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How to Draw a Graduation Gown

The traditional graduation gown is a single-color robe with a square tasseled hat.
graduate girl image by Maria Bell from Fotolia.com

The traditional modern graduation gown is a combination of styles that originated in the 13th and 14th centuries when organized universities formed in Europe. The modern graduation outfit consists of a long, single-colored gown with either a square hat and tassel for undergraduate-degree students or a faux hood for graduate-degree students. Additional regalia can also be used to show academic excellence or status.

Things You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Eraser
  • Pens Or Pencils
  • Coloring Supplies

Use basic geometrical shapes to draw a rough outline of a human body. When you have finalized your pose, add detail to the shapes to flesh in the body. Erase any lines as necessary.

Draw a long gown over the body. The gown has long, loose sleeves and usually reaches down to the ankles. Some gowns may have a slit partially up the front or may end at mid-calf instead of at the ankles.

Add color to the gown. Although black is a common color for the gown, some schools use their school colors in place of the traditional black gown.

Draw the graduation cap on the body. The caps for high school, bachelor's degree and baster's degree students are known as mortarboards and have two parts. The lower part is round and is shaped to fit snugly on the top of the head. The top portion is a flat square rotated so the corners point forward and backward. Doctoral caps or tams can be four, six or eight sided and are made of fluffed-up velvet. Tams with four sides are also used for master's students.

Draw a tassel on the graduation cap connected to the center of the top of the graduation cap, hanging toward the front on either the right or left side of the face. During the graduation ceremony, students begin with the tassel on the right side. Upon receiving their diploma, graduates shift the tassel to the left to signify their completion of the process. Tams typically have a gold tassel.

Draw a faux hood if the character is a master's or doctoral student. The faux hood is fabric that loops under the front of the neck and hangs down in the back, resembling a hood. The color and style of the faux hood depends on the field of study and the university.


Some schools allow undergraduate students to decorate their graduation caps. Although many students choose not to participate in this practice, it can help to show the personality of your drawn character. Add extra regalia to show the academic standing or involvement of the student. For example, a draped silver cord around the neck signifies high honors while a gold cord signifies highest honors. Class rings, diplomas and group specific symbols (fraternities, sororities and campus organizations) can also add detail to your character’s graduation outfit. Perform an image search for "graduation gown" to locate images of modern graduation regalia. These images can help provide additional references for drawing the gown.

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