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How to Sketch a Car
Step 1. For this tutorial you will need: A ruler, an HB and 4B pencil, an effective eraser, q-tips (cotton-buds) or make-up removers (cotton-pads) or tissues, and most importantly -> a compass
Step 2. When shading, I find it easier to achieve a smooth and consistent finish if I put a base layer of shading down first, smooth it out with a cotton-pad, then go over it again (without applying anymore pressure) and then smoothing it out again. Two layers is usually enough but if you are not confident at shading I recommend applying as little pressure as possible and increasing the repetitions.
Step 3. The wheels are the most important part of the car to get correct. The advantage of drawing a car from a side view is that you can use a compass to draw the wheels. The disadvantage is that each wheel must look identical (unless the car has different wheels) and it will be very noticeable if they don't. You only really need a compass to draw either the outline of the rim or the tyre. You can then draw the other ring details freehand. Drawing the spokes can be a bit more difficult but using the grid (see next step) will make it easier to keep them evenly spaced.
Step 4. There are two ways to draw a car. I will first show you the way to sketch the outline of a car completely freehand (only using a ruler in the first step). The second method is to draw a grid over your paper and your reference image and break the drawing down into steps. Using a grid makes it much easier to measure each part of your outline which will make the drawing much more accurate. But first, the freehand method: Began with a baseline and draw to circles on top as the wheels. Make sure that they are correctly spaced relative to your reference image as the picture will never look correct if they aren't. Also make sure you use a compass to draw the circles - I couldn't find mine so I ended up with slightly warped tyres.
Step 5. Make large, sweeping pencil strokes to define the rooflines. In the reference image I used, these lines more or less lined up with the wheels in the manner I have drawn them - I used this to help me draw them as accurately as possible. Another tip is that most sports cars have rooflines that are around about as high as double the height of the wheels.
Step 6. Continue to draw the lines of the car. I have added a temporary vertical line on the drawing and the reference image to make it easier to draw the car accurately (it helps me judge how long each line should be).
Step 7. Draw the outline of the shadows on the door panels. If you have difficulty drawing curved lines, I sometimes find it easier to draw the line in short but fluid and quick strokes. I control the strokes with my elbow and keep my forearm and wrist locked. This can take some practise though.
Step 8. Draw the bottom of the car and the nose details. Do not worry about the finer details like the wing mirror yet.
Step 9. Just add the final details such as the wing mirror and front headlights. This method of drawing the outline is much faster than the grid method, however you will undoubtly end up with a slightly inaccurate outline of the car.
Step 10. I much prefer to draw any technical drawings using the grid method. To do so, you must first find a good photo of the car you want to draw. Make sure that it is quite a high resolution image and then copy it into Photoshop or Microsoft Word. Now draw a grid over the image using a line tool in one of those programs or if you don't know how you can always print the image and draw the grid on manually. I recommend that you resize the image to the size that you want to draw, but this is not critical. The first thing to do is to draw the same grid that you placed on the reference image onto your paper (it must be proportional, but not necessarily exactly the same size). Now you can draw the image square by square and the grid makes it much easier to visualise this process. Make sure that you draw the grid with a soft but light pencil (HB is best, but don't use anything harder). A harder pencil will indent the paper which cannot be shadded over and it effectively ruins the drawing.
Step 11. Erase the grid and begin shading. Use the steps that I outlined at the beginning of the tutorial to shade. Be concious of the areas that need highlights and avoid them when shading. It is also a good idea to start shading the drawing on the left side of the page if you are right handed and vice versa if you are not. This is to avoid smudging the shading you already have done. Alternatively, you can cover the page with something such as tracing paper and rest your hand on it to avoid smudging. Do not use tissues.
Step 12. Continue to shade the drawing.
Step 13. Darken some of the shading and continue to improve its consistency. Begin to shade the roof and smaller sections of metal. As the shading on the main body panels is getting quite dark, you will want to have captured most of the shadows and highlights (not the very bright highlights yet though) by now.
Step 14. When shading the interior of the car, make sure you fist map out where the steering wheel, dashboard and seats will go. I often rush the interiors and it ends up looking average (i've did this during this drawing). Make sure you don't make this mistake - a well drawn and detailed interior can make the car look much more realistic. Remember that the glass windows will have highlights and these must not be ignored.
Step 15. Now we must return to the wheels. See the next step for an in-depth guide to shading the wheels.
Step 16. Begin by shading the darker outer tyre first but be careful not to go over the rim which must be much lighter. If you do, just erase it using a clean eraser. Don't be afraid to make the tyre quite dark - the darker the tyre, the more the highlighs on the rim will stand out. When shading the rim, be concious of exactly where the darker areas should be. As you will be working in a confined space, you don't want to be using your eraser too often. Also make sure that you don't forget to draw the brake calipers and discs in (on a sports car with open rims like this, this is very important). Finally, you can draw the finer details such as shading the wheel nuts and the logo into the center of the rim. Don't forget the small holes in the brake discs like I did.
Step 17. Application of the first part of Drawing Wheels Step 2. I have also started to shade the wing mirror and its shadow.
Step 18. Application of the second part of Drawing Wheels Step 2. This is the penultimate step and I have added/lightened a lot of the highlights on the body work.
Step 19. The final step is to add the shadow beneath the car. I often opt not to add this feature, however the tyres on this Ferrari are different sizes and it looked a little odd. The addition of a shadow hides this. When drawing the shadow, don't push hard with your pencil and don't rush - one stray pencil stroke going over the body work of the car could undo hours of shading. After the shadow, you have finished. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful.
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January 14, 2011Artist: JTM93Difficulty:
January 14, 2011P.O.V:
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Welcome to this in-depth guide on how to draw a realistic sports car. This tutorial is focused on drawing the new Ferrari 458 Italia; however you can apply these steps to any car. Cars are among the most impressive objects to draw but can be very difficult to pull off if you aren't methodical and patient. You will need a ruler and an HB and 4B pencil for this drawing. I hope you enjoy this tutorial and find it helpful.
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