How to Draw Leather

Drawing leather is a great way to create a unique piece. In this article, we will show you how to draw leather and then add some character to it. You can use this technique for bags, belts, wallets – any project that needs a bit of edge! Let’s get started.

how to draw leather

Many artists will start with a dark brown or black base. Of course, you can use either one, but I find that painting the leather first makes the final color look more like real-life leather than just painting black on black.

What You’ll Need

  • Pencil (HB pencil and a 2B pencil)
  • Ruler or straight edge
  • Eraser
  • Paintbrush or paper towel
  • Colored Pencils (2 colors of your choice, brown and black)

How to Draw Leather Step by Step Guide

Step 1:

One of the most complicated materials to draw is leather. But it’s not impossible. Just take it one step at a time to achieve your goal. How you start will depend on your personal preference, but I recommend starting with three ovals for the basic shape of the object you are drawing (in this case, leather).

Start With Oval Shape of the Object

Step 2:

Add a smaller oval shape to the center of each larger one from step 1. Next, draw a line from the head of each oval, curving down and around. This will be how you show the folds in the leather. How many lines you draw will depend on your object’s thickness, but I usually use at least three or four for a scene like this one.

Step 3:

Create some thick, squiggly lines with your pencil to form cracks in your material. How close together these are is also up to you, but I usually keep them about two millimeters apart for medium thickness and five millimeters apart for thicker objects such as this one. These can vary in opacity depending on how clean or damaged your object appears to be. How long or jagged you make them is up to you, too.

Step 4:

Add some smaller lines inside the cracks for detail. How many of these you add depends on how much depth your object needs, but use at least two or three strokes here. Again, try using a very light hand when applying pressure to make these more delicate lines less visible than the darker ones in step 3.

Step 5:

Using the color black, carefully shade leather sections within each crack with an eraser. How spread out this shading depends on how damaged your material seems, but it’s usually best to keep the darkest parts close together and have finer details closer to where one would expect normal wear-and-tear. How much of the black you use is also up to you, but I usually try not to cover the brown color from step 1 completely.

Carefully Shade Leather Sections

Step 6:

Using a lighter brown color adds depth and helps make your object appear more three-dimensional. It’s best to switch between light and dark colors on each oval rather than apply them with different pencils. How many strokes you use for this step is up to you; remember that minor detail will generally create a smoother texture while more information creates a rougher one.

Step 7:

With black colored pencils, carefully shade some leather sections with an eraser again. How many of these you put in is again up to you, but remember that the darker your lines are, the less depth your object will have. How close together or far apart the darkest parts are from each other is also up to you and how much you darken each section. The black lines should be placed within cracks and shouldn’t cover too much of the brown color from step 1.

Step 8:

Add a few more details to finish off your drawing. How detailed you make this part depends on what look you’re going for and personal preference, so it’s okay if some sections or objects look different from others. In general, larger circles indicate buckles, while squiggly shapes represent seams. How many of these details you use is up to you again, but be careful not accidentally include too much detail for its own sake.

And there you have it. How long it takes to finish this drawing depends on how much time and effort you put into each step, so take your time with each one. How deeply colored the lines are also affects the overall effect of the finished product, so remember that darker lines generally indicate a rougher texture while lighter ones add more depth. That’s pretty much all there is to it! Good luck!


The most important thing to remember is that leather drawing takes practice. As with any new skill, the more you do it, the better. So get out your sketchbook and start practicing today! You never know when you might need to draw some leather for a project. We hope you find this article on how to draw leather useful.

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