kuronokiri replied to your photo “Meet Pfeffernusse! She is a small angry cat that has been living in…”
So cute and grumpy! Where did the name come from?
I ate some Pfeffernusse cookies once many years ago, and the name just sounded like it belonged to a tiny cute animal of some sort!
Drawing Vehicles - 1
So I figured this might be helpful to people since I know it’s something even I still struggle with and can be a bit of a hurdle to jump. especially when you don’t have much (or any) experience doing it. Incidentally, a lot of this will also apply to other man-made objects like guns, machines, even buildings—but this post focuses on vehicles in particular.
Note: If you’re just doing a one-off and this isn’t something you’re interested in doing a whole lot more of, my best advice would be to find reference that closely fits the angle you need and approach it as you would a live figure/still life drawing.
Note 2: This post assumes you have at least a basic understanding of perspective.
First and foremost, you want the best reference material you can find. Lots of pictures from lots of angles, preferably in as high-resolution as you can manage to get. Even lower-resolution images are OK, especially if they show something that your other refs don’t. A weird angle, a particular detail, etc. If you don’t already have reference/need more, start with google image search, flickr, and wikipedia, and branch out from there. It can also be really helpful to look for photos of model-kits of your subject.
Now before we jump ahead I wanna talk about some theory. To me, vehicle design is all about sculpture: shaped planes and surfaces meeting in a 3d space, that form an overall structure. It has an outside shape (the silhouette), and it has inside shapes (the details).
Even if you’re drawing something that already exists, you have to keep this in mind. Let’s say we’re drawing a Willys MB Jeep. Jeeps have a very particular look about them that defines their character. Have a look at these:
Try to get, at minimum, at least one high-resolution photo from a 3/4 front view, and some orthographic (side view) drawings. Sometimes orthographic drawings can be difficult to find, but they are massively useful, even in low resolution. If you only have photo-refs that show the subject in perspective, you’re not going to have a great idea of how all the parts fit together with each other, as they’ll be skewed by perspective.
So let’s take a closer look. What defines the “look” of this vehicle? If you don’t know where to start, here are a few things to check:
- Overall shape language. The jeep is a very boxy vehicle, with a few angles in the front, broken up by gentle, rounded edges. Lots of right angles and a handful of circular curves.
- Overall proportions of the vehicle. The jeep is a compact, stout, upright vehicle. It isn’t particularly long or wide, and all of the bulk is concentrated around the boxy body—there is very little above the hood. The shape of the body is very simple and doesn’t have many curves or angles.
- Proportions of the vehicle body in relation to itself. Here, the vehicle is almost divided into thirds by the front engine compartment, the cabin, and the rear.
- Position and size of the wheels. Here, the axles are situated just under the body, they are about 1½ wheels apart, and the front wheel juts out about ¼ of it’s length in front of the body.
- Ground clearance. The Jeep is an off-road vehicle, and as you can see it has plenty of ground clearance.
Other features, ex:
- The jeep has angular fenders above the front wheel wells, but the rear wheel wells are rounded and have no fenders.
- The wind-screen is a rectangular flat panel that folds down over the hood, with the glass taking up the upper third and with a vertical split down the middle.
- The jeep has a distinctive grille with 9 vertical bars and two circular headlights sitting next to either upper corner.
- The bumpers are a simple set of bars that stick out from the body about a foot away.
- The steering wheel comes out at about a 45 degree angle; it and the seats sit high in the body, with the seat bottom about halfway up from the floor to the body’s top edge.
- There is a single small, circular rear-view mirror mounted on a metal arm on the outside next to the driver.
- The top cover is supported by two bars in the back that fold down, and attaches to the front windscreen at the top.
- The vehicle lacks proper doors, instead it just has cut-outs from the sidewall to allow entry.
If you’re not already familiar with the vehicle you’re drawing, now would be a good time to learn. In our case, we’ll have a read through at least some of the wikipedia article (at least the main description and leafing over the rest); take the time to dig into anything you see there that pops out to you, or that you think may come in handy to know.
As well, it is a good idea to check youtube to see if you can find any videos of the vehicle you’re working with. This is a great way to get a much better idea of the 3d shape of the subject, especially if the video has a walk-around so you can see it pan through many angles at once.
Next part will talk about actually putting everything you’ve learned and gathered together and using it to lay the groundwork for your drawing.