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Drawing pears tutorial

Do you like to draw and paint pears? They are one of the subjects I have painted the most and I still keep coming back to them year after year. Mr Sandrine (as my students call him) has even written this motto for me: “If in doubt, paint a pear”. If I am ever in lack of inspiration, all I need is a trip to the greengrocer’s to find a beautiful, colourful specimen, preferably with a little leaf still attached to the stalk, and I’m off again…

So It’s about time I write a pear tutorial. Here is the first part of it, the most important drawing. Because you can never get a good painting from a poor drawing.

When I draw a pear, I follow three steps, or principles. Here they are in the chronological order, working from a blank sketchbook page to a finished drawing:

1- Axis – There is a line that goes from the base of the stalk down to the remnants of the sepals, where the blossom used to be. This axis can be vertical and straight, or in some varieties such as ‘Conference‘ pears, it can be curved. But it always links these two points, which makes it a good starting line to anchor the drawing down and give it direction

2- Shape – Pears come in many different shapes and sizes. However, the overall shape can always fit within a square or rectangle, with the axis running down from top to bottom of the shape. Drawing that square or rectangle will ensure that the drawing is contained inside this “box” and that the overall shape will stay balanced.

3- Proportions – I use three components to draw my pears: the head, the neck and the body. The head is a small sphere at the top of the pear; the body is a larger sphere at the bottom of the pear; the neck links the two. The head can be tiny (‘Conference‘) or quite big (‘QTee‘). The body can be slender (‘Conference‘) or large and squat (‘Packham‘). The neck can be thick and short (‘Forelle‘) or thin and long (‘Conference‘).

If you have these three components in the right proportions, following the right axis and boxed in the right shape, the pear will be rendered perfectly.

Here is a video demonstrating the drawing of a couple of pears following the three principles above (The footage is partly taken from a live online class I ran a couple of weeks ago). There is a longer version of the video on my Patreon site – If you like my tutorials and paint-along videos, please click here to check out my Patreon subscription site):

Happy drawing!

2 thoughts on “Drawing pears tutorial”

  1. Hi Sandrine,
    Great post – very generous of you. Have to ask: when is your new book coming out? Bought two copies of your first which are very well used now. Your non-toxic palette is very important to us (not too many of you about), and the presence of a cat or blackbird and nature in general is a winner. Though I will say, I’m already worrying about how to relate the paint ranges you used before to the new range you will be using in your next book. Matching up paints from different brands by pigment numbers is very confusing and time consuming when we want to get on with the painting. Just so excited in anticipation of the book – we avidly collect all botanical art books but yours stands out for clarity and eco consciousness!
    Your blog is a treat too,
    Suzanna and Aidan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely message. It’s always such a pleasure to know that other painters care about nature too 🙂 My next book is due to be published in July 2022. I am working on it now, with the deadline for the main sections on Monday, so very busy and ever so slightly stressful week-end ahead 😀 Have a lovely week-end, Best wishes, Sandrine


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