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The final stage is to add a few simple highlights. As before keep these simple as you want to enhance your drawing, not make the highlights the most important part. Just to finish off you can also quickly spray a bit of bright red on the rear lamps just to turn them on.
Hopefully this tutorial has given a quick introduction to the basics of producing very quick sketches. Ideally you should be able to produce a good couple of pages of these in a few hours. Remember, although they are mainly for yourself to work out your own ideas, it is important that they are lively and exciting with a lot of emotion since they will form the basis of your decision of which design to take to the next level.
Until this stage the drawing has lacked a little depth. By now adding a few simple filters as per the side view we can really bring the drawing alive. Here I have used the same technique of filter layers as you saw in the side view example. So begin by adding these to your image. For this drawing however I have also added a filter to wash out the front of the vehicle, giving the impression that it is in the distance. Take a new layer and place it on the top of your picture. To this apply a gradient that goes from white to transparent (white at the front of the vehicle, transparent at the rear). Switch this layer to SCREEN mode and you should see the effect immediately. You can adjust the position of this layer to place the effect exactly where you need it, whilst adjusting the opacity of the layer to get the required amount of the effect. Again, experiment with the mode feature of layers, trying different colours and different modes and you will find a surprising number of effects you can achieve.
Again, trying to stick to a minimum of tonal values I have now began applying colour to the bodywork. If you ignore the subtle graduation on the shoulder of the vehicle you will see that in fact there are only two tones. This simplicity keeps your sketch punchy and fast to produce. I also believe it is a technique is good to learn as it will stand you in good stead when it comes to learn full rendering. When learning how to render it is easy to get tied up in trying to produce glossy reflections whilst forgetting to describe the 3 dimensional form in simple light and shade. By learning to describe a 3 dimensional form with this technique, and later adding reflections on top of this you will hopefully achieve renderings that have the strong graphical feeling of a sketch whilst having all the quality and subtlety a good rendering requires.
As with the side view I have now scanned my sketch and brought it into Photoshop. After deciding the direction of my light source (somewhere to the front right of the vehicle) I have began to apply colour to all dark areas on my sketch. You will notice that in the window on the rear of the vehicle I have gone a few tones darker on the far side of the centre line. This helps describe the fact that the vehicle has a bit of plan shape to the rear of the vehicle. I have also deepened the colour on the lower half of the side window to help give the feeling of a horizon line. When deepening these area, try to keep the tonal changes subtle, this will help ensure that when you try the eyes half closed test you read the window graphics as a whole, and not as separate areas of reflections.
For this rear view I have started in the same way as I did with the side view on the previous page. I have deliberately chosen a simple flat perspective since in the early stages of the design process this allows me to concentrate purely on the aesthetic and proportions. Generally speaking, in the early stages of the design process your sketches are only for yourself, your nearest colleagues and your boss. These are people who are able to read these simple sketches for what they are....thoughts. It is only later when your drawings should be more descriptive to non design management or customers that you will have to introduce a little less ambiguity into your sketches.
Now for the shine! There are two methods you can use to do this. The first is to use an airbrush in Photoshop to pick out a few highlights. Remembering where your intended light source is, you simply need to spray with a soft brush where the sun catches any surfaces or shut lines. To get a slightly warmer look you can create a new layer (again on top of all others in your image). Fill this layer entirely with black. In the centre of this layer add a RENDER/LENSFLARE filter. If you now switch this layer to SCREEN mode you will find that all the black disappears and you are left with only the lenses flare effect which can be moved, duplicated and placed anywhere on your image. It must also be noted however that when adding these final highlight effects that subtlety is very important. To keep my highlights simple I usually draw a guide line through the vehicle from top to bottom and make sure that all my highlights only fall on this line, then I remove the guideline.
This stage highlights one of the benefits of Photoshop. Here I have applied filters to accentuate the direction of the light source. Simple, yet very effective. Create a new layer above every other layer in your image. Onto this put a gradient of black moving to transparent, where the black is at the rear of the vehicle. Now switch this layer to OVERLAY in the layer mode. You should see that this has the effect of deepening the tones at the rear of the vehicle. It does also however increases the saturation of colours which is not as desirable. To counteract this, duplicate the layer and switch it to HUE mode. Now by playing around with the transparency settings of these two layers you should be able to create a much more punchy and dramatic image. It is a good idea to take some time to experiment with the different effects you can get from using gradient colours other than black, as well as different layer modes.
When applying colour at this stage I always try to keep the number of tones to a minimum. Choose a light base colour and apply this to every surface on your vehicle which is not pointing up. You can then go in and apply the same, but one tone darker, to the most downward facing surfaces. Here I have also added a very light gradient of colour to the shoulder of the vehicle to encourage the feeling of the light source being at the front of the vehicle. As a rule however I try to stick to only two or three tones at this stage which helps keep the drawing simple and punchy. As you become more experienced at is surprising how complex your forms can be whilst still being able to describe them with only a few tonal values.
After scanning the picture into Photoshop I have put the sketch onto a new layer and switched this layer to MULTIPLY mode (you can find the modes at the top left of the layers tab). On another new layer underneath this I have then blocked in the dark unpainted areas of the vehicle. Its a good idea to chose a colour that is not very saturated and reasonably dark. This will ensure that when you apply a lighter and more saturated body colour there will be a strong graphical contrast. A trick you can use to test how well you have done this is to look at your finished sketch through half closed eyes. The graphic intention of your vehicle should still be very clear and fully visible.
To start this drawing I have sketched a very quick thumbnail side view using a normal ball point pen on normal drawing paper (I prefer the rough texture of this paper). The approximate size of this sketch was 10cm, and by sketching at this size I am able to work very quickly working out different proportions and themes in a short space of time. When sketching these views I also simultaneously sketch the front, rear and many three quarter views. This ensures that I feel confident that what I have drawn here will also work in these other views. The fact that you are designing a 3 dimensional object and not just pretty 2 dimensional pictures is something that can be too easy to forget sometimes.

In these examples you can see how in a few short steps, introducing some colour to your sketches, you can create a more exciting and punchy image. The original sketch took only a few minutes, and the techniques to colour it should also only take five or six minutes maximum.  Once you have really learned this technique it can almost be as easy as colour by numbers...but with more impressive results! One important tip to remember however is that this technique will not save a bad original get those correct first!
page last updated; 2014-06-15
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