How to Draw a Can of Soda

How To Draw A Can Of Soda

Those of you who remember the epic words of Matt Groening on how he designed Bart Simpson’s head will recall it was modeled after a can of Coke. Although it might sound easier said than done, learning how to draw a soda can is a fun way to explore basic drawing shapes and understand how often it is commonly used. Here are the simple steps you can follow when drawing any soda can.

You can find essential drawing equipment to complete this task here:  Click here to view my basic equipment list.

Drawing A Can Of Soda: Step By Step

More than a handful of soda can shapes are commonly found in stores and supermarkets. There are mini soda cans that are slimmer and smaller, just like energy drinks. There is the standard 12oz. can, and the supersize 16oz cans, whereas the mini 7.5oz cans are just as popular. Depending on where you live, you can see stubby 8oz cans, often special editions.

How to Draw a Can of Soda
How to Draw a Can of Soda

Just for giggles, the most common can of soda that everyone will see being sold is the standard 12oz can. Choosing this as your model is simple because it’s easily recognized as what most people have seen more often. When you choose a shape that isn’t so common, this image visually is challenged, even if you add a familiar logo that everyone knows. So, the first step is to feel familiar with a soda can shape that appears most for you.

Drawing A Can Of Coke

This global company is the most recognized brand name everyone knows as the king of soda. Pepsi comes in as the ‘second banana’ and always has. Then again, both were given the title of Cola in the old days until Pepsi decided to lose the Pepsi-Cola name in 1961. Ironically, both products contained heavy amounts of pharmaceutical cocaine, which gave the consumer loads of energy (or Pep) legal in the US until 1914!

Despite the darker side to soda history, learning how to draw a can of soda is now as trivial as the legacy of Pop Art as seen in any Andy Warhol depiction.

Your drawing of a soda may likely encounter just as much celebration of what this iconic soda drink represents at the moment.

Coca-Cola represents as much more than a catchy name as it does the beauty of symmetry and artistic endeavor.

Begin Drawing the Basic Guidelines

A soda can is essentially a basic form known in the art world as a shortened column or cylinder. The building block that it starts from is always a rectangle transformed into a cylinder shape. Your essential guidelines are easy to follow and will allow for a can of soda to appear three-dimensional using classic art fundamentals that have been used for centuries. These rules include a perspective on how a soda can is shown in your picture.

You want to have your essential drawing tools, including a pencil, paper, and a few extra accessories. This will include an eraser, razor blade, blending stump, and Fineline pens or pencils for final coloring and shading. If you have ellipse drawing templates, this will help make drawing a soda can easier.

Draw An Ellipse At The Top Of The Paper

An ellipse is any circle that is oval-shaped or appears squashed. It’s also the best tool to create a three-dimensional drawing that best portrays a cylinder. A soda can is the best example of how an ellipse is used for drawing. You can use a template easier than the traditional method for making an ellipse. Then again, you do have to consider the width of your soda can if you are using a template.

Draw a Curved Line

To get the correct width, you can tie a piece of string that is the width you want and place this between two slightly shorter thumbtacks. A pencil is placed between the string and the thumbtacks. It then runs in a circle around the two thumbtack posts. The result is a perfect ellipse and can be traced and reduced in size if folded in half.

Draw The Tip Of The Can

There is an old expression as above- so below, which is linked more to the duality of worlds that we live in.

The lip of a soda can is literally a mirror image of the lip of a soda can. If you’ve placed an ellipse representing the angled oval that is the lip of a soda can.

To make a lip ring, simply reduce a paper pattern slightly, so the ellipse is smaller and creates a lip ring.

Draw The Pull Ring

What used to be called a pop-top was discontinued a long time ago due to the dangers of discarding them on the ground and how faulty they often were. The pull ring is also called a ‘pull tab.’ These look similar to zipper pull tabs, except they are attached to the soda can with a small rivet. Not every pull ring is the same, yet each brand has its own identifiable pull tab that lets you know which brand it is.

Draw The Shoulder Of The Can

You may have noticed that many soda cans have an apparent shoulder just below the ringed lip of each can. This makes it easier to hold from the top and is ideal for drinking. It looks similar to an indentation and is found at the very top of all soda cans. This slight taper is to allow for the aluminum to become pressurized easier. There is also a pronounced rim that tapers the bottom seat of all soda cans.

Check The Symmetry Of The Can

Make sure that your symmetry matches from the top to the bottom of your soda can. More importantly, the angle of the image falls in line with how the can is being viewed. This will be more important when the upper lip and rim of the soda can is seen more than anything at the bottom of a soda can. Either way, the amount of detail seen at the very top of any soda can is where the business end is happening.

Keep these lines and symmetry evenly spaced according to the ellipse ring that will cover both the upper lip edge and shoulder concave where it meets the lip.

Drawing Straight Lines

Every soda can has straight lines that define the outer edges of the side of a soda can. These are determined where they happen to fall when the outer concave surfaces begin. Once you have defined the concave ellipse rings, these will define where the straight lines will be placed. You will need to calculate how long these straight lines span from top to bottom.

Draw An Ellipse At The Bottom Of The Can

Once you have estimated the length of your soda can, the straight lines still need to be drawn a bit longer than you would expect. These two vertically placed parallel lines will guide you to judge where the bottom ellipse will be placed. This is always based on perspective, and the soda can’s overall angle is seen in your picture. It’s not always based on specific measurements, so starting the curved line of an ellipse is always based on what looks suitable for your drawing.

Light Sketch Of Label Or Branding Of The Final Drawing

All soda labels have a stylized logo and brand name, so tracing these labels can be tricky. The easiest method is to lightly sketch this logo into the soda can using the real logo as a guide. If you have tracing paper, it can be copied faster if you have an image on a tablet or smartphone. Then a light rubbing on the back of the tracing paper with graphite will help deposit the image onto your soda can drawing.

Add Outlines And Details Using A Pen

After you clean up all of your lines using the sharp edge of an eraser, the drawing can now have finished detail added. Using a Fineline pen and other ink-filled art pens, the balance of where highlight and shadow are filled in with darker pen lines. Depending on the amount of realism, highlight and shadow will help make a soda can drawing appear three-dimensional.

Additional Questions and Art Projects:

How do you draw a coke can for kids?

Knowing how to draw a can of soda for kids is a matter of making any average coke can look more whimsical and cartoonish. This can include adding a smiley face or arms on the sides of the can. Additionally, the red colors seen on a can of Coke should be one shade brighter than the actual can of Coke. This way, you can have an image that is more kid-friendly. To give the illusion of carbonation, add some floating bubbles around the lip of the can as a final touch.


Ian Walsh is the creator and author of and an Art teacher based in Merseyside in the United Kingdom. He holds a BA in Fine Art and a PGCE in teaching Art and Design. He has been teaching Art for over 24 Years in different parts of the UK. When not teaching Ian spending his time developing this website and creating content for the improvedrawing channel.

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How to Draw a Can of Soda