I saw this topic on the burning questions list, so I said to myself,"I'm an artist, so I should help ya'll out (besides the fact that I want a prize!)." That's what I'm hoping to accomplish here. The first thing ya'll need to know is that no one starts off as a good artist, I don't care what you've heard. Ya'll have to PRACTICE, not just say "I can't draw."
To start, I'll go over some basics with y'all (If you haven't noticed, I'm from the south). Most important thing to do is draw LIGHTLY, I can't stress that enough. If you bear down too hard, you'll make indentions in your paper that mess up your art. Also, put a few sheets of paper inbetween the sheet you're drawing on and the table. First you should practice CIRCLES. your circles will get progressively better. Draw 'em on everything! If you're in school, draw on your notes; if you don't go to school this drawing WILL be more difficult for you to get good at (due to the fact that you aren't confined to a desk all day with nothing to do BUT draw), but don't get discouraged! It's not that hard in the first place!
You should also practice the two othe basic shapes of ALL things: Squares(including rectangles), and triangles. If you don't believe me just look at the world around you...ya'll will see how they fit together. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE!
If y'all need help, I'll do my best to respond and work with you, posting your comments with the appropriate steps will help me out a lot though.
Step 1: Making your 2D shapes 3D
So you've got the first step down, Congratulations! Y'all are one step closer to being a good artist, since after this that's what you will be. Now, we'll start on shading (for this you should use a regular wooden pencil, pens and mechanical pencils can be used, but since ya'll are beginners use wood, make sure you have a good pink (not black or green or whatever) or kneaded eraser that won't leave marks on your paper(eraser marks, ironically, do NOT erase). If you don't know what a kneaded eraser is, it's a gray clay-like eraser, don't worry it's not required, but if you want one you can buy them at Michael's or some similar craft store. Now to the fun part (if this isn't fun for you, you should figure out why and try to fix the problem, otherwise, you won't be the best you can be.) take your pencil and draw a circle, don't worry if it's not perfect that's not what we're going for now. After you've drawn the circle decide where you want the light to come from. my drawings will always depict the light as coming from the upper left, you may wish to do the same. Light is the most important part of your drawings, without it they will appear flat and unrealistic. Luckily, it's very easy apply light to ya'll's drawings. start by lightly shading the entire circle; this will be the "color" of the circle (soon to be ball). Then, erase a SMALL circular section in the upper left quadrant of the circle. this is the reflection of the light. (the reflection's shape depends upon the light source, but for now, all light sources will be ROUND). Now begin to darken the opposite side of the ball, it should be pitch black on the "edge" and gradually fade to the base "color" of the ball as it nears the reflection. Now your circle is a ball, but something's missing...What's that thing that follows you wherever you go?....Oh, that's right, a SHADOW! draw the outline of the shadow starting from the base of the ball and moving to the left and up at about a 25 degree angle, or whatever looks right for your sphere. Then, loop back around to the left and bring the outline to the sphere about half a quadrant (22.5 degrees) above the base. Fill in the out line DARKLY. Wow! That looks so much better than that plain old circle! PRACTICE! Don't quit on me now!