# Draw An Ellipse with Sadie J. Valeri

## Learn to draw ellipses for your still lifes with this step-by-step demonstration.

When I draw a still life as a drawing or in preparation for a painting, I draw each object as if it were transparent. It’s important to draw the entire structure, even of objects that are mostly hidden behind others. When drawing containers such as vases and jars, I use ellipses to help construct the fundamental shape of the objects.

## What is an Ellipse?

An ellipse is a tilted circle.

An ellipse is NOT an “eye.”

An ellipse is NOT a “racetrack.”

An ellipse is horizontal at its top and bottom points, and vertical at its left and right points.

## Construct an Ellipse

1. Block in the basic height and width of the object.

2. Sketch the general shape of the ellipse.

3. Measure to construct a symmetrical, level diamond.

4. Draw the ellipse around the diamond.

Repeat for the second ellipse.

## Ellipses in Perspective

If we draw an ellipse around a square in perspective, the ellipse will also be in perspective.

1. A perfect square fits inside a perfect circle.

2. The “diamond” is actually the perfect square, tilted.

3. With perspective, the near side is larger than the far side. To render this, we lower the top point.

4. An ellipse seen in perspective has a near side slightly larger than the far side.

When I draw a still life as a drawing or in preparation for a painting, I draw each object as if it were transparent. It’s important to draw the entire structure, even of objects that are mostly hidden behind others. When drawing containers such as vases and jars, I use ellipses to help construct the fundamental shape of the objects.

Sadie J. Valeri received her bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 and also studied at Bay Area Classical Artist Atelier in San Carlos, California, the Hudson River Fellowship in New York and the Studio Escalier in France. She has taught graduate students at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and is co-founder of the blog womenpaintingwomen.blogspot.com. She currently teaches workshops and classes at Sadie Valeri Atelier in San Francisco. Visit her website at www.sadievaleri.com.