Drawing An Apple in Graphite

I have been taking time to slowly migrate my posts from my old blog site to this new one. Today I want to share with you the very first piece of fruit I did in graphite. I hope you enjoy this post!

Apple In Graphite

I thought it might be fun to try my hand at a fruit in graphite.  I looked around my kitchen and found a Gala apple that seemed perfect for the job.

I began by taking a photograph of the apple making sure to have the shine nice and clear and giving a good quality of tones and shadowing. Then heading over to picmonkey.com and uploading my apple photo, I was able to change it to a black and white photo. 

Using the real apple as my model, I referred to the black and white photograph for tonal clarity.

Considering it was my first fruit ever in graphite, I must say I was shocked at the end result!

Begin With A Simple Line Drawing

I started with a simple line drawing of the apple.  It was a little difficult getting the shape right at first – and then there was the angle of the stem…


But once I had that down, I took some time to do a little more practicing in my sketchbook of tonal values and shading in graphite.

During this time, I was taking my first Botanical Illustration Course with Dianne Sutherland and part of my assignment in this course was to make a tonal strip using the different pencil shades of my Faber-Castell 9000 pencils.  Since I had completed this portion of the course, I felt ready to try my hand at the shading of my apple.

Layering For Tonal Value

As expected, my first layer of shading came pretty easy using my HB pencil, but I wasn’t prepared for how long the layering would take to get to the correct tonal value. I layered…

And layered…

And layered… Then I used my putty eraser to lighten it up a bit and my Tombow Mono Zero 2.3 mm eraser to make the small specks you see on the Gala apples, and I erased all the information I had written at the bottom and labeled it.

Taking A Break

And then I put it away for a while.  Honestly, I was getting tired of trying to make the tonal value work.  It just didn’t seem to be getting darker.

But a few days later someone asked me about it and so I got it back out and began layering some more. This time I changed the lighting on the apple, which I liked better.  And it all came together.  I’m so pleased and pleasantly surprised how well it turned out!  I can’t wait to find time to work on some more botanical fruit pieces 


“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
Proverbs 25:11