Toy Tech: Perspective (Part 1)



Digital sketch for work: Hot Wheels © 2013

The first stage of this toy design was building the
perspective that worked as the structural guideline of the sketch. I simply
roughed out a down and dirty perspective grid and then roughed out the Hot
Wheel’s car at a basic eye level using the appropriate vanishing points to create

Whether the ideation art is considered a rough concept
sketch or finished presentation, using correct perspective lines will make a
big difference in the believability of your idea. Drawings with correct
perspective, figural or technically driven, show the difference between
professional and student level when viewing portfolios. That’s a bug-a-boo of


Digital Photoshop freehand outline art ready for tonal shading: Hot Wheels © 2013

Toy and product design students need to nail one, two and
three point perspective so their level of design is rock solid. Yes, yes, I
know I’m an old school guy. Yes, yes, I know you’re a genius and I’m hampering
your individual style and artistic vision by moaning about perspective when no
one really cares. Ahhhhh, but they do care.

What I’m trying to say is, there is a big difference between
going to school to learn to be a designer and actually getting a paying job as
a designer. Those, my friend are a little harder to find.

Achieving the correct perspective, even in rougher concept
sketches will set you a part from the pack. Most often in toy ideation, you’ll
be fine with freehand perspective to sketch out your ideas as presented here in
this article. I most often sketch in digital freehand but sometimes when things
get more complex I use 3d software if necessary.


Continued in part 2 . . .

2 thoughts

  1. Brian, I personally sketch out all ideation and even most final art using digital Photoshop perspective layers and set it to multiply working over that. I turn it on and off as needed. The 3D modelers most often can work off my sketches even if they are slightly off in areas due to freehand rendering for deadlines. I use Maya only when I move to more complicated play sets or film sets and the project has been green lighted with approved budgets and timelines.
    Play sets sets can be tricky if you don’t make sure all of the toys fit on/in the design. Many designers are conventional drawing based and render beautiful concept pieces that get sent down the production pipeline without the proper fitting of all the components. So, there have been times when the design is so complex I’ll do a really fast down and dirty low poly model just for me—it’s pretty ugly but reveals all of my weak areas before it becomes an issue.
    Hope that helps, love your articles by the way.

  2. Joe, for quick sketches like this one do you avoid 3D software or can it help move the sketch forward more quickly? I often debate the merits of time spent up front on a 3D model only to have a project cancelled, as opposed to higher overall costs (sometimes) due to continuous revision of line art.
    Thoughts there? Great stuff!

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