In this “How To Draw An American Flag Step By Step Tutorial” I will be going over how to draw an American Flag using graphite.
Most of the techniques that I discuss in this “How To Draw An American Flag Step By Step Tutorial” are also used for my pet portraits. Learning how to draw still life will condition your skill to draw anything you have a passion for.
This Tutorial was created in July 2016. I thought that learning how to draw a flag would be appropriate as this is the month that we celebrate Independence Day.
After the drawing was completed, I offered prints to be sold, and I will donate $2.oo for each print sold until August 1, 2016, to The VA Boston Healthcare System to help out Veterans who fought for our freedom.
How To Draw An American Flag Step By Step Tutorial
By Dave Nevue
You can purchase a PDF Digital Download of this tutorial for only $2.00.
Images and text are larger and you can easily access it from your computer or print it for a more enjoyable drawing experience. Reference image with grid available for download to print.
How To Draw An American Flag Step By Step BUY NOW
- Tombow Mono Graphite Pencil (Amazon affiliate link) 2H, HB, 2B, 4B and 6B
- Kneaded Eraser (Amazon affiliate link)
- Factis Eraser Black (Amazon affiliate link)
- Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (Amazon affiliate link)
- Strathmore Bristol Smooth Paper Pad (Amazon affiliate link)
- Art Alternatives Sandpaper Pencil Pointer (Amazon affiliate link)
- Black ball point pen
BUY NOW $2.00 For complete, tutorial and downloadable reference image.
1. Draw the same grid on your Strathmore Bristol Smooth Paper using your 2H pencil.
Each block is one inch by one inch.
Ten blocks up, eight blocks across. This will make an 8 x 10 drawing.
- Make sure that your pencil is sharp.
- Draw with very light lines for your grid. The lighter the lines are, the easier it will be to erase the grid after you have drawn the contour of the American Flag. (Contour is the outline of an object.)
- Angle the pencil at a 45-degree angle and draw away from the tip pencil. If you are right handed, start from the left and draw towards the right.
2. Draw the contour of the American Fag using a 2H graphite pencil.
Start at the top left. Draw the contour of the American Flag using the boxes to help you with the proportion of the shape.
Double check the proportions in each box.
- Use a sharp 2H pencil
- Do not press too hard on the paper.
- Observe all of the curves and lines in the box that you are drawing.
- Double check your lines with the reference photo.
- Use a Proportion Divider (Amazon affiliate link) for more accuracy.
- Notice the shapes of the stars. They are all different. Pay close attention to the curves of the stars. This will give the illusion of the American flag blowing in the wind.
How To Draw An American Flag
Mapping Out The Darks
3. Erase all of the grid lines with your Factis Eraser Black eraser (Amazon affiliate link). Be careful not to press down to hard with the eraser, doing so will damage the drawing surface making it difficult to add consistent value.
Start by lightly shading in the darkest values of the flag with your 2H graphite pencil. At this point, you only want to focus on the darkest areas of the flag.
By using your 2H pencil, you will be able to start adding value but not making it too dark. This is just the first step. You will be adding many layers of graphite to create a smooth value change from light to dark. It is easier to add value then it is to remove value.
Make sure that all of your lines are connecting. You do not want to have any spaces between your lines. Use a consistent pressure when you are drawing your lines so you do not have any value differences with your lines.
Before you start drawing the value of the darkest areas of the flag, use your kneaded eraser and gently tap on the contour lines. Tapping with the kneaded eraser will lighten the line by removing graphite off of the drawing surface. By removing some of the graphite you to be able to blend in the graphite easier and not have the contour line of the flag darker than the values of the flag.
For more information on conditioning the paper for smoother value changes, read:
- Use a sharp 2H pencil.
- Use an Art Alternatives Sandpaper Pencil Pointer (Amazon affiliate link) To keep a sharp point on the tip of your pencil.
- Do not press too hard on the drawing surface. If you press too hard, you will damage the drawing surface making it impossible for soft value changes.
- Draw darker values by drawing on top of the same line that has been drawn not by pressing hard.
- If a line is too dark, tap it lightly with the kneaded eraser.
4. Pay close attention when you add the value around the stars. Many times artists will draw a darker contour line around the stars. This will give your drawing a cartoon look. The value of the blue material is the same around the stars. There is no border.
5. Add value to the red stripes of the flag. Use your Tombow Mono Zero Eraser (Amazon affiliate link) to make a crisp line between the white stripes and the red stripes of the flag.
6 Slowly add more value to the blue part of the flag. Start with your HB pencil. When you can not go any darker with your HB pencil, use the 2B pencil.
Observe the ripples of the flag. There is a dark value that gradually lightens to the original value of the blue.
Use your Kneaded Eraser (Amazon affiliate link) and lightly lift some of the graphite off of the middle of the ripples. This part of the flag will be lighter because light is reflecting off of those sections.
7. Add more value to the red stripes with your HB pencil. I did not need to use a 2B pencil for the red strips. The HB pencil added enough dark.
Add the ripples to the red stripes the same way you did for the blue part of the flag. You will also want to add some value on the white stripes where the ripples are. You will notice on the reference photo, that there are some slight value changes.
I used a 4H pencil for the ripples on the white stripes.
8. Use a 4H pencil to add value for the sky. After you draw in the sky, you will need to adjust the values on the flag.
Use a Kleenex to soften the values of your drawing.
Wrap the kleenex around your index finger and lightly rub on the drawing surface. When you are blending the graphite on the flag, rub in the direction of the of the material of the flag. Follow the stripes with your index finger.
You will notice that when you are blending with a kleenex, the value of your drawing will become lighter. The kleenex will take some of the graphite off of the drawing surface. You might need to add more value if there are sections that become to light.
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