arrow-right cart chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up close menu minus play plus search share user email pinterest facebook instagram snapchat tumblr twitter vimeo youtube subscribe dogecoin dwolla forbrugsforeningen litecoin amazon_payments american_express bitcoin cirrus discover fancy interac jcb master paypal stripe visa diners_club dankort maestro trash


Lineweight Tutorial for Automotive Design

Lineweight Tutorial for Automotive Design

by Hector Réal

June 26, 2019

I created this tutorial some time ago for a design website; it has also been published in an automotive design magazine. The tips highlighted within the tutorial still holds true today. Line weight can make or break designs, this tutorial will help keep you on top of your game!
1: INITIAL SKETCH AND OVERLAY (Line Weight: light)

After choosing a final design, I check the perspective by reversing the page and looking through it using a lamp.

I use axle lines in order to make sure that my wheels are within perspective (a). The minor axis should be perpendicular to the major (or axle line) axis (b).

In order to check surfaces, I draw contour lines (c and d) along the X and Y axis while going over every surface change.

Just like the wheels, notice the axis lines along the headlights in order to make sure that the ellipses for the headlights are correct (e).
2: PERIMETER LINE WEIGHT (Line Weight: heavy)

The perimeter line weight will probably be the thickest to help pull the image off the page and emphasize the overall silhouette– it should be darkest towards the undercarriage.
3: SURFACE SEPARATION (Line Weight: medium)

The third step is to separate all major surface changes, such as the hood, cowl, grilles, vents, and separation lines.

NOTE: Most surface breaks on vehicles are rounded or have some sort radius. To visually emphasize this; instead of using a single line (which indicate a sharp, acute surface break), two parallel lines should be used to indicate a radius on the edge (f).
4: GLASS DETAILS (Line Weight: heavy)

A rather heavy line weight is used around the glass area to indicate seals, material separation as well as emphasis on the DLO (Day-Light-Opening). (g)
5: FOCAL POINT (Line Weight: medium and heavy)

It’s very important to have a focal point – even on line drawings. In this case, the focal point is the corner of the car closest to the observer, or closest headlight. This area will begin with thick line weight that tapers as it flows away from the focal area. This also includes thicker line weight around the headlights (h). This is also a good time to indicate tire tread and black out grilles, spokes, and vents.
6: HATCHING (Line Weight: light)

Hatching is a quick way to indicate lighting. The hatch line should have uniform line weight. Sometimes it is best to hatch in the opposite direction when indicating a surface corner (i).
7: SHADING (line Weight: various)

When shading, try to shade in the same direction as the initial hatch lines.

Don’t forget to vignette, or shade in a direction which starts dark and fades lighter as the shade moves away from the focal area (J).

Again, the focal point should have the most contrast, line weight, and detail.
8: SHADOW (Line Weight: various)

Since the shadow is not really a part of the car, I chose to hatch in a completely different direction than the hatching/shading on the car in order to separate the shadow. The darkest part of the shadow is the area directly below the car, then, as it projects away from the car, the shadow should get lighter and more transparent (vignette).

Shopping Cart