How to Draw an Ellipse for 3D Shapes

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Want to be able to draw round 3D shapes like these? Just follow this lesson, learn how to draw an ellipse and you can!


First we are going to make some observations about ellipses. Afterwards let me guide you through a step by step lesson to draw this two 3d shapes.

Observation of Reality:

Here you can see a bunch of examples, where ellipses occur in the 3d world around us.

From a frontal viewpoint you see that the shape of these objects is actually a circle.
But from a side angle they look like ellipses.

So what is an ellipse?
You could call it a squeezed circle.
It is the oval form of a circle when viewed from a side angle.

Let's observe how this process of "squeezing" the circle works in the following pictures.




In this picture you are looking at a glass from above.
You can see that it has the shape of a circle.
In the circle you can draw two axes which have the same length.





Here you look at the glass slightly from the side.
You see that it doesn't have the shape of a circle anymore, but that of an ellipse.
This influences the axes.
The green axis becomes shorter while the red axis remains the same.
Therefore you call the green one minor axis and the red one major axis.






The more we go away from the frontal view to a side view, the shorter becomes the minor axis.








Finally, when we look at the glass directly from the side, the minor axis is completely gone.
Only the major axis remains.
All we see of the upper rim now is a single straight line.






So to draw a round object in 3D you have to consider from which angle you want to display it.
Choose the length of the axes according to this angle.
The shorter you make the minor axis, the more you will look at the object from the side.
The longer you make the minor axis, the more you will look at the object from above.
With these axes in mind we end our observations and go over to the praxis.

How To Draw An Ellipse


Step 1: Draw the Axes

First you draw both axes.
Make sure that they cross each other exactly in the middle and are rectangular to another.
I like to ad little square lines at the ends of each axis.
This helps to hit the edges in the right angle while drawing your ellipse around this cross.

Step 2: Draw the Ellipse around the Cross

I recommend that you press the pencil down very slightly at the beginning. So you can erase errors easily. Only when you have a perfect outline of your ellipse with a light line I would draw over it again with a stronger stroke.

Take your time with the drawing.
Drawing hastily only messes things up!

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