An hourglass is an ancient method of telling time. It consists of a frame which supports two glass bulbs. The bulbs have a small passageway linking their interiors. Sand, mercury metal, or other materials are placed inside.
How does an hourglass work? The amount of sand and the size of the passageway are carefully measured so that all the sand will pass between the glass bulbs in the desired amount of time - typically one minute or one hour.
The hourglass is often used to symbolize the unstoppable passage of time. Today, hourglasses are most commonly seen in board games, where they are used as timers for game play. They have also featured in animation, such as in Disney's Aladdin, wherein the evil Jafar, with the powers of a genie, traps Princess Jasmine inside a giant hourglass.
Would you like to draw an hourglass? This easy, step-by-step drawing tutorial is here to show you how. All you will need is a pencil and a sheet of paper. You may also wish to use crayons or something else to color your finished drawing..
Watch 'How to Draw an Hourglass' Video Tutorial
Step by Step Instructions for Drawing an Hourglass
1. Begin by drawing a flattened, horizontal oval. This will form the wooden top of the hourglass. Then, make the top three dimensional by drawing a long, curved line from one end of the oval to the other, parallel to the bottom side of the oval.
2. Begin to draw the supportive sides of the hourglass. Extend two curved lines downward from one side of the oval. Notice how the lines curve outward and inward in tandem. Enclose the lines using a short, curved line at the end. Enclose a curved shape around this point using another, slightly longer curved line.
3. Draw the support on the opposite side. Again, extend a pair of curved lines, curving inward and outward in tandem. Enclose the end of the figure by drawing a curved shape, using two short, curved lines.
4. Continue to draw the sides of the hourglass. From each of the sides, extend a pair of long, curved lines. Then, enclose the lines at the end using a short, curved line.
5. Draw the upper glass bulb of the hourglass. Extend a curved line from each side of the frame. Notice that the lines converge before diverging again, forming the narrow neck between the bulbs.
6. Draw the bottom bulb by extending a long, curved line from each side of the upper bulb, to the supporting frame.
7. Enclose the bottom bulb of the hourglass using a long, curved line. Then, connect the sides of the frame using a pair of parallel lines, one slightly longer than the other. This forms the wooden base of the hourglass.
8. To draw the sand within the hourglass, begin with a flattened oval spanning the upper bulb. From this, extend a pair of curved lines downward, following the shape of the bulb and neck. Once in the bottom bulb, the lines should remain roughly parallel until they reach the bottom of the hourglass. Then, extend the lines outward in an irregular, upside down "V" shape. Connect them using a curved line. This forms the mound of sand. Add texture to the sand using curved lines and small round shapes. Use curved lines to draw the back of the hourglass, behind the sand.
9. Detail the the hourglass. Draw pairs of parallel curved lines along the frame, and enclose curved shapes upon the glass.
10. Color your hourglass.
Would you like play in the sand a bit longer? Check out our desert drawing guide.