How to Draw a Hamburger Part 4 – Shade the Top Lettuce

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 Part of the Top Lettuce

Now that the top bun of our hamburger is finished, we can work our way down to the toppings. We’ll focus now on the lettuce.

We’ll do some preliminary shading of a base layer on the first lettuce leaves here on the left side.

I think we’ll start with the first, second, and third lettuce leaf, up to the onion slice and the pickle.

Use an HB pencil to very lightly shade the first leaf bunch.

Then move on to the second lettuce leaf. For now, I’m keeping my pencil strokes at a consistent angle.

Then finish up with the third lettuce leaf in the same manner.

I’ll just flip to a horizontal direction to fill in a few gaps, but that’ll mostly be taken care of in the next few steps.


Next, we can apply some darker shadows to the individual lettuce leaves. Switch to a 2B graphite pencil.

Look at the first lettuce leaf. I mentioned earlier in the tutorial that what I have been calling the first leaf here is more like a pair of two leaves. Put some shading on the very first leaf on the left.

Now put some shading on the leaf next to it. Avoid shading over the entire surface of the leaf. Leave some spots open so you can see the lighter base layer showing through.

Then move beyond the first pair of leaves to the much larger second leaf. Start with a touch of shading along the edge where it folds near the center.

Then shade the lower tip. It helps to think of each lettuce leaf as being broken into separate planes rather than being one flat leaf.

Then you can apply different shades to different planes since each plane is receiving a different amount of light based on the fold of the leaf.


Now let’s use a 4B pencil for some of the heavier tones.

Apply a darker layer of shading on the first pair of leaves just under the bun and on the right side of the first group of lettuce leaves.

Similarly, put the some dark shading just under the bun and on the right side of the second leaf. Gradually lighten your tones as you get farther away from the edges.


Switch to an HB pencil.

Add some fine details to some of the folds on these lettuce leaves. Use the reference photo to help you better define and sharpen the individual folds that you see along the leaves’ edges.

Use a kneaded eraser to lift a few highlights.


Use your pencil to draw thin veins on the surface of the lettuce.

Draw a couple more lines on the second piece of lettuce. Have these veins run from the outer edge of the leaf to underneath the top bun.

Draw some secondary lines going at a slight angle toward the main veins. Draw additional main veins too.

Rather than drawing random lines, pay attention to the contour of the lettuce and draw lines that curve along with the surface.


Moving on to the third lettuce leaf now, begin shading the area underneath the bun.

I’m using a 2B pencil, by the way.

We’re laying the foundation now for the shadow that the top bun is casting onto the lettuce. We will develop this shadow so it is nice and dark, just like the shadows on the previous leaves we shaded.


Now, we’ll use a 4B pencil to apply the heavier tones of the cast shadow.

Begin by outlining directly below and along the lower edge of the bun. A nice, sharp pencil helps a lot when doing this.

Then shade the area immediately below the edge of the bun. Bring the graphite down but not as far down as the midtones that are already in place.

Shade the little pocket area on the right side too.

Then switch back to a 2B pencil.

Blend the darker tones above into the midtones below it.


Now go to the HB pencil.

Overlay a little more shading on the lower portion of the lettuce leaf.

On the reference, I can see that this particular leaf has some kind of bulgy veins popping out.

This creates some shadows and highlights around these veins that are sharp compared to most of the others.

I just placed some dark outlines along these veins on the right side of the leaf. Now, I’ll see if I can lift a highlight or two directly alongside the dark outlines with a wedge edge of my kneaded eraser.

I don’t think we’re going to get anything too obvious here, but we’ll see.

Okay, now there’s also a little shadow that this third lettuce leaf is leaving on the leaf next to it here on the left.

Now back to the third leaf, draw some additional veins. Remember to think about the shape of the leaf’s surface as you draw the individual veins.

Looks like there’s a vein here that crosses over the others. Use the reference as a guide. You can draw your own too, but I would keep the quantity of veins about the same as what you see in the photo.

Draw a few thinner, secondary veins that branch away from the thicker primary veins.

Now that there’s more graphite on the paper, I’ll try again to lift some highlights of the veins. I’m using my kneaded eraser molded into a very thin wedge.

Alternate between placing shadows and lifting highlights. Pretty soon, you should end up with some nice contrast that builds realism on your lettuce leaf.


Shade the Middle Part of the Top Lettuce

So now, let’s focus our attention on the fourth and fifth lettuce leaves.

Use the HB pencil to very lightly shade the entire surface of the fourth leaf.

Shade between the fourth and fifth leaves too.

Then, do the same with the fifth leaf. Shade the enter leaf, including the partially hidden surfaces behind the front and under the bun.

Switch now back to the 2B pencil.

Shade the middle area of the fourth leaf, leaving lighter tones along the edges.

Then shade again over the tiny space just above the onion slice and between the leaves.

Shade the rear flap of the fifth leave. Leave the edge lighter again.

Continue shading the rear flap underneath the bun and then all the way to the end.

On the front flap, shade the area just to the left of the little fold in the center.

Then shade where the front and rear flaps meet at the far right and then just above that.


We’ll look now at developing the shading on the fourth leaf with a 4B pencil.

Shade again over the area between the fourth and fifth leaf.

Put another layer of dark shading in the center of the leaf, starting with the shadow just under the bun.

Draw a curved line to make a flap on the side.

Then bring the shading down from the top, lessening pressure as you get lower.

If needed, use a kneaded eraser to lighten the edge of the lettuce leaf.

Then use a pencil to sharpen the smudged edge.

Add some light tones to the upper flap to further shape the top.

Create some reflected light along the edges simply by leaving them a lighter value.

Put additional darker contrast next to the reflected light to help it stand out more.

We can also use a kneaded eraser to lighten the lower portion of the leaf where the most light exists.

Then begin drawing the veins. Start with one down the center.

Draw a couple of others next to the first one.

A few more veins barely showing through the darkness should do it for this leaf.


Next, we’ll look at developing the shading on the fifth lettuce leaf. This leaf has a back section and another section of the same leaf folded in front of it. We’ll work on the back part first.

Using the 4B pencil, shade the very top of the back section directly under the top bun.

Work your way down on the right side of the rear, but be careful to not shade over the section in the foreground.

Put some dark tones between the two curved parts of the leaf that are touching on the right side.

Use a 2B pencil to gradually bring tones down from the top.


Put some shading next to the fold in the center of the front lettuce flap.

On the right side, shade a shadow just above the front fold that it is placing on the back section.

Sketch a few marks as details along the edges of the lettuce.

Use a kneaded eraser to lift highlights along the edges of some of the lettuce leaf.

Next we’ll use an HB.

Use the reference photo to guide you as you draw veins on the surface of the lettuce leaf. The veins on this particular leaf seem to be going in a variety of directions. Still, draw a few lines thicker and then thinner lines branching away from the thicker ones.

I think that’ll do it for our fifth lettuce leaf!


Shade the Right Part of the Top Lettuce

Now, we can finish up all of the shading for this top layer of lettuce. Start with an HB pencil.

Very lightly, shade a base layer over the remaining lettuce leaves.

Next, grab a 2B pencil.

Sketch some shadow tones at the top left corner of the sixth lettuce leaf. Put more emphasis just under the bun and to the right of the fifth lettuce leaf.

After that, gradually transition the graphite from the darker areas to a lighter and lighter gradation. Just as before, leave the edges even lighter than the middle.

Then we can work on some of these curled edges.

Shade some planes of the curls while leaving others alone.

Put more shadow tones where one leaf meets another.


Let’s go to the 4B pencil next.

Outline the top edge of the lettuce where it meets the lower edge of the top bun. This outline will be the foundation of the dark cast shadow under the bun.

Here, I’m outlining some of the other edges that will border this shadow area.

Fill in the area surrounded by the dark outline. We want deep, dark tones here.

Now, use mostly horizontal strokes to shade along the edge of the bun, gradually moving away from the edge while lessening the amount of graphite on the paper.

Keep looking for areas that could benefit from having dark tones next to lighter tones.

Switch to an HB.

We can use the HB over what we just shaded to further soften the transition from dark to light.

In addition, I think it’s pretty cool how some carefully placed dark tones next to light can create some nice, realistic effects, like this fold in the lettuce.

Like we did before, we can soften the tones around the edges with a kneaded eraser.

Then we can use our pencil to make those edges sharper and clearer and then blend them in with the other surface shading.


Okay, we are ready to finish up the lettuce in these next few steps!

Start adding the veins to the lettuce leaves. Draw lines from the dark shadow underneath the bun to the lower edges of the leaves.

We can draw some more veins branching out on the right side.

Then draw a few more on the left side as well.

We’ll put one here on this flap, too.

Draw some vein lines on the final lettuce leaf, going up from the lower edge.

I’ll use my eraser here to clean up the edge where the lettuce meets the bun.

Here, there’s no shadow separating the lettuce from the bun. Since they are similar in value, I’ll use a sort of reflected light band to separate the bun from the lettuce.

I’ll do something similar here above the fifth leaf.

Then sharpen the edge with a pencil.

Now we have all of the lettuce shaded or at least all of the lettuce on the top of the hamburger!


How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 5

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