How to Draw the Planets

Written by jenna marie
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How to Draw the Planets
Planets and moons are spherical shapes. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Drawing a planet or moon requires that you master the technique of creating a shaded sphere. More than just a flat circle, the shaded sphere mimics an actual sphere being lit by a light source. Whether you are drawing actual planets from the solar system or creating an imaginary planet or moon for a book or other project, it's just a matter of adding shading and details to a simple circle to make it seem realistic.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Artist's kneaded eraser
  • Cup, can or compass (optional)

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  1. 1

    Draw a circle on the paper. Try it freehand or trace a round object, such as the lip of a glass or the bottom of a soda can. Use a compass if you have one.

  2. 2

    Decide on the direction of the light source, or the sun, in relation to the planet. Note that planets orbit around the sun, so the light source for your planet drawing likely will be coming from the upper right or upper left. Plan to leave the lightest space at the point where the light source would shine strongest.

  3. 3

    Start shading in the sphere, using more pressure on the opposite side of the light source and shading lighter and lighter as you move closer to the light spot. In other words, shade the outer rim of the sphere darkest and leave the light spot unshaded.

  4. 4

    Blend in the shading with your finger or with an artist's kneaded eraser so the shading appears gradual.

  5. 5

    Insert details that identify your planet. Look at pictures of the planets in the solar system to add typical cloud patterns, rings and so forth. For example, draw Jupiter with the large dark spot on the lower third of the sphere. Draw Venus with swirling atmospheric gases, or draw Saturn with its characteristic rings.

Tips and warnings

  • Go to the NASA website for accurate pictures of each one of the planets in the solar system.
  • Add colour to your planet using coloured pencils to further identify it from among other celestial bodies.

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