Cars are a subject matter that many urban sketchers find tricky. Whether it’s drawing a car as the sole subject of a sketch or whether you want to add cars into your busy street scene, there’s no doubt they are difficult items to capture.
In this post, I wanted to gather together some of my favourite examples of urban sketches of cars. As mentioned above, this can take two main forms:
- A sketch of a car (and nothing else)
- Adding cars into a scene
In this article we are going to take a look at sketches where the car is the sole focus.
I hope this post inspires you to get out there and start sketching cars. If you want more information on how to actually go about sketching cars you can check out my post here.
I can also recommend a Studio 56 online course with Paul Heaston who runs through how to draw a vintage truck.
Urban Sketching Cars: Examples & Inspiration
We cannot discuss sketching cars without mentioning France Belleville-Van Stone. Her handle on Instagram is @wagonised and her website is http://www.wagonized.com/ (due to her love of drawing old Volvo wagons I think)!
I first came across France’s work on Pinterest, followed by seeing her work in Danny Gregory’s book, “An Illustrated Life” (here on Amazon). This was one of the first books about urban sketching or daily sketching I ever bought and it was such a gateway to discovering many other urban sketchers and sketchbook artists. I discovered a whole world of people making art daily just for fun and their own satisfaction. The book got me hooked, I just knew I also wanted to sketch my life too.
The book and the artists featured in it proved to me that it didn’t matter if sketches were hyper-realistic or even accurate. Everyone has their own style which is just as valid as the next person’s style. Capturing the emotion of something is just as interesting (if not more so) than a well-rendered accurate sketch.
I then discovered France has her own book “Sketch: The Non-Artists Guide to Inspiration, Technique and Drawing Daily Life” which you can find here on Amazon if you want to check it out. The book is both inspiring and encouraging of developing a daily art habit, something Danny Gregory is also very passionate about.
France is well-known for her sketches using a ballpoint pen, her crazy cross-hatching abilities and mixing both of these factors to make absolutely beautiful portraits. The second thing she is well-known for is her incredible car sketches (you can see a gallery of some of them here on Flickr).
Her car sketches have so much personality and when I see one, I automatically know it’s by France.
From listening to a chat between Brenda Murray (of Studio 56) and Paul Heaston, I learned that one of the reasons Paul started sketching cars was due to seeing France Van Stone’s sketches. You can check out that chat in the video below:
I first became aware of Paul Heaston for his incredible 180-degree fisheye perspective sketches in which his hands drawing in his sketchbook would be at the bottom centre of a sketchbook spread, followed by the rest of the room he is sitting in. It’s such an incredible effect and worthy of their ‘viral’ appeal across Pinterest and the rest of the internet.
Paul has a few classes on Bluprint (side note: this learning platform has sadly now closed down) and has started to work with Studio 56 (as mentioned above).
I’ve seen Paul sketching more and more sketches recently via his Instagram feed. He said he started sketching cars more often when he would have to pick his daughter up and pull over when it was her nap time, which gave him lots of time to sketch cars while sitting in his own car.
I believe it can get quite cold in Denver, Colorado (where Paul is based) so I think he does a lot of urban sketching from the warmth of his vehicle!
Paul tends to sketch in black and white, using a fineliner (or fountain pen) and his trademark use of cross-hatching.
More recently Paul has started to use ink and wash. He uses a diluted mixture of Lexington Grey Noodlers Ink loaded inside a water brush (like this one on Amazon) to add shading to his drawings, rather than cross-hatching, although sometimes he uses both methods together. In a recent interview, he said using the ink from the water brush in order to shade saves so much time over using the cross-hatching technique.
Every now and again Paul adds a bit of colour to his sketch, like below:
Lapin is a French illustrator living in Spain. I’m sure you must have heard of him. He is a huge name in the urban sketching world and is best known for sketching in old accounting books.
Many of Lapin’s sketches have the distinctive blue and red vertical lines running down the page. He sketches in such books (which he hunts for at flea markets) because the paper quality is so good. It’s such a trademark, I hope he can continue to find old books such as these. He is also known for his trademark floral shirts and sporting a variety of fantastic hats.
I love all of Lapin’s work but I think the first thing I personally knew him for was his car sketches. He draws lots of vintage cars from such interesting perspectives. He tends to over-exaggerate the perspective too, making the sketch look so wonderfully dynamic.
Lapin is part of Sketchbook Skool’s Urban Sketching Course where he demonstrates how he draws a vintage coffee truck. You can see a timelapse version of the actual sketch below:
Nina is a Swedish artist/illustrator and very prominent in the Urban Sketcher community. Nina teaches illustration at a university in Sweden. I think I discovered Nina around the same time as France Van Stone. Nina also teaches a section of the Urban Sketching course from Sketchbook Skool.
Brenda Swenson is another prominent urban sketcher (and phenomenal watercolour artist) that I associate with a love of sketching cars, particularly old vintage trucks that are starting to rust up nicely.
Not a car, but still a vehicle on wheels…the humble moped. I love how Brenda frames the sketch with some writing.
Urban Sketchers I have Recently Discovered & Their Awesome Car Sketches
Gérard is an architect and urban sketcher from Belgium. He mainly draws buildings but the occasional car sketch he does is incredible. His style is very clean and bold.
Joerg is a graphic designer and urban sketcher from Germany. He is an active member of his local urban sketching chapter and has also led several workshops to teach others. As well as urban sketches his Instagram feed features amazing illustrations from his imagination too.
Architect and urban sketcher from Argentina. I think Fede’s work is beautiful. He mainly deals with architecture but now and again a car sketch makes it on to his Instagram feed. From looking at some of his sketches I think he is a fan of Lapin’s way of using perspective when drawing cars and accentuating their character.
An illustrator and urban sketcher from Belgium.
You can see a larger collection of his car sketches on his website here.
Arnaud De Meyer
Architect, illustrator and urban sketcher based in Luxembourg. I love the loose sketchy quality of Arnaud’s car sketches.
Murray is an urban sketchers correspondant and graphic designer based in Auckland, New Zealand. He has such a unique way of capturing cars. I love his use of Posca paint markers on toned paper.
For more car sketching inspiration, check out the examples I have gathered together on my Car Sketching Pinterest board here.
I hope this post has inspired you to look at cars in a new sketchy way and how incredible car sketches can look. The urban sketchers mentioned in this article use a variety of techniques to create interesting and dynamic sketches, whether its cross-hatching, ink washes, using toned paper or playing with perspective. Think about how you can experiment with these factors.
Make sure to tag @urbansketchingworld on Instagram if you sketch some cars so I can check it out!