How to Draw a 3D Cube: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


Understanding Perspective

Drawing the Cube

Creating Different 3D Shapes

Exploring 3D Drawing Tools

Learning from the Experts

Learning how to draw a 3D cube is a fundamental skill for anyone interested in exploring the world of three-dimensional art. In this step-by-step guide for beginners, we'll break down the process of drawing a 3D cube into easy-to-follow steps and provide useful tips along the way. Let's start by understanding the concept of perspective, which plays a significant role in achieving that 3D look.

Understanding Perspective

Perspective is the technique used by artists to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface. It helps create an illusion of depth and space, making your drawings more realistic. There are three main types of perspective you should be familiar with when learning how to draw a 3D cube: one-point, two-point, and three-point perspective.

One-Point Perspective

One-point perspective is the simplest form of perspective, where all the parallel lines in the drawing converge at a single point, called the vanishing point. This type of perspective works well when drawing objects that are directly facing the viewer. To create a one-point perspective drawing, you'll need:

  1. A horizon line: This represents the viewer's eye level.
  2. A vanishing point: This is the point on the horizon line where all parallel lines converge.
  3. Orthogonal lines: These are the lines that lead to the vanishing point, creating the illusion of depth.

Two-Point Perspective

Two-point perspective is used when drawing objects from an angle, rather than straight on. In this technique, you'll have two vanishing points on the horizon line, and the parallel lines in the drawing will converge to these points. Two-point perspective is particularly useful when drawing buildings, cityscapes, or objects with sharp edges. Here's what you need:

  1. A horizon line: Same as in one-point perspective, it represents the viewer's eye level.
  2. Two vanishing points: These are the points on the horizon line where the parallel lines converge.
  3. Orthogonal lines: These lines lead to the vanishing points and create the illusion of depth.

Three-Point Perspective

Three-point perspective is the most complex of the three techniques, but it allows you to create even more dynamic and realistic drawings. This type of perspective is often used when drawing objects from a high or low angle, such as skyscrapers or objects viewed from above. In three-point perspective, you'll have three vanishing points – two on the horizon line and one above or below it. To draw in three-point perspective, you'll need:

  1. A horizon line: As in the previous techniques, it represents the viewer's eye level.
  2. Three vanishing points: Two on the horizon line and one above or below it.
  3. Orthogonal lines: These lines lead to the vanishing points and create the illusion of depth and space.

Now that you have a basic understanding of perspective, you're ready to learn how to draw a 3D cube using these techniques. In the next sections, we'll walk you through the process step by step.

Drawing the Cube

Once you've grasped the concept of perspective, it's time to put it into practice and learn how to draw a 3D cube. We'll go through each step, from drawing the base to adding shading to make your cube appear three-dimensional. Let's begin!

Drawing the Base

First, you'll need to draw the base of the cube. For this example, we'll use two-point perspective, as it provides a more dynamic and interesting look. Here's how to draw the base:

  1. Draw a horizon line and place two vanishing points on it, spaced apart.
  2. Create a vertical line where you want the front corner of the cube to be.
  3. Draw two orthogonal lines from the top and bottom of the vertical line, connecting them to both vanishing points. This will form a trapezoid shape, which is the base of your cube.

Connecting the Corners

Now that you have the base, it's time to create the sides of the cube. To do this, you'll need to connect the corners of the base using vertical lines. Here's how:

  1. Starting from the top left corner of the base, draw a vertical line upwards. The length of this line will determine the height of your cube.
  2. Repeat the previous step for the top right corner of the base.
  3. Connect the tops of the two vertical lines with orthogonal lines leading to the vanishing points. This will create the top face of your cube.

Adding Shading

Shading is a crucial aspect of making your cube appear 3D. It helps to create a sense of depth and gives the illusion of light and shadow. To add shading to your cube, follow these steps:

  1. Decide on a light source for your drawing. This can be anywhere, but a common choice is the upper left or right corner of the page.
  2. Shade the side of the cube opposite the light source more heavily. For example, if your light source is in the upper left, shade the right side of the cube more.
  3. Gradually lighten the shading as you move towards the side of the cube closest to the light source. This will create a smooth transition from shadow to light and make your cube look more realistic.

With these steps, you've successfully learned how to draw a 3D cube! But don't stop there – you can use these same techniques to create different 3D shapes and further develop your drawing skills.

Creating Different 3D Shapes

Now that you know how to draw a 3D cube, you can apply similar techniques to create other 3D shapes. In this section, we'll explore how to draw rectangular prisms, pyramids, and spheres. Let's expand your 3D drawing skills!

Drawing Rectangular Prisms

Rectangular prisms are similar to cubes, but with varying side lengths. To draw a rectangular prism, follow these steps:

  1. Start by drawing the base, just like you did for the cube. However, this time, adjust the length of the orthogonal lines to create a rectangle instead of a square.
  2. Draw vertical lines from each corner of the base, just like you did for the cube.
  3. Connect the tops of the vertical lines using orthogonal lines that lead to the vanishing points, completing the top face of your rectangular prism.
  4. Add shading to create depth and make your rectangular prism appear 3D.

Drawing Pyramids

Drawing a pyramid is slightly different from drawing a cube or a rectangular prism, as it has a triangular base. Here's how to draw a pyramid:

  1. Draw a horizon line with one or two vanishing points, depending on whether you want a one-point or two-point perspective.
  2. Create a triangle for the base of the pyramid. For a one-point perspective, draw a vertical line and connect its endpoints to the vanishing point. For a two-point perspective, use orthogonal lines from the vanishing points to form a trapezoid, and then draw a diagonal line to create the triangular base.
  3. Draw a vertical line from the top of the triangle, which will be the peak of the pyramid.
  4. Connect the peak to each of the base's corners using straight lines.
  5. Add shading to create the illusion of depth and make your pyramid look 3D.

Drawing Spheres

Drawing a sphere can be a bit more challenging, as it involves creating the illusion of roundness. Here's how to draw a sphere:

  1. Draw a circle using a compass or by hand. This will be the outline of the sphere.
  2. Choose a light source direction and draw an oval shape within the circle to represent the highlight area.
  3. Gradually shade the sphere, starting with the darkest tones opposite the light source and moving towards the highlight area. Remember to leave the highlight area mostly white to create the illusion of light reflecting off the sphere.
  4. Blend the shading using your finger or a blending stump to create a smooth transition from dark to light, giving the sphere a more realistic appearance.

By mastering these techniques, you'll be able to draw a variety of 3D shapes, not just cubes. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be able to create impressive three-dimensional drawings!

Exploring 3D Drawing Tools

As you continue to learn how to draw 3D shapes, it's helpful to experiment with various drawing tools. In this section, we'll introduce some essential tools for 3D drawing, such as sketching pencils, blending stumps, and graphite pencils. Let's dive into these tools and discover how they can enhance your 3D drawing experience.

Using Sketching Pencils

Sketching pencils come in a variety of grades, ranging from hard (H) to soft (B). Hard pencils create lighter lines, while soft pencils produce darker lines. When drawing 3D shapes, it's useful to have a range of sketching pencils to achieve different levels of shading and detail:

  • 2H or H: These hard pencils are perfect for light sketching and creating initial outlines.
  • HB: This medium pencil is a versatile option for general drawing and shading.
  • 2B or 4B: These soft pencils are ideal for dark shading and adding depth to your 3D drawings.

Experiment with different pencil grades to find the ones that work best for your drawing style and preferences.

Working with Blending Stumps

Blending stumps, also known as tortillons, are made of rolled paper and are used to blend and smudge pencil marks. They're particularly helpful when drawing 3D shapes, as they can create smooth transitions between different shades. Here are some tips for using blending stumps:

  • Choose a blending stump that's appropriately sized for the area you're working on. Smaller stumps are great for detailed work, while larger stumps work well for broader areas.
  • When blending, use a light touch and work in small, circular motions to achieve a smooth, even blend.
  • Remember to clean your blending stump regularly by rubbing it on a piece of sandpaper or scrap paper to remove any built-up graphite.

By incorporating blending stumps into your 3D drawing process, you'll be able to create more realistic shading and depth.

Choosing Graphite Pencils

Graphite pencils are another excellent tool for 3D drawing. They offer a range of tones and can produce both fine lines and broad strokes. Here are some tips for using graphite pencils:

  • Choose a graphite pencil with a medium grade, like HB or 2B, for general drawing and shading.
  • Experiment with different pencil grades to achieve a range of tones and shading effects.
  • Use a sharpener to maintain a sharp point on your pencil, allowing for precise lines and details.

With these tools in your arsenal, you'll be well-equipped to tackle any 3D drawing challenge, from drawing a 3D cube to creating more complex shapes.

Learning from the Experts

As you develop your skills in drawing 3D shapes, it's important to learn from those who have mastered the art. In this section, we'll explore some ways to gain inspiration and knowledge from expert artists, including visiting museums, attending workshops, and watching online tutorials. Let's see how learning from the experts can enrich your journey in mastering how to draw a 3D cube and other shapes.

Visiting the Museum of Modern Art

Museums offer a wealth of inspiration and learning opportunities. Observing the work of accomplished artists can help you understand different perspectives, shading techniques, and styles. The Museum of Modern Art, for example, showcases a variety of art forms, including drawings, paintings, and sculptures that can inspire your own 3D drawing journey. By examining the work of others, you can gain valuable insights and ideas for improving your own art.

Attending Workshops

Workshops are a fantastic way to learn from experienced artists and receive hands-on guidance. Many art centers, schools, and community organizations offer drawing workshops tailored to different skill levels. Attending a workshop focused on drawing 3D shapes can help you refine your techniques and receive personalized feedback on your work. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to connect with fellow artists who share your passion for drawing.

Watching Online Tutorials

Online tutorials are a convenient and accessible way to learn from experts in the comfort of your own home. Many skilled artists share their knowledge and techniques through video tutorials, providing step-by-step guidance for drawing 3D shapes, including cubes, spheres, and pyramids. Searching for "how to draw a 3D cube" on video-sharing platforms will yield a plethora of resources to help you improve your skills. With a wide range of tutorials available, you can find the perfect one to match your learning style and preferences.

By learning from the experts, you'll not only enhance your 3D drawing abilities but also foster a deeper appreciation for the art form. As you continue to practice and explore new resources, your skills in drawing 3D shapes, including cubes, will undoubtedly flourish.

If you're looking to expand your skills in 3D art and design, don't miss out on the workshop 'Creating 3D Art: How To Build a Room in Blender' by Jonathan K. This workshop will provide you with step-by-step guidance on how to create stunning 3D room designs using Blender, a powerful and versatile 3D design software. Dive in and start exploring the world of 3D art today!