OCAD Studio: Sketching a Glass




  • Pencil
  • Sharpener
  • Easer
  • Sheet of white paper (loose or in sketchbook)




  1. Choose a simple drinking glass to begin with (ideally similar to the one in the video). Avoid anything too ornate as this will mean that the reflections are much more complex.
  2. Begin by lightly sketching in the basic form of the glass. This will likely be a cylindrical prism – two ellipses connected by two parallel lines.
  3. The base will have a thickness, so the bottom of the glass will have an extra ellipse.
  4. Now begin searching for any dark shapes that make up the edges of the glass. These will give structure to your reflections. There are usually two thin dark shapes running from the base of the glass up to the rim.  
  5. The base should have some interesting dark shapes and gradients running from one edge to the other. The rim will also have a thin dark line as well as a clear highlight.
  6. Now that you have noted all the darker smaller reflective shapes you can begin adding subtle tones and gradients to the rest of the glass. Observe how these tones change as they shift across the glass.
  7. The glass is transparent, but areas where the glass is thicker will cast a soft shadow on the ground plane. The shadow will be sharper and darker nearer the glass and softer when it’s further away from the glass. I also recommend giving the background a slight tone so that your highlights stand out.
  8. Once the glass and background has been shaded in, you can finish by enhancing the highlights by erasing them more. They should stand out because they will be the lightest parts of the drawing.


* As a variation, you can work on toned paper and use a white pencil for the lighter tones and highlights. This will save the trouble of shading in the whole drawing and make the highlights even brighter.


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