I've gotten a few requests to draw a motorcycle in perspective. Sometimes I think you guys just want to torture me with asking for the most difficult things to draw! I find motorcycles difficult for two reasons. First, they are incredibly complex mechanically. Showing all of those mechanics in an accurate enough manner to be believable is a challenge. Second, the archetype of the object itself is rather flat with a lot of relief detail. Getting that to feel right in perspective takes practice.
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Since the subject is complex, I'll keep the medium simple. I'll be using black and white prisma pencils, black sharpie, and a Molotow opaque white pen. To get started I set up a simple ground plane and quickly indicate two sets of ellipses for the wheels and tires. Notice how I simple offset the ellipse forward in space to get both the outer diameter of the tire as well as the outer diameter of the wheel. I'm not being too precise here—I want this sketch to be a bit looser and more gestural. I also want the focus to be on the design of the bike and not how tight my wheel ellipses are.
Once I have that initial perspective set up, I'm loosely sketching in the fairing, lightly drawing through to figure out where the fork would terminate into the handle bars. From here I extend the gas tank and the seat post. Then I'll start to connect the rear wheel to the frame with a suspension swing arm. Notice how I basically work my way around the bike, working back into previous areas as I go. With the overall design loosely sketched out, I'll start working back in with black sharpie. I've decided to use a simple strategy here, using the sharpie to black out all of the mechanicals and then working back in with white pencil. Remember I demonstrated that technique a few months back with the mens razor sketch demo. All of these techniques can easily build on one another.
Lastly, I'll work back into the sketch with black pencil again to really punch out the line work, using the side of the pencil to shade some of the smoother forms. For a final touch I'll drop on some selective highlights with the opaque white pen.
I've done nearly a dozen of these videos in this series. I've kept them focused on rather mid-level techniques. There are a lot of videos out there showing the basics as well as fairly advanced painterly methods. I felt there was a gap in this mid-level skill building where the sketch is still loose and quick, but just defined enough to be useful as a communication tool. Have you been finding this series helpful? Are there other techniques you would like to see demonstrated? Let me know in the comments.
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Yo! C77 Sketch is a video series from Core77 forum moderator and prolific designer, Michael DiTullo. In these tutorials, DiTullo walks you through step by step rapid visualization and ideation techniques to improve your everyday skills. Tired of that guy in the studio who always gets his ideas picked because of his hot sketches? Learn how to beat him at his own game, because the only thing worse than a bad idea sketched well is a great idea sketched poorly.
For more than 20 years Michael has been designing iconic products and brand experiences for some of the best brands in the world including Nike, Google, Motorola, Honda, and Hasbro. Located in Portland, Oregon, his studio focuses on industry leading halo projects across autonomous automotive, consumer electronics, travel, mobile devices, wearables, toys and conceptual Hollywood entertainment projects.