Let’s draw a cannonball step by step. Tools needed: paper, gray pencil, ruler, drawing compass, black pen, brown pen and orange pen.
Drawing Tutorial Video
Click on the play button below to watch the video.
Step-By-Step Images and Drawing Instructions
Get a blank sheet of paper and a gray pencil. We will begin with a curved line, almost like a backward “C” shape, around an inch (2.5 cm) from the bottom of your page, and slightly to the right of the center.
Move to the edges of the “C”, and draw two slightly curved, parallel lines moving off to the right, leaving you with almost a “rocket” shape. Then, add another line to the bottom, running parallel alongside the original.
Add a large semicircle to the bottom, so that the open end faces the bottom corner of your page.
Complete the semicircle with a curved line below, attached at the corners, and then add a curved line from edge to edge to complete the shape, making a full “oval” shape.
Next, add another curve along the bottom of the “oval,” making sure this remains fairly close to the bottom line.
In the center of the oval, draw a small shape, which looks like an upside down bolt – curved edges joined with a line at the top, and the top shape resembling a flattened oval shape – this will soon become the wheel of your cannon.
Return to the top of your shape – the part you originally started at – and add another semicircle to the bottom, heading down towards the bottom of the page. Add another line just inside that of the left hand line, following the curve around and down – do you see how this is becoming the second wheel?
Now for some fire! Move to the mouth of your cannon – the semicircle you started with – and draw a series of thin, horizontal lines shooting up and out of the cannon – these will be your sparks and fire! Use a ruler for this step.
Add a dramatic puff of smoke to the very end of the cannon…
And bring this to life by adding details to the inside of the shape using bumpy lines, and leaving the center free.
Next, extend the thin, horizontal lines – or sparks – out and beyond the edge of your puff of smoke, using a ruler.
Now for the most important part: the cannonball! Draw a large, smooth circle at the end of the stream of sparks – make this as round as you can; maybe draw round a penny or other small shape to get those clean, smooth edges. You could also use a drawing compass for this step.
Then, add a thin, curved line to the inside edge of the cannonball, following the circular shape. Make sure this is very close to the edge. You could use a drawing compass for this step, too.
Your cannonball needs a little detail; fill the circle with sharp, jagged shapes, almost like misshapen stars, so that you can really see the force and power.
Now return to the body of your cannon, just in front of the front wheel, and add to lines, heading to the left, with cracks and lines coming off the main stem, almost like twigs on a tree. This shows the fissure which has been created due to the force of the cannon!
Now for some detail to the wheels; add small, triangular shapes all around the edges of the wheels, both front and back. Fill these in so that they look super spiky and dramatic!
For the next step, draw a very faint circular shape around the bottom of the cannon, making sure that the lines are outside both of the wheels.
Now return to the cannonball, and fill in the jagged shaped you made earlier with a strong, dramatic black pen…
Before coloring the rest of the cannonball with a lighter gray pencil; try playing around with tones and shading to really add detailing to the ball.
Add detail to the body of the cannon with a gray pencil; draw a series of smooth, slightly curved lines running horizontally across the body. These do not have to be perfectly neat; some can be at more of a diagonal, while others are straight across. You should end up with large “stripes” across the body of the cannon.
Fill in the stripes with alternating colors; darker followed by lighter. You can use the same gray pencil for this step, just use different pressures on the paper to create the lighter or darker shades.
Now return to the mouth of the cannon, and fill this in with a black pen – leave thin strips where you drew the sparks earlier, and color between these so that you have strips of white in between the black background.
Return your attention to the wheels, and go in with a deep, woody brown – rather than simply fill in the whole shape, make long, thin marks, from the outside in, all around the edge of the wheel, so that you get that real wood effect. Once again, these do not have to be perfect – real wood never is! Then, fill in the edge of the back wheel with the same brown shade. Use a brown pen for this step.
Continuing to focus on the wheel, add a grey color to the bolt in the center with a gray pencil, and enhance the outlines with a black pen.
Fill in the rest of the front wheel with an orange pen, and add color to the rest of the back wheel.
Finally, fill in the faint circle you drew on the ground earlier with a bold, heavy black, using a black pen.
And just like that, you are ready to create your very own warfare scene, recreate an epic battle, or simply express your interest in classical weapons. Don’t forget, this is just the beginning – who knows where this skill may take you?
Interesting Facts About the Cannonballs
From medieval tales of victory to the legends of castles and kings, the cannonball is one of the most recognizable weapons in art, literature and history. The form as we know it appeared in Europe during the 15th century, and came in three main types: the cannon royal (also known as the double cannon), the whole cannon, and the demicannon – distinctions were made according to the weight of the cannon itself, as well as the ball which it was capable of firing. While modern warfare has moved away from cannons, they remain a rich part of military history – and an essential shape in any artist’s toolkit!