Pen & Paper | BMW 2002 Tutorial

This tutorial describes how to sketch a car from a low front three quarter angle using a pen and paper. This is the easiest angle from which to sketch a car because you dont need to worry about the persepective of the car as much as from a higher angle. In fact I actually find this easier than drawing a car from the side.

I first did a ten minute freehand sketch to give me a nice angle I was happy with and rough design. Then I traced over it refining the sketch and indeed the design.

This particular sketch is about 175mm wide.

1. Starting off


Always start with the wheels. Once you get the wheels right everything will fall into place. The wheels closest are larger and the ellipses are a larger radius. At the same time draw a line for the ground.

2. Sill and Arches

The sill is just an offset of the ground line which is slightly rising towards the rear of the vehicle.

Then draw some slightly taller ellipses for the arches. If youre a beginner you could just start by offsetting the wheel ellipses. In this example the front wheel is turning so its hidden underneath the arch ellipse.

3. Silhouette

Draw an outline or a silhouette of the overall volume of the vehicle.

4. Windows and lights

Sketch in the window, windscreen and light outlines.

5. Bumpers

Although this is the BMW 2002 I decided to mix things up a bit and give it the front bumper from the E92 BMW M3.

5. Shutlines

Add some shutlines and a shoulderline.

6. Interior

Add some basic shapes for the interior.

7. Reflections

Add some atmosphere reflections.

8. Hatching

Add some hatching to the darker areas to give it depth.

9. Conclusion and download

Mask out any areas which would normally be cluttered with unimportant detailing such as between spokes, behind the grille and air intakes and fill them in with a solid colour.

On a new layer mask out the interior and fill it in with a solid colour and add a little gradient as shown to give the glass areas a reflective feel.

Create a new layer (make sure it is at the top of the layers panel) and apply a white to transparent gradient from the rear to the front of the car to make the lines less visible towards the rear and give the car a sense of depth.

Download the complete Photoshop file here.