Digital vs. Analogue Sketching

Digital vs. Analogue Sketching, which one is better? I am often asked by young and aspiring designers what sort of media and tools I use when it comes to sketching. I do hand sketches regardless whether they are analog or digital (with the help of Wacom Intuos). When I say sketches, I really mean sketches and not full blown colourful Photoshop renders over existing photos that are anything but sketches (these also have their own place and purpose of course). So I decided to post some slides and give the young generation some reference and perspective about my workflow. At the end of the day, you can design a whole car with just a pen and a few pieces of cheap xerox paper. I hope this is useful.

Digital vs. Analogue Sketching © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Digital Sketch in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos: Canvas size 19,000×15,000px, brush size 12-15px. No underlays.
EIDO GTR Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of two A4 pages, ballpoint pen on plain xerox paper and a small touch with marker. No underlays.
Jaguar E-Pace Design Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Jaguar E-Pace Design Sketches: Raw scan of several A4 analogue pages composed into one slide. 0.5mm Automatic Pencil on plain xerox paper, number plate coloured in Photoshop. Using 3D model for underlays.
Misc Muscle Car Designs © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Muscle Cars Digital Sketches in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos Pro. No underlays.
Jaguar XF Design Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Jaguar XF Design Sketches: Raw scan of two A4 pages with analogue sketches composed into one slide. Black Ballpoint pen (BIC) on layout pad paper. No underlays.
EIDO GTR race spec design sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of 2-3 pages with analogue sketches composed into one single slide. Ballpoint pen and a bit of marker on marker pad paper. No underlays.
Ferrari F12, Aston Martin, Lancia Sketches © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Top: Quick Digital sketches in Photoshop using Wacom Intuos Pro. No Underlays. Bottom: Digital Sketches in Photoshop with Wacom Intuos Pro using the photos of the existing car as underlays.
Jaguar F-Type Bespoke Design Sketch © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Raw scan of two A4 pages with analogue sketches. Top: ballpoint pen (BIC) on plain xerox paper, no underlays. Bottom: ballpoint pen (BIC) with red AD Charpak marker for an accent on marker paper, no underlays.
Ferrari V8 Design Sketch © 2023 Miroslav Dimitrov
Top: Raw scan of A4 analog sketch page. Ballpoint pen on plain xerox paper. No underlays. Bottom: three separate digital sketches made in Procreate with iPad Pro. No underlays.

So, Digital vs. Analogue Sketching – the eternal debate. It’s not a battle of absolutes, not black versus white, nor right versus wrong or anything like that. The truth lies in mastering the basic principles: understanding the art of creating a car design sketch – what makes the cars look good on paper, volumes, proportions, and, paramount of all, capturing the essence of the theme. It is also very important to differentiate car design sketch from car art or car illustration – these are two completely different disciplines.

These principles serve as our foundation, akin to learning to walk before we can run. You can’t sprint until you’ve mastered the art of putting one foot in front of the other. Yet, once you’ve traversed that journey, the choice of tools becomes akin to selecting your favorite pair of running shoes – a matter of personal preference.

For me, the allure of analogue sketching holds sway. There’s an intimate connection forged between pen or pencil and paper, a tangible expression of creativity that resonates deeply. However, in this realm, preferences are as diverse as the sketches themselves.

In the end, the essence lies not in the medium but in the mastery of the craft. Whether your strokes grace the surface of a tablet or dance across the fibers of traditional paper, what matters most is the passion and dedication poured into each sketch.

If you would like to see more examples of my sketches whether digital or analogue, please visit this link: sketchbook

Study In Scarlet

Study in Scarlet – An experiment/study to recreate the spirit of the original Alfa Romeo Disco Volante from 1952 based on a modern day package and dimensions. For the purpose the wheelbase and overall dimensions from Ferrari F12 Berlinetta were used (keeping it all within Fiat Group) and a new modern body was created. The main challenge was to find a good balance between the iconic features from the past and execute them in a modern way – the car was neither to look like a restomod or retro inspired cyberpunk design. While still being an experiment, this project realistic and can be executed as one-off based on the donor car.

3D model done in Autodesk Alias – a combination of SubD & nurbs modelling. Rendered in Autodesk VRED in GPU mode with NVIDIA RTX 3090.

Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study
Alfa Romeo Disco Volante - Case Study

Collage of Mixed Sketches #6

Another selection of car design sketches done over the year… my personal favourite is probably the BMW front 3/4 sketch in the middle of the page. The small sketch below the BMW is actually a very quick proposal for a Lotus Exige.

Collage No.6 - Mixed Car Design Sketches & Concepts: Lotus, BMW, Ferrari, Bentley

Charge Mustang Interior

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