How to Draw a Street Light

Updated July 20, 2017

Draw a street light yourself, without any cheating or tracing paper. If you feel lack of confidence about drawing, a simple street lamp is the perfect place to start. Share your new-found skill with your friends and coworkers. Show them that you have the good eye and patience necessary to create a unique, attractive drawing.

Look at few options before deciding which street light to draw.

Check if "drawing from life" is a possibility. Is there a street light that you would like to draw which doesn't get a lot of car and pedestrian traffic? If so, this is an ideal choice.

Draw from a photo if you cannot sit in front of the actual street light while drawing. Take a photo of the street lamp you want to draw, or find an appropriate photo on the Internet. Magazines also provide useful, high-quality photos.

Draw the base of the light. Use a pencil to draw a rough outline of the base, fixing any mistakes with the eraser. Notice the details of the shape. Is the base rounded or angular? What smaller shapes help make up the base? You might see triangles or squares in the base of the light. Add these to your sketch with pencil.

Move upward to the long shaft of metal between the base of the light and the top of the street light. Use the ruler to draw two straight lines (in pencil) up from the base towards the top of the page. Pay attention to the street lamp you are copying, and note if the shaft narrows as it goes up, or if the two sides are parallel. Notice whether the shaft begins to curve at the top, as is the case with old-style street lights. Check whether the shaft is proportional to the base.

Draw the top of the street light, the light fixture which holds the bulb. Sketch a rough outline of the general shape of the fixture. If changes need to be made, use the eraser. Check if the fixture is angular or curved, and what smaller, simpler shapes it can be broken down into. For example, many modern street lights have a shape composed of two concentric ovals. One is the fixture, and one is the bulb itself.

Add shading. Emphasise the aspects of light and dark in your drawing with the shading technique. Shading means creating a grey colour on the page by drawing in a back-and-forth motion with the pencil. Observe which parts of the street light are fully illuminated, and which are in shadow. Gently shade the areas which don't get light in order to give a sense of three-dimensionality to the drawing.

Finalise your drawing by going over the pencil drawing with the black Pilot pen. Include all the details you want in the final drawing. Leave out any unwanted pencil details from the pen drawing.

Replicate the shading in the pencil drawing by using a technique called crosshatching. Crosshatching means making lines close together in two opposite directions to create the illusion of shading.

Erase the pencil sketch from the page.


Use high-quality paper which will withstand the erasing. Experiment with different pencil and pen widths and brands. Each change you make will result in a different drawing, so find out what appeals to you.

Things You'll Need

  • Black Pen (Pilot Brand)
  • Eraser
  • Ruler
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About the Author

Chana Leah Dror began writing professionally in 2009. Her creative writing has been published in "The Sun" magazine and she also writes about parenting, healthy eating, yoga and other related topics. Dror studied digital design at Israel's Avni Institute and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communications from American InterContinental University.