Land Rover Defender Sketches from the workshop at Bulgaria’s National Academy of Arts

In the month of October 2023 myself and my dear friend Deyan Denkov had the pleasure to offer one week workshop for the master students in the Bulgarian Academy of Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria.

land rover defender design sketches for national academy arts
New Land Rover Defender – sketch examples from the one week workshop for the Master Design Students at the Bulgarian National Academy, Sofia. October 2023

The workshop lasted one week and was organised with the help of, Rangel Chivep, an industrial design professor at the Bulgarian Academy of Arts and open everyone – subject to application. Its primary objective was to enhance the skills of master students through hands-on guidance in car sketching techniques. We delved into fundamental principles such as the essence of volumes and proportions that constitute a compelling car design sketch, emphasizing the significance of developing a strong design theme in order to with a project within the design studio. Students were challenged to propose designs as if they were tasked with reimagining a renowned British icon for Jaguar Land Rover.

Furthermore, we shared invaluable insights gained from our long experience within the Automotive Design industry, shedding light on the operational dynamics of design studios. Through discussions, we shared anecdotes from various projects, elucidating the challenges encountered by designers in the course of a typical day in a Car Design Studio.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all students who joined the workshop class and especially Rangel Chipev without who this won’t be possible.

Digital vs Analog 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

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