How to Draw Cars – Digital Paintings

May 09, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

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Automotive Art work charges me up.   For me, it is the by-product of learning how to draw cars the proper way before learning techniques in style.  Over the years, I have simply become accustomed to loving the actual process of creating art.  Sometimes I do not have a complete plan on what I want to do. Sure…I teach a lot of tricks on how to draw thumbnails and post it notes sketches to sort of “map” out what I want in the end.  However, there is a certain “high” and excitement you get out of the unknown.  The unpredictable factor can also help to yield interesting results.  Even if I do a miniaturized version, there are always elements and portions of the drawing or painting I wish to change.   One thing is for certain, drawing sports cars or painting my next vintage racer would not be half as much fun if my foundation in sketching and drawing cars were flawed in the first place.  If you nail down the basics, then you spend less time trying to make the drawing “right” and more time exploring creative means of execution and style.    If you know how to draw cars correctly, then you will know how to cheat reality in order to make a more interesting looking image.

Let’s take this piece for example.  This is a Oreca Lemans prototype vehicle at Sebring.  This photo was given to me by a friend of mine at work.  He gave me a several of pictures to work with and was interested in seeing what I could come up with.  So the challenge for me here is to visualize something different than what I see in the picture.  For me, if you are creating art, you are trying to trigger an emotional response.  To use colors and compositions that can evoke excitement and sense of movement.  Understanding how to replicate a picture is very important at the beginning so your brain understands the initial value and color distribution in order to make that image look realistic and believable.  Once you master that, there is little sense (in my mind) to replicate the picture as one can simply take a picture and hang it up on your wall in the first place.  However the process of learning and understanding reality is beneficial only to the point of which you know when to blur the lines of reality itself in the quest of creating an emotionally charged piece of artwork. The original picture was pretty dark and it was tough to make out the details but what caught my eye was the glowing rotors.  Isn’t that freakin awesome?!!  I actually had to google the car to get a better understanding of the shape so I could add a little more color and give it some form but yet maintain a silhouette feel to it.
 

So naturally I start off with one of my miniature paintings which is what you see above.  I sketch the general direction for the color and lighting around the vehicle without getting into too many details.  I do this for about 35 – 40 min.  By the way…I paint these pretty small.  It’s a perfect exercise to do when you want to warm up.  If you would like to see an example video check out this post on how to paint a car in 10 min flat!.

The finished painting above took some of the elements from its little brother miniature but I ended up changing a few things here and there.  The miniature version was sort of “dull” so I had to intensify it.  I did this by making the center much brighter and carried that intensity in light from the driver to the front of the car.  This higher contrast also helps to define the shape and draw your eyes to this area.  All other elements are added with more detail and I tighten the painting up.  The final was completed at a size of 16X24 at 300 dpi.  My computer was getting pretty damn tired chuggin away!  In the end, it was chosen for the front cover of the Cardesignfetish 2011 charity calendar.
Just remember that painting little miniature versions really help you to quickly identify what you like or hate about the initial painting.  After which you can create more little versions till you decide on  a path or direction to choose from.


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