In this post I will show you how to draw realistic crystals that nobody else is drawing. I’ll be showing you how to draw crystals in 7 simple steps that even my daughter can follow. Skip ahead to How to Draw Crystals Step By Step if you want to get straight to drawing.
Every weekend my daughter and I take on an activity where she learns to draw something new and fun. This week she wanted to learn how to draw crystals. I have to admit, I had never drawn crystals before so I did a little research and found that most of the guides available on the internet are a little, let’s say… below average.
They are full of useless information that has little to do with actual drawing such as keeping a diary etc.
I wanted to create a quick and simple guide that even my 8 year old can follow and by the end of it, draw amazing and realistic crystals. Read on and learn how to draw crystals step by step.
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How to draw crystals step by step
This guide will show you how to draw crystal clusters using mostly Tetragonal crystals. These are the typical type of crystals you see on most drawings of crystals. Drawing crystal clusters is probably the easiest to do and looks way more impressive than drawing a single simple crystal.
First let’s grab some drawing materials
Grab some paper, a hard pencil if you can like a 2H pencil (if you don’t have one, any pencil with an H is ok like a 2H, 4H, 5H etc), a HB pencil (this is a little softer and we will use this to draw the outline of the crystals), a ruler, an eraser and maybe a sharpener as we want to draw some nice thin light construction lines first.
Try not to use a marker for the whole drawing as markers are a little hard to correct mistakes, and we are going to make a few here as we learn. I will only use a marker right at the very end when I am trying to make some highlights pop and to darken some of the lines.
Let’s start drawing crystal clusters
1 – Draw a base for the crystal cluster to sit on
When you look at real life crystals, they never sit on a flat base so our drawing will not be a flat line either.
Let’s start with a jagged and uneven base to put our crystal cluster on. Think of a smaller crystal cluster.
Use a ruler if you need to, crystals are mostly made of straight lines so let’s draw them straight.
2 – The next thing we are going to do is draw some direction lines
I usually call these construction lines
Draw these using a light line at various angles, to show where the crystals have ‘grown’ out of the base.
Don’t use a heavy pencil line so use the 2H pencil as we want to rub some of these lines out later on.
I did these free-hand so you will see the lines are not exactly straight, but that is ok as we are going to erase them soon.
3 – For each of the direction lines we are going to draw some light rectangles.
These will look like little skyscrapers about to fall over.
Make them different heights and lengths so that they don’t all look even.
Make them either overlap lightly or have no gaps in between each other. You should use a ruler as it helps you draw straight crystal edges. I tried using free-hand lines but they just don’t look as good.
4 – Let’s chop up the rectangles!
For each of these rectangles, we are going to draw small uneven lines that will ‘chop’ off the corners so that we start making the rectangles look more like a crystal shape now.
5 – Let’s erase some of the construction lines we drew earlier
If we don’t do this, the crystals will start to look very cluttered and hard to see.
Now that the corners have been chopped off, we want to give the crystals a 3D or 3 Dimensional look so we are going to add some detail inside each one. Like little diamonds at the top and smaller rectangles inside.
This might get tricky but don’t stress, crystals are not a perfect shape in nature so our drawing does not need to be perfect either.
We can make these shapes all look random.
It’s half the fun of drawing crystals!
6 – Add a glass or shiny effect on each crystal
I usually just draw what looks like two loose and long letter “S” side by side to give each angle a glass effect.
Take a look at glass reflecting light and we want to capture something similar in our crystal drawing.
Again, these are all random so have some fun but don’t over-do it.
Keep it simple.
7 – Now to shade in parts of each crystal in the drawing
The crystals don’t each need to be the same shade, as crystals reflect light in different ways.
Each one reflects light in its own unique way.
There is no rule on how to do it, just keep it simple.
Don’t forget to shade in a shadow at the bottom to give the crystal cluster a nice 3D effect showing a little shadow for each crystal making it fade out.
You can smudge it with your finger if you like.
Now to make it look way better, we should color the crystal cluster.
How to color crystals
Well we have created this beautiful drawing of a crystal cluster but chances are we all drew this in black and white, perhaps we used a black graphite pencil or a black marker.
I think it would add a great touch if we added some color, so the next steps will show you how to color crystals so that they will pop off the page like a real crystal cluster would.
Crystals tend to reflect different colors within the light spectrum, as I am colorblind I like to make up the colors used and I like to use blues and purples and pinks as I think they look the best for crystals.
The main thing you need to do is layer the colors when coloring crystals and not to color the crystals completely.
What you should do is leave lots of white and start with a light shade of the color you picked.
Then slowly add in a few darker shades here and there.
In the base, color that dark. So use the darkest shade of the color you have selected and start to shade those areas in and add some color to the black shadows because a real crystal will be reflecting some color into the shadows.
Now the next thing you should do is add some light shades or whites to highlight some of the light reflecting off the crystals.
Finally, use a technical pen or thin marker and go over some areas of the crystals and base to make the colors pop a little more.
I hope you found my tutorial on how to draw crystals informative and fun to follow. I have other How To draw type posts if you are interested in learning more.
Let me know if there was something in the instructions that was hard to follow or something I should add as you discovered while drawing your own crystal cluster and I will gladly add the update to my instructions on how to draw crystals.
If you would like to watch a video of crystal clusters being drawn then this is probably one of the better ones on YouTube