3D Sketching For The Beginner

With An Easy Step-By-Step Process

3D sketching has been around a long time, long before computer graphics took the lead.

Street graffiti may be the first ubiquitous display of emphasizing a third dimensional concept, and as we all know, the results are very effective to make the artwork and texts pop. 

3D drawing is easy once you get the hang of it, and with a little practice, you will soon draw 3D art like a pro.

The easiest way to start and get the feel of how to create a third dimension to a flat surface is to start with simple shapes and easy designs. 

Good Practice Images

If you are new to 3D drawing, you will want to begin with simple images and designs so that you may grasp the 3D technique quickly. It's best to avoid drawing images with details or irregular shapes. Designs such as cones, circles, triangles, cylinders and so on are an excellent starting point to train your brain to think 3D.

Creating 3D Depth
A one dimensional drawing on a flat surface reveals only one plane to the artwork or lettering. To make your drawing stand out, you need to create another plane of the image along the lines and edges of your simple artwork. Once you understand the principle of 3D sketch work, your eye will automatically see how to do it and your 3D drawing capabilities will have no limits.

Round Shapes
A technique to draw a circular image into an eye-catching 3D image is to change the shape of the circle to an ellipse. For instance, if you draw a drinking glass which has a perfectly rounded top, a 3D effect would require the glass top to be slightly elongated. It's like looking at the glass from a different vantage point, the way that is natural to life. Likewise, if you are drawing a 3D image of a round pendant around someone's neck, the 3D image will capture the pendant from a slight off-centered angle, creating an ellipse.

To capture the 3D concept, you need to create shading, or shadows, to project against the lighter areas of the object drawn. Imagine a spotlight has hit your drawing from a sideways angle. The lighter areas should be in the center and leaning toward where you perceive the light. The outer edges will be shaded in various strengths to create a shadow of realism, and suddenly you have a 3D image.

You start off by drawing a simple box shape showing two sides. By doing this you need to know a little about perspective—that is, how everything vanishes at a single point on the horizon. Have a quick look on this page about perspective then come back here.

To give anything a 3D look you will also have to take note of light and shadows otherwise you'd only have an outline drawing, right? See the drawing at the top of this page? See how the shadows fall on the left side of her face? Try drawing a box shape—a matchbox or similar will do, then place it with a light source from one side only. Notice the shaded side of the box here, opposite the light source.

You can of course get yourself a 3D software drawing package, but then your actual drawing skills fall by the way!

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