As an artist and teacher, I’ve always been enraptured with the beauty of everyday symbols. I mean, have you ever taken a moment to appreciate the complex and varied gorgeousness of the ampersand “and symbol?” Today, we will turn our attention to the musical realm, as we explore how to draw a treble clef in several different easy ways.
As background, my name is Lillie, and I specialize in making seemingly daunting drawing prompts easier by showing the many, simple ways that something can be sketched. As someone who took piano and then trumpet lessons for many years, the statuesque treble clef has always been close to my heart. Let’s investigate how to create it.
The Treble Clef “Stem”
There are three different accepted ways to draw the vertical “stem” that runs from the top to the bottom of the treble clef. Above, behold a version of the symbol in which the stem ends at the bottom with a curly flourish to the left. That is the fanciest way to sketch it — and in my view, the most fun — but I do tend to go a little wild with my creative drawings.
Below is the simplest accepted version of the stem, which is just a straight line up and down, with nary a flourish in sight. The mathematical Pi symbol has a similar pared-down version with simple straight lines. (Speaking of simple versus fancy: All of my treble clef drawings here are wildly multi-colored because I love drawing rainbows, but normally this symbol is just sketched in black on white paper!)
The third version of the treble clef stem is shown in my illustration below this one, and it is a hybrid between the first two options: it’s a “ball” or large dot at the end of a flipped-up-to-the-left “tail.” (Hmm, now I’m thinking of the type of figurative language called personification, as I visualize the treble clef as an animal with a tail!)
Which Direction of Lines?
This discussion of the vertical line in the symbol now begs the question: In which direction should your pen lines go to draw the treble clef? See one option, below, then we’ll discuss a second one. In this first method, you begin with the end of the “tail” (either the ball, as shown below, or the spiral, or straight line), then move your pen UPWARD, as demonstrated by the red-colored section of my illustration.
Next (steps 3, 4, and 5, below), you move the pen to the right, then back left again, to form a “D” with the stem, then swirl around into a spiral like a cute snail body. End the spiral with a point just before it touches the stem a second time.
A Different Treble Clef Drawing Option
I like the method explained above of starting from the bottom of the treble clef and moving upward, but there is a second method that works better for some people — just as there are multiple methods of easy octopus drawing. In this second symbol-sketching technique, you start in the MIDDLE of the treble clef, at the center of the body’s spiral (colored blue, above).
You then create the whole symbol from the inside, out. This method produces less of sharp “D” shape at the top, and more of a rounded loop. Play around to see what works best for your style!
Getting Fancy with the Symbol
In formal printed music, you may notice that the treble clef is drawn with differing thicknesses of lines in different parts, to produce more of a flair-filled calligraphy effect. Though this looks gorgeous, I wouldn’t stress yourself trying to create that with your pen. The simple method shown here works just fine for everyday music purposes. The Om symbol has similar stylistic options.
In fact, the symbol has changed a great deal over the years, as a certain Smithsonian history lesson explains. But… has anyone else been so into creating psychedelic rainbow treble clefs like my illustration, below?
How to Draw a Treble Clef, in Sum
I hope this tutorial has eased some of the scary mystery around the challenge of how to draw a treble clef. As we’ve seen, there are several different ways to do it, with methods that produce a number of correct and accepted results. Which technique and styles are YOUR favorites? Do share…
Want more about sketching and symbols? Check out drawing the wind, Reiki symbols, a Pi Day activity, and sea urchin drawing.
The author and artist, Lillie Marshall, is a National Board Certified Teacher of English who has been a public school educator since 2003, and an experienced Reiki practitioner since 2018. All art on this site is original and hand-drawn by Lillie. She launched DrawingsOf.com Educational Cartoons in 2020, building upon the success of her other two sites, AroundTheWorldL.com (established 2009) and TeachingTraveling.com (founded 2010). Subscribe to Lillie’s monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media to stay connected!