How to Draw a Hamburger Part 3 – Shade the Top of the Hamburger Bun

How to Draw a Hamburger – Intro

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 1

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 2

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 3

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 4

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 5

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 6

How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 7

Shade the Left Side of the Bun on Top

Now that the outline is complete, let’s begin the shading process. We’ll use an HB pencil to shade a base layer of light tones.

Use the side of the pencil and a smooth back-and-forth motion to begin shading the top bun of the hamburger.

Stay within the contours of the hamburger bun as you shade. Keep the direction of the bun’s curvature in mind as you shift positioning of your pencil strokes. I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to shade around all of the sesame seeds. In fact, I think it’s a good thing to shade over them while shading the bread. The seeds have a value that is similar to that of the bun, and shading over them allows the seeds to get that base layer of shading too.

Keep shading small sections of the bun at a time. Work one section before moving to the next. Slowly work your way across the bun.

Fill in any empty areas you see. Try to keep the base layer a nice and even value.

Darken along the edge of cracks you see in the surface of the bun wherever there’s a need to do so. This crack is deeper than the small ones at the very left edge, so here a little additional shading would be appropriate so the crack isn’t lost in the base shading.


We’re going to switch to a 2B graphite pencil next. We can use the 2B for some midtones and shadows in some of the lighter areas.

For now, I’ll use the 2B pencil to shade along the edges of the seeds.

I have a sharper tip to my pencil now, which will make it much easier to shade along those sides.

Use your reference photo as a guide to see where the light source is coming from and where the shadows should be placed.

Put some shading along some of the shallow cracks in the bun too.

There is no single primary light source that we can easily identify in this reference photo. It has light hitting it from all directions. In this case, we can just focus on the area we are working on. Here at the left side of the top bun, the light from the left leaves more shadow along the sides of the seeds.


So now, I’m switching back to an HB pencil. I’ll use this to place some tones darker than the base layer but lighter than the shadows on the seeds.

Looking at the reference photo, you can see that the top of the bun and especially this left side is like a golden-brown color. The lower part of the bun around the edge is much lighter. Use your pencil to shade another layer of tones over the base layer.

This time, I’m mostly shading around the seeds rather than over them.

Put some additional shading along the tall crack, primarily to the left of it.

Use the tip of your pencil to sharpen and define the crack on its right side.

Continue to shade the upper section of the bun. Keep shading around the sesame seeds. You should aim for a gradual transition of value from darker tones at the top of the bun to lighter tones near the bottom. Be careful that you don’t make the tones at the top TOO dark. They should be noticeably darker than the bottom but not significantly darker.


Begin tracing around some of the seeds. In addition, put some light shading adjacent to the seeds where they are affixed to the bun.

I’ll go back to the 2B pencil to touch up next to the seeds and trace over this crack again.

Trace the right edge of the seeds at the lower end of the crack.

Touch up the sides of the seeds along the left edge of the bun. You can also put a touch of extra shading on the surface of the bun around the seeds.

Go up a little higher to do the same thing. Put a layer of shading with the 2B pencil along the very top edge of the bun. Work around the seeds. Bring this graphite down a little but not too much. Make sure to maintain the midtones that were placed with the HB.

You can make a few of the seeds stand out by gently outlining them and placing some extra shading around them. Make sure to maintain the light values of each seed so it can stand out against the darker bun.

You can use the tip of a kneaded eraser to lift graphite away from any seeds or other areas that are darker than desired.


Again, shade around the seeds to make sure there is enough contrast in value between the seeds and the surface of the bun.

If you do lift any graphite from the seeds with a kneaded eraser, it may be necessary to go back over some of the seeds to replace any details that were mistakenly erased, such as the curved lines inside.


Darken the outline around the seeds on the upper left side of the bun. Not only do many of these seeds have a visible shadow along their sides, but they also cast a little shadow close by onto the bun itself.

Keep working to outline the seeds on the upper left part of the bun. Also, keep shading around the seeds so the bun has a darker shade and the seeds have a lighter shade. As you outline the seeds, refrain from putting too much pressure that will make the outlines too dark. The outlines should be a little darker than the surrounding tones, but not too much, and ideally only darker where the shadow areas are located around each seed. In a perfect world, if we were working on much larger drawing paper, there would be no outline along the light area of the seed. There would just be the line created where the bun tone ends and the seed tone begins. It’s a bit more difficult to get that same effect on smaller drawing paper in such tight spaces.

Remember to occasionally add light shading on top of some of the seeds.


You can tell that the sesame seeds appear to stand out more when there is more contrast between them and the surrounding bun.

I’ll put a little touch of shading on this seed.

Bring some of the tones down from the top of the bun. Try to maintain a gradual transition from dark to light.

Okay, now I will outline and shade around the next seed.

Since there is a little bit of shadow to the right, I’m putting more shading to the right of this seed.

A little streak in the center gives some texture to the seed.

Keep working your way across the bun. Add shading in a similar way. Once you know what to do, and you realize the repetition involved in a drawing like this, there’s not much required of you besides persistence and patience.


I see on the reference photo how these next two seeds have a noticeable shadow surrounding them.

I mentioned earlier how the lower portion of the hamburger bun is lighter in value than the upper portion. As we get lower down the bun, we can see how many of the seeds are a very similar value to the bun, such as these two are. So, I want to show this similarity in value while still carefully using contrast to separate the seeds from the bun.

There is another little area here near the lower edge of the bun where there is a crack or tear in the surface. Let’s put some shading here to make it more visible.

Then we’ll do a little more light shading around the seeds.


There’s a faded seed up here that looks like a wedge pointed to the background. We can use shading to enhance this seed and its surroundings.

Some extra graphite around and on it is all it takes.

Putting some darker tones along the edges of these upper seeds also helps to define the upper edge of the bun.

Keep shading as necessary to smooth out the tones around the sesame seeds.

We can work with this pair of seeds touching each other next. Begin by gently tracing over the outer edges of the seeds.

Put some shading in the area just above the two seeds.

Work the graphite in between some of the surrounding seeds.

Now we have another cluster of seeds to shade around.

Work your way lower as you continue to shade between each one of the seeds.


Switch now to a 2B pencil.

Touch up the top edge.

Let’s touch up the deep crack as well.

Then we’ll do some of the seeds along the edge.

I don’t want to go too crazy here and put too many heavy tones with the 2B. It’s important to remember that the overall shading of the bun should be lighter than much of what we’ll find in between the bread.

I’m just looking for a few tiny spots here and there that might benefit from an extra splash of shadow, but there’s really not much else to do here.

Shade the Middle of the Bun on Top

We’ll use the HB for the next part.

We’re pretty much done with the left side of the bun. Now we’ll focus on the center.

Just like we did with the left side, here we’re going to put a light base layer of tones over the drawing surface.

Also, just like before, don’t concern yourself too much about shading around the seeds. It’s okay to shade over the seeds as well as the bun’s surface. This way, the seeds get a base layer of tones too. We can make the seeds pop out later by making the area around them darker later on, especially at the top area of the bun.

At this point, try to stay consistent with the values you are placing on your paper.

It’s not a big deal if you want to occasionally vary the positioning of your pencil strokes.

I think we’ll stop right along here where the fifth lettuce leaf is. Then we can focus on developing this middle area of the bun.


I think this time, I will focus on developing the details in the seeds first. From there, I can shade the bun area around the seeds. Let’s begin by outlining the row of seeds here along the very top.

Then we can trace some of the seeds below.

Look at the reference photo to help you determine which side of each seed needs a heavier outline or more shading next to it. Since light sources are coming from many different directions, the shadows are kind of all over the place. Remember to sketch a few light marks inside some of the seeds to give them some texture.

Work your way down to repeating the same steps for the seeds below.

Finish up the details on some of the other seeds near the top.


So I will start with these two seeds on the left. I will lightly trace over them and add some light shading in the center.

Then I’ll do the same to this group of three seeds going up in a diagonal row.

Now, I’m looking at the reference, and the surface of this particular seed in the center of the group looks smoother than the others.

Maybe some will get a little more attention than others.

Next, I’ll draw over this little half seed along the edge.

Let’s next work on this cluster of three seeds that are close together. We’ll simply keep doing the same thing.

Then we’ll go back down to the bottom.


Continue to touch up the details on the sesame seeds.

Repeat a similar pattern of outlining and putting some shading next to seeds as needed. In addition, remember to add light shading in the center of most of the seeds.

We can work our way up to this next group of three seeds near the center of this crack in the bun. You should also notice how most of the time, the shading within each seed is surrounded by a lighter area of value that borders the edge of the seed. This helps to add form to the seeds.

Now we’ll do the next one on the other side of the crack.

Speaking of the crack, while I’m here, I’m going to redraw this line to make it easier to see. On the reference photo, this is one of the most apparent cracks that we can see in the bun.

Go ahead and put some shading next to the crack. It appears that there is more shading to the left of the crack than the right.

Add some shading details to the seed near the base of the crack.

Then we’ll do a little more work to the seeds near the top of the bun.


We’re just about at the right edge of the base layer of tones that were laid down for the center of the bun. Touch up the seeds here on the right side.

Next, go along the top row of seeds that are side by side on the very top edge of the bun. Put a few darker marks on the edges of these seeds.

There’s another crack in the bun near the center, not quite as deep as the one to the right. Sketch along it to make it visible.

Then it looks as if there’s another one to the left of that, beginning at the lower seed and extending at an angle toward the upper left. Use very, very light marks to create this crack. It should be noticeable, but barely.

It looks like the crack goes all the way to one of the seeds here. Sketch a little shadow around the seed too.


Okay then, now we have a base layer of tones on the bun and we have the sesame seeds all drawn with some shading detail. So, now we’ll put another light layer of shading over the base layer. Keep this layer very light, as this portion of the bun is much lighter in value than, say, the browned upper part.

Next, we can shade this portion of the center from the top down. Shade around the sesame seeds, since they are essentially complete.

Occasionally, put some slightly darker tones next to some seeds that could use a little extra shadow next to them.

Keep checking the reference photo for areas that are slightly darker than the light center of the bun. Don’t leave marks that go from light to dark too suddenly.

I’ll put a little more shading at the top of this crack between the seeds.

It’s nice whenever you can make a smooth and gradual transition of graphite from the outline of a seed to the bun surface adjacent to it.

Shade down the bun. Stay to the right of the crack. Lightly shade over the base layer.


Starting at the top of the hamburger bun, shade another slightly darker layer over the tones that are already on the paper. This will represent the browned top of the bun that we already did on the left side.

Right now, I’m using a mostly side-to-side motion as I shade the bun. It’s okay to occasionally switch direction, but most of the strokes are already horizontal, so I’ll mostly stick to that for now. Carefully shade in between all of the sesame seeds.

As you shade near the crack, try not to drag your pencil over the crack itself. Doing so could possibly blur its appearance.

Take your time while carefully working your way down the bun.

However, don’t come down too far with your darker tones. Try to keep the pace of the dark-to-light transition comparable to that of the left side of the bun.

Check the surrounding areas and enhance any spots that you feel you need to, like if you want to make parts of the cracks darker.


Let’s switch to a 2B pencil.

Apply a little more graphite to the upper layer of the bun. Shade in between the seeds and occasionally along them.

Look at the reference photo and check to see if there are any places along the outlines of the seeds that might need darkening. It’s a good idea to return to parts of your drawing that were basically finished and recheck them whenever you add new shading nearby. Since we made the top of the bun darker in recent steps, it doesn’t hurt to compare the values of the bun with the seeds again and make adjustments if we see any need.

Additionally, you might want to use a kneaded eraser to lift highlights out of seeds that received any unnecessary extra graphite from shading the bun. I’ll do that with this seed.

Then I can use my pencil to shade the surface of the bun just next to the seed and up to its edge.

Take a few minutes to review the middle of the bun. Touch up any seeds or other areas in a manner similar to what was done with the first seed.


Use a kneaded eraser to soften up the transition between the darker top and the lighter lower half of the bun. Use it also to create any highlights in the bun that you might see in the reference photo.

After making any finishing touches to the bun or sesame seeds, we can get ready to work on the right side of the bun!


Shade the Right Side of the Bun on Top

Okay, for the remainder of the bun, we’ll start with a base layer of shading, just as we did previously.

We’ll start again with the HB graphite pencil for the base layer.

I think before going over the rest of the bun with the base layer, I would like to better define this lower area of the bun. Now, I know it is very light in value. I can see that on the reference. Still, there are these subtle bends and creases on the surface, and I want to use a little shading along the edge to reflect that.

Now I can start adding the initial base layer. I’m using an up-and-down motion with my pencil to begin with, mainly because  the edge of the bun here takes this downward curve. I’m just keeping my pencil strokes consistent with the direction of the lower edge to start.

Now, I’m kind of shifting to a more diagonal direction to eventually blend in with the horizontal strokes we see near the top of the bun. Keep working to fill in all of the empty space with a light layer of shading. Shade over the seeds as well.

Go over the creases at the bottom edge of the bun again to ensure they don’t get lost among the surrounding pencil marks.


Keep using the HB pencil to begin adding details to the sesame seeds on the right side of the bun. Add details by tracing around the outline of the seeds and putting shadows next to some of them.

Often times, you are not going to trace the entire outline of a seed. Instead, you might trace only one side, that one side being the side that is most visible from our vantage point as the viewer.

You can use the reference photo to aid you in deciding which side of a particular seed to shade. If you deviated from the reference photo significantly and have seeds in very different places, you can still use the photo as a guide by looking at the seeds in the same general location of the bun and mimicking what you see.

Let’s work on shading some of these seeds clustered together at the top of the bun. Continue to do the same thing as with the other seeds. We want to add shadow and small details that will allow the seeds to stand out against the surface of the bun once it is shaded too.

Then we can work our way down. I don’t know, but I think it’s safe to say that this side of the bun has a lot more seeds than the other side!

Don’t forget to add a little touch of shading on the inside area of some of the seeds too.


Put another layer of shading near the top of the bun. Shade around all of the sesame seeds.

Remember to gradually lighten your touch as you get farther down the bun.

Then I would like to make the crease running above these two lower seeds more visible.


Grab a 2B pencil.

Sketch some additional shadow tones along the sides of the seeds at the top of the bun.

Apply an additional layer of shading near the top of the bun around the seeds.

Touch up some of the other seeds with a little bit of extra graphite.

Lift highlights from some of the seeds as needed.

Add shading in the seeds or shade around the seeds to sharpen up their edges.


Keep shading in between the seeds.

Use your kneaded eraser to lighten highlights in and around the seeds.

Darken the border around seeds as needed to maintain contrast between the sesame seeds and the surrounding tones of the hamburger bun.

Put additional shading near the top of the bun. We want to be consistent with the dark-to-light transition of tones from the top of the bun to the bottom, and we want to maintain that consistency on this side of the bun just as we did with the rest of it.


Put a finishing layer of darker tones near the top of the hamburger bun and around the seeds.

Take a final look at your hamburger bun. By now, it should be essentially complete! We might do some final touching up at the end to make sure it makes a good fit with the rest of our shading, but if you made it this far, then congratulations!


How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 4

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