Drawing Shoes In Perspective? (Proportion, Degree, etc.)


I’m new to this forum, just wanted to introduce myself and ask some question to learn from you guys. I’m 21 and started at 15 with graphic and web-design. After several years I stopped doing it, now for a while I started drawing and I found out that it’s really what I like to do and it’s a lot of fun. I found out that just normal drawing like a lot of people do doesn’t satisfy me, like drawing a boring table with some fruit on it, as I could see in many books I bought.

So I thought I should do that what’s fun and I like to do, when I looked at artworks like from Feng Zhu, Harald Balker, Scott Robertson and many more my heart beat faster, that’s where I realized what I really want to do - industrial design. But I don’t try to concentrate or in other words worry so much about the end result I just enjoy the process.

Now lets get to my work. This is my 3rd render ever, if you would have seen my other two renders you would have laughed at me. At the beginning I was very confused how to do it but after trial and error I got the hang out of it. And the fact that I was familiar with Photoshop from my graphic design days helped also a lot.

I don’t have a Wacom tablet yet, I did all with the mouse. I wanted to start next month with rendering and overall computer drawing but I read in Russell Simmons book Do You! that you always should start NOW when you have a vision or want to start anything. When you want to become a lawyer go to the library and read some books about it, don’t wait until you get accepted from college. This is very true and when I look back at it in all things I waited I failed, hopefully this time it will be different. You also feel released when you start now, and just do it. Instead of carrying all you thoughts in your head with you how you want to start something but never do it.

While we’re at starting I wanted to start to train my drawing skills with drawing cars. I got the excellent DVD’s from Scott Robertson, but I realized that I need a way better linework and better freehand ellipses, so I switched to drawing footwear. Now I figured that footwear is not so easy as I thought it’s the opposite drawing feet is one of the hard parts on drawing a figure.

But I still want to keep at it because it’s fun and a challenge to me, when I got a good level I will train something different maybe then cars or so.

I can draw from the side view when you look at the following pic but I still struggle in drawing shoes in perspective.

Look at the very right one the heel looks kinda off to me, I never know where the ground is on the heel part. Where does it stop?

This one looks better with the heel:

I tried to make some studies in drawing shoes in perspective. I know drawing over and over again is the key, and that’s what they do at Art Center from what I heard from the Gnomon DVD’s. But I don’t wanna learn bad habits like getting used to drawing the wrong proportions. Because afterwards it will be hard to get rid of it. That’s why I wanna learn it the right way from the beginning on.

So my question is: On what should I concentrate while drawing shoes in perspective? Do I need the centerline like in the following picture? Do you always try to imagine where the horizon line is like on drawing cars? Should I start with the longest line first, like on the sole?
When people post here I mostly see overlays or renders but I would like to see the actual or first sketches with all the guidlines. I mean do you even use guidlines on shoes or feet? Is that a legit question or am I embarrassing myself right now?

Did I do it on this following picture the right way? Having a horizon line and vanishing point and using the lines of the vanishing point as center lines of the shoes. You can see that some shoes are bigger and some smaller although I tried to keep the same porportion. What would you recommend?

An another thing is how do you draw high heels in perpective? I mean how do you get the degree of the sole that’s kinda the hardes part.

Good that I got this off my chest lol, thanks for reading.

have you tried tracing pictures of shoes in perspective? That might help you some

Zappos.com provides multiple views.

Zappos has all the casual shoe photos you’d ever need, but their photos tend to be a bit shot from slightly skewed angles. So, if you’re looking for athletic footwear photos, try http://www.holabirdsports.com. Their pics are shot at really good angles for use as templates. Here are their shots of the Zoom LeBron V.

Not bad.
Its funny to me how many people get off on drawing & rendering shoes.
Before I started in footwear, I had never drawn a shoe before in my life!
That was ten years ago, and now its just about all I do.
Anyway, i agree that using photos as reference, or even flat out tracing, can be a good thing when dealing with shoes in perspective.
Check out soccer.com too. They usually use some pretty dynamic perspectives in their photos, and they aren’t all cleated. There are lots of indoor, turf and lifestyle shoes there as well.

i do not think that i have ever seen any one sketch a shoe in perspective using any sort of projecting of points, horizon lines, or vanishing points. not that it cannot be done that, but it would likely take a good while to do; and there is no reason for that type of accuracy…

i can’t remember where or from who i picked this up from, but when i sketch a shoe in perspective i will draw it from the ground up. similar to the drawthrough method, it is very simple; i just draw two ovals aligned like an outsole in perspective. i made a quick lil’ vid to illustrate my perspective (yes pun!) will post if i can mange to upload it to youtube…

not at all perfectly accurate, but it is quick & effective…hope it helps

Junglebrodda - That youtube video is just what I need! Been having trouble with perspectives but that two circle methosd has really helped me! Nice one. Any plans for anymore?
what graphics tablet you using btw?

Yes, it does help, thank you very much for the effort. I don’t know I feel more confident using a system or technique to start and build on like Scott Robertson does with Cars and Aircrafts in his DVDs. That’s was my main intension of this thread to find out if there is any technique at all. I think your technique is pretty legit, because when you think about it, the overall proportion of shoes changes with any type of shoe but the sole is similar on all average men shoes for example, that’s why I also thought about starting with the sole first.

Here is an another shoe I’m working on. It still takes me long to make a linework in Illustrator, all the little sections are closed loops so I can easily color them later. But I had to overlap them rightly that was kinda tricky. This time I’ll try to add a texture.

I would strongly suggest taking some drawing classes. Professional designers can draw ANYTHING, not just one thing.

Since still-life drawing bores you, try a figure-drawing class. This is when I really fell in love with drawing and improved my craft. Stop by your local art store and ask about “open figure drawing” classes–they’ll probably have flyers posted.

Figure drawing includes lots of quick-poses that will keep you on your toes–you won’t have time to be bored. After you master drawing all of the complexities of the body, you could focus just on feet and bridge it to footwear design.

As far as what Russell Simmons says, I say take his advice and start looking at Art School now. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll make a career out of this without the requisite training. Take a look at your competition on Coroflot!

glad it helps. i like doing these so i when i get the impulse, i would love to see other do it though, especially on renders; i need some help dolling up my joints…i have a tablet pc (which currently needs a new screen!!!) but i mostly use an intous3…

yeah illustrator can be particularly tricky with fills for perspective sometimes. your sketch is still a lil’ bit off, here is where you might take take a picture of a shoe in perspective, and drawthrough it to so you will recognize “proper” proportions and try to come close to that in your sketches…

i also should add that for the most part perspective views will be much easier to do when you know what it is you are drawing; in the vid you could see i struggled some because i had not really worked out what i was doing. you might have better results if you get the design worked out then move on to the views…

but i mostly use an intous3…

sorry to go off topic quickly, but what size? I’m looking to get one. 4x6 to small?

Rocsta - I agree with JB, i reckon it’d be best if you used an underlay to get your proportions right. Just print it out, can find a bunch of different perspectives online.

Nice video Ade.


i also should add that for the most part perspective views will be much easier to do when you know what it is you are drawing

That’s so true, I used to struggle with my drawings because at first i did not know this process, but know i feel it’s becoming more easy.

Junglebrodda - what software is that your using in your videos? Anyone know?

Is photoshop recommended for use with tablets or do people tend to use something more specialized?

Thanks to all…for sharing these links… :slight_smile:

Junglebrodda(Ade)…wow!..some great skills…there

It is alias sketchbook pro 2. The cool thing about tablets is that it instantly makes any graphics app that much more usable, there certainly are some progrs that have been built specifically for tablets but I do not think are they are necessary as far as quality work

Hi guys,

Really good post, nice to see someone taking it back to basics,

I struggle with perspective in shoes too, so your not the only one!

Just wondered what people do about lineweights with shoes, unlike car’s as far as i have seen, designers use the same lineweights for shoes?

Also rocsta, maybe try getting some Primsa Colour Black pencils from www.refulled.com, i brought some recently having always used pump pencils and i feel it’s made my designs look a lot more natural, as it helps lift them off the page…

Hopefully will post some of my designs soon,


The key to drawing and sketching well is mileage. As I have heard it said, inside every beginning artist (designer) there are 10,000 bad drawings and one cannot get to the good ones until they have rid themselves of the bad ones. As stated in an earlier post, don’t concern yourself with drawing shoes in perspective, concern yourself with learning perspective and then you can apply it to anything you choose to draw. Lastly I would say the best exercises are the ones where you draw from life not photos. This is more difficult but helps train your eye and improves your powers of observation.

Good luck!

Here are some of my better shoe designs, all rendered by hand,
have had a go in photoshop, but so far nothinkg looks that great…

Three more to follow in the next post…

I think my designs are ak but perhaps a bit weird and whacky, does anyone know how to add better highlights?

How is the perspective?
What soet of paer do people use? I know its down to personal prefrence, but i don’t think i can seem to find whats best?..

Thanks for your feedback,


hey Felix,

What I would do first is go get yourself some really smooth paper… maybe some bond layout paper, canson marker paper, or even some smooth copy paper… Just to try it out, because the rough toothed paper that you are using is kinda hard to work with sometimes… especially with the drawing style that you are trying to achieve…

Next, I would put down the markers for a little bit and work on your linework… try to get some smooth lines working for you along with the correct perspective. Look at pictures of shoes and try to work out the proportions by comparing the shoes to reference points. Also remember to draw through your shoes… once you have that nailed down I would try to shade the whole shoe as a one form and begin to really feel whats going on there…

Only once you have done all that I would recommend going back to the markers and trying to really render a shoe. And sometimes with markers, less is more… just try to hint at the forms and colors and remember where your light is going to be hottest then you can leave a space white. And just try to work on the fundamentals of really filling in the shoe and describing the form, sometimes all the extra marker strokes outside the line drawing really can take away from what you are trying to communicate and sometimes just becomes messy… Maybe you would like to try pen as well?

Or try to explore core77 by yourself,cos there’re a lot of people starting now in footwear,and they’re taking nice advices from the pro’s in other places.
I think is a good point that make sence.
And there’s no trick…just practice,practice and practice.
Your lines are too thick and rough,proportions totaly off.

I’m gonna put what you should try to do,for practice,practice your artwork by hand,like the pictures.

totaly hand working: