Keeping it real: How Nikola Lazarevic creates photorealistic objects in Sketch

We love seeing what you make with Sketch — you truly create some incredible work with our humble Mac app. And every now and then a project comes along that blows our collective minds. So when we saw what appeared to be a photograph of a Porsche 911 with the #MadeWithSketch hashtag, we had to know more.

We sat down with Nikola Lazarevic, a visual designer for web and print at Simplicity LLC, a small design and development agency from Niš in Serbia, to find out how he created that — and many other photorealistic images — in Sketch.

What’s your background in design? Have you always enjoyed recreating real items digitally?

I’m a self-taught designer with a Master’s degree in Computer Science. I started working as a designer back in 2008.

I’ve always had a weird passion for recreating real items in digital form. It all started with wristwatches that I admire in terms of aesthetics and function. These are watches I would love to own, but could never afford. From there I’ve expanded my work to vintage supercars, like Porsches, Alfa Romeos, Lamborghinis and Ferraris. I’ve also recreated timeless objects designed by Dieter Rams, Dietrich Lubs and Mario Bellini, just to name a few. I find it fun and it helps me to relax between tasks in my daily work!

Yes, every image on this page was created entirely within Sketch.

It’s fair to say that Sketch isn’t always the first app designers think of for recreating photo-realistic objects. Why do you enjoy working in Sketch for these projects?

Well, I guess using Sketch is a bit of an unusual choice! I used to use Photoshop, which is a more typical choice, but drawing with a Pen Tool is challenging and time-consuming — and Photoshop always felt too complicated and massive.

Five years ago I discovered Sketch and I’ve never looked back. Since then I’ve been using it daily for all kinds of work — from UI and poster design, to brochure design, photorealistic drawing and more.

In that time I’ve learned to use the vector tool in Sketch quite well. I love how easy it is to control and switch between different types of vector points. I like the option to apply multiple colors and shadow effects to a shape. Symbols are such a powerful feature and time-saver. And the infinite canvas is great. Quite often, when I draw a car I start directly on the Canvas without an actual Artboard, because for me the Canvas is kind of an Artboard too — just without actual dimensions. I also love the ability to export finished work in different sizes with just a few clicks.

Nikola’s Sketch file shows how he builds each image from vector layers.

The bottom line is — in Sketch everything feels so easy and natural. It’s not packed with unnecessary features, it’s very fast, and because everything is vector based, it’s all infinitely scalable. So I don’t have to worry about possible resolution issues.

So I decided to give it a go and try Sketch for photorealistic illustrations of real objects. And as you can see, it can be done — it’s really fun and I’m enjoying it very much.

The bottom line is — in Sketch everything feels so easy and natural.

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