How to draw ANYTHING (a quick-start guide) Part 8/10 — Understand 3D volumes

Just as our initial approach to the overall composition of the drawing was based on the use of basic shapes; we can approach the construction of each element drawn as an abstraction of basic 3d volumes: cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, etc. Unless, of course, is our express intention to create a completely “flat” illusion.

Building a house? What are the basic volumes that compose it? Building a monster? How can his body be abstracted to some deformed cubes and spheres?

Drawing while keeping in mind how 3D elements should behave on space will help us place detail on our elements coherently and cohesively, giving a proper first overlay to our drawing. Once these placeholders are set drawing details is fairly easy. Just a matter of adding lines and little things where they should be.

Learning to visualize and rotate shapes on our imagination is a symbiote skill, it feeds our hands and our hands feed it. It’s especially helpful to draw directly from our imagination and helps us take advantage of visual references; letting us comfortably build new elements and accurate compositions.

If you have any thoughts, opinions or will like to consult me at something you can DM on twitter at @manuelberbin or email me at, if you got here and want to know a little more about me:

My name is Manuel Berbin, you can call me Manbe for short. I specialize in 2d vector cartoon illustration and concept development. I’ve been drawing cartoons my whole life and illustrating professionally at digital media for over 9 years. I was born in Venezuela but I’m currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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I draw cartoons and sometimes animate them. Contact: Portofolio:

I draw cartoons and sometimes animate them. Contact: Portofolio: