How to Draw a Roller Coaster on Paper

Updated February 21, 2017

A roller coaster is a stimulating image for a child to draw, and it offers the opportunity for them to practice different skills. Firstly, the artist needs to think about drawing cars and people from a positive perspective. Secondly, the excitement and speed of the roller coaster ride needs to be translated to the viewer of the image. To get started, print off a picture of a roller coaster so you can focus your attention on the construction of the ride.

Draw an elongated upside down "U" shape on the page to represent a bend in the ride at the foreground of the image. This is its metallic framework.

Add two evenly sized rectangles leaning against the top right hand side of the "U" shape. These will be the roller coaster's carts, so make sure they are in proportion to the frame. Refer back to your roller coaster picture to check this.

Sketch the rest of the roller coaster in the background. Draw a small curve joining the "U" shape, coming from the right-hand edge of the page. Then, to the left, add another smaller upturned "U" shape.

Fill in the metal framework of the roller coaster. This consists of three levels of "X" shapes, filling the blank spaces below the curved lines. Use double lines to widen the lines of each of the "X" shapes, then join them together with horizontal lines.

Create the roller coaster carts. These are positioned where you drew the rectangle shapes during step 2. The easiest way to construct them is by drawing a simple cuboid, then by giving its corners rounded edges. If you turn your paper sideways, you will find it simpler because the carts will be horizontal, instead of at an angle.

Draw people inside the carts. The rider's entire body doesn't need to be shown, because they sit inside the cart. Draw their torso and head, then add character to the picture by drawing some riders with their arms in the air, while others can be holding on tightly to a bar in front.

Cross-hatch the metal framework to give it texture when you colour it in. Use a series of overlapping horizontal and vertical lines. Make sure each line is straight and close to the next without touching. Use a dark grey colour to give the impression of steel.

Colour in the rest of the roller coaster. Use a bright red for the carts and blue to edge the top of the curves that the cart rolls along.

Add shading to the roller coaster. Decide which side the light is coming from, then shade areas on the opposite side of the page. For example, if light comes from the left side, then shade the right hand side of the carts.

Things You'll Need

  • Picture of a roller coaster
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Coloured pencils
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About the Author

Based in Bristol, Philippa Jones has been a music journalist and script writer since 2007, working across a range of radio programs in the U.K. and Australia. Her articles have appeared in "Impact Magazine," "The Mic" and in local newspapers. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from the University of Nottingham.