3D Drawing Tips to Make Your Work Jump Off the Page

3D Drawing by Fredo

3D sketches take the art of drawing to a whole new level (pun definitely intended). Artists like Alessandro, Ramon Bruin, and Fredo create mind-blowing 3D drawings that appear to jump right off the page through a combination of shading techniques borrowed from airbrushing, flawless perspective, and a few insider techniques (multiple sheets of paper to create more complex images). You can draw like these artists too by using these 3D drawing tips and techniques.

3D Drawing Tips & Techniques

Lighting

It’s the first thing you learn in the 3D unit of art class: how to suggest a sphere by shading in the area furthest from the light source. The points where the light falls on the object you’re sketching should be the lightest, and the object should get progressively darker the further from the light source you go. If you’re planning to photograph your drawing like the artists above, you should pay attention to the actual light source where you’re working, and consider how it would affect the object you’re drawing. This will heighten the impression that the object in the drawing is actually in the room. Also, don’t forget to consider how texture – stone, brick, leaves, etc. – is influenced by lighting.

Perspective

Perspective isn’t too difficult when you remember this simple rule: objects that are closer appear larger, and objects that are further away appear smaller. If you need a visual, find a long hallway or a a straight street, stand in the middle, and look toward the opposite end. The path will appear to get narrower the further away it gets. When sketching, consider the viewer’s perspective – will they be looking down on your object? Or will they be looking at it from the side? Far Side artist Gary Larson once said that the single-panel format of his comic was a valuable teacher, because it forced him branch out in terms of perspective (for instance, he was forced to draw long objects, like cars and ships, from the front or back instead of the side). Take a lesson from Gary and turn a limitation into an opportunity.

Think Outside the Page

Ramon Bruin often includes his own hand when it comes to showcasing his artwork, and Fredo sometimes inserts objects like a wineglass or a pencil. The suggestion that the artist’s hand is interacting with the image reinforces the illusion of three-dimensional presence. Bruin often seems to be holding up his creatures by the tail, while Alessandro appears to be handing an object out to one of his characters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where the artist ends and the artwork begins!

A craftsman needs the right tools. Pencils.com has all the drawing pencils you need to create your own incredible 3D-looking creations. Share your own tips, techniques, suggestions, and successes in the comments!

Drawin by Fredo.

3 replies
  1. Pascal
    Pascal says:

    Very nice piece. Im a good artist myself but i require training ive just been developing my slills recently.. dunno why i cant produce that 3d effect

    Reply
  2. Mary
    Mary says:

    Do you need a camera to draw in 3D? I’ve seen some video clips where they have a camera set up and they’re copying from the camera, (I think!). Is all this extra apparatus needed, or can you learn the same effect just by hand and your own eyes? I would really love to learn to draw in 3D, but do I have to be trained specially or would I be able to learn from a book or online tutorials? Help…….! :-)

    Reply

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  1. […] Pencils.com state that anyone can try their hand in 3D drawing as long as these 3 main tips are followed: Lighting, Perspective and Thinking Outside of the Page. […]

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