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Starting off with a simple line sketch of the car with the key forms indicated by just a few lines. When starting with a line drawing for a concept sketch I sometimes prefer to keep things simple and let the details emerge as the sketch develops. You may find that the longer you spend on the underlying sketch, the less inclined you are to change the design because you feel you are throwing time and effort away. It is important however to maintain some objectivity and not getting too attached to the design early on will help you to be critical of your work.

10 The main graphic elements; the grille, headlamps and windows, are blocked in.

The shoulders should be quite muscular and rounded on this car. One way to suggest this is with a fairly low reflection on the bodyside and a broad sweep of airbrush a good distance away from this reflection, made here on the bonnet and glasshouse.


A couple of reflections are put on the bonnet with a white airbrush to help show the amount of curvature in the bonnet
profile. Also a rough wheel is thrown in together with the shadow of the far wheel to ground the car.




The grille gets a badge and basic intake which is applied to get a feel for proportion. Some overlaid black airbrush gives more contrast to the nearest corner of the car.

14 A shadow picks out the far edge of the car and a few highlights on the wheel and bodywork work with the higher contrast to sharpen up the car nearest the viewer.



The front wheel is copied over to the rear and moved away from the body a bit to improve the overall stance. The contrast on this wheel is reduced to help it look more distant.

16 Overlaid broad airbrush strokes of cool blue and warm earth tone help to fill out the form and give a definite impression of "top" versus "side". Obviously you could tell before which was the top of the car but this just helps you see it more easily and adds some realism.
17 Some interior silhuoettes are added by erasing shapes from a transparent layer of airbrushed black which has been placed over the glass area. Also an extra feature is rendered on the bonnet just to tighten up the whole area and give it some tension and muscularity which is generally lacking from the car.
2 A door shutline and grille outline work with similarly contrasting reflections and highlights to sharpen the sketch up a notch. At this point the sketch was felt to be not yet successful in that the design and concept was not strong enough. It was worth working on it more however to see if it was the presentation that wasn't working, or the design.
3 The bodyside is showing very little form so some airbrushing helps it out together with some more subtle reflections. A basic tyre tread is hinted at quickly in order to enhance the general perception of detail and realism.
4 Too much of the far headlamp is showing which is flattening and distorting the front of the car. The outline is tweaked by replacing some of the bodywork with background shadow. This helps the front wrap around more, suggesting a nicer plan shape and making it possible to show some of the far tyre as it turns outwards slightly.




It is decided that the line where the headlamps and grille intersect is weak and out of keeping with the things that are working on the car, such as the bodyside and general proportion. As a result a clean line is made which makes use of the high waistline and tapered overhang to arc around the front.

6 Now the design is much happier both from objective and brand standpoints, the area is cleaned up and some details are re-applied; headlamps are suggested and a badge is added.
7 A grille surface is blocked in and some LED headlamps that match it go in next. It works well but is too crude at this stage.
8 The large grille surface needs some more form. A feathered quick mask tool is used to show some subtle surface changes which refine the area and compliment the badge opening. The grille is still a very strong statement but now in a way that doesn't distract from the rest of the car.

The remnants of the old bonnet feature are cleaned up and the new line is reinforced. The underlying linework is removed because it is making some features look too pronounced. The line of the sill is strengthened and cleaned up and the sharp change of direction in the grille/headlamp graphic is used as a location for some auxilliary lamps/main beam reflectors. A bit more wheel detail and design is added to bring their level up to that of the rest of the car and which echoes the grill/headlamp detail. The result is a presentable theme sketch produced in less than an hour with practice. Click on the image for an enlargement.

How are you doing with this tutorial? Let me know.

I recommend Art Rage if you are wondering what digital software to use. It is simple, inexpensive and has great natural feeling tools. I use it for creating basic sketches such as these below.