Shoe Tutorial

Feet, they are the scourge of many an artist. Difficult to determine size and even more difficult to render into some form of three dimensional look, feet are definitely the hardest part of human anatomy. While feet may be a royal pain, shoes can be even worse.
I'm going to be honest, feet and shoes elude me. My brain and hand tell me they can't create them for beans.
Notice the two large shoes in the picture. They aren't the greatest things in the world but with them i will offer a small tutorial on how to start drawing shoes.

For the picture i went with my black Vans. YOU will need to pick a shoe that you like. Now go grab the shoe, a pencil, an eraser and the paper. Go on, i'll wait for ya. ... ... ...
You've got the shoe and everything else? Good then. Let's get started. Set the shoe down on something that is nearly eye level. Yes, i'll wait again... ... ...

Alrighty then, have the front of the shoe facing directly towards you so that the sides are horribly distorted and look very short. In this exercise you will learn fore-shortening aka an artist's pain in the ass. Firmly grasp your pencil in your drawing hand.

This is the front top of the shoe. Your starting point.

Now, examine carefully, without moving the shoe, the top front part. You should draw first the tiny sides on the left and right of the tongue. Alrighty then...i'll give you a moment. Feel free to erase. Now observe the tongue. Make the rough shape of it (the shape will come together better after shading). Remember the tiny sides? Bring the lines down a bit according to what you see. Also work your way part way down the tongue where the laces are (but don't draw the laces in yet!).

For now concentrate on the toe area.

Do you see where the rounded corner triangle is on the top of the toe area? This is your next step. Sketch in (i do hope you did choose a tennis/athletic shoe for this project) the little triangular part. Most athletic shoes have these triangular areas. Not to sound obscene, but this far you should have the tongue/lace area and the triangle looking somewhat like a penis shaped mushroom. Be sure you've got the angles on the sides of the triangle just so, because that can throw off the entire shoe.

The Sides are Essential!

Now for the trickiest part of all, THE SIDES and SOLE. This part is strictly based on observation. Roughly outline the sides and the sole. Shading is essential now. So we must begin the shading process!

Like the lining part, you should go in sections. The sides should go first, because they determine how you should shade the front of the shoe. Notice the forshortening effect shading gives the real shoe in front of you. You don't have to be anal about how you shade and it's not necessary to add the Nike swish or the Vans V. It helps to add other defining features though, such as lines where the leather/fabric are stitched together. Make careful note of their angles. The sole should be last. You have it lined in, now shade. Because the sole is a different material than the rest of the shoe, you can make it darker or lighter than the leather/fabric parts, and because it's rubber, you can add a bit of shine by working from dark to light. You can also add shine by using your eraser in areas where light reflect.

In the end, your shoe should look like it's a right or left one. It should also look somewhat short and stubby because of the forshortening. You can go willy nilly with how the laces are tied if you want. They're the very last detail. How they criss cross is important though. In the picture at the top of the post, the shoe from the side view looks odd because i messed up the laces. So be mindful of the criss crossing!

Finished Shoe

Later i will give the 3/4 view shoe tutorial. That one will be somewhat easier. Keep practicing with that front view. If you can draw little people, see how the front view of shoes looks on them. Try to incorporate the front view shoe into some of your drawings. Until later... good luck with the shoe!

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