3. Add details and draw your final lines.
Add lines for the insole and outsole, the shape of the heel and peg. Beyond your basic outline, these lines add definition and dimension to your shoe. Once you’ve finished the linework, go over your final lines and use an eraser to clean up the drawing. If you’re working digitally, you can simply make a new layer for this.
4. Fill your shoe with color.
This is where your reference photo can really come in handy. Simply use the eyedropper tool to pull colors from your reference into the corresponding areas of your drawing. If you’re working digitally, make these marks on separate layers from the linework. For the upper part of the shoe that wraps around the foot, start with a gray color and paint a rough outline of where the highlights and shadows will be.
5. Add highlights to the upper.
Highlights show where light hits and reflects off the shoe. These marks are essential to recreating the glossy look of patent leather. “Highlights are crucial for leather. The contrast really defines the shoe,” says Fernandez. Go over your gray layer with darker shades. For this final step, Fernandez used an acrylic brush and a range of layers at different opacities to achieve a smooth, blended look. There are many ways to render leather highlights. How you decide to draw them will depend on your personal preference as well as the angle, lighting, and material of the shoe.
Tips to top off your skills.
If starting from scratch sounds like an overwhelming endeavor, tracing is a great way to get realistic results fast. “You don’t have to start out sketching,” says Fernandez. “You can use your reference photo and just trace over it if you want to practice, or want to get a feel for the shape of the shoe.”
Also be sure to consider the material of the shoe when it comes to highlights and shading. Plastic and patent leather aren’t going to behave the same way as suede or canvas. Some shoes are shiny and smooth, while others are matte and textured. Have fun and experiment with different brushes to find the right texture for every shoe.
Lastly, use these steps as a handy guide for all your shoe drawings, but keep in mind that your tools and techniques will vary depending on what style you choose. From meticulous and realistic digital drawings to futuristic fashion sketches, or even anime and manga, the choice is yours. Find more shoe drawing ideas and get inspiration from other artists on Behance, then start making your own creation.