Art History Lab

13 Simple Steps to Draw a Realistic Lemon: A Guide for Artists

Drawing a Realistic Lemon

Lemons are an excellent subject for artists who want to practice painting or drawing realistic objects. However, their complex structures can also make them a challenging subject.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to create a realistic lemon drawing while highlighting some of the essential skills needed for this type of artwork.

Constructing the Lemon Shape

To begin a lemon drawing, you need to construct a base shape that will form the outline of your drawing. You can do this by using either your pencil or brush strokes to create a rough sketch.

By overlapping and sketching in stages, you can slowly piece together the lemon’s shape. Begin with a rounded triangle shape for the main body of the fruit.

Ensure the body of the lemon shape is big enough to hold the stem and nipple that you’ll add later. Next, add a rough sketch of the stem that intersects the top of the lemon shape with a light pencil stroke.

Finally, draw the small, oval-shaped nipple that matches the curvature of the lemon.

Enhancing the Lemon Outline

With your base shape in place, you can now start to refine the outline of your lemon. To make your drawing look more realistic, you’ll want to focus on the smaller details.

Begin by drawing the stem and nipple, trying to ensure you capture their shapes in a realistic way. Next, you’ll want to use your pencil to draw the outline of the lemon’s body.

Pay close attention to the curvature of the lemon and the angle at which the nipple and stem sit. Lastly, create the shape of the shadow cast by the lemon.

Adding Color and Texture

After you’ve refined the outline of your drawing, you can now add color and texture. You’ll want to start by creating a base coat of lemon yellow paint to cover the entire lemon’s body, including the shadow.

Next, start adding texture to your lemon. Begin by using your paintbrush and creating a pattern of dots or small dashes on the lemon’s surface.

This texture will mimic the appearance of the lemon’s porous surface. You can also add shading to create depth and highlights to make the lemon appear as if light is hitting it from a specific angle.

Choosing a Drawing Medium

Choosing the right medium is an essential part of the art-making process. Whether you’re a digital artist or prefer traditional mediums like coloring pencils, selecting the right tool for the job will help you get the desired outcome.

The secret to choosing a drawing medium is to find one in which you are comfortable working. You can know when you’ve found the right medium when you’re excited to use it and feel that you can create something you’d be proud of.

Adapting Steps for Chosen Medium

Once you’ve selected your drawing medium, you’ll want to adapt the instructions in the previous section accordingly. Different mediums require different techniques, so it’s essential to understand how to adjust the instructions to use the right medium.

For example, if you want to use color pencils, adjusting the coloring instructions will help you create a layered effect that gives your lemon drawing a three-dimensional look. Also, using the appropriate pencil or color leads will create an increased texture.


Whether you’re drawing lemons on a canvas or creating a digital illustration, the skills required are the same. Attention to detail, such as constructing the lemon shape, enhancing the outline, and adding color and texture, is crucial to creating realistic art.

Apart from that, choosing a drawing medium that matches your comfort level and adaption of the outlined steps to your preferred medium can help ensure you create an artwork you’re proud to show off!

Drawing a lemon may seem like a simple task, but capturing a lemon’s unique texture and color in your drawing can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll break down the process of drawing a lemon step-by-step in 13 simple steps, highlighting essential skills needed to create a beautiful and realistic drawing of a lemon.

Step 1: Constructing the Base Lemon Shape

Begin by drawing an egg-shaped oval, tilted to the left or right, roughly centered on your canvas. This shape will serve as the basic framework for your lemon drawing.

Step 2:

Enhancing the Lemon Outline

Next, draw the rough sketches of the lemon stem, extending upwards from the top of the lemon, and the nipple at the opposite end. Pay attention to the realistic structure of these parts to make your lemon drawing lifelike.

Step 3: Shaping the Lemon Leaf

Draw a large leaf attached to the stem on the top of the lemon. This leaf will add a touch of nature to the lemon drawing, and help anchor it to a visual context.

Step 4: Adding a Base Coat to the Lemon Outline

Use lemon yellow paint to fill in the entire lemon shape, including the nipple and stem. Ensure the surface is dried up before going to the next step.

Step 5: Coloring the Lemon Leaf

Using dark green paint, apply an even coat to the lemon leaf until the texture appears smooth. Wait for the paint to dry.

Step 6: Adding Color Definition to the Lemon

Adding color definition to your lemon drawing is where the real magic happens. Using a blending brush, add shading to different areas of the lemon by using darker shades of yellow.

Highlight the raised areas of the lemon using white paint. Step 7: Creating Texture on the Skin of Your Lemon Sketch

Using a fine brush, begin creating texture on the skin of your lemon by applying a stipple effect.

Use olive green paint, combined with dark yellow paint, creating small fine spots all over the lemon. Remember to keep the stipple effect subtle to make your lemon look well-textured.

Step 8: Applying Highlight Texture

Using a white paint and bright yellow paint, add highlights to where the light hits the lemon. Be mindful of not adding too much paint or overdoing this step as it may cause drawbacks.

Step 9: Coloring the Lemon Stem

Using bright lime green paint, fill in the lemon stem. Don’t forget to apply shaded highlight areas that match the actual orientation of light in the scene.

Step 10: Creating Leaf Texture

Draw the central vein of the leaf using a darker shade of green, dividing it into two halves. Draw leaf texture lines on each side of the vein, creating a realistic look.

Step 11: Adding Highlights to the Leaf

Using a fine brush and white paint, add highlights to the leaf, emphasizing the raised and light-facing areas. Step 12: Painting the Ground Shadow

To help ground the lemon in place, use light orange paint to apply a soft casted shadow where it sits on the surface.

To add depth, mix black paint with orange paint for dark shadows. Step 13: Finishing Your Drawing of a Lemon

Using the fine brush, remove the outline of your drawing.

Ensure to replace it with the corresponding color associated with the area, creating a seamless look. Remember to add the final touches that bring your drawing to life!


Drawing a realistic lemon will test your artistic abilities and push you to new heights in your skills. With these 13 simple steps, we hope we’ve given you the tools and knowledge needed to design a vibrant and realistic drawing of a lemon.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques, colors, and tones to make the drawing your own and to add your unique twist to it. Keep practicing, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll improve!

In this article, we’ve explained step-by-step instructions on how to draw a realistic lemon.

From constructing the base shape to adding color, texture, and defining the lemon, we’ve covered everything in detail, giving you the tools needed to create your own lifelike lemon drawing. We’ve also discussed the importance of choosing a drawing medium that works for you, adapting the steps for your preferred medium, and experimenting with different techniques, colors, and tones.

With these tips and techniques, you can create impressive illustrations and master your artistic skills, ultimately taking your drawing abilities to new heights.

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