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How to Draw a Cezanne Still Life

Artists Any Age Can Make This Cool Art!

About the Artist: Paul Cezanne

Paul Cezanne was a famous French artist who lived from 1839-1906. He was a post-impressionist painter, which means he focused on color and personal expression. He's very well known for his still life paintings. A still life painting is a painting of something still (not moving), not a landscape, not a figure - its one subject in front of the artist that they're painting in that moment in time. Still life drawings are a great way to practice drawing without asking people to stay still, and also lets artists decide on the composition of the painting. Composition means deciding on where things go in their artwork!


What You'll Need

- Black paper

- Chalk pastels

OPTIONAL: Masking tape and fruit so you can design your own composition of your still life!


First, let's use masking tape around the edges of our paper so that way, at the end of our project, we can take the tape off and our art will have a border, like a frame. Beautiful!


Step 1: Make Your Composition

First, start with brown and draw your plate in the middle of your page - this will be the outline of the plate. Then, put another oval inside of it, which will be the rim of the plate. Now, let's draw the edge of the table and where it is in the background. Part of still life drawings is drawing what really is in front of you, so try to practice your perspective and draw what you can see!


Now, let's start drawing our fruit. Let's start outlining our fruit (in our example video, we only have apples, but you can use whatever fruit you want). Don't be afraid of overlapping shapes. Chalk pastels blend really well, so we'll be able to go over this later.


Once you have your plate, table, and fruit outlined, you've got your composition of your drawing complete! Composition is the organization of all of the elements in the picture.


Step 2: Start Coloring Your Still Life

Now, let's grab a white pastel and fill in our plate entirely. You can rub it in a little bit with your finger to help blend the chalk.


PRO TIP: don't blow the chalk dust, because it might get in your eyes or make you sneeze! If you have a lot of chalk dust, pick up your paper and tap, tap, tap it on the table.


Now, let's start coloring in our fruit. Grab an orange color to start and fill in your apples. When coloring, go in a circular motion instead of a scribbly motion. This will help it look more like Cezanne's paintings. Next, let's pick a lighter shade of orange. We're going to take the lighter color and anywhere you see a lighter area, scribble on some lighter color where you see it's lighter.


Step 3: Add Cezanne Details

Now we're going to use our black chalk pastel to add some bold details in Cezanne's style. Wherever there is a stem on your apples, make a dot with the black, and blend a little bit. Then draw the stem. This represents the shadow because if you look closely, there is a little bit of a shadow where the apple dips in where the stem is.


Cezanne used a lot of shadowing, so let's use our black to do that, too. Outline all of your fruits with a thin line of black. Then, add a little bit of black shadow under the fruits on top of the plate, and add a big shadow for under the plate too. You can use your plate of fruit to look at where the light is coming from and where the shadows are!


PRO TIP: only add your shadows very lightly. You can always add more black, and we want this to blend so we see different shades of black to make the shadow look a little realistic.

Step 4: Color In the Background

Now we can fill in some more of our drawing! Pick a color for your table cloth. It can be whatever color you want, or it can match the table that you're drawing on. Don't cover your shadow at first. Once your whole table cloth is colored in, add a little bit of your table cloth color on top of your shadow. This will make it look more like a shadow. Don't rub it in - if you have lots of chalk dust, just tap it out.


Next, let's add the wall on top! Pick a wall color and do the same thing. Let's fill in your entire top half with whatever color you want. Paul Cezanne used a few different colors rather than just one in his paintings, so grab another color that you'll want to mix in with your wall. After the whole top section is colored, add a second color to it. Add a few streaks to the background.


Step 5: Add Extra Detail

We're almost done! The last step is to go back and add extra detail. If you want your apples to have more color, you can go back and add more color.


Remember those black outlines? We're going to rub (just a little bit!) around the black outlines to make them blend on the drawing.


Once that's done, the last step is to add highlights. The highlights are the shine on the fruit and on the plate. Take a white chalk pastel and add shine spots wherever you see shine in your subject on the table.


The Final Product!

And Remember... Keep Making Cool Art!

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