Art History Lab

Drawing and Coloring Your Own Realistic Train: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Draw a Train

Trains have been a staple of human transportation for centuries. From their earliest days, they have captured the imaginations of people around the world.

If you’ve ever wanted to draw a train, this step-by-step guide will help you bring your vision to life no matter your skill level.

Drawing the Wheels

The most basic component of the train is, of course, the wheels. To create the wheels, first, draw two large circles side by side.

Use your pencil to draw the first circle, then use a compass to draw the second circle of the same size. Next, draw a smaller circle in the center of each wheel to create the hubcaps.

Drawing the Cab

The cab of a train is where the conductor sits. To draw the cab, start with a vertical rectangle that extends from the position of the wheels.

This will represent the main cabin area. You can now add a door to the cabin by drawing a smaller rectangle on the bottom half of the main rectangle.

Add the window next to the door and a small bell on top of the cabin. Finally, add the hitch that connects the train cars.

Drawing the Boiler

Next, you’ll need to draw the boiler, which is the part of the train that contains the engine. To draw the boiler, start with a large rectangular shape above the cab.

Add the safety valve domes at the top and the smoke box underneath. Next, add the chimney and the steam dome on top of the engine.

Adding Rims to the Wheels

To give the wheels depth, add the rims by drawing petal-shaped designs on the circumference of the wheel. The petal shapes should extend outward to create an illusion of movement.

Inside the main wheel circle, draw two more ovals connected by construction lines to create the wheel spokes.

Coloring the Cab

Once you have finished drawing, consider coloring your train. Primary colors for the cab include black, brown, and golden yellow.

Use black for the door and windows, brown for the wooden siding, and golden yellow for the hitch.

Coloring the Steam Dome

For the steam dome, use colors like mustard yellow, red, gray, and golden yellow to add depth and texture to the train. Use a blending brush to smooth out any rough edges.

Coloring the Boiler

For the boiler, use dark gray for the main body and light teal for the details like the smoke box.

Coloring the Wheels

When coloring the wheels, make sure that the smaller hubcap circle is colored black, the outer rim is colored red, and the spokes are colored gray.

Texturing the Cab

To give the cab texture, use light brown, black, and white paint, depending on the type of siding you want to create. Use vertical strokes to create the look of wooden planks.

Texturing the Hitch

For the hitch, use light gray and yellow paint to create a metal texture. Use strokes that run in the direction of the hitch to make it look more realistic.

Texturing the Boiler

To add texture to the boiler, use fine horizontal strokes to create a surface that looks like it’s made of metal. Use vertical lines to create the illusion of bolts.

Use a blending brush to soften the edges between the strokes.

Finalizing the Windows

To finalize the train’s windows, use gray and white paint to add shading. Use a blending brush to soften the edges and create a more realistic look.

Shading the Steam Dome

To shade the steam dome, use black and white paint. Paint vertical brush strokes to create the illusion of smoke coming out of the steam release cable.

Shading the Wheel Rod

Use black, yellow, and white paints to add shading to the wheel rods. Use vertical brush strokes to create the look of metal that has been worn down by friction.

Shading the Pilot/Cowcatcher

To shade the pilot/cowcatcher, use black and white paint, with a focus on the smoke box dome. Use horizontal brush strokes to create the illusion of depth.

Shading the Wheels

To add shading to the wheels, focus on the outer and inner wheels. Use a blending brush to create a gradient effect on the spokes.

Adding Ground Shadow

Finally, add a ground shadow to the train to make it look more grounded. Use black paint to create a shadow under the train and use a blending brush to soften the edges.

Train History and Facts

Invention of the Train

The first steam-powered train was invented in 1804. It was developed by Richard Trevithick, an engineer from Cornwall, England.

The train traveled at a speed of 5 mph and carried ten tons of iron.

Train Speeds Over Time

Since the first train was developed, trains have become much faster. In 1965, the Japanese Shinkansen train topped out at 130 mph.

Today, the fastest train in the world is the Shanghai Maglev, which travels at speeds of up to 268 mph.


Drawing and coloring a train can be a fun and rewarding experience. With this guide, even beginner artists can create an impressive and detailed train drawing.

Additionally, learning about the history of trains and how they have evolved over time can give you a better appreciation for the impact they have had on transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ease of Drawing a Train

Drawing a train may seem like a daunting task, but it can be quite simple with the right guidance. The key to success is to take your time and break the drawing down into manageable steps.

To start, you’ll need to sketch the basic shape of the train, including the wheels, engine, and cab. Begin with the wheels, drawing two large circles side by side.

Then, create a rectangular shape for the cab and a larger rectangular shape for the engine. Once you have the basic shapes drawn, you can begin to add details like the windows, door, and various elements of the engine.

Take it step by step and focus on each individual piece of the train. Once you have all the components drawn, you can focus on coloring and shading to bring the train to life.

Creating a Realistic Train Drawing

If you want your train to look realistic, you’ll need to focus on shading and contouring to give it depth and detail. The key to shading is to study the lighting and shadows in your reference image – look for where the light hits the train and where it casts shadows.

To start, you can use a 2H or HB pencil to create light outlines of the train. Next, use a darker pencil, like a B or 2B, to shade in the darker areas of the train.

Apply more pressure to create darker areas and less pressure for lighter areas. When shading, keep the direction of the light source in mind.

Use your shading pencil to create lines in the direction of the light source to create a more realistic look. For example, if the light source is coming from the left, you should shade the right side of the train darker and the left side lighter.

Contouring is another important technique that helps create depth and form in your train drawing. It involves using lines and shading to create the appearance of three-dimensional form.

To contour your train drawing, use a darker pencil to create lines that follow the curves and shapes of the train. These lines should highlight the planes and contours of the train, helping to create the illusion of depth.

One important tip to keep in mind when contouring is to make sure your lines follow the structure of the train. For example, if you’re contouring the wheels, your lines should follow the curve of the circle and give the impression of a three-dimensional sphere.

Finally, don’t be afraid to experiment with color to add depth and detail to your train drawing. If you’re using traditional media, you can use colored pencils, markers, or watercolors to bring your train to life.

Pay attention to the tonal values in your reference image and experiment with adding in different colors to replicate those values in your drawing. In conclusion, drawing a train can be a fun and rewarding experience regardless of your skill level.

With the right techniques and plenty of patience, you can create a train drawing that is both impressive and realistic. Remember to take your time, focus on the details, and have fun with your drawing.

The article covers two main topics related to trains – how to draw a train and train history and facts, with an additional section covering frequently asked questions about easy train drawing and creating a realistic train drawing. Drawing a train can be simple by breaking it down into steps, and adding details, coloring and shading can bring it to life.

Train history shows how trains have evolved to become faster and more advanced. To create a realistic train drawing, focus on shading and contouring to give depth and form.

The main takeaway is that drawing a train can be fun and rewarding, and with the right techniques, anyone can create an impressive train drawing.

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