“I have drawn hundreds of cars, but I do not know how to drive.”

The French illustrator Lapin said this when I attended his workshop on drawing cars.

It was a wet day. We avoided the rain by going into an undercover car park.

Lapin encouraged us to draw cars as we saw them, not as we knew them to be. That’s why he pointed out that he draws cars all the time, yet put him behind the steering wheel and he is clueless. His lack of knowledge about cars doesn’t hold him back.

To draw a car well, you do not need to know how the technology of a car works. You don’t need to understand a dashboard. You don’t even need to know how to drive. You just have to see what you’re looking at.

If you know too much about cars, this can be a disadvantage. Your idea of what a car likes like actually gets in the way of seeing the car in front of you.

What’s one way to see a car? Get as close as you can.

In one exercise, Lapin encouraged us to sit really close to a car – just 50 centimetres away. By sitting so close, you fill your vision with the car.

I thought my first attempt was okay (my drawing is the main image):

Audi 1st Attempt

However, Lapin came over and advised me that my headlight should be much bigger. I was just 50cm (2 feet) away from the headlight, so it filled most of my vision. Likewise, the headlamp should fill most of my drawing. Lapin drew an example for me (Lapin’s drawing is in the top right corner of the image above).

“Should I start again?” I asked, after Lapin had shown me how it should have been done.

“Yes,” Lapin said.

I had already spent several minutes on my drawing, so I felt frustrated about starting again. But I did so anyway.

I was happy with the result, at least in terms of the bigger headlight:

Audi

My watercolouring needs work. As does my ability to draw wheels. But I really enjoyed discovering a new way of drawing: the fisheye perspective.

It was good to fill my vision with the subject of my drawing.

Do you like drawing cars? What are your top tips for drawing cars?