Highlander Concept Rendering
Price range: $600 for one view, $500 each additional view
As with many artists we spoke with, Tavis Highlander employs a mixture of digital and traditional media. “Pencil sketching is where most projects start for me,” he says. “Rough sketches of details around the car are created and then critiqued with the client. Then the sketches are scanned into the computer and a color rendering is digitally painted in Adobe Photoshop.”
“There is no set-in-stone process, though,” Highlander is quick to add. “Every project is different, and I try to tailor the process to the client’s needs. ” That includes the form of the finished product, he notes. “Final deliverables usually include high-resolution digital files tailored to the client’s needs. Posters or other prints are also available.”
Sean Smith Designs
Price range: $700-up
“I start every design with a pencil and marker sketch on Vincent Vellum,” Sean Smith says. “Once that sketch or line drawing is approved by the client, I do the rest of the rendering with markers, gouache, and pencil.” About 50 percent of the work is done on paper, Smith reckons. “Then I scan it into Photoshop or Painter to do the airbrushing or digital painting. For tighter final renderings, I’ll use CAD data for the details—wheels, milled parts, headlamps, and so forth.”
An industrial designer by training (Art Center College of Design in Pasadena), Smith also offers studio services including clay modeling. “I try to offer a range of pricing with initial line drawings at $700 all the way to detailed projects such as Street Machine of the Year or AMBR cars, which can go all the way to $7,000.”
Price range: $325 per view, $1,500/set, including interior and underhood views
Murray Pfaff is another all-digital artist in our group. Instead of starting with pencil sketches, he works directly from a huge library of photographic images he has collected over the years, using a Cintiq pen display monitor and a stylus to construct successive image layers in Adobe Photoshop.
“Some clients know exactly what they want, they come with basically a shopping list, while others want you to be a contributor,” Pfaff says. “The rendering here is a ’80 Pontiac LeMans created for Dream Machines of Toronto. It’s a good example of a builder with an out-of-the-box car saying ‘what if,’ then allowing me the creative freedom to create something cool.”
Vierstra Automotive Design & Illustration
Price range: $600-700 single view, discount for additional views
“I am a self-taught artist,” Don Vierstra says. “I design, modify, and draw cars. The process starts with your list of build ideas, no matter how basic or rough. I then begin a rough pencil sketch, including any modification ideas, into the design view. After the view is approved, I then scan in the sketch and start a working file of reference photos for wheels, paint color, and interior. After the line work is complete in Adobe Illustrator, a proof is sent to the customer. When the customer makes changes and or approves the image, final details and highlights are added.”
From there, Vierstra tailors the physical product to the individual customer’s desires. “A finished digital file and a standard 11x17-inch inkjet print are provided,” Vierstra says. “If a high-quality print is desired, it is then sent digitally to be printed on high-quality, archival paper, suitable-for-framing art print.” A full-service automotive artist, Vierstra also offers logo, apparel, automotive wrap design, and trade show graphics.
Price range: $2,500-up
By day, David Ross is a mild-mannered stylist and design manager at General Motors, crafting the performance concept vehicles you see at SEMA and elsewhere. By moonlight, he’s Busta of Busta Design, indy rod designer—have pencils, will travel!
Hand-sketching with ballpoint on vellum, Ross/Busta then scans his “idea scratches,” as he calls them, into Adobe Photoshop for detailing with a digital pen on a Wacom tablet, however, Ross finds that increasingly his role as a design artist goes far beyond simple renderings into project management and brand integration for corporate build programs. It’s a long way from where he started in the ’70s, working his way through art college painting van murals!