TUTORIAL >>> Footwear sketch/render tutorial.

Over the past few years, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to do a footwear rendering demo. I prepared this tutorial when I was asked to give a demo down at The Art Institute of Portland and I thought I would post it up. It is not performance footwear, but the steps still apply.

I hope it is helpful to some people.

Click the link for the full demo:



Thanks for this tutorial. My Hong Kong students are designing footwear right now and need this information in a big way.


shie shie sifu.

oh man, that’s sweet. this is just what i’ve been looking for!


that´s really good.

for the sole you also can play with the lighten effects,putting two light focus,one in the toe area and the other one in the heel area,this give to the sole all the movement needed.

Cool, it would be great if they posted their stuff in the projects or footwear section for feedback…

Glad it was a timely post.


when you do the texturizer, do you marquee select the area you want the texture on? (since you import the color way from illustrator, everything is in one layer…)

Good question. Because layer 1 is just flat color with no gradations, you can select areas using the magic wand. Once an area is selected you can copy and paste it to another layer so you can experiment with different textures. Once you apply the texturizer you can not edit it, so be careful…

One of the advantages to doing it this way is all your shading is above the original colorway. You can paste in different colorways below the shading… bonus.

that’s what i thought… i always usev2 layers on top of everything… highlights and shadows… i wish one could texturize a layer using the layer options… it would be so easy to switch textures in and out then…

Hey Yo,

Thats a great Turorial!..i have a question…

When you ‘trace’ the sketch in Illustrator, what tool is that done with??.. Is it the same as the pen tool in PS??



i’m almost certain it’s the pen tool… i remember seeing an explanation on how to make a zigzag follow a path… anyone seen it? i can’t seem to find it searching here on the forums


aha!! if you try zig zag with a space! zig zag stich in illustrator

I know I’m with you, i would be a lot more convenient. You can import patterns from a file in this window in the pattern overlay window and re edit them, but it works best with mesh patterns.

It is similar to the PS pen tool, but much more intuitive IMO.


nice to see you do some fashion footwear, these remind me of the G Series.

Thanks: it’s fun stuff to sketch on. Below are a few scans from a sketch demo I did the other night down at the Art Institute of Portland. The students asked me to sketch up a high heal boot, and a infant crib shoe…


yo: how important do you feel marker rendering skills are in the footwear field? with programs like sketchbook and so forth are ppl moving away from hand marker renderings?

Honestly, I think what is important is communicating your idea. The fastest, most appropriate and clear way you can do that is the way to go…

Update: tutorial moved locations: