How to Draw a Hamburger Part 7 – Finish the Hamburger Drawing

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 Bottom Lettuce

Okay then, let’s use an HB next.

Here we’re going to place a light base layer on this thin layer of lettuce between the burger patty and the bun. I’m starting with these leaves on the far left side.

I think I’ll break this layer of lettuce into sections, similar to how I did the lettuce up top. I’ll start with the left side  up to just under the left side of the pickle slice.

Very lightly shade each of the lettuce leaves. Don’t shade so heavily that you can’t make out the outlines from the line drawing. Those outlines will be important when adding other layers of shading and extra details to the lettuce.


Grab a 2B pencil for the next step.

Start adding a little detail to the lettuce leaves sticking out on the left side. Start with some light outlining and shading.

Move on to the next set of lettuce leaves. Put a little bit of shading behind the two little flaps here that are sticking up in the foreground.

Then, we can put some shading on this next leaf. We can put the shading close to the burger and leave the outer rim of the leaf lighter.

Then do something similar with the next one here.

With a 4B pencil, go over some of those same areas, but stay generally on the opposite end of any edges that you left lighter.

With a leaf such as this one, we want the darkest graphite tones to be closest to the burger since that’s where the shadows are found. The outer edge of the leaves are receiving the light source, so they will be much lighter in value. Even on these tiny lettuce leaves, we can see a light-to-dark transition.


Now, grab an HB pencil to draw veins on the lettuce leaves.

All we need here are a few indications of veins on the outermost part of the leaves in the light areas.

Occasionally use a kneaded eraser to lift highlights from the outer edges of the leaves.

Then shade next to the highlights for that light-dark contrast that adds extra realism.


Next, let’s work on placing a base layer of shading on the middle section of the lettuce. Use the HB pencil to very lightly shade the lettuce  up to and around the area where the right tomato first emerges from the burger.

Now that that’s done, let’s keep going. Switch to a 2B pencil.

Like we did earlier, put some shading on the lettuce leaves close to the burger. Leave the rim of the leaves lighter in general, but still extend the shading close to the rim or edges as necessary. Use the reference photo for additional guidance.

Now with this bunch of leaves, I’m placing the shading in the middle of the shapes. That’s because we can’t see exactly where the lettuce emerges from under the patty. The leaves are directly in front. Therefore, I’m leaving the entire rim lighter to separate patty from lettuce.

Next, use a 4B pencil.

We’ll use this pencil for our darker areas, such as those areas closest to the patty and the shadowy pockets underneath and between folded leaves of lettuce.


Work to define some of the shapes of the middle lettuce leaves by outlining a few of the contours and shading around the leaves.

Make sure to place additional shading just above the leaves along the lower edge of the burger patty. Remember, this dark-against-light contrast can help the lettuce appear to “pop out” from under the patty.

If you see any areas, especially along the edges of the leaves, where you want to lift excess graphite to reveal additional highlights, you can do so with a kneaded eraser.

After that, take an HB pencil.

Clean up any edges that were accidentally smudged with the eraser.

Finally, sketch just a few veins on the surface of the lettuce. Draw veins that extend into the highlighted areas of the lettuce so that they can be viewed easily.


We’ll use the next few minutes to finish up rest of the lettuce. Keep the HB pencil and lightly shade a base layer of tones along the lettuce.

Take it all the way to the end on the right side.

Now let’s switch pencils.

Make that a 2B pencil.

By using the reference as a guide and applying graphite in strategic places, we can create some interesting twists and ruffles in the lettuce.

All it takes is careful observation of the relationship between the dark and light values and how they work together to create the objects we want on paper.

A little shadow here gives us a raised leaf pocket.

Put some more light shading over the base layer on the rest of the lettuce.

Now let’s go back to the 4B.

Look to add darker tones to the darkest areas, those areas farthest away from the light, like under and between the folded leaves.

Like before, you can lift highlights where some extra light might be needed.

Then go back and touch up with the pencil.

Draw some veins showing through on the light areas of the leaves. Make the lines wrap around when necessary.

Just add a few more veins, and our lettuce is complete!


Shade the Bottom of the Bun

We are getting close to the very end! Let’s use an HB pencil to begin shading the lower bun.

We’ll begin by shading the left side and working our way to the right.

Shade the bottom too. I’m slanting my pencil strokes here to be somewhat parallel to the lower edge of the bun.

Then I’ll lightly trace over some of these textures in the bun’s surface. I don’t want to lose these while shading over them.

Keep shading the left side of the bun. Fill in all of the space under the lettuce leaves on the left side.

Then, start bringing your pencil markings to the middle area of the bun. A somewhat hatch or crosshatch pattern here is fine. I wouldn’t be too concerned about the direction of your pencil strokes.

Extend your shading to the right. Start lightly shading the area just under the rest of the burger patty and the lettuce.

Then we can bring the tones along the right edge and make our way to the bottom.

Complete the shading along the bottom edge.

Then, gradually fill in the space in the middle. Just like we did while shading the top bun, it’s perfectly okay to shade over the sesame seeds at this point.

Lightly shade horizontally across the bun. Some crosshatch marks streaking across the bun can help to add some preliminary texture to our bread.


Let’s use a 2B pencil for the next step.

Begin shading some of the sort of rugged lower lines along the browned bottom portion of the bun.

Continue shading along the lower edge of the bun all the way toward the right side.

Next, put some shading along the right edge of the bun with a few vertical strokes.

Now, the reference photo reveals that this right side of the lower bun has more brown on it than the left side.

We can see a tiny corner of the top surface of the bun here next to the lettuce. It actually looks very brown.

It looks like most of the brown area starts to taper off right along here below the corner of the cheese slice.

Shade an additional layer of tones to recreate the brown area of the bun found on the reference.

The area of the bun around the seeds appears to be white, so lighten your touch as you shade around the seeds.

Put a little more shading on the bun, just to the left of the cheese corner and gradually fading away.


Okay, let’s take the 4B pencil now.

Sketch some heavier tones along the lower right edge of the hamburger bun. Gradually blend the tones into the lighter graphite above to create a smooth transition.

We can also darken this vertical crack. The lighter strip running next to it on the left helps to give this some depth.

Okay, let’s see. We have some shadow here under the lettuce.

Also, I see a little blemish here in the center part of the bun.

The hamburger is creating a very thin shadow here on the table it’s sitting on. We can create this shadow simply by tracing along the bottom edge of the bun. I’m not tracing exactly on the edge. Instead, I’m tracing directly beside the edge, still close enough that I am also touching the edge. Notice also how I am careful to preserve the reflected light between the shadow I’m now making and the dark tones on the lower right area of the bun here.


Next, we will develop a few more of these light cracks in the bun’s surface with an HB pencil.

Start near the top of the bun around where the lettuce is on the left side. Lightly sketch a crack or two curving downward.

Sketch another one from the bottom heading up.

I’d also like to take a moment to put some extra shadow here at the top of the bun just under the lettuce.

Then here in the center of the bun, or I should say top center, there is this area behind the lettuce where the bun seems to be folded and kind of crumbled up along the edge. So, all we need is to sketch a couple of lines to show that.


Next, we will work to develop the sesame seeds on the lower bun. I’ll start with more shadow next to this one tucked under the lettuce.

Then I will go seed by seed, outlining and/or applying light shades of value on and next to each seed. Some of these seeds are very similar in value to the surrounding bun surface, and some have more contrast.

As always, you should continue to look at the reference photo to help you decide the levels of shading to place on and around each seed in order to properly develop each one.

Okay here, it looks like we have a little more of that crumbled up edge along the top of the bun.

Then here on the right, we have our last group of sesame seeds. The process is the same for these as with the other ones. Basically, all you need to do is compare each seed with the reference, add a little outlining, define some of the edges, add some shading here and there. You should sketch the little dimple lines inside the seeds. Sometimes you will shade the center of the seed, sometimes the edges, and sometimes the areas nearby.


Add the Finishing Touches

Now we are at the stage in the drawing where we get to add some finishing touches!

I want to use a 6B pencil to touch over my darkest areas.

Just under the top bun is a good place to start.

Shade just under the bun and above the toppings. Don’t overdo it. Make sure to maintain the edge of the bun.

Then we can go back and amplify some of these shadows on the hamburger patty. I’ll start with the shadows on the right side.

Make sure the shadows under the tomato and cheese are very dark.

I’ll go back with another pencil to clean up the edge of the tomato here and on this side too.

Now back to the hamburger patty, I’ll go over the shadows on the left side.

Then with my HB pencil, I see a few areas along the top of the lower bun where I want a little more shading, but I want this shading to be much lighter than what the 6B would leave.


Okay, now grab a plastic or pink eraser.

Go around your drawing and erase any smudges that might be on your paper. Erase close to the edges but be careful to not erase parts of the drawing. Hold your paper firmly to the table and erase cautiously so as to not bend, crease, or rip the paper.

You can use a kneaded eraser to get closer to the pencil marks of the drawing and carefully lift away nearby smudges.

Brush away the eraser residue. Since my drawing isn’t taped down or anything, I’m just holding it over a trash can and using a brush to rake it into the trash.

Clean up and brush away any remaining streaks that were left behind.


Grab a 2B pencil for the final step.

Let’s make the slightest indication of a surface for the burger to be sitting on.

We should make the surface extend beyond both corners of the hamburger.

I just put some darker tones at each corner of the bun on the outside of the edge. Now, on this left side, I can extend some short, horizontal strokes from the bun’s edge so it looks like a surface.

Now, we need to make sure the surface is on the same level when drawn on the other side.

You can just estimate this with an imaginary line across the burger, or you can be more accurate with a ruler. I’ll use a ruler to find the best placement.

Now sketch horizontal marks similar to what was done on the other side. Keep the top marks longer and gradually make them shorter as you go down.

Loosely sketch a few very light marks under and very close to the remainder of the hamburger bun’s edge.

Take a final look at your drawing and make any last-minute touch-ups or erasures.


And that is how to draw a hamburger!

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