My shoes journal

Hi! My name is Poetri Marsela I’m taking a footwear design class right now at Academy of Art University and this is my first time drawing shoes.
I’m going post my shoes sketches (hopefully) everyweek and would like to get feedback from anyone and I’m open to any type of critiques, from sketching technique, rendering technique, proportions and else.

I appreciate your time and feedback I can get and eager to learn more from anyone in here.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Poetri Marsela

Shoes Topic 01: Running Shoes

Shoes Topic 02: Hiking Boots

Shoes Topic 03: Skate Shoes

Shoes Topic 04: Vintage Sneakers

Hi Poetri, sure! And what a cool first name to have :slight_smile:

Your sketches are not bad at all, very good work! You are clearly a natural sketcher and have learned to confidently define your strokes. Sometimes they overshoot a bit too much for my taste, but that’s also a matter of style. My advice would be:

  • Explore more in terms of drawing style. Try out more contrast in color and value, different line weights, work with drop shadows and backgrounds. Work towards an own unique style.
  • Work on your ability to express textures and materials. Your stitches draw too much attention, maybe try a thinner line or lighter color for those.
  • Make the step to 3d perspective.
  • About design: think critically about what you want to explore with your sketches. It can be more fun if you give yourself a clear purpose for each sketch, so you develop not only your sketching skills but also your design thinking. Some of your later sketches are developing an own design style, almost a blend of puma, nike and adidas. See if you can create your own brand for a specific user group!

Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

Hi Ralph :slight_smile:

Thank you for the feedback. I’ll do your advices. I should have more details for next week assignment. I have to make the digital rendering so I should have more textures and materials.

For the different line weights, how would you approach it?
When sketching product I would approach it by making the stroke thicker on the corners and the bottom to make it more grounded.

I never draw shoes in perspective before, do you have any tips or reference I should look?

Thank you,

Poetri Marsela

This week assignment is about lateral, medial and top view.
I’m having a hard time drawing top view. Wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.


I was just giving you a number of things you could work on based on what I saw. The pacing of your learning process should be done in accordance with your own teacher. Probably the step towards perspective is not what you’re ready for yet, but I included a reference image for how to construct a shoe in 3d - well, it’s a skate shoe. You’d define the main perspective lines and draw the most important lines defining the shape of the shoe in accordance with the perspective - the contours over the center of the shoe, and some section cuts.

For line weights, in general thicker lines work on surfaces pointing away from the light, so usually on the bottom. Also, when drawing in perspective, thicker lines are used for areas more nearby the camera, lighter weights for areas further away. You can also use a thicker contour to make the sketch ‘pop’ more from the paper. For that, I also find a subtle colored background rectangle very useful by the way, and perhaps a hint of a drop shadow with black or a very dark blue/purple. Also you can check out some professional footwear sketches, there’s tons of them for example in the portfolios at

I’m not a footwear designer but it the top views look quite good from what I can see. One of them is missing a few lines and the toe is a bit pointy. Your sketch strokes are quite confidently put and those are complex curves so it’s ok to have to adjust a bit here and there - sometimes that adds to the look of a sketch. What I would probably do is, for difficult curves, sketch in a light or a blue pencil first and then artfully trace the final curve in one go. Slowly but steadily, like a pinstripe artist.

Good luck, keep posting!

This week assignment was to do a rendering and this is my assignment.


The perspective is just for my own preference, my teacher haven’t mention anything about perspective, so far right now we are only working on lateral, medial and top views. I just want to get my hands on perspective because I know it will take some time for me to get the right perspective and proportion.

I’ll try your suggestions, going back to prisma color will be a good idea to have more variety on line weights. My teacher also said my line looks too fast and sharp. Got to work on that too.

I posted my homework for this week and we actually have shoes sketch off this week just among everyone in school. Going to that too for more practice.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Poetrimarsela, your rendering looks really great. Nice job! I would work on the shadow some though under the sole; it is too heavy and you are losing a lot of definition in the sole. This may allow you to add some highlights to that area as well. Also, the background image is competing with your shoe too much, I would look at reducing the opacity of that image or finding a more abstract way to illustrate the mountains.

HI Traftos,

Thanks for the feedback, I do find the shadow on the sole is too heavy and the background is been hit or miss to some people.
My teacher is okay with the background but she does said to make the shoes more flashier by punching more of the highlights.
I did consider to add more highlights but it become too shiny and flat from my point of view.

A quick update. I just had my midterm yesterday. We have 2 brief options. Either Pagani midtop or Adidas hightop basketball shoes. I picked the Adidas basketball shoes. we have 5 hours to do the midterm. 2 hours to do the ideation sketches, 90 minutes each to do Ai line drawing and finish rendering in Ps.

Here is my thumbnails and the rendering.

Thank you,

Poetri Marsela

Good progressions!

I mainly think your renderings look a bit flat. A few sharp highlights often do help pop the shape more, if done well, and depending on the entire lighting environment.
I feel that you need to draw more based on the light that would reflect off of the surface based on the lighting, and less in a 2D fashion - even if it’s a side projection. Now you add some shadow and highlight here and there, but it could be better in accordance with the overall shape. That would really make the drawing readable as a 3d form.
The drop shadow in the second one is better, make it even darker just under the sole - it could almost be thin like a line. Study how real shoes look in a well-lit/studio environment!

I am also liking your designs, maybe they could be simplified more and made a bit more coherent overall. I wonder if Adidas stripes can be that thin, it’s quite critical - this looks almost like an imitation to me.

Quite a midterm. A lot of pressure to get from zero to a presentation board in 5 hours for a student, but good practice I suppose. Ralph had some good feedback. Overall i think you just really need to study the 3 dimensional form of footwear more. Really sketch through and study all different shoes from all different angles. The lighting and shading will become more natural the more you study. Then banging out a concept board in 5 hours will be easy.

Hi Ralph and Yo

Yeah, it was quite a midterm. It was a good practice especially when rendering. I tend to take too much time on rendering.
Noted on the feedback. Will rework on it on my spring break along with my Coree77 award (wish me luck :smiley:)

Meanwhile I also working on submission for Pensole’s class in Parsons this summer. My teacher made it mandatory for us to submit.

I’ll post the updated version of this shoes and will look up the stripes on Adidas’ shoes and lighting and shading on it as well.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Hi guys, been busy with school and other projects, a few updates,

I’ve been working on my footwear class project called AXIS, a shoes for zero gravity terrain, where the user will be able to jump, climb and do tricks on vertical wall or upside down.

For the past 2 weeks, we have to come up with the brand, including logo, design brief ( target market, age, price point), outsole design and also the design it self. I’m trying to come up with shoes that not only aesthetically good but also have good technology.

another updates, I got summer internship with AHNU down in SF, so excited for that :smiley:

anyway, this is AXIS… would appreciate any feedback :slight_smile:

thank you :smiley:

sketch design and outsole design