How to draw a bike – everything you need is in the man drawer

I love doodling. Half the time, I don’t think about what I draw. I draw the worst bikes in the world, even when there’s one sitting in front of me.  Today, I decided that the time has come to learn how to draw a bike – properly.

My usual designs are unworkable, though perhaps not as weird as some sketches that were presented to Gianluca Gimini, an Italian-American designer, who asked his friends, and complete strangers, to draw a bicycle from memory. He turned those penciled concepts into hilarious, yet beautiful reality.

To prevent this happening to you and me, I’ve put together a collection of my favourite how-to instructional videos. Imagine being able to draw bicycles that would actually work if they were built from one of your sketches. The world would be a better place.

First, you need to find a pencil and a rubber (or an eraser as I started to say as soon as I was old enough to relaise that a rubber was something else). If your home is one without children, you might be thinking ‘Where would I find an eraser?’

Let me help you out. Look in the man drawer or as I call it, the catch all drawer.

You know that drawer everyone has, the best drawer in the house, with everything that you might need or will be useful – sometime. Flat batteries, rusty screws, leads for the VHS audio system that you might get around to hooking up sometime until you realise that you don’t even own a video player anymore.

Buttons, bent nails, business cards, broken crayons and a dozen pens that don’t work because the ink has leaked and they’re all stuck together on top of a dark purple permanent stain. In that drawer you’ll find a cheap white candle that’s broken in two and was used once in the 1990’s when there was a 3 minute power cut. This is the place for broken torches that are easy to fix. Power rangers, plastic soldiers with heads bitten off and plastic Barbie limbs live here too.

And three too many paper napkins decorated with holly that you bought in 2010 that you said you would reuse the next Christmas, except you only noticed them in April 2014 when you went searching for a bag of tomato seeds that you bought in 1999, when you made a Millennium resolution to grow your own food. They’re still in there, inside a seed catalogue whose pages are glued together by the tube of superglue that’s leaked.

There’s a 50 pence piece in there, right back in the far corner wedged between the drawer bottom and the side. It’ll be handy for the parking meter, so you reach in as far as you can and get stabbed by a rusty compass, then a sewing needle lodges itself in your thumb’s nail bed. And suddenly you remember what you were looking for in the first place – the rubber.

Look, see the old photograph, with Kodak printed on the back, you take it out and there it is, you and a really gorgeous love interest sitting on a fence looking like you’re posing for the cover of a magazine, except you can’t remember who they are so you put it back in the drawer. You take it out for one last look and it’s covered in tomato sauce, (from that sachet that you burst with the needle that stabbed you) that you’ve been saving for the next time you go bikepacking.

And you find the eraser and resolve to clear out the drawer soon.

Now you can start drawing.

This first video is from Scriberia, who do fabulous job of turning ideas into visuals that tell a story. It’s a simple instructional and all you need is something to make a mark, you could even draw one in the sand, with your finger.

‘Once you’ve got the basics, you can go anywhere with a bicycle…’ Isn’t that a fact.

For a more serious and detailed drawing and if you’ve got half an hour to spare, Spencer Nugent takes a look at perspective with his sketch of a road bike. He doesn’t claim to be an expert in design, but he’s knows how to draw a bike.

And finally, if you like fat bikes, Daniel Barkeye says, “Draw some.”

And now that I’ve spent the morning immersed in drawing lessons, I’m prepared to share my work of art with the world.

How to draw a bikeMy dad won a scholarship to a London Art College way back in the 60’s. As you can see I didn’t inherit his artistic flair, but I did get the gene that allows me to have fun.

Since it’s fresh in my mind, I must go and clear out that drawer.

Meraid Griffin

Freelance writer, adventurer and public speaker. Descibed in the Sunday Times as a ‘modest explorer’. Nothing modest about me.


  1. Meraid Griffin

    Sweet sketch, Gunther.

Fancy sharing your thoughts