Love sketching, hate rendering, help!

I love to sketch and doodle, but I hate rendering. I could never get a grasp of it. Please help me improve on my rendering skills so I can render as confidently as I doodle! I want to learn to render in both photoshop and with markers. I’ve linked the sketches. I will be working step-by-step, in other words, I will move on to a new sketch only after these two have been rendered and approved with your feedback and help.

This is a plush doll.
Q: How do you render something soft?

This is a scotch tape holder.
Q: How do you render something that is all black?

It would be easier to give you tips if you attempted a render so we could see where you need advice. Post them into the forum for better responses.

  1. Pastel + baby powder + cloth
  2. Dark greys.

Try white pen or pencil on black paper. Or black and white pencil on gray paper. Draw the highlights. Play.

Any development on this Sketchroll?

I added this thread to my Google Chrome bookmarks bar as I hoped it would be a an interesting thread.

Been incredibly busy with school and work the past couple weeks. Still busy, but got a little bit more time now. Ill definitely be taking a stab at the rendering techniques that people have suggested!

On a side note, for those of you who remember my old thread in General Design Discussion: “PROJECT: NEW APPROACH TO DRAWING TUTORIALS.” The project split into 3 directions. One direction tackles the pressures of creativity and aims to come up with solution that will help people to “jumpstart” their creative senses. Another direction tackles visual communication and one’s ability to communicate what they are thinking and trying to say with just visuals. The goal is to make visual communication fun, easy to learn, and improve. Finally, the last direction deals with mileage and inspiration when it comes to sketching and ideating. With a new take on daily challenges that aims to make your brain work in new and exciting ways. I am currently doing Alpha-testing on the last direction, if you would like to know more and be a participant, please let me know!

Hi Sketchroll. I agree with your opinions on sketching and rendering. I pretty much had the same feeling my whole way through Uni. I dont know exactly when, but things slowly changed for me when i stopped thinking of renderings as RENDERINGS! (if that makes sense).

I enjoyed sketching, and colouring my sketches, and so only did this for the longest time. After a while i realised that the coloured “sketches” i was doing were at a level that a few years ago i would have probably considered to be a rendering. This was a pretty exciting realisation and one that made me realise that the problem i was having with rendering was much more to do with my outlook on them rather than anything else. My advice then is to start colouring your sketches! Of course, keep pushing the boundaries, and lifting the level, but always keep the idea in your mind that you are sketching… not rendering.

This way of thinking and working honestly led to one of the biggest jumps in my skills. For interest…and kind of related i think, was the realisation that simple lighting and shading is the most important thing when colouring a sketch (or rendering). Reflections are a mere subtlety that are added on top of this base.

Sketch reference is always nice! keep it by your side when you do a rendering. If you want to depict shiny black, collect images of shiny black things.

For the plush doll, your lines should be able to convey soft. Try putting in texture dots or even put in indications of fuzz lines in some parts of the sketch.

In the end, its always about repetition and trial and error.

Hi Sketchroll.

No doubt about it…rendering can be pretty intimidating. As your colleagues say, try to look at physical objects and try to understand where the light is coming from and how objects reflect off of a shiny surface. Your sketching style is awesome! Really loose and quick. The best kind. I rendered up the tape dispenser for you (though I am months late in responding but perhaps it will help others too).

If you have any questions, I will be happy to help. Have a great Holiday.

Stapler Rendering Markup.jpg
Stapler Rendering.jpg


I created a rendering of your tape dispenser. It is awaiting approval. Ignore the name of the file…I called it a stapler for some reason. Must of had staplers in my head! :slight_smile:


Wow thanks ramkar! Sorry, I saw this just now. 8 months later?

Practicing digital painting.
Gonna start updating this old thread.
Screen Shot 2012-08-22 at 5.41.37 PM.png

that plush doll and tape holder sketch are just awesome, where can i see more?

This took me about 2 hours… Thoughts?

It is a nice enough sketch. Just an exercise?

Just practice?

No worries Sketchroll,

Been out of the forums for a while myself. Have a good one and glad you found it useful.



Are you using any reference to help map out the ground/sky reflections? A lot of people fake the reflections and just see it in professional sketches and imitate rather than understand such a complex surface. I would try sketching cars in person, and study the reflections, if rendering is what you are most focused on. However, I think something should be said about the time spent rendering versus the time spent sketching. Maybe you could draw the reflection lines rather than whipping out the whole rendering kit?

Just a suggestion, nice progress.

I was not using reference. I was less focused on doing accurate realistic renders and more focused on getting it to read 1,2,3.

This may be my first 100% original design and digital rendering! Also, for the first time I actually enjoyed using the wacom tablet to sketch and render something.