How to Turn a Drawing into a 3D Model: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating a 3D model from a drawing can be a daunting task, especially if you have no sculpting skills. But what if we told you that it’s possible to turn your drawing into a 3D model without any sculpting required? In this blog post, we’ll show you how to do just that.

We got this idea from Eric’s Hobby Workshop video, where he demonstrates how to create a 3D model using a drawing. For this example, we’ll be making some masks for forest goblins.

First, start with the drawing of your initial concept on paper, or you can skip directly to Illustrator. Then, in Illustrator, redraw your concept art using shapes with no border. To convert the image into something you’ll bring into Blender and allow it to become 3D, you need to make the drawing in Illustrator composed of shapes. So, when drawing your object, think in terms of geometric shapes so you end up with a bunch of shapes that look like your initial concept, which can be raised or lowered in Blender and make it a 3D shape.

For example, with these masks, each wooden panel is its own separate shape. The details would come later with sculpting or painting. You can use the pen tool, move the layers around, and use these cut tools on the right. Once you have your drawings done, export them as an SVG.

When in Blender, make sure you don’t select SVG as grease pencil when you’re importing. You want to select scalable vector graphics. The images from Illustrator will import and be extremely tiny. Scale them up so you can see what’s going on. Also, select the entire image and set the origin to geometry. Then select everything again and right-click, go to convert, and then convert to mesh.

Now, you can select the different cutouts, go into edit mode, and make them thicker than oatmeal. From here, you can move, scale, or edit your new objects further. This could be a great first step for blocking out objects. Then, if you want, you can go in and do the whole sculpting thing.

Once you’ve finished, export the masks as STLs, bring in the model you’re planning on using, and then curve the masks using simple deform bending on the Z-axis. Set the goblin model as the axis of origin. In the future, you’d probably create a head-sized sphere and bend around that.

Although this method would work best for non-organic stuff like weapons, things to spice up a building, and vehicles, you can definitely edit the objects after you block everything out. The simple deform tool can be a little wonky, so you’d still need to play around with the size of the sphere and where the object you’re curving is placed.

From drawing to 3D model without any real sculpting required, you can download these for your projects. We’ve uploaded them on Thingiverse or Cults 3D for free.

In conclusion, turning a drawing into a 3D model isn’t as hard as it seems, and with this step-by-step guide, you can create your own 3D models even if you have no sculpting skills.