5 TOP TIPS TO LEARN CAR DESIGN: How To Sketch Like A Pro Car Designer!

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5 TOP TIPS TO LEARN CAR DESIGN: Foundational sketching skills are essential for any designer. Some argue that drawing a car is one of the most complex objects one can draw, barring parametric architectural forms of course! The car, a vehicle, a mobility vessel, has an exterior, interior, and all the detailing that lies between. It takes practice and vision to keep these elements in play whilst describing perspective and proportions.

We think that Inktank Academy is the perfect choice as they guide you through the progression, at your own pace, of these fundamental skills with the help of experienced tutors and some invaluable tips and tricks of the trade. Here are the top 5!

5 – Understanding proportions


Cars of any shape or size, use, or drivetrain are based on guiding proportions. You might have heard of the Golden Section, Golden Mean, or Divine Proportion that is based on the Golden Ratio of 1.618. If you do then you will also know, and for those who don’t, that it comes from the Fibonacci sequence, a naturally occurring sequence of numbers that can be found everywhere, from the number of leaves on a tree to the shape of a seashell. Math is Beauty. This powerful visual balance was also explained by Leonardo da Vinci through his many designs and most famously embodied in his Vitruvian Man.

A review of student’s work enrolled at Inktank academy in understanding proportions course

Very well but how does this apply to cars? Indeed, cars are varied in proportions and usually, the distribution of volumes depends on the utility of the vehicle and drivetrain and real-world restrictions. Thereafter, the car designer can in earnest create a shape around these volumes with the visual flow. It is in this moment that proportions must be considered and referenced, back and forth from the front of the car to the rear whilst keeping an aesthetic in mind. It’s not easy, it takes practice, but it is achievable through gaining knowledge in design, all fields, and respecting a few rules. Inktank Academy’s Car Design 101 – Proportions and Vehicle Segments course will give you an immensely valuable kick-start with some helpful practice templates.

4 – Mastering line weight


The complicated forms of vehicles can feel overwhelming to draw at times. It is important to create a hierarchy for yourself as to what is it you are trying to communicate with your drawing. Sometimes, even with the correct proportions and great perspective, the eye cannot process all cues in an image simultaneously and your drawing falls flat. Like every good work of art, you need to break the composition down and draw the eye around the image on a journey of discovery.

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A review of student’s work enrolled at Inktank academy in Line Weight, Line Quality and Basic Shading course

For example, a front 3/4 view rendering of a vehicle will focus on the details at the front and side of the car. By using contrasting line weights and line quality, often fewer lines being of more value, the designer can define the shape and volume of the car they have designed with the use of just a few lines. Again, it’s a discipline that needs repetitive participation but once mastered it can be the fastest and most effective tool for communicating your design. Follow the Inktank tutors Car Design 101 РLine Weight, Line Quality and Basic Shading course to find out more.

3 – Owning perspective

Cement your perspective and chose your style. Every great car designer feels comfortable in a certain drawing zone. This is usually because they have worked out a perspective that suits their style and drawing skill. At first, you will need to get familiar with drawing primary solids in perspective. There are many tutorials on that subject online but Inktank Academy’s very own tutor, Berk Kaplan, has to be without a doubt one of the best. He certainly has the context of car design at heart and once you train with his Car Design 101 – Perspective course and templates you are sure to come out from the experience with a firm grasp on the subject.

2 – Flip It!

On a more basic drawing note, our number 2 TOP TIP is perhaps the most underused but most helpful – flip your drawing. What does this mean? Well, just like chefs continually tell their staff or us as we are watching their popular show, ‚Äėtaste your food!‚Äô, you need to flip your drawing continuously as you sketch. As you are progressing flip the paper or layer to verify how your drawing is coming along. If you are doing side views you can catch proportions that are off-kilter and if you are doing perspectives you can see if they are on point or not. Give it a go, it doesn‚Äôt take a Pro!.

1 – Practice, practice, practice!: 5 TOP TIPS TO LEARN CAR DESIGN

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Yeah, yeah, yeah. You get the point. All our TOP TIPS bring you to the most important one. Whilst you might not need a formal education to become a Pro Car Designer you will need practice. It takes a certain kind of person, with an indefinite amount of passion to become a good car designer. That person will draw ad nauseam, in their dreams, on napkins, in restaurants, until it becomes second nature. There is no number of tutorials or magic potions that can take you there. What you get out of car design is what you put in. This last one is up to you!


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