Jim Gerdom
Design Factory Art
Jim Gerdom started playing with model cars when his basic motor skills were first developing. The lines and construction of these cars were infused into his brain, and he could not, and would not, shake them. He attended the well-known Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and proceeded to work for various companies doing different types of work. Most of the jobs were in the automotive industry, from the design of small parts on interiors, to clay work on body kits. Jim had an exemplary understanding of Mustangs in particular. About 10 years ago, he started selling limited-edition prints of his Mustang drawings and other Ford models. Since then, he has included other makes and models in the collection.

Even though business was booming in the print world, Jim wanted to expand his work base to include designing and rendering project cars. Jim works solely on paper media and doesn't use computers for his drawings. Jim will draw a couple of rough sketches to hammer out the fine details, but once they are agreed upon, there isn't much room for change.

When he works with a shop on a build, he finds it's really helpful to have all the aesthetic matters worked out before the grinder hits the paint. Aside from a super high-tech engine, body and paintwork are the most expensive part of building a car. If you make a mistake with the metal, it can cost you dearly. Jim's plan is to make sure the modifications and colors look good before the builder starts on the car. This also strengthens the relationship between the builder and owner. A drawing costs about $1,000 to get started, and goes up from there when more detail and angles are added.

Jim Gerdom is well respected in his field for his extensive 35 years of experience. He was also asked to teach a class at the University of Kansas as part of a program in which working professionals instruct industrial design students.

Price: $1,000-$1,500
Style: markers, pastels, and pencil on paper
Contact: www.designfactoryart.com, 888-268-9933

John McBride
Midnite Octane
It seems all our designers have a strong education in industrial and automotive design, and John McBride is no exception. He graduated from the Art Institute of Pittsburgh with a degree in Industrial Design and an emphasis in automotive design. John started his career at The Franklin Mint, an extremely high-quality scale model manufacturer. He worked in product development for over three years. He craved more design work, so he went to work for Mattel, first in the Matchbox large trucks group revamping their rescue and police vehicle line, then in the Tyco R/C group designing fantasy stunt vehicles and other stylized radio-controlled cars. His current employment at GMP Diecast is similar to The Franklin Mint, but John's level of involvement in the design of the model cars is much higher. He pitched the idea of having a Pro Touring line of 1:18-scale muscle cars built, which was approved. (Editor's note: Our office is packed with models of John's work-we can't get enough of it.)

After hours, John does the renderings for his business, Midnite Octane. When you come to him for a rendering, the first thing he asks is the model and year, and what you intend to do with the car.

Once the initial questions of likes, dislikes, and purpose are clarified, a three-quarter front shot is started. This runs around $500-$600, depending on the colors and detail. John tells us most of his clients ask for this single shot. John has found most people pretty much know what they want, so he helps them fine-tune various details, and even designs custom graphics. For those who wish to have more shots and detail, John is quick to accept the extra work-for a price, of course. One of John's strengths is developing new and unique automotive styling, including custom bodywork and custom interiors. Once the design is approved by the client, additional surface and contour drawings are produced to aid fabricators in bringing John's sketches from the drawing to reality.

One of his latest projects was recreating Sam Posey's number 77 Trans Am Challenger with a late-model Challenger core. This and other projects have been displayed at the SEMA show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Price: $500-$600 per view
Style: hand sketch scanned to Photoshop
Contact: www.midniteoctane.com