How to Draw Glass

Drawing glass objects can be a very technically difficult process. There’s very little room for error when drawing glass, or you can easily ruin the effect. While it may seem like a daunting task, drawing glass objects is one of my favorite things to do. Once you get the technique down, it is incredibly easy, and lends itself to very realistic drawings.

What you’ll need:

The first step, as with any drawing, is to draw the basic outline of the object. For this tutorial, I have chosen a simple glass ball, so my outline is going to be a plain circle.

Next, you will need to outline the highlights and reflections of your object. Even though most glass is clear, it still reflects some light and leaves highlights on its surface. Pay close attention to how light is distorted within the glass, and try to replicate it as close as possible. This step may leave you with a drawing that looks like a confusing bunch of lines, but it will come together in the end.

For example, in this glass ball, I see a large highlight at the top, along with several dark reflections that run along the edge of the ball, with mostly empty space in the middle. Your drawing will obviously differ depending on the object and its surroundings.

After you have the outlines drawn, you can begin to add shading and volume to your glass object. This process is very similar to the tutorial that I wrote on drawing metal, in that dark shades, next to almost stark white highlights will give you the effect of glass. A trick that helps me often when drawing glass is to start by filling in the darkest areas of the glass that you’ve outlined. This will help to keep you from getting confused and forgetting which areas are dark, and which are highlights.

After you’ve gotten your dark areas filled in, you can fill in the base color of your glass. Though glass is generally colorless, there is usually still a shade that fills in most of the object. For this glass ball, there is a  shade of grey that starts darker at the top, and ends completely white at the bottom. If the base color of your glass object is completely white, then you don’t have to worry about this step.

The most important part in this entire process is to try and draw every highlight, shadow, and reflection as close to reality as you can. Draw only what your eye sees. It might not make sense to your eyes at first, but the end result should be very realistic.

*Tip: Keep your lines as clean and solid as possible to replicate the effect of glass.
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