I really hate to admit this, but I am completely and totally stuck in a rut right now when it comes to drawing cars. Sure, I’ve been drawing a lot lately, but man – every car I draw seems to be the same thing over and over again – and quite frankly I’m getting a little tired of it! You may have seen my recent post about the truck and SUV concepts I’ve been sketching lately, and the whole reason for drawing trucks like that was to break out of my comfort zone and draw the kinds of vehicles I don’t normally draw.
In an effort to force myself away from the typical sport-compact coupes that I normally draw (over and over again), I’ve been continuing on with the truck theme really hard. Yes, I’d much rather be drawing low-slung sports cars – but I’m not going to progress as a designer until I can feel comfortable drawing anything without worry of it slowly morphing back into a sports car the more I refine it.
I don’t normally start with a firm idea when sitting down to start a new concept sketch, but this time I clearly decided that I wanted to draw a small sport utility vehicle as I put pen to paper. Long story short (and as you can see), this ended up turning into a large Cadillac SUV complete with 24” wheels and an aggressive sports-car stance. Crikey – even my big trucks end up looking like sports cars!
But as I’ve said a million times before: practice, practice, practice. That was my whole motivation for starting this blog in the first place. I needed a place to put my sketches and renderings in a format where I could easily track progress and growth. I’m getting there…slowly but surely.
I tend to draw the same kinds of cars over and over again, and it’s really hard sometimes to break free of that and try new things. I’m so entrenched into a single style, as a matter of fact, that even my “new things” end up looking like the same kinds of cars I’ve been drawing for years!
Right after I posted a summary of my recent car drawings last month, I took notice how similar they all looked. I’ve known for years that I tend to draw the same vehicles over and over again but seeing everything together in a single image was really eye opening! Therefore, I decided that I would focus on drawing and sketching sport utility and crossover type vehicles for the next few weeks – just for a change of pace.
And you know what? Even my trucks still look like that two-door sport coupes that I typically draw! I think what I really need at this point is one of my transportation design professors from design school to make and appearance and ream me out for being too predictable and not pushing my design explorations far enough. I remember how crushing that felt to be ripped apart during open critiques in class, but you know what? I learned from that experience and I could definitely see myself growing as a designer while I was in school. But here I am, 20 years later (with very little practical industrial design experience under my belt) and I am finding myself wedged deeply into a safe and predictable style of design.
One of these actually morphed into a station wagon of some sort, so I just ran with it.
Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself. After all, I have absolutely no change careers and design cars for a living. That ship has sailed – at 41 years old, I’m not what the design studios are looking for. So what if I have a predictable style? More than anything I just want to refine my technique and be able to draw and illustrate cars in a way that makes people say “wow”. Do I need to be a cutting edge designer to do that? It would probably help I suppose, but I guess I’m not overly concerned about it.
More sketches coming soon!
It’s been a while since my last update, but I’m still drawing cars every now and then – but certainly not as much as I’d like. Most of the time it’s because I’m so busy that I’m not anywhere near a computer, but other times it’s because I’m at my computer but too busy doing other things! There don’t seem to be enough hours in the day to draw all the cars that I’d like, so finding any amount of spare time to sneak in a sketch or two is a challenge.
I posted a while back about how my iPad is a great way to sketch and draw wherever I happen to be, and I still think that is the case. I take that iPad with me to meetings (and during travel), and combined with the Sketchbook Pro app and a Wacom art pen, it’s a pretty good solution for getting my art and design fix whenever it may strike.
The car and truck sketches above are two that I recently created on the iPad. Well, “recently” is a loose term, mostly because I started both of these back in January of this year and just tinkered with them both since then whenever I had a few minutes here in there in meetings (or wherever). I wanted to put some more detail into both, but I’ve just now decided to call them “done” and move on to the next drawing.
Because they were drawn on the iPad, they are pretty basic and crude. It’s difficult to get a lot of detail into these with a fat-nibbed stylus, so I was basically playing with basic shape and form more than anything else. But most importantly, it’s good practice.
I remember back when I was a child, and I could crank out 5 car sketches a day without a problem. I’ve got boxes full of my old car drawings from when I was a young teen, and I’m amazed how many I did back then. I was a total machine! Sadly, I just don’t have that kind of time anymore – as a matter of fact, this truck sketch took me nearly a week to do from start to finish. Technically, I only spent 1 hour on it, but it was one of those “10 minutes here, 10 minutes there” kind of things. Someday I hope to have the kind of time I used to have when I was a child so I can just sit and draw cars all day. Someday…
Anyway, this is a slightly different style for me. I’m not sure if I like it, but I do like the contrast.
It’s funny how things work out – when I sat down to create this illustration, I wanted to create something like an off-road mini truck with fat tires and a lifted stance. But as you can see, it didn’t really turn out that way. As I was sketching this out and trying to work through the forms and surfaces, it evolved into something more sporty and street-specific (rather than a true off-road beast).
I’m not really complaining though. I like the way this turned out! The overall style of the truck is hard and angular – almost stealth-like. I probably could have spent some more time working out the details of the lower portion of the body, as I don’t really feel as if it’s very realistic. I’m not sure what else I could do with it, other than adding some type of rugged frame bars or something that would make it seem more like a truck.
I had also intended to render this in color, but I just really like the look of a grayscale sketch. For whatever reason, I have an easier time understanding forms and surfaces without color. The gray tones help to define the shape – sort of what makes black and white photography so interesting.
Yeah, I’m still here! Life has been busy lately and I haven’t been drawing as much as I want, but I’m still making an effort to draw at least one car a day. That may seem like a rather rigid goal for someone so busy, but I’m trying to be as loose about it as possible. Basically, I don’t care how much time I spend on each sketch, nor do I car how well they turn out. All I want to do is make sure that my brain and hands stay in sync with one another, which will naturally help me to become a better artist. That’s one of the most important things I remember from design school – we were told (forced) to DRAW DRAW DRAW!!! It didn’t matter what the subject matter was – the key was to never stop practicing, and we all became better because of it.
Anyway, here are two recent car sketches of mine. I cannot claim these as my own designs. As a matter of fact, I blatantly copied some cool sketches I found on the internet. So…please, do not send me rude comments in attempts to call me out. I’m just trying to stay in practice, without trying to worry so much about design and aesthetics. I’ve been out of the automotive design world for so long now that I find myself getting hung up of form and surface, when all I really want to focus on right now is sketching technique.
Both sketches were created in Sketchbook Pro on a Wacom tablet. My line quality is getting better, don’t ya think?