April 26, 2016

How to Draw Coffee: A Step-by-Step Illustration Guide


There’s more to coffee art than just lattes. The taste, smell, and even look of a brew evoke emotions so, as a barista and illustrator, I’m always eager to capture coffee’s perfection through my artwork. 

And today, I’m here to teach you how to draw your very own coffee art. You’ll be left with pictures that pop, whether you’re using them for birthday cards or for wall art in your café.

Spanish Version: Cómo Dibujar tu Café: Una Guía de Ilustración Paso a Paso

The Illustration Process

My style is a mashup of self-taught line work and old-school techniques, like cross-hatching and stippling (I’ll explain what that means in a bit).

When I start drawing, first I decide what information (if any) I want to come across in my work; then I can start forming the shape and characteristics. In the example I’ll be using for this article, I just wanted to draw a cup of coffee so I kept it simple but visually appealing and interesting.

Oh, and while I’ll be showing you how to create one specific image, this versatile method can be used to draw a variety of other coffee-related pictures. The only limit is your imagination…

1. The Outline

Coffee illustration

Begin by sketching the shape in pencil. In this case, I started with a coffee cup; it’s something that I know well and that will serve as a base for the rest of the image. Then I added a fountain-like flow of coffee and two beans floating on top.

Once you’ve done the pencil outline, you’ll have a good idea of how the finished drawing will turn out. Then it’s time to start making some more permanent marks.      

Coffee illustration                             

SEE ALSO: Coffee Synesthesia: A Creative Multisensory Taste Perception

Trace carefully over the pencil marks, being as precise as possible. Here I’ve used a standard Sharpie marker on canvas.

2. The Shading

Coffee illustration

Now we’re ready to bring the drawing to life with some shading. On the beans I used stippling, which means I built up the texture and shape using hundreds of dots. But on the fountain, I just used solid black. Have a look at the differences in the image, and think about which technique will suit your pictures the best.

Coffee illustration

I used a third technique to shade the cup, which is actually my favourite method of line shading. It involves drawing lines following the shape of the cup, but gradually fading them off to give the impression of a light source. It’s simple but a great way to add shade and depth. 

3. The Background

Coffee illustration

Now it’s time to add the final step: the background. This isn’t strictly necessary – the cup and fountain already look good – but the right background will make your image pop. So in this case, I opted for a wavy wood-grain pattern that really sets off the foreground.

If you were following along with me, congratulations! You’ve produced your very own piece of coffee art. It may not be perfect, but with practice it will get easier and easier.

And if you weren’t doing the steps with me, what are you waiting for? Get out your pencils and pens and start drawing. You’ll be surprised by what you can produce.

Done your own piece of coffee art? We’d love to see it! Share it with us in the comments, on instagram, or on facebook.

Edited by H. Paull.

Feature Photo Credit: pexels.com

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