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How to improve my concept art?

I would like to create more “credible” concept art engines.
For that, I thought about studying mechanical pieces.

It would help me to have a better understanding of the mechanical functions.
That will be my “raw” material.

To increase my creativity while I sketch Concept art engine, I feed my memory of forms. It’s good sometime to select my own inspiration pictures. E.g: going to Product design expo, art musuem, getting the Artbooks of your favourite movies… or Google image”.

Sewing machine bobbin case

When I was a kid, my mom had a sewing machine at home. I remember playing with that above bobbin case that I already felt modern and elegant. I guess that’s what attract me today to draw it. It was so small yet composed of many rounded mechanical pieces, some more a bobbin could perfectly fit in.

Ok, it looks complicated. How to start ? By identifying the main shape: a cylinder. I trace 2 ellipses for the above surface skipping the bottom one. Only the upper surface interest me. Then the game is about detailing respecting some basic rules of perspective. I will explain more about it in further articles.


This bobbin looks already like a spaceship. Note that the bobbin is symmetrical. That’s a major information you need to identify before sketching anything.

The sewing head

I like this shape. It reminds me a walking/jumping robotic foot.

It’s quite interesting to draw some in multiple views.

Tonight, let’s explore the tough part of the machine!

I have chosen this picture for its complexity. I won’t draw everything as it is (I guess I would go crazy :)) but extract the shapes that interest me. Actually, after a couple of hours seeing it, it looks less complicated to me. I guess my brain has already get familiar to certain shapes.

It’s a big mess. But it’s ok. It’s a combination of doodles for me to train. It took me about 3 hours. It’s definitely too long because I wanted to sketch as many shape as possible. Next time, I will draw with an even looser hand to sketch faster and explore more.

As soon as your brain has memorised the “logic” of a shape and mechanism, you should be able later to redraw it neater.

Have you notice that most of the shapes use ellipses.

Because I draw metal pieces, I feel suitable to use a cold colour marker.

The cafe closed at 2am and I was the last client. Time to go home, write this article and go to sleep !

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    • Hello Hari,

      You will need to go through the basics of perspective.
      It is fundamental to start with this. 🙂

      Mechanical parts are complex.
      But you got to see them basically as the assembly of simple forms such as cylinder, boxes, rounding… It is good to decompose forms into simple ones.

      I recommend you to start learning from these first.
      With the Designer Starter Kit, and the Cube Mania Challenge.
      (You can type in the blog search bar on the right)

      For books, there is a good one for beginners: “Sketching the basics” from Koos Eissen.
      Make sure to get the latest edition (The second).

      For more advanced approach you have “How to draw” from Scott Robertson.

      I do have a Product design sketching course in videos.
      The registration is close for now. (I welcome new members 1 or 2 times a year only.)

      You can register to the waiting list if you are interested:


  • great tip 🙂 I will do a personal study of machines as well to improve my mechanical knowledge, I never bothered for some reason or maybe I never noticed

    • There is machinery everywhere. Even outside try to observe all these intricate pipes, cables, train “wheels” and so on and take them in picture. You can bring these inspiration home. Or even better, you draw all these on the spot.