An apple is the perfect subject matter for beginning artists. Its simple shape and appearance make it easy to draw, and offers practice in shading, blending, and light and shadow. This article will teach you how to draw an apple in 4 easy steps using oil pastels. To see examples of each step, click the numbers above the apple drawing.
Supplies You Will Need
A white, toothy sheet of paper, like pastel paper or watercolor paper
Oil pastel colors red, yellow, burnt umber or dark brown, grass green, pale green, black (soft oil pastels are best)
Paper towel (to clean your fingers and to wipe the tips of your oil pastels clean)
Blending stump or Q-tips
A black wax-based pencil
Creating the Apple’s Shape and Basic Color
Draw the outline of an apple with a pencil. Don’t worry about making a perfect circle. Next, about a quarter of the distance from the top, draw an inverted curve. This will indicate the contour at the apple’s top. Put a stem’s outline curving slightly from the bottom of the contour.
Now determine which sides of the apple you want to be darker and lighter. The lighter side shows where direct light is hitting the apple, with the other side being shaded. This gives a three dimensional appearance. (For my illustration above, I chose to make the right side lighter.) For the lighter side, use yellow and draw slow even strokes from the bottom middle of the apple and curve upwards. Make your strokes follow the round shape of an apple. Leave a portion of the paper untouched just below the contour you drew at the top. Using the same strokes, move from the middle of the apple to the outer edge, leaving no gaps between each stroke. Now do the same thing on the other side of the apple with red. You can let the red color layer lightly over the yellow edge in the apple’s middle.
Next, take green pale and at the very top of the apple, use the same technique only move down towards the contour you drew earlier. Again, leave a bit of paper uncovered a little above the contour.
Apply Second Layer of Colors
With burnt umber, start at the apple’s red edge and cover roughly half of the red. Use the same motion you did with the first layer. Don’t completely cover the red, let it show through. As you get closer to the middle, use a lighter pressure so you lay down less burnt umber. Now with red draw over the yellow in the same fashion. This time, as you move close to the center use a little more pressure to lay down more red. And just as before, leave that spot just under the contour uncovered.
Add a little red to the green pale at the top of the apple with the same downward curving stroke. Then, fill in the uncovered part of paper above the contour with burnt umber; but don’t cover where you drew the stem. Then with red, trace the contour line. If the top right and left don’t have enough color, touch that up with the same colors used on each side of the apple.
Blending the Apple’s Colors Together
We have now reached the almost magical part of using oil pastels; blending brings it to life. To blend the colors you can use your fingertip, a blending stump or, if you are drawing with soft oil pastels, a Q-tip. Starting at the bottom, smooth the colors together upwards with a curved stroke that follows the round shape of an apple. Make sure to clean your fingertip or blending stump, or get a clean Q-tip, between color areas. Don’t blend too much or you’ll end up mixing the colors. The different shades should show through. As you blend in this manner, let the colors fade into the edge of the white spot that you left under the contour line, but leave some of it uncovered. Do the same thing with a downward curve from the apple’s top, being gentle so the red and green don’t change to brown. Then blend the brown up from the contour’s top into the green.
Color in the stem with black or a black wax-based pencil.
Touch-up and Details that Make the Apple Realistic
There will be spots that don’t look quite finished, or areas that didn’t blend well enough. Using the appropriate colors for the light and shaded sides, add a little bit here and there using the same stroke as before. Lightly blend where needed.
Use grass green to create the stem’s shadow. On the apple’s shaded side and from the stem’s base, draw a line curving from the stem to the top.
The apple needs a shadow now. With black, draw a line from the bottom of the apple and curve outward a bit, and then curve it back to meet the apple. Fill in the space between that line and the apple with black, and blend it thoroughly.
That’s all there is to it! Not only have you drawn an apple that looks good enough to eat, but you are also more familiar with shading, blending, light and shadow. Practice drawing apples, several on one sheet of paper, and drawing basics will become second nature as you move to more complex subjects.