How to Draw Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a common subject for still-life drawings and paintings because of their variety of shape, colours and textures, as well as their nearly universal availability. A drawing of this type is often done from a live example rather than a photograph because the arrangement of foods can be controlled by the artist and because it is tradition.

Arrange the fruits and vegetables in a group that is attractive to you, on an elevated surface where they will be visible and where they can remain undisturbed for the period of time you will be doing the drawing. Arrange the lighting around the foods so that there is a shadow on one side of each form--this will give the drawing a three-dimensional quality. Artificial light is recommended for slow drawers and beginners because natural light will move over the course of the day.

Lightly draw the outline of the fruits and vegetables. You may wish to use a 4H grade pencil or harder--the harder the lead, the lighter the mark it will make. At this stage, a lighter mark may be to your advantage, since you will still be finding the form of the subjects and are likely to make mistakes.

Step back from your drawing and compare the outline of the vegetables to the vegetables in front of you. Quickly flick your eyes back and forth between the subject and your drawing. Look for inaccuracies and make alterations as necessary.

Draw details on the fruits and vegetables. Start with the easier details, such as the lines defining the bumps on a carrot, and move into the smaller, more tedious details, such as the flowered head of broccoli.

Shade the forms of the fruits and vegetables. Start by shading lightly, then deepen the shadows as necessary. A drawing that covers a wide spectrum of gradations is often more dramatic and interesting than a drawing that does not. To make the darker marks, you may wish to use a 4B, 5B or softer grade of pencil.


Pencils come in a variety of grades. Any pencils designated with an "H" will have a harder lead (the higher the number in front of the "H," the harder the lead). Any pencils designated with a "B" will have a softer lead (and the higher the number in front of the "B," the softer the lead). Sharpen your pencil repeatedly as you flesh out the forms of each vegetable. To make the shadows of your drawing more realistic and smooth, use a blending stub.

Things You'll Need

  • Acid-free art paper
  • Art pencils (variety of grades: 4H, 3H, 2B, 3B, 4B)
  • Blending stub (optional)
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About the Author

Leslie Rose has been a freelance writer publishing with Demand Studios since 2008. In addition to her work as a writer, she is an accomplished painter and experienced art teacher. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in art with a minor in English.