How to Draw a Hamburger Part 5 – Shade the Toppings Under the 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 Tomato Slices

The next topping we are going to shade is the slice of tomato here on the left side. Start with an HB pencil.

Lightly shade the narrow edge of the tomato slice that goes across. Begin at the left side and shade to the right, gradually releasing pressure as you go.

Next, pick up a 2B pencil.

On the reference photo, you can see these tiny raised ridges along the outer edge of the tomato slice. Sketch some tones on the lower edge of the tomato to represent these ridges.

Then shade the area just above these ridges, still staying on the side of the slice.

Switch to a sideways motion to shade the side of the tomato slice.

Then put some shadow on the top of the slice, just under the lettuce leaves on the far left side.

Sketch some short marks to shape the ridges mentioned earlier on the outer edge.

Just a little more shading on the side to sharpen the edge where it meets the top.

Then, place a little bit of shadow just to the left of that second lettuce leaf that comes down beside the tomato slice.


Switch to a 4B pencil.

On the reference photo, you can see some dents or impressions on the lower side of the tomato slice. Let’s place some marks to indicate those.

Put some shading on the side of the tomato next to the leaf.

Put shading on the top surface of the tomato slice. The darkest tones should be closest to the lettuce leaves, since this is the area where the lettuce casts a shadow on the tomato slice.

Outline the outermost edge of the tomato with a curved line forming a rim.

Keep working to achieve a pleasing balance of shadows and midtones on the top surface of the tomato slice.


Get a 4B pencil for the next part.

Use this pencil to shade the rest of the tomato slice that is visible directly under the third lettuce leaf.

This portion of the tomato is tucked away under the lettuce, so its surface consists entirely of shadow.

Trace the lettuce outline to maintain it.

Then shade below.


Now, lightly begin to shade the side of the other tomato slice. An HB pencil should do just fine.

Now let’s switch to a 2B pencil.

Overlay some darker tones where the lighter shades exist on the side of the slice. Leave some of the lighter areas exposed to show through.

Then, begin to establish some shading on the top surface of the tomato slice. We’ll start with the front portion of the slice.


Go to the 4B pencil now.

Start with the side of the tomato slice. Place the darkest tones next to the lettuce leaf. Fade the darker tones into the lighter tones already on the side.

We’ll do the same thing with the top of the tomato now. Leave a little rim of lighter value. Also, make sure to shade around the lettuce edges. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I like to outline just outside the edge before shading, because I feel like that creates a sort of buffer between my shading and another part of the drawing I don’t want to ruin.

Gradually bring the darker tones lower. Don’t shade over the lighter tones just yet. We want to maintain those lighter tones too. We’ll work to make it a more gradual transition here soon enough.


Let’s use a 2B pencil next.

Use the 2B pencil to bridge the lighter and darker areas on the top of the tomato slice.

Sketch along the edge where the top surface of the slice meets the side of the slice. Leave a light rim going along the edge.

Lift some graphite along the edge too, if you want.

Look at the reference photo and apply additional tones that will make the tomato slice look complete to you. I suggest looking at areas where dark and light values meet and applying graphite to create greater contrast as needed.


Shade the Onion Slice and the Pickle Slice

Now, we’re going to shade the onion slice that is sitting in the middle of the burger here between the third and fifth lettuce leaves.

We’ll start with the HB pencil once again.

Lightly shade the first part of the onion slice that we can see between the third and fourth lettuce leaves.

Put a little bit of shadow tones to the left of the fourth lettuce leaf.

On the opposite side of the leaf, there’s a darker shadow on the onion.

Shade the rest of the onion a slightly lighter shade than the shadow. Leave the edges lighter so they create a rim of separation from the surrounding toppings.

Now go to the 2B pencil.

Apply another layer of shading on the left side.

On the right side, sketch a few vertical ridges on the onion slice to add texture.

Then put a few more on the left side to complete the onion.


We’ll shade the pickle next. Let’s start with the HB pencil.

The top of the pickle slice has a series of ridges, these smooth, rounded peaks and lowered valleys. Let’s start shading one of the peaks.

I think I’ll go in a different direction here with my pencil marks.

I’ll do a sideways motion instead. This way, I can more easily curve my pencil strokes to fit the contours of the pickle’s surface.

Continue to shade the remaining top surface in the same manner. Leave some of the guidelines from the initial sketch darker to separate the peaks and valleys.

Very, very lightly, shade the side of the pickle slice. Take care to maintain the little circles we see.


Now, a 2B pencil.

We’ll start placing some of the midtones and shadows on the pickle.

We can begin over here in this little corner pocket on the left.

Trace over the curved edge of the pickle that clearly shows the contours of its rolling hills and valleys.

Now let’s shade this right corner. Notice whenever I shade against a peak, I create a line extending from that peak toward the inside of the burger. Then I shade on one side of the line.

The light and dark on alternating sides helps to create a three-dimensional feel for the pickle’s ridges.

Now here, I’m placing a shadow on the other side of this hill too. This shadow comes from the lettuce leaf above.

Put a little pocket of shading here between these two hills and just under the onion.

Then, outline all of the little circles that are found on the side of the pickle slice.

After this, we’ll put one more layer of shading on the pickle, and that should complete it.


Let’s start with a 4B pencil.

Darken the corner at the left side of the pickle. Make sure to maintain the horizontal rim of reflected light on the onion slice above.

Do the same to the ridges at the center part of the pickle. Just like before, maintain the reflected light on the onion slice so there is a clear separation between onion and pickle.

Then, darken the right corner as well.

Now let’s go back to the 2B.

Let’s develop some midtone areas by starting at the shadow areas and shading away from them. Make sure to leave some lighter areas in place so there is a clear transition from shadows to highlights.

Now shade on the side of the pickle slice. Shade with a light touch so the circles remain visible. Leave the rim along the curved edge light and barely touched.

Outline the lower edge of the pickle slice just below where all of the circles are.

That’ll do it for our pickle slice and all of the toppings except for the cheese! We’ll do that next.


Shade the Slice of Cheese

We’ll use an HB to start shading the cheese of our “cheeseburger” hamburger!

The reference photo shows a lot of shiny highlight on the cheese along with a few subtle shadows. I think I’ll begin by softening the outline of this highlight.


So actually, before I get into applying any graphite onto this slice of cheese, I want to go ahead with my kneaded eraser and soften all of the outlines I made here. These guidelines are still important, because they show where the main highlights and shadows in my cheese slice are located. However, I want the guidelines to be much softer so they won’t clash with the very light value I will use for the cheese.

Okay now, here you see me making an attempt to shade the cheese with my pencil. The problem, though, is the graphite is not appearing very smoothly on the paper. It’s really rather fine and grainy. This happens sometimes. I just need to adjust the shape of the graphite so I can make the broader, smoother strokes I wish to make.

Often times, you’ll see artists use pencils where the wood is filed down so the graphite sticks out very long from the wood.

They use a razor blade to file the wood and sandpaper to give the graphite a flat edge. Now, I don’t have either of those on hand at the moment, so I’ll simply make do by shading on a sticky note. It’s not the same, but it’ll help for now.

Now, very lightly use soft, broad pencil strokes to cover the surface of the cheese slice. Shade around the highlight outlines that were softened earlier with the eraser.

Now shade the right side. Although I’m slightly shifting my direction here, I’m trying to stay in a horizontal direction for the most part, only because I started that way.

Now shade the other side. I’d say the direction you shade isn’t all that important. Whether you shade horizontally or diagonally, just try to be consistent enough to create a smooth blend of your pencil strokes.


Pick up a 2B pencil for the next step.

Begin shading another layer of tones over the first layer on the cheese. Still try to keep these darker tones relatively light.

Shade under the pickle slice, leaving a thin strip of lighter value between your new layer of tones and the pickle itself. Bring the tones down toward the center of the cheese slice.

Put shading at the upper area of the cheese slice, all around the pickle, while still maintaining that thin strip of lighter value.

Put some shadow on the cheese underneath the fifth lettuce leaf.

Vary the positioning of your strokes to create a soft, curved surface on the cheese slice with subtle, shallow bumps and dips in various places.

I have some smudges on the lower part of the drawing here I need to erase. Even though I’m using a folded sheet as a barrier, some graphite still gets transferred from the sheet.

Anyway, back to our slice of cheese. Sketch some thin lines along the edge, leaving a thin gap between your lines and the outer edge.

By sketching a curved line here at the corner, it gives some three-dimensional form to our cheese slice.

Add a little more shading near the lower tip, again staying away from the edges.

Put a last little bit more on the right side and on the little section of cheese that bulges out.


We’ll use a 4B to add darker shadow tones to the cheese slice and surrounding areas.

Put some shadow at the far left corner of the cheese, just under the tomato slice and lettuce.

Sketch again over the lines running down the left edge of the cheese slice.

Put more shading near the upper part of the cheese next to the hidden part of the tomato slice and the pickle.

Even though I said we were pretty much done with the pickle and these other toppings, I’m sketching along the bottom of the pickle. I still want to go back and add some shading and a few details to balance the values and the collective look of the toppings together with the cheese slice I’m working on now.

Let’s put some nice, dark, shadow between this lettuce, the pickle, and the cheese.

Also, just a little more shading on this leaf really helps the fold to stand out more.

I’ll extend the shadow out here on the right side and then just a touch more on the bulge.


We going to use a 2B pencil to finish the cheese.

Use a gentle touch to lightly shade along the areas of the cheese where darker tones and lighter tones meet. We’re doing this simply to create a little more transition from dark to light.

Just touch up a few areas here and there, but don’t put too many shadow tones. Even though we created several shadows on the cheese, the goal should be to keep the overall value of the cheese slice light compared to the rest of the hamburger.

It should be an especially light value compared to the hamburger meat itself. Now that it looks like we are finished shading the cheese, we’ll work on the hamburger patty next.


How to Draw a Hamburger – Part 6

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