New Drawing & Rendering Techniques

This semester of drawing was a lot more focused on loose, free-form drawing with organic shapes. Most of it is a combination of observation, intuition and practice, but the rest of it is way too difficult for me to explain with still images.

If you’re interested, I highly recommend following Dan McLean on instagram and youtube, where he posts time-lapse videos of his drawing and rendering processes.

Below are some drawings and renderings that I took step-by step photos of to help understand the overall process.

We started the semester by refreshing the basics, and also looking at them from a new angle. The long axis / axis of revolution pictured below made so much more sense to me than breaking it down from a perspective cube. I had an ‘aha!’ moment when I saw this illustrated:img_3939

Fillets and chamfers:

Starting with a basic cube, you draw a series of different planes where the fillets begin and end. Then, you use ellipses to find the contours.

Rendering with colour:

Using grey markers, coloured markers, chalk, pencil and an eraser, I got a variety of tones into this high-gloss car. Unfortunately I should have used a second, lighter marker, but was unable to find one with an appropriate hue. All of my colour renderings were made a lot harder by not having the right equipment. If I could go back, I would definitely decide it was worth it to find more colours from the start.

As you can see below, I had limited tools to represent the difference between matte and gloss surfaces.


The technique of shaving chalk onto the page and then cutting highlights into it with an eraser was a new one for me that I really enjoyed.

From this point, we were allowed to do more work with coloured pencils, which I really enjoyed. The different shades and densities you can create with pencil is much more appealing to me than drawing with pen. I feel like I can be more expressive with softer media.

The chrome technique was a little intimidating. You have to be pretty confident placing the black, so start with that first. Once I thought about how the light and reflections would physically be wrapped around this 3D object, it was much easier. Mid-tone floor converging to a very dark distance, then contrasting with a very bright horizon and eventually fading up into blue sky.

‘Super Markers’:

To quickly fill a page with an even background colour, you could just use coloured paper, OR, you can create a ‘super marker’. The first option is to pour marker ink straight onto a cotton pad and spread it across the page. The much cheaper option is to shave chalk onto the pad and then drown it in zippo lighter fluid. Both create a great effect and you can blend between two different colours too.


One of our final assignments was to redraw the chair we’d been allotted 15 minutes or so to draw on orientation day. I tried to do mine fairly quickly and recreate a similar time pressure. It turned out just as wonky as the first attempt, but I was very pleased with my new rendering skills, especially on the chrome.



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