Possibly one of the most straightforward shapes to shade, the cube still poses a few challenges. In this article, I will guide you through common mistakes that beginner artists often encounter when attempting to draw cubes.
Drawing a Cube
Since cubes have a geometric form, it makes logical sense to employ a perspective system when drawing them. However, let’s not delve into the topic of perspective drawing in this article. Instead, I will focus on teaching you how to shade cubes to make them appear realistic and three-dimensional.
If you’re new here and want to learn about the four basic forms, you can start from the beginning of this series and catch up:
- The 4 Basic Forms
- How To Draw a Cylinder
- How To Draw a Cone
- How To Draw a Sphere
Constructing a Cube
The easiest way to draw a cube is by using the One Point Perspective method. I won’t go into the intricate details of this drawing method here. Simply put, you can create the illusion of a three-dimensional cube by connecting its front corners to a single point.
Remember to sketch your outlines lightly, as they should eventually disappear once you finish shading the cube. Outlines can detract from the overall realism of the drawing and are only meant to guide you in the initial stages.
Shading Techniques for Cubes
Shading cubes differs from shading round forms like cylinders, cones, and spheres, as cubes consist entirely of flat sides. Under normal lighting conditions, all sides of a cube appear with an even value.
When shading a cube, assign a consistent value to each side without using any gradations. It’s interesting to note that many young artists tend to overuse value gradations once they learn shading techniques. However, in terms of realistic drawing, this approach is incorrect. Remember this simple rule:
When an object has a flat side, shade it with a single, even value.
You may notice that the cube drawing in the image has different values assigned to each side. This occurs because light reflects differently, resulting in varying intensities and a multitude of different values.
Keep it Simple
This explanation of the cube and its shading techniques may seem basic, but it provides a solid foundation for drawing realistic cubes. Once you understand the basic form, your observational skills will help you capture the nuances when studying a real cube under actual lighting conditions.
What About Additional Components?
If you’ve followed the previous articles on different forms, you may have noticed that I did not mention highlights, reflected light, core shadows, or cast shadows in relation to cubes. This exclusion stems from the fact that these components can be more confusing than beneficial when it comes to cubes. For example, reflected light might appear on one or multiple sides of the cube.
When practicing, don’t worry too much about the cast shadow. It may pose difficulties when drawing from imagination. However, when you encounter a real cube-like object, observing and determining the shape of the cast shadow will be much easier.
Key Points to Remember About Cubes
- Use a form of perspective when initially drawing a cube.
- Focus on creating distinct, even values for each side of the cube.
- Eventually, study real objects and rely on your eyes to capture the cast shadow’s shape, the values of each side of the cube, and other intricate details.
Applying logical thinking to your drawing education is highly recommended. It allows you to make predictions about your subject matter and provides guidance on what to observe when learning to draw. However, this logical thinking is just the beginning. Sooner or later, you’ll want to study real objects under realistic lighting conditions and strive to draw them as accurately as possible.
I hope you’ve gained some valuable insights while learning to draw cubes. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them below!