Design Sketching: Mastering Ellipses | Fed Rios | Skillshare

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Design Sketching: Mastering Ellipses

teacher avatar Fed Rios, Industrial Designer

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      1. Introduction


    • 2.

      2. Understanding Cylindrical Forms


    • 3.

      3. Anatomy of Ellipses


    • 4.

      4. Rotational Profiles


    • 5.

      5. Tips + Tricks: Mastering Freehand Ellipses


    • 6.

      6. Daily Practice: Warm-ups and Exercises


    • 7.

      7. Putting It All Together: Designing a Water Bottle


    • 8.

      8. Conclusion


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About This Class

Sketching freehand ellipses is one of the hardest fundamental skills to master for designers, but getting them right is crucial to take your sketch concepts from wonky to believable and compelling.

Ellipses are essentially circles in perspective; and necessary to depict any products with cylindrical components, pivots, wheels, etc.

In this class I will share my own tips and tricks to mastering ellipses, and all the necessary elements needed to understand, practice, and master these indispensable building blocks of design sketching.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Fed Rios

Industrial Designer


I am a seasoned industrial designer with a decade of experience creating high performance components for the cycling and outdoor industries. I have also designed toys, electronic devices, surgical tools, and robots, to name a few.

I run Fed Rios Design Studio; which specializes on helping founders, startups, and established companies with concept generation and refinement during the early stages of product development.

My passion lies on visual communication, and using persistent sketching and mindful practice as means to constantly improve. I often visit universities and companies across the globe to conduct design sketching workshops and share my design process. 

You can find samples my industrial design work at: fedriosdesi... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. 1. Introduction: hi Fed arrius. I'm a product designer, and I have a passion for sketching, rendering and pretty much old things visual communication In this class, I'm gonna teach you how to master one of the most fundamental building blocks of design sketches. He loves this. By the end of this class, you will understand all aspects needed to perfect elliptical elements in your product design sketches, such as learning to identify the major and minor axis of an ellipse, constructing cylinders and different perspectives, and many tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. I will also share with you my 15 minute daily sketch warm up routine with calm, pounding exercises, which focus on mindful practice of elliptical components before jumping into your actual design work. If you practice this daily, you will see a huge improvement and your ability to draw Freehand ellipses. All right, let's get started 2. 2. Understanding Cylindrical Forms: let's start by understanding cylindrical forms. They are three dimensional objects that have a rotational profile and a center access around which the profile is rotated a full 360 degrees. These are the basic building block for many products that we use daily. For example, think of drinking glasses, trash cans, planned parts, etcetera. Simple cylindrical forms have parallel sites and straight sections like a telescope or a gas tank. Complex cylindrical forms have more sections, and they mind that'll be straight or parallel. Think of turntable legs or a fancy cocktail glass. For example. If you look at a cylindrical object from above, it will be a perfect circle. However, holding the same object in front of you circle becomes in ellipse. So essentially ellipses or circles in space being absurd from an angle. Viewing the object from different sites and higher and lower relative to its grand plane will change the ellipse angle and opening degree, but they will all follow the same rules. There are two golden rules to drawing cylindrical forms. Number one. The circular surface closer to your eye or the top is narrower and opening than the surface further from the eye or the bottom and number two, the farther the cylinder receipts from you in space, the more circular the bottom will become to illustrate this point further, the closer, the circle list or the horizon line or eye level, the more narrow it'll be at exactly. I level it will be zero. Then it will increase in degree, the further and moves from my level in either direction. 3. 3. Anatomy of Ellipses: every lips has two important features. A minor access, which devices sure dimension into two equal halves, left and right. And it's major access, which devices long dimension into two equal halves as well. Top and bottom. It's important to note that these two axes will always be perpendicular to each other. We can construct a circle from a square with the following method across the square to find the center, then divide the top and bottom halves and then the side halves, a circle of fit perfectly and crust, and Gentilly at the intersection with both axes. The same is true for ellipsis, which are circles and perspective. Draw square in perspective across the diagonally to find its perspective center, and it's minor access and to find the lips from there, this method will always show you the axes of their lips are correct or not. Knowing this, since cylinders air essentially extruded ellipsis. So it stands to reason that cylinders will be bound by rectangular box, which is essentially an extruded square practice, drawing a few boxes in perspective and the finding the cylinders that would be bound by these boxes doing this method early on, especially as you're learning to draw your cylindrical farms in space. Well, basically led to double check your work and make sure that everything is in the correct perspective. This will then take your drawings from wonky to correct. And there you have it. Now you know all the anatomical components of an ellipse and the techniques necessary to draw ellipses and cylinders in space in the correct perspective. Next, we'll talk about rotational profiles. 4. 4. Rotational Profiles: next, we're going to talk about rotational profiles. A cylinder is basically a rectangle rotated around a center line, a full 360 degrees, so the cross section of a cylinder is a rectangle. Rotational profiles are great to help you determine the dimensions and cross sections of a cylindrical object like this. Plant pot Here, for example, try sketching out a few rotational profiles on one side of a center line, an Ortho graphic view so basically flat and then try to determine the object in three D. But it's catching out the ellipsis that would define it like this. Water glass, for example. Once I have my ellipsis set up correctly, I can then connect the sections with straight lines and fill in many details. You can see here as I do the water inside the glass. I follow the same rules. The one closer to the top has a narrower opening angle, and the one closer to the bottom or the base has a wider opening angle. This will ensure that your object drawing stays in correct perspective, so give it a shot, sketch out a few basic rotational profiles on one side of a center line and then right below, try toe the pick that object and three dimensional space by drawing the correct ellipsis. Once you have an established center line and a rotational profile on one side of it, you can start drawing this object in perspective and three dimensions. I remember that the top of lives or the one that is closer to you, it's going to have the narrowest opening, and as you move down towards the bottom of the object, the elliptical degree will increase and the lives will become wider towards the bottom as it gets away from your eye. 5. 5. Tips + Tricks: Mastering Freehand Ellipses: a very effective tip. First, catching free handling ellipses. Mr. Draw the farm in the air and then drop in on the paper with your pent it. You do this with the pen tive hovering just above the paper, but with your hand making contact with the surface. This allows your muscles to practice the ellipse form first and self adjust. Try to keep your elbow and wrist locked and use your shoulder instead as the rotational point, The more rigid Orestis and your control. The movement higher up in your arm, the more accurate your drawing marks will be and therefore your ellipsis dry ellipses in both directions, both clockwise and counterclockwise to see which one suits your body better for me, its counterclockwise. But I still try to practice both directions. It's better to overlap your ellipses and overdraw them in order to maintain expressive missing movement, meaning they shouldn't end exactly where you started drawing them. There's nothing more impressive than dropping in a pretty good freehand ellipse in any direction. Regardless of where your hand is situated and how the paper is laid up, it's fine to draw through your solid objects in order to make sure that your lives is air correct. In fact, I encourage it 6. 6. Daily Practice: Warm-ups and Exercises: Here's how I warm up my muscles and fine tune. The connection between my brain and my hand while you will need is several sheets of paper and a pen with good cloning. I usually use a felt pen or even a marker or a Sharpie. It only takes 15 minutes, but I will do this daily before starting any of my actual design work. Start by dividing the page into for a rose and starting at the top. Try to make a square by defining two sides to determine equal lengths. Then cross that square to find the center point and the two perpendicular axes. Then freehand a circle inside of it. Continue this process until your pages full. The idea here is to keep moving, and I focus on a bad line or a bad feature. Just move on. You'll notice that gradually your lines and shapes will get more accurate and more consistent as your muscles warm up. This is very satisfying and noticeable, even just within one warm of session without stopping or progress. Do be mindful, however, of the shapes you do get right, reflect on those, and try to replicate them as you move forward. - Now that we're getting used to circles, move on to another page and divided in the same way. Phillip Stroh with overlapping circles with consistency and accuracy in mind. Remember the tips we learned earlier by drawing your shape in the air first to envision it and then drop it in the tape of your pen. Do a few pages of this again without stopping and trying to replicate your good circles. Now that we are warmed up to circles, let's divide another page yet again. And this time, try to fill each row with ellipses of increasing the grease, starting with very narrow and trying to end up with a full circle, all using the same minor access. Keep these overlapping so that you can fit in many more ellipses per page. Do at least two pages of this, as your 15 minute timer allows. Remember, don't stop or focus on a bad one. Just keep moving. Remember to incorporate this exercise into your daily practice. Doing this will give you the muscle, memory and confidence to master freehand ellipses in any of your drawings in no time. If you have any time remaining, try to fell a page of Freehand Cylinders and very in perspectives. Start by defining the axis of rotation of the cylinder, then the major axis of the firm back ellipsis. Remember, this will always be perpendicular to the axis of rotation, then to find the front ellipse or the one closest to you. Then this logical loss and then the back of lips. Remember that the back of lives should always have a wider the greedy than the front one in order to be incorrect perspective. 7. 7. Putting It All Together: Designing a Water Bottle: let's start by exploring three different rotational profiles in their Ortho graphic side of you or idee ating the design of your water bottle. This will give you the chance to explore proportions between the sections until you ultimately have a design that you're happy with. I started by defining the shapes loosely with a grave marker, and then, as you can see, I will then go on, finalize the details with my darker felt pen, pick the one you're happy with, and let's move on to take in that design into perspective. We're gonna take that chosen design and translated to another page start right, bringing over the chosen design and putting it on the left hand top corner. Then I'm going to define the first perspective you, this time in one point perspective by defining a center line, and the finding of the cross section is said to find the form. I will then begin to drop in my ellipsis, working from the top and making my way down the shape, making sure to increase the lips angle as it work my way down and making them wider as it gets closer towards the bottom of the shape to to find a strap here, you can see that I'm using a different perspective, but the elliptical rules still play. So my first step is to define the axis of rotation than figure out the minor access of the Ellipse that makes the strap and do the front and back ellipsis that define it. I'm then going to move on to my next view, which is going to explain certain features like opening and closing of the bottle cap and the fact that the bottom is split. So this will act essentially as an exploded view, shelling the top open and the bottom separated from the rest of the body of the bottle. Notice that I'm still doing this with my light gray marker so that it has a little bit of room for error again here, Since the cap is in a different position from the cylindrical Botto, it has a different axis of rotation, but the same rules of perspective still play. Don't be afraid to define your axis of rotation. It's easier to double check your work later, and to define this action arrow in order for it to look and correct in perspective, make sure you use the same axis of rotation of the part that you're trying to define the action for, in this case, the strap that holds the cat to the bottle. The last steps are to define a vignette behind the farms, basically a square or a rectangle that separates it from the background and lifts it out of the page and unites all elements into one composition. And lastly, I will go in and further defined details with my finer pen, my felt pen. In this case, adding a ground shadow will help put your objects in space and ground them to a surface. Don't forget that this would also be elliptical in nature and would follow the same rules of perspective as you can see here, since they are below the object, the Ellipse opening degree is wider than the bottom of the base of the shape. Lastly, to make to your objects pop, make sure you delineate the outside forms and the overlapping edges, and that's it. Now you have a clear and concise water bottle design based on all the cylindrical and elliptical principles we have learned in this class. Now you have all the tools to create a cylindrical product design and illustrated appropriately and the correct perspective 8. 8. Conclusion: congratulations on finishing the class. Hopefully, you've picked up many tips that will take you on your way to improve your designs. Catching. I encourage you to engage in mindful daily practice. 15 minutes of uninterrupted and focused sketching flow is all it takes to build at muscle memory and give you a huge improvement in line control, confidence and accuracy and your designs catches. Remember to post your own version of the cylindrical bottle design. Using what you learn in this class and the project gallery. Please pull on my profile to keep up to date of it all my classes. You can also fall on my instagram, where I post designed sketching and design ideas at Fed Rios design, and you can visit my studio website to see my portfolio of professional work at Fed Rios design dot com. Thank you.