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A Drawing of a Rainbow (in Creative Ways), and Arc vs. Arch!

Looking for a simple drawing of a rainbow? Ok sure — I’ve got that for you here… but since I love unique drawing prompts, I’m also going to share a few other ways to make rainbow art and painting that you might not have thought of yet.

Each of these rainbows is easy and fun. Don’t believe me? Just ask the magical Rainbow Princess I just drew, below!

A magical rainbow princess!
A magical rainbow princess!

The Easiest Rainbow Drawing

If you’ve found this article because you’re doing the drawing of rainbows yourself, the easiest way to start is with just the upward arc of a partial rainbow — not the arch. First do your line of red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, and a little blue for the sky, and you’re in business!

Below, I’ve drawn a variation on this rainbow arc art using the “marker” brush on the iPad app, Procreate. I couldn’t help but add in some extra colors because in general, I’m extra. Hehe. Double reverse rainbow on a purple sky for the win! Who says rainbow colors need to go in just one direction?

An easy rainbow drawing.
An easy rainbow drawing.

Rainbow Painting Tips

Ready to move on to the classic full arch of a rainbow drawing? It’s a little harder than expected, because getting the arch shape symmetrical is challenging. Because I was drawing the rainbow, below, using a digital art app, I was luckily able to use the “transform and warp” tool to pull my lopsided creation into a more pleasing semi-circle — though as you can see, it’s still not perfect.

I chose to keep those imperfections because there is so much artificially generated robot art out there these days that all touches of real human spark are needed. This piece of art uses the “Acrylic Paint” brush, then the smudge tool to make the lines softer. Yes, I have again created a double reverse rainbow with extra colors. Sorry (not sorry).

A drawing of a rainbow
A drawing of a rainbow.

Arc vs. Arch

While we’re on the topic of rainbows — which are so often described as an “arc of a rainbow” or “rainbow arch,” we must clarify the difference between arc vs. arch. We must do this because I’m an English teacher enraptured by commonly confused words.

An arc is a noun defined as a curved line, resembling PART of the circumference of a circle. It is also a verb describing a trajectory or movement in that curved line shape. Usually it’s conceptualized as being up high, not resting on the ground. My second drawing in this article is more of an arc shape than an arch. The back of this cute snail drawing is an arc.

An arch is a noun meaning an upside-down “U” shape, usually visualized as having both ends resting on the ground. Picture the arch of your foot, or the arch of a rounded entryway, or look at my drawing, above, of the classic rainbow arch. “To arch” is also a verb, meaning to bend into an upside-down “U” shape, as in “to arch your back.”

Time-Lapse Video of Rainbow Art Drawing:

By the logic of these definitions, you could say EITHER “rainbow arc” or the “rainbow arch,” but you’d “arc” more correctly if you’re describing a curve that’s less than half a circle, and has only one or neither “legs” touching the ground. You’d use the latter more correctly if the rainbow being described had both ends visibly touching the ground.

Had enough of English definitions? Ok — back to rainbow art.

Rainbow painting
Rainbow painting!

Beyond the Rainbow Arch

When making a drawing of a rainbow, why stop at a mere arch? What other shapes can be formed with the consecutive colors of the rainbow? Check out the smudged, square rainbow I drew, above, or the swirling rainbow below. I made the first with the Airbrush tool in Procreate (then the smudge), and the second with the Spray-paint brush followed by the Liquify tool.

Rainbow art
Rainbow art.

A Rainbow Mandala

Ready to get even more wild? Try making a rainbow mandala! A “mandala” is defined as a form of art that is usually circular, with symmetrical patterns around it. On the Procreate digital app, you can create a mandala by turning on “Drawing Guide” then clicking “Edit Drawing Guide.” I used the “Studio Pen” brush under “Inking,” then set the background color to black.

A rainbow mandala.
A rainbow mandala.

Which Drawing of a Rainbow Do YOU Like?

You’ve now seen numerous options for attempting a drawing of a rainbow — from an easy rainbow, to the arc (vs. arch), to a square, swirl, and mandala. Oh, and let’s not forget my magical Rainbow Princess from the first drawing! (If you like her, meet her cousin in my “Drawing the Wind” article, or explore “Octopus Drawing: Easy.”) Of all these options, which rainbow art do YOU like the best? Do share!

Enjoy rainbow colors? Check out my new line of colorful clothing, cute frog drawing instructions, or the color explorations, “What Does Purple and Green Make?” and “What Do Yellow and Purple Make? and “What Does Red and Green Make?”