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Uploaded: December 29, 2013
Artist: JTM93
Difficulty: Advanced  Advanced Skill Level
Steps: 25
Updated: December 30, 2013
P.O.V: Front
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In this tutorial I will show you how to draw a realistic sports car, specifically the new car from Ferrari - the LaFerrari. This car is the successor to Ferrari's previous flagship model - the Enzo - and is one of the fastest and most expensive cars in the world. For this tutorial, you will need HB-4B pencils, a good eraser, a ruler, cotton pads/tissues/blending stumps/q-tips, and a sharpener. It would be good if you could get a hold of an ellipses template, but it isn't required.

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how to draw a realistic sports car

How to Draw a Realistic Sports Car

how to draw a realistic sports car step 1

STEP 1.

There are two main ways you can go about drawing the outline. I’ve described the freehand technique in detail here, but please skip ahead to step 12 to read about ‘the Grid’ technique before continuing. If you choose to draw the outline with the freehand technique, begin by making a big egg-shaped outline. The front of this shape will form the front of the car’s upper bumper, and the sides will inform the shape of the body of the car. The far side of the shape should arc across the drawing with a relatively constant radius. The close side is much straighter, but curves to form a point with the other side towards the back of the shape.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 2

STEP 2.

Draw two straight lines coming off the inside of the egg shape. If you were to imagine the front bumper being divided into thirds, these two lines would point to the two division marks.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 3

STEP 3.

Draw a bowl-shaped line joining the two lines added in step 2. Then add two straight lines off the corners of this bowl-shaped line and make them extend to the middle section of the front bumper. We now have the general shape of the hood and cabin of the car.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 4

STEP 4.

Now we need to draw the bottom border of the car which includes the car’s ‘splitter’ (this is the part of the floor which forms the bottom of the car's front section) and the sides of the car. To do so, add a line below the leading edge and sides of the ‘egg shape’ drawn in step 1, but make it follow the general shape of the upper structure. Next, we need to draw the rear of the car. You can see how one of the lines from the front of the car extends all the way around the cabin and curves around to the rear, creating a very streamlined shape. The rear boundary of the car is just a gentle curve. At this stage, the car looks a little like a computer mouse (to me at least).
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 5

STEP 5.

Here we add some of the detail surrounding the air intakes at the front of the car and around the doors.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 6

STEP 6.

Quite a lot has been added in this step. To make it easier to determine what has been added, open the image in full view and swap back and forth between this step and the image from step 5. Firstly, we need to draw the front fender shapes. Unlike on a normal road car, the body work of the LaFerrari moulds around the shape of the front wheels with the central hood of the front section lying below the top of the fenders. This shape also creates two channels between the center of the car and the two front wheel fenders, and these channels run around the cabin and feed air into the side intakes. In this step we also add some of the structures at the base of the windshield, and start to add the air vents in the center of the front section.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 7

STEP 7.

The major additions in this step are the wheel wells. Given the perspective of the drawing, the wells do not appear circular at all. The sides almost appear straight, but they then tightly curve together with the apex of the curve occurring in the upper-right corner of the wells. If you have an ellipse template, it would be pretty helpful in drawing these wells. I suggest practising a bunch of ovals on a spare piece of paper until you get a shape that looks right and then tracing it over. Alternatively, you can try the technique I explain in the next step. Also add the wing mirrors in this step. They align nicely with some of the guidelines/lines we have drawn so far. The far wing mirror (right side) appears to have a shorter stem than the closer one, but note that this is because of the perspective causing the windshield/cabin to obscure the rest of it.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 8

STEP 8.

Drawing wheels that match the perspective of a car is probably the hardest aspect of any car drawing and usually requires a lot of trial and error. Constructing an ellipse is quite complex. To start off, draw two lines along the sides of the car (faintly!) to mark the tops and bottoms of the two wheel rims. These should be in line with the base of the car. Next, add vertical (i.e. parallel with the sides of the paper) lines to each wheel region to mark the sides of the wheel rims. Now you have two boxes – one for the front wheel and one for the rear. Now draw two diagonal lines from the two opposite corners of each box so that each box has a large ‘X’ across it. Consider each ‘X’ as four lines that meet in the middle of the box. Now mark the middle of each of these lines so that you have an inner and outer segment. Then, mark the middle of the outer segments. Now you have found the point of each line that is 3/4 the distance from the center of the ‘X’. You also need to mark the middle of the four boundary lines of the box itself. Finally, draw an oval within the box, making sure that it touches these 8 points. This technique is NOT 100% accurate and you will probably need to alter the dimensions of the oval until it looks good. And of course, erase the guidelines once you are finished. You could also do this on a separate piece of paper and then trace the oval over after you are happy with it (I’d actually recommend this as it can get very messy if you do it on the actual drawing).
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 9

STEP 9.

Use the above technique to draw the rims of the wheels. These are not the tyres themselves (we won’t be able to see the tyre outlines in the final drawing) which is why they look so undersized for the wheel wells. Also add the outlines of the door seams in the cabin. The LaFerrari has interesting doors which have pieces of the roof attached to them, an interesting design feature that allows easier entry into the very low car – that is unless you can’t open the door fully!
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 10

STEP 10.

In this step we add the final details to the outline. These include details to the headlights, the windshield, the windshield wiper, the badges, and the wheel rims. The latter is more complicated than the other aspects and I describe the process below.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 11

STEP 11.

The LaFerrari has wheel rims with 5 basic spokes. There are two main stages in drawing the rim details. Start by drawing the center of the wheel. To do so, find the center of the oval and then draw the center of the wheel a little bit to the left of this point (as the center of the wheel is sunken slightly). When drawing the spokes, take note of how each appears to be a different shape – this is because of the perspective of the picture. Also notice how the gap between the upper left spokes is really thin compared to the much larger gap between the lower right spokes. The front wheel is more detailed than the far less visible rear wheel, so worry less about the latter. The second stage involves adding depth to the spokes by giving them sidewalls. The spokes pointing to the 7:00 o’clock position have the largest visible side walls and those pointing to the 4:00 o’clock position have the thinnest. Finally, add an inner circle between the spokes, making it about 0.5cm from the outer ring of the rim.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 12

STEP 12.

Finally, we have finished the outline of the drawing, which is probably the most difficult aspect of this tutorial. Before we move on, I’ll describe an alternative technique to drawing the outline. It involves drawing a grid over the reference material and an identical grid over your paper (lightly!). You can then draw the outline square-by-square. The presence of grid lines makes it so much easier to visualise where each line should be placed, and you can use a ruler to measure out these locations precisely if the reference material is at a 1:1 scale with your drawing. The drawback of this technique is that it requires drawing a precise grid over your paper (you can probably add a grid digitally to your reference material). I actually prefer this technique over all others when drawing technical objects like cars, as do most other artists I’ve talked with. Drawing a car freehand can be very difficult for some, especially if they want a high degree of accuracy.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 13

STEP 13.

We now can finally start the easier and fun part of the drawing – the shading. If you are familiar with my tutorials, my shading technique described here should hold no surprises. Begin by shading a rough base layer and then smooth it out with cotton pads/tissues (alternate between using a circular motion and left-right zig-zag motion when smoothin). Add a second layer of shading and smooth it out again. If you shade fairly consistent layers, then they should smooth out nicely and two layers should be enough. Note that if you need to add multiple layers, the shading can start to get too dark. In this step, I am starting the shading process.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 14

STEP 14.

In the previous step, I added a base layer of shading to various areas of the car. I've added some more layers of shading to certain areas before I start to smooth it out. You don’t want to overdo the smoothing aspect of the technique as it can damage the paper after a while.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 15

STEP 15.

Now start to smooth out the shading with a cotton pad/tissue. A lot of the panels on the car are shaded in a single tone and don’t have any gradient, making them a lot easier to shade. The top surfaces of the front of the car and the vents in the center of the hood are the major exceptions to this, as you will see in the following steps.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 16

STEP 16.

Continue to smooth out the rest of the shading. Now we need to sharpen up some of the reflections and shadows. Because cars have glossy paint, they will reflect a lot of the surroundings and light in their paint. In this drawing, the upwards-facing surfaces of the car will reflect the sky and are thus very light, whereas surfaces facing the sides are not reflecting the sky and are also cast in shadow. They are thus a rich red colour on the car, and this translates into darker shading in our black/white drawing. The few downwards facing surfaces are cast in black shadows. Also note how some of the darker panels blend with the lighter panels through long, pointy, thin lines. This reflects the very angular junctions between body panels on the real car.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 17

STEP 17.

There are a few regions on the car where there are more complicated reflections in the paint. The back of the front fender is one such area (see inset for larger image). Another area with complicated reflections is the side of the car just beyond the door windows. Leave a thin highlight along the line separating the upper surface from the vertical side of the door (see the previous image), and then shade a pointy arrowhead shape across the upper surface. Leave a large section at the rear of this panel blank for the time being. In this step I have also started to shade the lighter areas of the hood. This shading involves creating a gradient of darker shading at the front of the hood to very light shading at the rear where the hood meets the windshield. This also applies to the upper surfaces of the fenders.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 18

STEP 18.

Develop the gradient on the hood and smooth it out. Then add some shading to the splitter region of the front bumper. Note how a shadow from the upper ridge of the front of the car is casting an uneven shadow over this region. You should also start to shade the wind shield borders and the roof.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 19

STEP 19.

The detail along the rear of the side of the car has now been developed. There are three large streaks of shading separated by thin highlights. The upper streak extends all the way over the rear wheel well and has a jagged upper border towards the rear of the car. It’s also darker than the other two. To create the thin highlight strips, get two sheets of paper and align them very close together (as demonstrated in the upper left corner of the image) over the region of the drawing and then erase the strip between them. In this step I’ve also started to draw the reflections in the roof of the car. The roof is largely covered by a black reflection, but there are a few little highlights.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 20

STEP 20.

Darkly shade the roof sections outlined previously, but leave the highlight areas untouched for the moment. Also add some reflections to the left wing mirror (see inset for detail). There are a lot of highlights on the mirror housing, but also some dark shadows on the undersides.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 21

STEP 21.

With the roof largely finished, we now start to focus on the car’s shadow and the windscreen. The car’s shadow will obviously fall underneath the front and side border of the car. In this step we just need to add a thick and dark line along these borders. I’ve also outlined the outer and inner lines of the wheel rims where the rim is bordering a dark area. Now turn your attention to the windshield. Because the interior of the car will be very dark, and the glass will reflect the sky, the interior details will not be very visible. You will be able to make out the two seats, the outline of the dashboard and the steering wheel, but not much else. Draw the passenger seat in roughly the center of the windshield and the steering wheel towards the left column of the cabin. The driver’s seat will be mainly visible through the door window. Note that you can elect to just draw a gradient across the windshield instead.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 22

STEP 22.

In this step we add most of the details to the wheel rims. You need to pay attention to where the shadows fall – in the front wheel, the main shadows are at the 1 o’clock position on the inner rim surface, and on the sides of the 4 o’clock spoke and the 11 o’clock spoke (not added in this step). The same applies to the rear wheel, but less noticeably. Next, start to shade the interior of the car. You really don’t need much detail on the dashboard; just add the general shape I have drawn here. The shading on the dashboard and seats will be lighter than the other shadows shaded in this step. Finally, the shadow under the car has been outlined and the shading has been started. As you can see, the shadow almost fully encloses the two tires. In the end, the tires will be almost indistinguishable from the shadows.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 23

STEP 23.

Darken the shadow under the car and start to shade the seats and dashboard in the interior.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 24

STEP 24.

Use a 4-6B pencil to blacken the shadow under the car (be careful not to scratch the paper!) and also the tires surrounding the wheel rims. Also darken the shading of the windscreen/interior. You can see some lighter streaks of shading in the interior – these are actually representing reflections on the windshield itself. More will be added in the next step.
 
how to draw a realistic sports car step 25

STEP 25.

Quite a lot has to be added in this step. Firstly, lightly use an eraser to create more highlight streaks across the windshield. You should be trying to get a cloudy texture. Next, darken all the panel lines on the hood and doors. After that, add very small horses to the two badges on the hood and side of the car. The Ferrari horse emblem might be a little difficult to draw on such a small scale so you may want to just leave the badges blank. Finally, the headlights need to be finished. I haven’t mentioned the headlights in the previous steps, but you can see the three major progressive states of the more complex left headlight here. Firstly, note how the headlight has a shadow cast across its lower half. Also note how the main reflective part of the headlight is only partially visible as it is enclosed by some type of housing. The second image shows the outline of the strange pattern covering this reflective area (the light bulb itself is not visible). The final image shows the shaded pattern – the areas that are shaded should be dark and the highlights should be white. It’s a pretty messy pattern - just try to get a balance between curvy highlights and black areas between them. The two headlights also have a weird vertical row of LEDs that extend above them. Again, only the left one is really visible. It may appear as though I have drawn these LEDs carelessly as they are all slightly different shapes, but that is how they actually looked in the reference material. And finally, after a very long and challenging tutorial, we are finally finished. I hope you have found it helpful and give it a go, even if you think it is above your skill level!