Step 5: Start Shading and Enhance Contrast
To bring your drawing to life, it’s essential to render the values of the pineapple. The darkest areas are found between each smaller fruitlet section on the skin and under the curls of the crown’s leaves. The left side of the pineapple should also be noticeably darker than the right side. Leave the brightest areas untouched to represent highlights. If you’re using white paper, these bright spots will be the natural highlights. On mid-tone paper, you can enhance the lightest highlights with a white pencil.
For a technique known as burnishing, apply firm pressure with your pencil to eliminate any visible paper texture. This technique is particularly effective for shading the pineapple skin and leaves. Additionally, consider using a Tombow Mono Zero eraser to erase small highlights that have been lightly shaded over. These erasers can be found affordably on Amazon.
Take your time during this shading process to intensify the contrast and deepen the shadows, resulting in a more realistic representation. Drawing and shading can be incredibly enjoyable activities that completely absorb your attention. Once you find your rhythm, time will fly by unnoticed.
Supplies List for Drawing a Pineapple
Drawing paper or a sketchbook: Choose any type of drawing paper based on personal preference. Slightly thicker paper can withstand more pressure from your pencil. In this tutorial, we’re using the Strathmore 400 series toned tan paper for its mid-tone appearance.
Pencils: Graphite pencils or oil pencils work well for this drawing. Burnt Umber and white oil pencils are recommended for capturing the various values. Use a hard F pencil for sketching guidelines.
Erasers: Any type of eraser will suffice. A kneaded gum eraser is useful for lifting colors lightly, while the Tombow Mono Zero eraser is ideal for erasing small details.
Sharpener: Choose any sharpener that doesn’t waste pencil lead. Consider using an effective one to ensure the longevity of your pencils.
Blending stump (optional): If desired, use blending stumps to smooth out shaded areas and create a more realistic appearance. Alternatively, a q-tip can be used for blending.
Ruler (optional): For those seeking greater precision, a ruler can aid in creating guidelines and outlines.
Do You Need Expensive Supplies for Drawing?
Not at all! You can draw a pineapple using various drawing materials that you already have and feel comfortable with. The most crucial factor in achieving a good range of values is selecting a pencil that allows for dark shading (e.g., softer graphite pencils like 5B, 6B, or 8B). Additionally, a harder pencil such as F or HB is useful for lightly sketching guidelines and outlines that can be easily erased if needed.
As you can see, fancy materials are not necessary for successful drawing. However, certain supplies can enhance the drawing process and make it more enjoyable for some individuals. If you find any of the recommended supplies appealing, feel free to experiment with them and determine if they suit your preferences.
In my personal experience, I discovered that drawing with oil pencils on mid-tone paper is incredibly gratifying. Choosing mid-tone paper saves time by eliminating the need to manually render the mid-tone areas using a pencil. Instead, I intentionally left those areas blank, allowing the brown paper to show through. This approach provided more time to focus on the lightest highlights and darkest shadows. Ultimately, the choice of paper is subjective, but working with mid-tone paper offers a unique drawing experience.
Pineapple Reference Photo
Below is the reference photo I used for this tutorial. Feel free to save it for your own use. The photo was sourced from Unsplash. To achieve greater accuracy, don’t hesitate to draw guides and markers directly onto the photo.
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