Human lungs drawing is a fun exercise due to the strange visual nature of the lungs. Lungs are a fascinating structure; the lung’s strange composition is a fun and interesting subject to draw as the lungs are seemingly alien and abstract. Drawing the lungs provides the artist with a variety of challenges due to the combination of different muscles, layers, and vessels within the lungs. A lungs drawing also provides us with great insight into how the lungs work and what the lungs are made up of. Human lungs drawing provides the artist with a knowledge of the human anatomy, specifically concerning the components of the body, responsible for breathing. Anatomical drawing always develops both our anatomical knowledge, as well as our drawing skills. The lungs are complicated and interesting, which makes for an interesting drawing exercise that will develop both our concentration and drawing skills.
Table of Contents
- 1 An Easy Guide to Drawing Lungs
- 2 Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Draw Lungs
- 2.1 Step 1: Drawing a Light Sketch of the Lungs
- 2.2 Step 2: Adding Light Shading to the Lungs
- 2.3 Step 3: Shading the Trachea in Pen
- 2.4 Step 4: Shading in the Left Lung’s Bronchioles with Pen
- 2.5 Step 5: Shading in the Rest of the Left Lung with Pen
- 2.6 Step 6: Shading in the Right Lung’s Bronchioles with Pen
- 2.7 Step 7: Shading in the Rest of the Right Lung with Pen
- 2.8 Step 8: Final Touches
- 3 Tips to Remember
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
An Easy Guide to Drawing Lungs
As we learn how to draw lungs in this tutorial, we will find that the process is quite simple, and broken up into a few simple steps. There are many ways to do a human lungs drawing, as their structure is very distinct, however, we will be using a reference image to guide us throughout the process. We will also be drawing the lungs in both pencil and pen, to give it a more contrasted and vivid quality.
In this easy lungs drawing tutorial, we will go through the process of developing the lungs sketch into a lungs drawing that is more realistic and identifiable.
Human lung drawing will provide us with some new challenges that will develop our drawing skills, ultimately providing us with new drawing skills that we may apply to other artworks in the future. Let us see what materials we will need for this tutorial on how to draw lungs.
Since we will be drawing the lungs in both pencil and pen, we want to make sure we have the right tools that are going to help us to achieve the best results. We will also have to fix a few mistakes in the earlier stages of the tutorial, so we want to make sure we have an eraser throughout the process of drawing in pencil.
We want to have a sharpener so that we can keep our pencils sharp for drawing the finer details earlier on in the tutorial.
We will also want to make sure we have some good paper for our tutorial on how to draw lungs. Lastly, we will be using a reference image to guide us throughout the drawing process. All items can be found through the links below:
- Ballpoint pen
- Good paper (200 g/m – 250 g/m recommended)
- Source image
Once we have all our materials ready, we can begin to prepare ourselves for this tutorial on how to draw lungs. This tutorial does come with its challenges and does require some focus. So, try to place yourself somewhere that is going to help you focus. Perhaps your room, a study, or a dining room table. The tutorial on how to draw lungs breaks down the steps into simple and understandable bites, so try to relax and take it easy as you go through each step.
If you get tired, take a break but most importantly, try to have fun with the process of learning how to draw lungs. Let us see what we are to expect within this tutorial on how to draw lungs.
Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Draw Lungs
The process of lung drawing is simple. We begin with a light sketch of the lungs, as we constantly refer to the reference image for guidance. We want to spend some time here, capturing the scale and proportions as best as we can. From there, we will begin to add more details with our pencils.
In our lungs drawing, we want to slowly develop the light lungs sketch into a more realistic rendition of the lungs represented in our reference image.
Once we have established the linework, added in some of the details, and are satisfied with the placement of the various components, we then can proceed to add some light pencil shading. From there, we will move on to drawing and shading in the lungs drawing with our pens. Taking our time and using the pencil marks for guidance we will take our time here until complete. Now that we are aware of the process let us begin.
Step 1: Drawing a Light Sketch of the Lungs
We want to begin by developing a very light lungs sketch. We do this by referring to our reference image, and with a pencil between a 2H and HB, we want to start drawing a general outline of the lungs. Again, we want to keep our drawing light as we work with our erasers during this part.
This is where we must tweak and fix up our drawing until we achieve an outline that resembles the lungs in the reference image.
We want to spend time on this step, constantly going back and forth between our reference image and our drawing. We will find ourselves making marks and potentially erasing them to redraw them correctly. This is the aim of the step, as we attempt to capture the form and proportions of the lungs as they are represented in the reference image.
As you can see in the reference image, we are given somewhat a cross-section of the lungs, giving us a glimpse into the various features. We want to work with our pencils. As we slowly and lightly, draw each feature of the lungs.
Perhaps start with the left lung, which would be on the right side, first drawing the bronchioles.
Staying with the left lung, once you have drawn the various bronchial branches, proceed to draw the various lines that are placed behind the bronchioles. The reference image depicts a series of lines that move parallel along the lining of the lung wall. As you see the different motions and partitions developed from the lines, attempt to mimic them with your pencil.
Again, keep the drawing as light as you possibly can. It is completely normal if you find yourself constantly erasing during this step of the tutorial as it is the intention of this step. As we slowly tweak and edit our lungs sketch by drawing and erasing, we want to achieve a light line drawing that resembles that of the reference image. Once we have completed one lung, we can move on to the next.
As we move to the next lung, slowly developing the form and outline with our pencils, again, take note of each partition defined by the lines within the reference image. Furthermore, we can also see that there are various tonal values in different sections of the lobes.
Remember this, once we move on to shading to differentiate between the different tonal variations.
Step 2: Adding Light Shading to the Lungs
Once we are satisfied with the light sketch of our lungs, we can then proceed to add some shading to our drawing. We still working with our pencils at this stage. The intention is to lightly shade the lungs to indicate the various tonal values.
This will help us once we move on to the parts of the tutorial where we draw with a pen.
Perhaps, since we finished the linework on the right lung (which is on the left side) we can begin that side by adding some shading. We want to notice the various tonal values depicted within the different lobes of the lungs. Again, since we are seeing a cross-section of the lungs, we are shown the various layers of the lungs. We want to shade in these layers, mimicking the reference image as best we can.
A good area to pay attention to is the lower parts of the lungs, where the reference image says right and left lobe.
Make sure you accurately distinguish the different tonal values by how light and dark you shade in the different layers. We can do this by constantly referring to the reference images as well as paying attention to how much pressure we apply to our pencils.
At this stage we can move back and forth between both the left and right lungs, slowly shading each of them as we refer to the reference image for guidance. Again, we want to keep our shading during this stage quite light, we want the shading to remain light.
Make sure you attend to all features of the lungs before moving on to the next step.
Step 3: Shading the Trachea in Pen
We now will move on to the step of the tutorial where will begin to shade in the drawing with a pen. We want to begin with the trachea, moving our way down to the left and right lungs. Let us begin by shading the thyroid and cricoid cartilage.
Again, we want to keep referring to the reference image to guide us in the shading process.
As we move down the trachea, shading in each of the different bones, we want to shade from the outer edges moving in. As we shade toward the center of the trachea, we want to soften the gradient. By doing so we will represent a quality of light and shadow, giving it more dimension.
We can achieve this quality by making the outer edges of each little bone darker, and the center parts lighter.
We want to work slowly when shading in with a pen. A good suggestion is to pay close attention to the pressure you apply to your pen. The harder you press the darker the mark, the lighter you press the lighter the mark. The shading process is very similar to the way you would shade with a pencil.
Take your time when shading the trachea, this is quite a unique structure that requires some attention to detail. Remember, that as you shade in the bones, shade from the outer edges, and lighten the marks as you move toward the center of the trachea. We can also make the section between each bone darker, to give more contrast to the structure.
Proceed with this process, moving toward the left lung (on the right side of the diagram).
Step 4: Shading in the Left Lung’s Bronchioles with Pen
We can carry on shading the drawing with our pens. We want to carry on the same process of shading in the trachea, as it connects to the left primary bronchus, situated in the left lung. As we carry on the shading process, we want to start with the bronchioles.
As they are situated in the foreground and are the most prominent feature within the lungs.
As we shade in the bronchioles, we want to constantly refer to the reference image to accurately capture the tonal variations as we draw them. As you can see, the reference image depicts the outer sections of the bronchiole branches to be dark, whereas the center of each of them is lighter. Slowly shade the outer lining of the bronchioles darker, whereas the center can remain lighter.
However, the bronchioles shift in tonal variations, especially as the smaller branches branch out from the larger bronchioles. For instance, you could shade each smaller branch slightly darker, which deviates out from the upper and lower lobe bronchus.
We can see that this is the case in the reference image, whereas the upper and lower lobe bronchi are darker around their linings.
Again, as you shade in each branch of the bronchioles, allow them to be slightly darker than that of the two larger upper and lower lobe bronchi. As you shade the larger upper and lower bronchi, you then can allow the lining of these main branches to be darker, with a lighter center. This gives the bronchioles more dimension and depth.
Step 5: Shading in the Rest of the Left Lung with Pen
Once we have drawn the bronchioles, we can then move on to adding more details to the lungs with our pens. We do this by, again, analyzing our reference image and using our pencil marks to guide us. Let us begin by working on the lines that partition the different lobes of the lung.
We want to use our pens, to slowly draw these lines throughout the lung, using our pencil marks to guide us.
As we draw these lines around and throughout the lung, we can start to add some shading. A good suggestion is to start with the outer layers, which, as we can see by the reference image, are darker than the rest of the layers. We do this by keeping our hands light on our pens, slowly building layer by layer as we shade.
When you shade with your pen, remember that they are marks you cannot remove, so be careful. . We want to keep our hands tilted as if we using almost the side of the pen; using ballpoint pens this way works similarly to that of a pencil.
As the ink will come out sparingly, you want to build light layers of shading over one another, we do this until we have reached the desired tonal value.
As you continue to shade in the different layers, remember that as you translate them into your drawing, you want to make sure that the darkest to lightest layers are represented correctly. Perhaps go one layer at a time, this way you may compare them next to each other more adequately.
As we shade in each of these layers, again, constantly refer to the reference image to guide your shading process. As you shade in each layer remember to build up the total value by shade lightly. Build a layer of shading over one another until the total value is light or dark enough that it resembles each layer in the reference image. As you shade the left lobe, near the bottom, be careful with how you represent each of the layers from lightest to darkest.
Make sure you shade in each section one at a time, that way you complete a whole layer before moving on to the next one. By doing this, you have a better chance of not making a mistake.
We want to continue with this process of constantly referring to the reference image as we cautiously continue to shade in each section of the lung. We want to slowly build up the different tonal values of each section of the lung as it is represented in the reference image. We want to carry on this process until we have completely shaded in the rest of the lung.
Step 6: Shading in the Right Lung’s Bronchioles with Pen
Once we have completed the left lung, we can now move on to shading the right lung. We want to start with the bronchioles again as they are the most contrasted feature within the lung. We can proceed by completing the right primary bronchus as we did for the left previously in the tutorial.
We will want to start with shading in the bronchioles.
As we shade in the bronchioles, remember to use your reference image to give you an idea of how the different bronchioles are contrasted to one another. For instance, one section of the bronchioles is vividly dark. We can represent this by making it slightly darker than the rest of the bronchioles by shading that group of bronchioles quite dark.
As we proceed to shade in the rest of the bronchioles, we want to constantly be referring to the reference image, using it as a means of guiding our tonal variations within our drawing. Continue shading the upper bronchioles.
However, this time we can see the lining is slightly darker than the center of the upper lobe bronchus.
We want to proceed with this process, the same way we drew and shaded in the left lung’s bronchioles. Continue by outlining the rest of the bronchiole branches, thus defining the structure, and helping us to see more clearly where we will add shading.
We want to use our reference image constantly throughout the shading process. As we continue shading in the bronchiole branches, we want to create a gradient in the lower lobe bronchus of the right lung. We want to do this by making the outer lining dark and then lightening the gradient as we move toward the center of the bronchus.
We want to continue with shading in the bronchioles.
As we shade in the smaller branches, we can add gradients to each of the bronchiole branches. We do this by shading each branch, creating dark to light gradients that give the branches a more realistic quality.
Take your time whilst shading in the bronchiole branches. Again, constantly refer to the reference image to help guide your mark-making process. We want there to be some tonal variation within the branches, this will give the branches a more realistic quality.
Take your time working through this section, being cautious with your pen as you shade.
Step 7: Shading in the Rest of the Right Lung with Pen
Similar to how we drew the partition lines of the different lobes within the left lung, we will proceed to do the same for the right lung. We want to use our pencil marks to guide our drawing process, as we continue to draw the different lines in the lungs that demarcate the different lobes of the right lung.
Again, as we did with the left lung, we now want to slowly and cautiously begin to shade in the different layers.
As the reference image depicts, we can see that there are various tonal variations, some darker than others. We want to go through each of these layers, shading one layer completely before moving on to the next.
Remember that as you shade with a pen you want to pay attention to the pressure that you apply to the pen. As you attempt to achieve darker tonal values, don’t shade or color in by pressing hard. A better method is to layer lighter shades over one another as opposed to pressing hard and making darker marks.
You want to do this again and again until you reach a total value that you are happy with.
We will carry on this process, going through each layer of the lung as seen within the reference image. An area to pay close attention to is the bottom of the lung. There are more layers to draw in this section and they are quite closely compacted. Take your time here, as you slowly build each tonal value by drawing layer over layer.
We want to slowly and patiently work our way through the whole lung, slowly building up our pen marks to create a variety of different gradients for each layer represented in the lung. Remember to take your time and constantly refer to the reference image.
Continue with this process until you have completed the right lung.
Step 8: Final Touches
There you have it! That is the end of the tutorial. A few simple steps on how to draw lungs. The last thing you want to do is erase any lingering unwanted pencil marks. Perhaps go through your drawing to see if there are any sections you missed with your pen.
Give your drawing one last glance, comparing it to the reference image. There you have it, an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to draw lungs!
Tips to Remember
- Use the reference image. From start to finish, you want to be constantly referring to the reference image for guidance.
- An eraser is a tool. This means you want to draw and tweak as much as you can with your pencils and erasers before moving on to the stages where you will draw with a pen.
- Drawing takes practice. Don’t worry if it doesn’t turn out the way you want on the first try, see this tutorial as a resource to come back to.
- Have fun with the process. Perhaps listen to some music to create a more relaxing experience.
- Explore mark-making. In this tutorial, we discuss a few mark-making styles, but allow yourself to try other methods as you would like.
Learning how to draw lungs is quite easy, once it is broken down into a few steps. the general idea of how the process is by first creating the general sketch, which you then slowly refine by adding in details and shading. Lungs drawing is a great way to learn how to shade with a pen, as this tutorial requires you to distinguish the different layers of the lungs by shading each one in a different tonal value. This exercise enhances your pen drawing skills and builds your anatomical knowledge of the lungs.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Draw Lungs Accurately?
You want to make sure that you have a good reference image. Using a labeled diagram from the internet can provide you with a more accurate representation of the lungs. From there you can develop a light pencil lung sketch, whereby you focus on the outlining of the lung to capture its form and shape. From there, you will slowly develop the drawing by adding more details to the drawing, using the outlines to demarcate the areas in which you will draw. Once you have satisfactorily drawn the lungs in pencil, you can move on to refining the drawing by adding shading. You can either do this with darker pencils or, in the case of this tutorial, you are shown how to do this with a pen. This provides maximum contrast within your drawing to give it more depth.
How Do You Draw the Different Features in a Lung?
There are many ways to draw the different features of a lung, however, a good suggestion is to use a reference image to guide your drawing process. Once you have an image to refer to, you can then proceed to lightly mimic the features of the reference image within your drawing. Remember to keep your pencil marks light, this way, as you add in moments of darker shading, you can use the light pencil marks to guide your shading process. From there we can then utilize the skill of shading to enhance each feature. By doing so we can darken features and lighten features with our medium, to either put them in the foreground or the background. This will also give the drawing more dimension, making the features more realistic. So remember, have a good reference image to define the features and place them correctly within the lungs, then work on shading each feature of the lung.
How Do You Draw the Trachea of the Lungs?
Drawing the trachea of the lung resembles the process of drawing a spine. When drawing any anatomy, it is essential to use a reference image to guide the process. Anatomy is very specific, thus, if we are looking to represent anatomical features correctly, we will want to have an image that represents these features. This will give us the best chance to draw these features more accurately and effectively. Within the trachea, we can utilize our shading skills to define the feature more significantly. You can do this by shading the bone structures of the trachea, as well as the cartilaginous areas in between the bone structures. It’s a matter of shading in different directions within different sections of the trachea. Doing so will give it dimension and more realistic quality. Most importantly, use a reference image to guide you in the forming of the trachea structure.
Matthew Matthysen is an educated multidisciplinary artist and illustrator. He successfully completed his art degree at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, majoring in art history and contemporary drawing. The focus of his thesis was to explore the philosophical implications of the macro and micro-universe on the human experience. Matthew uses diverse media, such as written and hands-on components, to explore various approaches that are on the border between philosophy and science.
Matthew organized various exhibitions before and during his years as a student and is still passionate about doing so today. He currently works as a freelance artist and writer in various fields. He also has a permanent position at a renowned online gallery (ArtGazette) where he produces various works on commission. As a freelance artist, he creates several series and successfully sells them to galleries and collectors. He loves to use his work and skills in various fields of interest.
Matthew has been creating drawing and painting tutorials since the relaunch in 2020. Through his involvement with artincontext.org, he has been able to deepen his knowledge of various painting mediums. For example, watercolor techniques, calligraphy and lately digital drawing, which is becoming more and more popular.
Cite this Article
Matthew, Matthysen, “How to Draw Lungs – Steps to Create a Realistic Lungs Sketch.” Art in Context. June 28, 2022. URL: https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-lungs/
Matthysen, M. (2022, 28 June). How to Draw Lungs – Steps to Create a Realistic Lungs Sketch. Art in Context. https://artincontext.org/how-to-draw-lungs/