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Vincent Low
Jams Arts

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 Mercedes-Benz 500SL : Drawing Tutorial

 In this tutorial, I'm going to describe the most important methods and techniques I used to draw this car. Additionally, here's a small list of other general important aspects in drawing:

 · A good technique to make sure you're doing everything alright is to turn the paper and see the drawing from the back of the sheet. Why, you may ask? I don't know any scientific explanation, but I believe it's because drawing a car is a very slow process and the brain tends to adapt itself to what it's seeing and distort it, in order to make it look more natural. Due to that, you may not notice that the drawing itself may not be completely proportional and this may help you to realize that.

 · Avoid trying to make smooth shading by rubbing your finger against the drawing. Doing this tends to make it hard to erase those bits, so if you do that and then you realise that that part should be lighter, you'll have ruined the drawing. Still, if you really want to do that, there's some proper material for that, go to a specialized art material store and ask for it.

 · It's also very important that you use a very well illuminated place to draw, not only it protects your eyes, but it also allows you to be more certain of what you're doing and that you're shading in the right tone.

 · Finally, if you can't seem to draw a certain car, try to listen to a different music (allways listen something!), go to a different room, to a different location, try to create a new environment around you that will free your mind and give you a new inspiration to try it another time... But most of all, have fun!

step 1
 First off, you need a shape. For this car, I've printed a photo I found of the car and copied the basic outlines of it. In this stage, you don't need to bother wether or not everything is perfect, you're just using these lines to have something to work with. It's also important that you keep all these traces very light, as they'll probably need to be erased. I advise you to use a H or lower pencil for this.
step 2
 Now that we have a shape, it's time to start shading. Again, make the shading light, use a H or a HB pencil for this. Be careful with highlight zones, stay away from those, were only shadowing for now. The kind of shading is up to you, either try to immitate the shading from the picture or create a light source of your own and shade based in that. I allways use the last method, unless the original looks natural enough. For instance, if you're using a photo of a car in a showroom, you'll notice that there's a huge number of lights, coming from every lamp in the room, which in a draw looks very strange (example).
step 3
 With a darker sharp pencil now, a 2B-4B, shade the darkest places. This is also a good time to start adding some details, shut lines and other proeminent parts of the car. I deleted the 2 vents in the bonnet, near the windshield, they're not necesary yet and they would only make it harder to shade the bonnet. I've also added the passenger's side mirror. At this stage, I like to add some definition to the shape of the car, which I do by adding a thin smooth dark line in the edges of it. You can see that in the passenger's side, in the rear, near the wheelarch.
step 4
 Going on with the details, it's time to draw the grid and the front bumper. I had to erase the original outlines as they were very incorrect. If you compare this pic with the previous one, you'll notice how different the bumper's shape is. To shade the intakes I used a 6B pencil, which is the best for such dark surfaces. Don't forget the doorhandle or any other detail. Be sure to carefully check the original picture often and compare it to your drawing: I sometimes forget some details, for some odd reason...
step 5
 Now, the second hardest part: the interior. Due to all the small parts you need to draw and specially because interiors are usually dark (black..) and mate (not shiny). This means you have to use dark pencils, but still make sure that there are slightly lighter areas where the light hits the interior. If you're drawing black leather interiors, you mustn't forget that these behave differently in the presence of light: they have strong thin highlight zones, mid-tone areas that are hit by the light but don't reflect to your point of view and finally, dark areas composed by all the shadow zones. You can see all that in the seats. In this car, there is no windshield highlight, but you may consider making one.
step 6
 Finally, the HARDEST part, wheels and headlights, in my opinion. Why? Because you have to be a good enough to draw 2 perfect ellipses (the wheels), in the same position, in different sizes and slightly distorted. After that you need to add an incredibly large amount of detail to them. If you can't imagine why that can be so difficult, check the E-Type and the 240Z drawings, and try to reproduce those wheels. If after a few attempts at drawing a certain wheel in a certain position, you just can't make it, try to blur it a bit, giving the impression of movement to the wheels. That's what happened when I did the Toyota Supra.... As for the headlights, they can become quite tough simply because when you look at one, you'll notice that there's hundreds of smallish thin lines, some longer, some lighter, some vertical, some horizontal, not no mention the lamps, which seem completely distorted. Luckily, this car's got clear headlights, so it's not so hard...

Now that you know how I did this, it's time to practice, get yourself a pencil and piece of paper and start drawing... If you're looking for literature on the subject, I can advise you a book I used, it's called Draw Cars by Doug DuBosque.

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