How to Draw Cars Quick Tip: Less is More

by Arvind Ramkrishna on October 19, 2011

“Less is more.”  A familiar quote in the design community that represents the essence of great design…simplicity!  So what does it mean?  I mean…really…is this realistic?  Nowadays the objective is to consolidate your designs into one package that does everything!  Like media players for instance. No need for a separate media players, MP3, wifi , and phone devices.

However with this consolidation comes, crowded, cluttered, complicated, devices that can be difficult to navigate and use.  Apple is probably one of the most successful companies that are able to capitalize on this vision of designing products with the “less is more” mantra.  It’s evident in their physical products AND their OS. So enough of all that ….

So what does this mean in the automotive field of styling or even automotive art?  Well it means sometimes you don’t have to put a lot of detail to make something look beautiful.  You see….there is elegance in simplicity.

Automotive Art:

Let’s look at these Vintage Race Car posters for instance.  It’s a terrific showcase of simple forms coupled with rich, vibrant colors, and a sensation of speed.  See the examples in the link.  They give you an idea of what it’s like to create simple looking shapes that are stylized to reflect the characterization of a specific racing event.  Each one brings its own character and uniqueness to it.

Try to create something like this on your own.  Just focus on getting a basic shape down and look at composition.

Automotive Styling:

Cars can fall into this same category.  Cars that look too busy end up taking more away from them then adding to their aesthetic appeal (in my humble opinion).  Too many details leave the mind cluttered and trying to comprehend and make sense of that clutter….unless the clutter is organized…(hmmm….sort of like that term…organized clutter  ;))

Elegant styling and sculpting of the body is what make it rock.  That can be achieved by making sure surfaces stay interesting by having purpose and direction, and a dynamically sculpted feel to it.  It’s where cut-lines cease to look like cut-lines but rather a graphical element with direction.

I believe to name a few, the following OEMSs are doing  great job of elegant and purposeful styling:

1. BMW -

2. Audi -

3.  Hyundai (Yes…you heard me correctly) -

4.  Ford – Small car segment such as the Focus -

Here are a few tips:

1.  Draw simple sculptural shapes – Don’t crowd your overall form with different or complex forms.  Try sticking to simplicity.  Once you are familiar with the simple shapes, you can figure out how to draw more complex forms.

2.  Indicate details – Don’t draw EVERY little detail.  All you need to do is indicate the details to “suggest” the completion of the form

3.  Create a more graphical approach – Try identifying areas in a graphical format. Large graphical areas on a car are the DLO, tail lamps, front grill, fog lamps, and exhausts.  Experiment with creating a cool graphical shape.

Hope you enjoyed this post…and see you back here soon!

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