Let’s continue the design process of simplifying objects using basic shapes. This time around — after the guitar example — let’s simplify a bicycle from ground up.

If you follow the movement of my mouse below, you will see the outline of triangles (core of the bike) and circles (the wheels):

Let’s start with the core of the bike by using the aforementioned triangles.

This is quite basic: inserting a triangle, copying — pasting — rotating, then drawing a line that slopes downward on an angle.

We don’t need the ‘fills’ as bikes only have frames in real life (well, most bikes do anyway — so we can take them off).

We then introduce the wheels and gear by adding a few circles:

You can see the shape of the bike — nice :)

Let’s take the ‘fills’ of the wheels too as the majority of bikes don’t have this.

Now a bike wouldn’t be a bike without a place to sit and a handle to steer.

Let’s now add these objects at the top of our bike:

Our bike is now looking quite good, albeit frail and weak.

Let’s fix that by pumping up the thickness:

And there we have it, the base bike shape in 5 easy steps.

Of course, now we need to tidy up the bike in certain places to join lines and smoothen it out.

So now the fun part

Just like last time around, that is just the base bike. We can make enhancements with that design; which really is the fun part.

This part works best with a bit of concentration, a shake of relaxation and a smack-down full of fun. For me, this means:

  • coffee
  • full Mac focus
  • Sketch app
  • headphones > music
  • some inspiration (more below)
  • colour palettes

Here are the results:

It might look complicated from our humble beginnings, i.e.

If you want the Sketch file, I have it here.

..but it’s actually not far off once you have the basic bike centrepiece.

Finding Inspiration

This is subject to a longer post, but basically outside looking at visual inspiration like Dribbble, Behance and the like, I also save and check out some other types of inspiration:

  • gigs that I’ve attended
  • places that I’ve eaten
  • things that I’ve touched etc.

All the great memories work as some emotional stimulant deep inside and I always find that I work better after reflecting back.

Just like the ol’ shoebox of old photographs.

And in case you were wondering, the colour palette inspiration came from a random generator by Color Tab. Turn it on and you might just like some of the suggestions.

Now if you don’t use Sketch app

You can always follow along with pencil and paper. The same principles apply in drawing a bike; which is masterfully taught by Rylsee in his own Skillshare class.

And if you already Illustrator or Photoshop, you can follow the process there too.

In fact, you can even go through this process using Keynote or Illustrator (to an extent). But it just won’t have the same functionalities real design tools have.

Lucky for us, Skillshare has some solid design classes (a few of which cover Sketch). Here’s a referral link with an extended 1-month free trial if you want to check out their ever-growing collection.

I do have my own Skillshare class that touches Sketch, but the topic is more about designing online images using the Rule of Thirds, Odds and Space. I’m sure there are things that you might find interesting there too — ahem :)

About this post

This post first appeared in my own blog.

I’m already under way with the 3rd installment of Basic Design Shapes. I might be doing a fair few of these as the process is a world of fun.

Now, that’s got to be a good sign.

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