Pumpkin Drawing

Hi there, and welcome to my little nest!  A few of my homeschool friends expressed an interest in step by step instructions on how I drew a pumpkin that I recently posted on facebook, so here goes…  Please let me know if this is helpful or not!

Here is the original pumpkin that I posted on facebook:

The one I did for this post turned out slightly different, but I think you’ll get the basic idea.  I deliberately left the background out of both pieces, so that the focus would be solely on drawing a pumpkin, but you are more than welcome to add one to yours.  Are you ready?  Here we go!

First, pick out a nice medium blue pencil to draw with, and map out the basic shape of your pumpkin (in my case it was kind of a fat oval) VERY LIGHTLY.  (I actually started out lighter than this, but had to darken it a bit for the photo.)  I enjoy working with Prismacolor colored pencils the most, but any will work.  I did the example below using a random sampling of many different student grade pencils commonly found on the “school supply” aisle, because I wanted to make sure my students would be able to do the same thing with what ever brand of pencil they happened to have.

Next you’re going to use your blue to “carve out” the shape of the pumpkin a bit more by picking out and drawing the lines you see.  Include any lumps, bumps, grooves, ridges, and of course the stem.  Pay attention to how dark the lines you see really are.  They are probably NOT uniform.  They are probably darker in some places and lighter in others.  The contrast between dark and light is what makes an image interesting and gives it depth and form, so try to copy that onto your paper…lighter in some places…darker in others.  Also, be careful to keep your pencil strokes fairly light as we will be layering several colors on top of each other, and there is only so much pencil a sheet of paper can hold!  Here is what my basic outline looked like:

Now we’re going to add in the shadows.  The reason we are drawing with blue is that all shadows have blue in them.  Be careful to only shade in the shadowy areas.  Leave the lighter parts white.  You can always go back an add more blue later, but once you cover over the white, it’s GONE.  White pencils will not be enough to get it back, so be careful!  You may find it helpful to work from a color and/or gray scale photo like the ones below to get your shadows right.

Here I’ve started to shade by filling in the darkest shadows.  Once the darkest shadows are done, I’ll go back over and add in the medium and light shadows:

Here is my fully shaded pumpkin.  You can probably tell that I was not actually working from the photos above, so my lighting was a little different (and harder to see…I should have used a photo!).  This type of blue and white drawing is called a “value study”:

Now that our shadows are in place, it’s time to neutralize all that blue with a nice medium brown.  Again, be careful not to go too heavy, we still have more colors to add!

Now at long last, the FUN part…it’s time to start adding COLOR!  For this pumpkin, I began by adding dark green to the shaded areas on the stem:

Next, I added yellow to the highlights on the stem:

Now, the really fun part.  I took a good hard look at the stem of my pumpkin and added the other colors I saw hints of: Medium Green, Red, Dark Blue (in the deep shadows), more Brown, and even a little White on top…

Ok, time to start on the pumpkin… First, add orange all over:

Next, add red to the shadows, yellow to the highlights, and more orange as needed:

Almost there!  Now for the finishing touch…  We’re going to add a little black to only the DARKEST shadows.

Voila!  A Pumpkin!


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Christy Stewart
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 05:16:20

    Great pictures and descriptions! Your blog is very helpful! Well done!


  2. ivoryspring
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 15:04:38


    I am in awe!!! That is a gorgeous looking pumpkin. Okay, I don’t really paint… so I am curious as to why you had to outline the pumpkin in blue and then black. In my ignorant mind, I would think one would just use a pencil to sketch.

    Btw, love your blog name!


    • casswan
      Nov 01, 2011 @ 15:30:46

      Thanks Wendy! About the blue…this piece is actually all done in colored pencil, not paint, although I have used this “blue, brown, color” technique successfully with paint in the past. I start with blue instead of black, because all shadows have blue in them. I then neutralize the blue with brown so that it won’t mess up my other colors (I’ll probably do a post on color theory at some point). I only use black to bring out the DEEPEST darks in my piece. A little black goes a long way! If you use it all over, it will lose it’s power. You’re right though, when I paint, I usually start with a very light graphite pencil sketch (outline only) and then use paint for the rest. 🙂 You COULD start with a very light graphite pencil sketch for a drawing like this, but that would just be an extra step. I like to just jump right in with the blue. 🙂


  3. Wendi
    Nov 01, 2011 @ 17:36:02

    Love your pumpkins Sandy! Beautiful use of colors. Your descriptions are very clear and helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share your God given talents with all of us 🙂


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