How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 4

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Intro

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 1

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 2

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 3

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 4

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 5

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 6

Shade the Hat Band and Crown

Shade the Hat Band


Now that the line drawing portion of our picture is complete, we get to focus on shading the picture. Let’s begin by shading the hat band.


Switching to a 2B pencil now, use our value changes from earlier to note where the light hits. Then, very lightly shade the majority of the hat band. Remember that half-circle guideline we sketched on the hat band at the very beginning? Think of this as a highlight where direct light is hitting, and leave this area white.


Next, we’re going to apply some darker tones over these lighter tones. As you can see, I have another piece of paper under my hand. I use this to keep my hand from smudging the picture. Plus, it keeps the side of my hand from getting covered in pencil. It isn’t necessary, but it does help.

Carefully apply a darker layer of graphite over each end of the hat band. This first area near the brim is here because the brim between it and the light source is casting a shadow on the band. Plus, this end and the other end are bending farther away from where the light is hitting, causing a gradual transitioning from light to dark. It’s a good idea to check your shading against the reference picture to make sure you get the values just right.


I forgot to mention, for this next part especially, be sure your 2B pencil is nice and sharp. We’re about to add some fine details to the hat band.

First, darken up those two little holes in the hat band. Then trace over the outline of the band to make it really stand out.


After that, go over the hat band’s stitching. This process will end up hiding the hat band details that you drew in earlier as part of the outline. Go back over these lines to make the fine details and stitching darker and more easily visible at the different levels. Notice how I’m putting a little space between the stitching now. Also, I’m making the marks in a diagonal direction but keeping them very short.

Shade the Front of the Crown


Now that the hat band is done, let’s start working on the crown. We’ll begin the with little strip of the crown that is visible just below the hat band. Outline and then shade this area a solid dark value. Even though light is shining here, the dark color plus the type of fabric don’t allow for a noticeable highlight like we see on the hat band.


Next, outline the front of the crown and begin shading along that front border. Use pencil strokes that follow the direction and contour of the outline. Then darken the outline of the front top portion of the hat.


Keep working to fill in the open space on the front of the crown. Change the grip of your pencil to allow the side of the lead to freely glide across the paper, giving you broad strokes of graphite and letting you shade quickly. Here, I decided to change the direction of my strokes to horizontal. Since the crown is longer than it is tall, I want to shade the majority of the crown in long, horizontal strokes, and leave the vertical strokes for areas close to vertical edges.


Start filling in the crease on the side of the cowboy hat’s crown. Since this crease is pushed in deeper than the front part of the crown, we should make it a darker value.

Shade the Rest of the Crown


Continue shading the rest of the crown. Begin with the crease on the side. Shade the half-circle shape of the crease so that the back section of the crease on our right side is a slightly lighter value than the left side. Darken the left side with an additional layer of tones if necessary.


Darken up the border along the top of the hat and the front of the crown. Then darken up the curved area along the outer edge of the half-circle crease. Use broad strokes and maintain the edge or border of the crease with an even darker tone.


Outline the back of the crown to better define it. Then finish shading the back of the crown. This back section under the crease should be the darkest area of the crown, since the light source is shining on the front part of the crown.

Also, you might remember earlier when I mentioned shading in horizontal strokes because I’m going in the direction of the length of the crown. By horizontal, I really mean in a direction that is parallel to the hat band and the base of the crown. Shading in the direction of the longest length of a shape makes it easier to apply broad strokes that cover the surface area more quickly.

How to Draw a Cowboy Hat – Part 5

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