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How to Draw a Car From Scratch

This post is part of a series called Learn How to Draw.
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This post is part of a series called How to Draw Vehicles.
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Sports cars always draw attention when in public, whether they be standing in the street or in motion. In this tutorial, come with me and learn how to construct a sleek sports car from start to finish!

1. Set Up a Guide in Perspective

Step 1

Firstly we are going to establish a rough guideline for our sports car as a base to build on. To start with, we shall draw a simple line across our page which will be our horizon line. We require a low horizon for this picture, so the line needs to be on the lower half of the page.

We begin with drawing our horizon line

Step 2

We then need to set out some vanishing points that will help us with our perspective, and for this particular image we are going to use a two-point perspective setup. I find it best if these are placed quite a distance from each other and, in this case, that means placing points off the page. To do this, you may have to use two pieces of masking tape placed at either side of your canvas and add both of your points using a ruler.

A steel ruler will help you place the vanishing points

Step 3

We can now draw the guide for our sports car, and for this particular example we are going to draw three boxes using our horizon line and vanishing points. Start by drawing a straight line coming from the left vanishing point.

Now start building your guide with another simple line

Step 4

Then we draw a second line coming from the same point, but this time above the horizon line.

Remember to use a steel rule when drawing lines

Step 5

Add two more lines coming from this vanishing point, and we will have the rear of our box.

Two more lines will make up the rear of our first box

Step 6

Now we are going to move to the right hand vanishing point and draw in two lines leading from this second point going across the page.

Now draw lines coming from the opposite vanishing point

Step 7

Add in another two lines and you can see we have two stretched rectangles on either side of the horizon line.

If you have drawn correctly you should have two identical shapes

Step 8

To complete the box, draw in four vertical lines that will join both rectangles together.

And there we have our first box

Step 9

Now that we have our first box in place, we need to draw two more using our vanishing points and careful drawing. Remember to keep in mind the perspectives; as you can see, the box that will be for the passenger area is taller than our first, and we have a smaller one that will make up the rear of the sports car.

Two more boxes will complete our guide but remember to use perspective

2. Construct the Car Body

Step 1

Now we have a guideline for our sports car, and we are going to begin constructing the sports car in more detail. However, before we begin doing this, I would suggest you get used to drawing curvy, flowing lines as we shall be using a lot of these as we progress.

Practice makes perfect

Step 2

Starting from the left side of the canvas, we are going to draw the front of the sports car using a simple curved line to begin with. Make sure this line is toward the left side of the page.

A simple curved line starts our car

Step 3

Next, we shall draw another curved line toward the centre of the page. These two curves will eventually make up two small bulges on the front of the sports car that will house the lights.

Another simple line follows the first

Step 4

Now that we have the front of the sports car made up, we'll draw the centre section, and here we will draw a curve that will be a guide for the windscreen and seating area. This particular car will be a convertible, so remember that as you are drawing.

Yet another curve makes up the roof section

Step 5

A fourth curved line will make up the rear of the sports car. Notice that there are virtually no straight lines on this sports car, and the whole body is built with aerodynamics in mind.

A curvy slippery shape is essential when designing or drawing a sports car

Step 6

We shall now go back to the mid-section of our sports car and draw in a slightly downward curve, making sure to join the left-hand end with the curves at the front and the right-hand end with the curve at the rear of the car.

The slippery shape continues

Step 7

At the very front of the sports car, we need to draw yet another large curved line that will be the spoiler.

Low sports cars like this have large front spoilers

Step 8

The side of the sports car has a feature called side skirts, and these help direct air towards ducts to cool the wheels and engine when the car is in motion. With this sports car, the side skirts are made up of a small upward curve. This needs to be placed at the bottom of the car to the right of the spoiler curve and needs to lead to the rear of the guide as seen below.

The large inward curve will help direct air into vents in the rear

Step 9

Now we need to add the wheel arches for this vehicle and, again, a simple curve will help you here. Sports cars are usually low to the ground and, as a result, have rather wide wheel arches compared to a normal car to help them travel at high speeds, which you should bear in mind as we draw.

Notice how large the wheel arches are on this car

Step 10

The next step would be to put in the door of the sports car. Be aware of the ducts and body lines we drew earlier as the door will need to fit in with these to retain the aerodynamic shape of the sports car.

See how the door lines follow the shape of the car

Step 11

As you can see, many sports cars share the same curvy, sweeping lines and low body heights, but of course it is no secret in the automotive industry that these features all have an aerodynamic purpose and affect the speed and handling of the car.

Most sports cars share the same designs when it comes to areodynamics

3. Build the Wheels

Step 1

As with the body of our sports car it was recommended to practice drawing curvy lines, for the wheels it is a good idea to practice drawing circles and ellipses as we will need to be comfortable with this to carry out the following steps.

Practicing drawing ellipses and circles is essential

Step 2

Let's start with the front wheel as this will be the simplest. Draw a simple circle either by freehand if you are comfortable doing so or with a compass for accuracy if you would prefer. This will be our tyre.

You can use a compass for this first circle

Step 3

Now draw a second and third circle within the first circle that mark out the outer and inner rim of the tyre.

Draw two more circles to begin our first wheel rim

Step 4

At this stage I would also draw a smaller circle just off to the left of the centre of our larger circles. This will later become a brake disc.

Using a compass again will help with the brake disc notice it is just off centre though

Step 5

At the very centre of our circles, one final circle needs to be drawn, and this will be the centre badge for our wheel.

Right at the very centre of our wheel draw in a small wheel badge

Step 6

For this particular set of wheels, we are going to go for a star design, and to begin with we shall draw a rough star guideline inside our circles drawn earlier and then build this up.

A five spoke star is a perfect guide for an alloy wheel

Step 7

We now begin with a slightly larger outer star outside our original rough sketch. This will be the outer part of the spokes.

Now start fleshing out your star guide

Step 8

For the inner part of the spokes, it is to best to draw a droplet like shape, but take extra care when doing this as the shapes vary depending upon the perspective of the wheel.

A tear drop shape will help you with the inner spokes of our wheel

Step 9

Follow the drop shape method for the rest of the inner spokes around the wheel, but notice the slight difference as we proceed round.

Take careful note how each spoke is drawn slightly differently

Step 10

Now you can erase any overlapping parts of the brake disc you drew earlier, and you will start to have a complete looking wheel.

Now our wheel is almost complete

Step 11

For the rear wheels and rims, ellipses or ovals are the best shapes to draw. As previously advised, practice drawing these if you feel the need to do so.

An oval shape starts our rear rim perspective comes into play again

Step 12

Once more, a star shape will help you as you construct the spokes. Take note as we work how much perspective and distance have an effect on this second rim in comparison to our first.

Using the 5 spoke star as a guide is still a big help

Step 13

If you take great care, especially with tight areas such as this, you should have a result like the image below.

Notice how much different our second rim is thanks to perspective

4. Fill in the Details

Step 1

Now we have all the main parts of the sports car drawn in, we can focus on the small details that will bring our hard work together. Starting again from the left side of the paper, draw an egg shape with the top at a downward angle, and then draw an oval shape within the egg. This will be one of two air intakes for the front wheels.

Simple shapes will help create the front vents

Step 2

Moving across the front of the car, we need to draw a second egg and oval shape facing the opposite direction to our first one. Be aware of perspective again with this second oval as you will find that it will need to be larger than the first.

Once again take note and be aware of perspective

Step 3

Now, hopefully if you have positioned your ovals properly, we need to draw one last air intake, but this one will lead to the intercooler at the front of the car. Take note that it this is of a more square shape with it being directly at the front. The intake itself has a slight “scoop” feature that helps to direct air into the intake, so be aware of that as you draw.

Notice how this vent follows the curve of the front spoiler

Step 4

Staying at the front of the car, we shall now draw in the lines for where the front spoiler is attached and the “shut” lines for the bonnet.

Make sure your shut lines follow the body shape correctly

Step 5

To complete the front end of our car, we shall now add the lights. Remember to keep them in line with the body for aerodynamic purposes.

Step 6

Now we need to return to our wheels and add the all-important brake callipers that are used to stop our sports car. On sports cars such as this, the callipers are rather large as a lot of braking power is needed to stop the car when it is travelling at speed. The calliper itself wants to be situated on the left side of the brake disc.

Make sure not to forget the brake callipers as a car needs to stop

Step 7

Staying with the brakes, we'll add a few small holes in the disc that help get rid of excess heat that might cause problems if the car needs to brake quickly. Remember to clean up any loose lines after you have finished with areas like this.

Drilled brakes are essential for sports cars

Step 8

Moving right along the car, we can now place in such details as the wing mirrors and door handles. Once more, perspective will play a part here, and you can see a lot of the interior is masked by the wing mirror itself. Always remember to bear these points in mind as you work.

Notice how the handle and wing mirror have areodynamics in mind

Step 9

Add in what little interior we can see, such as the passenger seat and the integral roll bar behind.

Dont shy away from drawing what little of the inside we can see

Step 10

We now need to add any cooling vents that are remaining on the body, such as on the top near to the passenger area and just in front of the rear wheel.

Notice these vents are either placed or direct air towards the rear wheel

Step 11

All that is left for you to do is to clean up all your construction lines and generally tidy up your drawing.

Our completed line art

Awesome Work, You're Done!

A little splash of colour will not go amiss on a car like this.

At last you have an awesome looking sports car that is ready to tear up the streets. Have fun making up your own designs using some of the principles discussed here, and who knows what you could create!

Finish design
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