How to Draw a Shaded Sphere

The secret to making a two-dimensional circle look like a three-dimensional sphere is the shading. A light will create a bright spot, with a gradient to darker shadows on the opposite side. Read on to learn how you can master this technique for yourself.


  1. Image titled Draw a Shaded Sphere Step 1
    Draw a hollow circle with a light line. You can use a compass or trace a round object or circular template to get a clean circle.
  2. Image titled Draw a Shaded Sphere Step 2
    Choose a light source for this sphere. The light source in this example is on the upper right, somewhat in front of the page (or behind the viewer).
  3. Image titled Draw a Shaded Sphere Step 3
    Begin shading. Start opposite the light source and move inwards. The darkest area will be furthest from the light source. Create circles or partial circles of equal value (darkness).
  4. Image titled Draw a Shaded Sphere Step 4
    As you move towards the light source, fill the circle with less and less pressure, heavier on the dark area, lighter on the light area. You can leave a round spot nearest the light source the color of the white page.
  5. Image titled Draw a Shaded Sphere Step 5
    Use your finger or a tortillon to blend the shading and add a shadow. Notice how the circle now appears spherical, with depth.


  • You can use an eraser if you made the light part too dark.
  • Do not put too much pressure on the spheres or else it won't look realistic!
  • Making these gradients takes some practice.
  • Add/think of a sun or light source on your page.
  • The easiest way to shade the circle is to start from the darkest then do the lightest part. After that, connect the two by shading with the values in between.
  • You do not need to start at the bottom of the circle/rectangle. You can also start at the bottom or side.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Tortillon (optional)

Article Info

Categories: Drawing Shapes and Forms