Learning to do something new can be difficult. I’ve been drawing most of my life and I’m still not perfect. Sometimes it’s hard to understand how you can take a real object in the 3D world and transform it into a 2D image while still looking 3D. Oy vey, it can be very frustrating. However, this article focuses on something more specific than drawing in general, but how to draw cars.

Find a reference!

I have always found it difficult to draw cars and I’m sure there are others like me. And one thing that I have found very useful when drawing is having a reference. An art teacher I had in my first semester of college said that when people draw from memory, they tend to distort what they’re trying to draw. For example, if someone tries to draw a bottle from memory, he will not draw the bottle he saw on the kitchen counter that morning, but a stereotype. You know, the one who is skinny on top and fat on the bottom. Yes, the typical bottle shape, but the bottle the person saw was a deer park water bottle that has its own shape, just like a coke bottle has its own shape.

The same applies to cars. Whenever I drew cars, I would draw this oval with four circles. What car like this exists in the real world? That’s not a car, but my stereotypical image of a car. If you want to learn how to draw a car, you need to find a corvette zr1 or at least a picture. Any car will do, but you need a reference! You can’t just rely on your memory. In time, you will be able to draw pretty well from memory after a little study and practice.

Tracing can help you learn

Drawing cars in Photoshop can be easier because you have your reference photo right next to your drawing and you even draw on a layer on top of the original image. Yes, that would technically be tracing, but my art teacher also said that sometimes, in order to learn how to draw something, you need to trace it and get a feel for how proportions and prescriptions work in the image.

The Pen Tool

I’ve found that when drawing objects in Photoshop, it’s easier to use the Pen Tool to get the outline of the car.

Another thing I’ve come across that would be nice to try is that instead of using the brush tool for coloring, the Gradient tool can give you a more realistic chrome look.