I taught myself pretty much everything I know about drawing, so what I’m going to show you is pretty simple--well, at least to me. All drawings are composed of lines and angles and shades. Your trick as an artist is to see how those angles and lines and shades fit together. You should also plan to pick an image that you like; because you’ll be spending one long week with this picture.
So first draw an outline of the picture that you’re drawing. Pay attention to the straight lines that line up this picture. You see, in this one, I’ve picked a fairly symmetrical one, so the left and right sides should be about on the same horizontal level as each other. I’ve left in my guidelines in order to show you that. I don’t always necessarily do this with each pic, but only because I’ve been doing it for so long that I naturally tend to see it like this.
Next, see where the lines take you. What lines do you see in the colors on the thing that you are drawing? Draw those. In this case, it was a shadow that I was drawing. Therefore, in addition to drawing the line where the shadow ended/began, I also put down a large square of color to differentiate between the shaded and non-shaded sides. Of course, what you ultimately have to realize is that everything is shaded; just some things are a bit more noticeably so.
An example of that concept of everything being shaded is this next step. If you look at the previous step, you’ll see that the left side of the nose of the plane is just grayish-white. It’s also flat. Now, look at the picture in this step. Suddenly there is shape. All I did was blend the line between shade and non-shaded. In order to make the two sides fit together, to blend together, they must change gradually. Also, when something is curved, the colors become softer, less distinct. You must make it that way too in your art.
I did the same thing on blades. I created light and shadow through my shading. I put down darkness and light and then created a bridge between the two by blending the colors between. Whatever color I used as the defining point between the two halves, I then take and pick the next lightest shade next to it and put that down as well. And then I just keep taking lighter shades and adding them in until I see a shape that I like. I must also add that while I do most of my work zoomed in, I periodically zoom out to check on what my shading is doing to the overall picture.
Ah, those pesky lines are popping up again. I tried to keep the “nostrils” (as my mother puts it) of the plane at a fairly even horizontal line. And then I put down large blocks of color to serve as the underlying color bases for the body of the plane. Nowhere on this plane do I leave just a block of color. I put lines on everything, shading on everything. I usually put the transparency on anywhere from 20% to 55%. I try to see which way the lines of the plane are going. Sure, it might look like just colors to you, but I use my imagination to see beyond just a picture; I see the grooves of the very metal itself.
All the lines on body of the plane are tilted inward. On the left side, they are tilted like this: “/,” and on the right side, they are tilted like this: “\.” It’s where the direction of the plane is pointed. Everything is focused up towards the cockpit and then back down towards the front, to the “nostrils.” I blend all of my colors. That’s how I created the effect of the shadow, especially the shadow on the right. I also use very little airbrush. I used a little on the windows of the cockpit, but only because it gave it a good effect. Otherwise, I only used the transparency tool and the color scale to create the shading.
Everything is still pointed inwards, so I inlaid very pale lines on both wings pointing inwards “/” and “\” towards the body of the plane. And then I laid more semi-transparent lines horizontally across. Everything else I did was just blending and more blending. There are no bright colors on this piece, save for the black. On metal, on machinery, nothing is by chance. Everything is created with specific purposes in mind. Therefore, nothing should leap out, nothing should be too painfully sudden, unless it’s a completely separate part of the vehicle. Oh and one other thing, mix light with dark, it gives the darkness more depth.