How to Draw a Car Step by Step


Drawing cars is a fascinating process that illuminates the differences between various models. With a step-by-step approach, would-be artists can sketch a sporty classic like an Alfa Romeo or the powerful frame of a monster truck. Do not be overwhelmed by the various car parts and details. Focus instead on the overall visual impact of a car and how to sketch it in steps.

Things You'll Need

  • Drawing paper (60lb or heavier weight recommended)
  • Drawing pencils (HB, 2B, 4B)
  • Erasers
  • Get inspired by looking at reference material. In addition to studying different makes and models of cars, also look at the ways different artists draw cars. All About Drawings (see Resources below) contains several pencil sketches of cars, ranging from Model T's to race cars. Photographs and advertisements of cars can be another source of inspiration. Do not overlook the challenges inherent in drawing classic cars. Many of them sport unique features and vintage accessories that can be fun to capture in pencil. Pay attention to original headlights, vintage mirrors and the dings and dents that come with age.

  • Study cars from every angle. Circle the car and note the car's various shapes, like the angled rectangle of the windshield or the dome atop a VW Bug. Analyze how these larger shapes are connected with one another and their relationships in terms of size. Use an HB pencil to lightly sketch the major shapes. Erase and adjust these shapes to capture the proper perspective. You can also opt to include the principal elements in the background.

  • Use a 2B pencil, which is softer that a standard pencil, to shade in the segments of the car sketch that require emphasis. If you plan to execute the entire drawing in pencil, you can also use a 4B pencil, which is darker and more expressive. Lighten the shading for medium-dark shapes, and continue the process using varying hues of gray. Lighten or shape some of your shading by erasing some of it.

  • Check your sketch against the reference material. Which parts of the car are most noticeable or unique? These elements will be what you add to your drawing. Use an HB or 2B pencil to capture significant details. Be prepared to erase and redraw these sections several times to capture their unique properties. Take care when erasing to lightly brush the eraser dust away from the drawing without rubbing the pencil lines.

  • Compare the near final draft of your drawing against the car photo reference materials. Select a 2B or 4B pencil and add emphasis to the larger and simpler shapes of the composition. Determine if you want to shade in any background elements as well. Check for any last details you may want to add to the drawing.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can also use watercolors, colored pencil or ink to finish the car drawing.
  • Lightweight paper tears with repeated erasing.

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