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Creating artwork based on classic or inspiring designs is always a good source of rendering practice and proportion and detail study.

Even the most original design ideas are in some way based on, or inspired by, what has already been seen before. Reinforcing the library of references is a very useful thing for a designer. By illustrating a car you will most likely see things that would otherwise have gone unnoticed just by looking at it.

This tutorial shows how anyone can create such an artistic study of their chosen car while learning about colour, tone and possible rendering techniques at the same time.

Using only Art Rage I use the automatic colour picker and a tracing image to save time and create the image fluently, as you can see in the 15 minute video below. Although computer programs won’t turn you into a good sketcher or illustrator on their own, they can make your work a lot easier sometimes and this is one example of that.

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    An all-time classic Saab 900 turbo is chosen as a study in clean lines, strong graphics and interesting proportions. It is loaded as a tracing image and on the first layer broad brush strokes are made with the largest brush size (100) with free strokes and “sample color from tracing image” set in the palette menu. This means that every contact with the canvas will simultaneously sample the underlying colour and the brush will hold that colour until another contact is made.
SAAB_paint_02 The brush is reduced by half to size 50 and on the same layer the process continues with a little more attention paid to the tracing image and certain areas of colour. If there is an obvious colour such as the indicators in this example, make sure you contact the canvas at that point to get some small dabs in.
SAAB_paint_03 The brush is reduced by half again to 25 and the process continues on the same layer. Each time the brush size is reduced the tracing takes longer as the sampling gets more exact and more attention is paid to the tracing image. At this stage, smaller details such as wheel spokes, pillars and vents can be roughly applied.
SAAB_paint_04 The palette knife is used to blend the paint applied so far in the direction of the lines and surfaces.  This creates some smoother gradients and a more bodywork-like appearance. The paint was all applied on the same layer so that at this stage it would all blend together nicely. The tool is used at various different sizes depending on the width of the block of colour that is being blended. For example, if the highlights and shadows of the body-side were blended together then the waistline crease would be lost, so each area was blended separately.
SAAB_paint_05 The brush is used again in the same way as before but this time reduced in size to 12 and applied on a new layer. The new layer means that the sampled colours won’t blend with the existing paint (as if left to dry) and cleaner tones can be achieved as the detail level increases.
SAAB_paint_06 More of the same with a slightly smaller brush size of 10.
SAAB_paint_07 With a brush size of 5 some line-work is applied using curve templates where necessary. The outline is cleaned up in places using this brush which can achieve clean edges where it matters. Real care now needs to be made as the aim is to pick out obvious detail and give the image much of its line quality and definition.
SAAB_paint_08 The pencil tool is used on a new layer and, still sampling colour from the tracing image, all the important shut-lines, panel gaps and fine shadows and highlights are applied with care, again using a curve template where necessary.