Why all the cars and shoes?

Hi all, I am an aspiring designer hoping to soon be studying ID at university. Currently I’m really pushing to bring my sketching ability up to par, and a big part of this has been trawling the internet for examples of sketches, trying to see if I can pick up any good practices. One thing that has struck me is how all these sketches seem to be dominated by vehicles and footwear.

Does anybody have some insight into why these are such favourites? Is it because they can be very flexible in style and allow for freedom of expression? Is there something about them that makes them particularly useful for sketching practice? My curious mind thanks you.

I don’t think the subject matter makes a difference regarding the sketching. What matters is that most people understand how you visually communicate. People know what shoes and cars look like. I think the reason we do these exercises is that it is very difficult to design a appealing vehicle or piece of footwear because people already how it should look. Practicing to create the appealing designs helps you to understand the subtleties in these difficult proportions and know why things work and don’t work. When you practice applying overall proportions, line quality, surface volume, color and texture via sketch form, you begin to increase your capacities over time to create good quality designs with precision execution much quicker and faster using the most minimum amount of strokes. This helps to build the foundation when you begin to create those new forms that people have never seen, assuring your sketch details are intentional and not “accidental” forms.

Cars are very easy to “draw” but very hard to draw well. Very complex forms and surfaces in perspective in general (whether it be cars or space ships or whatever) are always good practice. If you spent all your time drawing tablet cell phones or desks you could probably hone your skills, but wouldn’t be able to show off much of that.

Of course if you stink at drawing them it’s probably not worth dumping it into your portfolio. But some hot sketches for fun are always nice portfolio pieces.

Those two things are the sort of “It” items for ID.

Doesn’t 90% of young designers say either “I want to work for Nike” or “I want to design cars”?

They’re both fun to draw, and almost anyone can relate to it. It’s certainly more fun to draw a car or shoe than “the next iPhone” (Yay radius corners!)

The key to doing anything well is doing it all of the time, and typically the key to doing anything all of the time is a combination of discipline and fun. Those 2 objects tend to be a lot of fun to sketch, think about, and use, coupled with the fact that they have pretty set functional requirements and proportional constraints making. While they are difficult to sketch, they are easy to see if you messed up.

Personally I enjoying thinking about just about everything…

For me, the car is the ultimate test of drawing abilities. It has everything from ellipse perspective to complex surfaces to proportion to silhouette that you need to master. My theory is if you can learn to draw cars well, then everything else is cake.

Tarn…I think you pretty much nailed it…

Thanks all, that’s completely answered it.

Along those lines, are there any other types of object that you would reccomend sketching for practice?

i never drew cars or shoes until after college. I only started drawing shoes because there where great monthly competitions where i could practice my skills and get critiques on my work. I also started posting work in the footwear section here on core77. the feed back i received was extremely helpful and i was able to progress from poorly drawn shoes to a career in the footwear industry.

In short, i started drawing shoes because there where competitions, but i kept drawing them because the guys and gals over in the footwear forums really offered fantastic critiques that made me better.

The short answer is everything!!! The more you sketch the better you will become. Also being early in your design journey you never know what you maybe doing as a career.