Category Archives: Articles

Designer: Carl Liu

designer, Carl Liu, sketching

Another great sketches from a talented industrial designer – Carl Liu. In this article you can enjoy sketches, be inspired by videos and keep sketching till you make it!

Carl is the founder of brand Carl Liu. He is a well-known Chinese industrial designer and currently works as a partner/design director of Idea Dao Design Shanghai.

He has published two design books Carl Liu Design Book and Innovative Product Design Practice since 2005.

His sketches are effortless, bright and easy to understand. Get inspired from some oh his fantastic sketches – from small products to complicated and interesting ones.

Read an interview with him here!

Some sketches made by Carl Liu

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Here is a video of his Moleskine sketch book

Detour Shanghai – Carl Liu from Moleskine ® on Vimeo.

A video from his Moleskine Workshops

Car Sketches by Vaclav Zapadlik

Vaclav Zapadlik, cars, car sketches, car drawing

This collection of car drawings made by Czech artist Vaclav Zapadlik. Most of Zapadlik’s works are of scenes from the Golden Age of motorsports and show images of intense interest or action that capture more detail than larger works by other artists.

Born in 1943 behind the foreboding Iron Curtain. Self-taught and self-disciplined he achieved extremely high level of portraying cars from all viewpoints. Hired as an automotive draftsman, his works were technically brilliant but it lacked emotions, feeling of action. Cars poses were cold and lifeless, just as the political climate in which these drawings were created.

Read more about his biography here –

In this collection are presented these technically brilliant car sketches and also car racing scenes with a lot of action and movement. Enjoy these fantastic drawings created by Vaclav Zapadlik!

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Dynamic car pictures:

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See also 20 cool car concept sketches

Sketch: Product

sketch, product, drawing,

I am always looking for new tutorials created by designer Spencer Nugent and here are sketches that I made learning from his step by step sketch.

I am not quite sure what exactly is this product but it reminds me of some kind of camera or maybe a bottle of an air freshener.

So these are sketches that I made based on a tutorial that you can view below. I also rendered one of the sketches with markers – simple and fast.

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Sketch tutorial created by Spencer Nugent

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Tutorial: Screwdriver

screwdriver, sketch, drawing, tutorial

Color a screwdriver in 4 simple steps that will help you to understand how to quickly render products. This fast and easy tutorial was taken from a book Visualizing Ideas: From Scribbles to Storyboards.

Copic color markers used for this tutorial are:

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Step 1

You will need a fineliner or any black marker with a thin nib. Draw freely with fast and straight lines and you can also use a ruler for straight lines because it might be difficult to draw long straight lines freehand. If you haven’t practice drawing straight lines and wondering how to do it,  read this article – Product Sketching: How to draw straight lines.

Just try to copy all lines you see in the image below and see how these lines create a side view of the product. Drawing with variations in line pressure it creates a feeling of three-dimensional lines.

screwdriver, sketch, drawing, tutorial

Step 2

You will need three color marker with different light values. Products have more impact when colour tones have as much contrast as possible. this gives the layout punch, effectively emphasizing the object.

The light source comes from the right side and that’s why start applying the base colour (RV 11) with a marker, leaving out white reflective areas. And with gray marker (C3) color the metallic part of a product.

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Step 3

Build up shading by adding matching darker tone (R 08). Don’t forget to keep in mind where does the light source comes from. Color small areas with a blue marker (B 32) on the metallic part. If you have at home a screwdriver, take a look at it and observe how the light falls on the object.

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Step 4 and the Result

By adding even darker tone (R39) the color contrast and three-dimensionality is achieved. If you think that there should be more contrast, add some thick lines with black marker on the dark side of the product but don’t overdo it.

Finish the look with a touch of a highlight ink on prominent areas. You can use either a Copic Opaque White, a correction fluid or even scrape in the highlights with a scalpel. A cheap solution is to use a white gouache paint.

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How did I succeed to draw a screwdriver

These were materials I used to draw a screwdriver – some color markers, two grey markers, a fineliner and a correction fluid.

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These are my step by steps sketches that I created. The result looks cool, it has a lot of contrast and color richness.

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Now it is your turn to try this tutorial! Good luck!

Designer: Daniel Simon

daniel simon, sketches

Most of you have seen a movie called “Tron:Legacy” and who can forget these futuristic and really cool lightcycles, but do you know who designed it? Automotive/Concept designer Daniel Simon is behind this new motorcycle icon.

His sketching style is light and sophisticated. You can tell by looking at a sketch that the designer knows all “the right” angles to show a product he is sketching. His sketches look effortless, but behind these neat and straight lines hides a lot of hard work and long practice hours.

Who is Daniel Simon?

Daniel Simon is a concept designer, author and producer, with professional roots as a Senior Designer at Bugatti and Volkswagen. Clients include Warner Brothers, Universal, Disney, Lotus, Puma or DKNY. Simon focuses his acclaimed style on Hollywood blockbuster films like Tron Legacy and own intellectual properties. Read more about him here.

Here are some of the sketches he has created for various projects.

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Daniel Simon answers a few important questions:

1. How to become a designer?
“The safe way is to draw and create every day, and to sharpen three dimensional understanding by studying objects and nature. Study tutorials, create your own blog or submit your work to forums and contests. Feedback will help you to improve and it may lead to the education and contacts you seek.”

2. What advise do you give a young designer?
“Be obsessed with what you do. Work every day on something. Read – I learned more about design through reading then through looking at pictures. Don’t feel bad copying at first, you will find your own style over time. Share your ideas constantly, which is good training for later pitches.”

“And don’t give up – it takes a very long time to get get paid for what you like to do.”

3. What software do you use?

“3D nurbs modeling: Autodesk Alias Automotive 2012 ++++ 3D complex render scenes & pipeline: Autodesk Maya 2012, Mental Ray ++++ 3D rendering and turntables: Bunkspeed Pro ++++ 2D image manipulation & mapping: Adobe Photoshop CS4 ++++ 2D photography: Adoble Lightroom ++++ 2D film editing: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects”.

Designer Daniel Simon talks about designing the iconic Lightcycles for Tron: Legacy

If you are interested in his works and what he does – check out his blog –

Why buy a Book

books, resource

We all know that design books are quite expensive and sketching books are not an exception. If they are not cheap, why buy them at all? There are multiple videos and tutorials that you can find on the Internet. Why spend money? In this article I will give five reasons why you should buy a sketching book.


Reason 1: Use it everywhere

You don’t need the Internet connection in order to open a book and you can use it almost everywhere (except under water – you will ruin a book). Going to the countryside, a beach? Take your new sketching book and learn how to draw there – sunbathing outside and developing sketching skills. Easy, simple and no problems if you suddenly loose Internet connection – your book doesn’t have it.

You can connect with a book by opening it and the connection is established!


Reason 2: Details

Details create a finished look for a product, but most of tutorials and videos only show a sped up process of drawing and a finished sketch. Many details are discussed in a book that are not mentioned in videos or tutorials. Such as what kind of materials to use for shading, contouring. What are the differences between sketching on a white paper or a colored paper. Also, how to draw small details as press buttons, holes.


Reason 3: Step by step

I really enjoy those pages in a sketching book, where are shown ‘step by step’ drawings. You can see how a designer start a sketch, what materials he uses to create contours, shadings.

Easy to understand and see all stages of a sketch – from idea till the final drawing.

Of course, in videos you can see how a designer draws a sketch from start till beginning, but it is not zoomed in – many details are lost and you don’t see them. But in a book, all sketches are scanned and every detail can be seen.


Reason 4: No need to rush

Books are great because you don’t have to press pause button all the time when trying to sketch a product and looking at a tutorial video at the same time. It will patiently wait while you finish the first stage of a drawing. Then, by your own will, you can turn the next page and continue sketching with no rush at all.


Reason 5: Create bookmarks

If you have a book, you can always underline important text with a pencil and create bookmarks for further references. But watching a video, you can’t create bookmarks when paused; therefore you will always have to wait while the video is fully loaded and then try to find exact moment in a tutorial that you would like to see again.

There are no such problems with books – just open your bright green bookmark and there it is, ready to be used anywhere anytime.

The reason why I like to learn from books, is that you can touch them, feel every page and know that this book has its own flesh and blood. It creates connection between a person and book – a book is your teacher and it is ready to help you anytime.

Tip: Quick coloring

sketching, markers, coloring

So you have bought bunch of colorful and gray markers but you are not sure how to use them properly. This article will show some tips about how to color objects and backgrounds.

Filling in colours with markers is fast and easy way. There are just small but important points to take into consideration.

If you have all these fancy markers but don’t know what are these two different nibs for, take a look at this picture below. Copic markers are considered the best for sketching, but other marker brands such as Prismacolor and Letraset are also quite good.

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Markers can be applied to almost any type of paper.

When applying markers over pencil lines, make sure the lines are barely visible, because you won’t be able to erase them later.

Apply markers in quick, sweeping motions; don’t let the marker tip touch the paper for too long, it will cause bleeding.

  • If you apply one stroke over another while the first stroke is still wet, the colors will blend seamlessly.
  • If you wait for a layer of color to dry and then add another layer, the layer underneath will show through.

Try overlapping colors that are slightly different in value. For example, use orange over a lighter orange-yellow to create subtle and realistic changes in value that add form to your drawing.

A double layer of color creates a darker shade and makes surface look more solid. But don’t be carried away with applying multiple layers;

Use only straight lines going in one parallel direction; Criss-crossing lines will simply look messy and distracting; Don’t apply force when finishing a line with marker – you will create small darker shade spots and bleeds;

sketching, drawing, markersAlways fill in an object lengthways. This way you will need less strokes and less line breaks this way.

sketching, markers, coloringReflections of flat surfaces should be drawn with diagonal lines, not parallel with the edge of the paper. Diagonal lines emphasize the light source and adds depth to a material.

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When creating wood material make sure that the lines go lengthways and right across. Don’t start grains in the middle of the surface, start from sides; otherwise it won’t look natural;

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The most efficient way to color backgrounds is with parallel lines. Others also use mask to be sure that no color will go over a product. Make sure to take of the pen from a paper as little as possible, otherwise it might look blotchy.
You can avoid creating “steps” around objects, the first thing is to draw the outline and then fill it with nice parallel lines.

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Most of the information and images taken from a book “Visualizing ideas. From scribbles to storyboards” by Gregor Krisztian and Nesrin Schlempp-Ulker

Sketch: Hands

sketching, drawing, hands, human body

Hands are difficult to draw but it is important to know how to draw them if you want to show a product in use. I used only a pencil for these sketches below. The most complex part of a hand are fingers.. How to make them look so alive and not like five sausages? Therefore, I tried to find some good video tutorials on how to draw hands and I find a really good one! It is almost 40 minutes long and extremely helpful!

sketching, drawing, hands, human bodySketches below were made while watching this video tutorial and the result is great, especially, if I compare my previous sketches and drawings after watching this video. Of course, there are still too many lines used, but these are just rough sketches.

Make sure to check it out! It will definitely help you to understand some vital tips when drawing hands.

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“How to draw hands” video tutorial

Assessing a Sketch

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Have you ever been drawing something and noticed how a drawing looked much better up close than from a distance? As if it was perfect in a process but when finished it felt like someone switched your sketch with a bad-looking one. This small but quite important tip for this week – “Assessing your sketch: Why and How?” will help you to assess a sketch while you draw.

Don’t sketch too close to your paper; you will get lost in details that are not that important.

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In a process of classical drawing it is essential to take a break and look at your drawing from a distance. We tend to draw close to a paper and forget to look at a sketch from and angle or a distance. Why is it important to view a sketch from different viewing angles? It’s because while drawing you start to focus on one things and don’t see how it works together with the rest of lines and shapes.

A sketch is a symphony of different kinds of lines and geometric shapes.

If you are interested in reading about importance of a line in product sketching, read this article here. A drawing will look good if every shape and line is in harmony with each other and complement each other. There are details that are in the center of attention and there are shapes that helps to build the entire look of a product but stays in the background.

If you sketch only up close and don’t see a whole picture of what you are doing, you will get a drawing that will be bald and boring. Every detail will scream for attention and a viewer will not be able to perceive your sketch the way you wanted it. It takes only a minute to look at your drawing from a distance and I assure you that you will see many things that should be edited or even erased.



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The fastest way to look at your sketch is from arm’s length. Just take a drawing and stretch your arm in front of you. Take as much time as you need to assess your sketch. Notice what is the first thing you see in the sketch – is it the right detail you wanted to be emphasized?


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A second technique is also very simple but will help you to see wrong perspective or distorted shapes. Just rotate your drawing 180 degree so that your drawing is upside down. Can you spot mistakes? Lines that don’t create a perfect perspective? You can also assess the balance of contrast by looking at your sketch upside down.


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Another way is to hold your drawing in front of a mirror. It is an entirely fresh way looking at your sketch.

These small tips will help you to spot mistakes in your sketches and correct them while it’s not too late.

How To: Singular Rounding

rounding, sketching, shape

People tend to choose shapes with rounding and sleek surface because it creates feeling of natural shape and safety. Sharp edges make people feel uneasy and insecure. That’s why most of the products have rounding, a smooth surface this way creating a impression of a natural shape.

In this article you will find out how to draw singular rounding starting with a square and creating a smooth shape.

As cylindrical parts become relatively small, we speak of rounding. There are several ways to draw a singular rounding, but this is way is used, to highlight the relation of the rounding to the block shape.

Start with drawing a square and divide it in the middle so that it creates four smaller squares. Try to draw an ellipse in it. If you have troubles drawing an ellipse, click here to learn more about constructing ellipses.

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Dividing the ellipse into four parts, one can distinguish two sharply curved rounding (around long axes), and two less sharply curved ones. The latter are easier to draw and that’s why usually drawn first.

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To draw a three dimensional shape, start with a top and draw rounding in all four edges. Let these images be your guide and try to understand what for are specific lines and how they help to create a shape.

shape, rounding,sketchingTo keep all four rounding of the same proportion, a diagonal can be used to indicate the more sharply curved rounding in the outer squares. Diagonals are marked in red. Green lines are guides to keep most curved spots in equidistant from all four edges.

If we talk about quarter-circle rounding, they form an ellipse when put together again. Therefore the shading of the rounded edges will also form a cylinder when put together. In the image below you can see the relation between the shaded cylinder and a separate rounding.

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Drawing singular rounding, uses less of the block shape as a guide for the rounding. And the rounding is well defined on the top surface and easily repeated on the base surface. The advantage of this approach is not only less lines, but also there is space for a more complex combination of rounding.

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Most of the information is taken from a book “Sketching – The Basics” by Koos Eissen & Roselien Steur. It is a very useful book for industrial design students and those who want to learn how to sketch.