Scale up!

On March 29, 2019, I had one of the greatest days of my design career. Sketching cars next to one of my design heroes, Michael DiTullo!

After hours sketching with Old School Car Class, captured by Mike Herbert

After hours sketching with Old School Car Class, captured by Mike Herbert

There’s a few things about this photo:

  1. I was sketching automotive ideas from my mind. Prior to this, I was mostly all about sketching from references because I was still trying to build a mental automotive library. When I tried to do something unique, I was always so so dissatisfied and just went back to working from references - aka my comfort zone. So what changed this?

  2. I scaled up to bigger and longer paper. I started class off on 8.5”x11” and wasn’t really feeling it during the first hour. My pencil sketches kept feeling very “warming up” and restricted. After seeing how Michael and Cliff were going through pages of this long, transportation-design ratio paper, I felt inspired to try it out! So, I got my red markers and threw down some loooooong lines that utilize the entire range of motion from my arm. Then, detailed them into a car! It felt like a work-out. 10/10 would sketch-out again!

  3. For a good hour, I was sketching beside the designer I’ve been inspired by since I started college! Really, I never could have predicted this. I met Michael previously at a conference last year and saw him sketching cars, but at the time I had no clue how to do that and was too shy to join. He’s based in California, so when I saw that he was in Chicago this March, I invited him to come sketch with us at car class. I knew he was busy and that there was a low chance, but I figured I’d ask anyway, and he came to class! Lesson: Notice the opportunities that are in front of you and make something out of it.

9PM critique explaining my design decisions and sketching technique. Full house!

9PM critique explaining my design decisions and sketching technique. Full house!

I love how there was so much energy on a Friday evening. Everyone is coming from a hard week of work and hanging out to sketch cars. I always love seeing our work on the walls. It feel like design school and everyone that came that night was so supportive of each other.

This was probably the best pay-off in a car sketching session that I’ve had in a while. Breaking out of comfort zones helped a lot. Also, before class, we had Dark Matter coffee and conversations about AI and design. Definitely surround yourself with inspired people as much as you can! It can be quite infectious. :) Drop me a line if you’d like to sketch over coffee!

Sketches: Footwear

On the way home from a sketching meet-up last Saturday, I found some time to sketch a sneaker and boot. I really enjoy sketching footwear and all the endless exploration you can do with the topic. This time I kept it a little conservative with the boot and sketched something I would wear. I tried to be a bit different with the sneaker.


I actually liked what I came up with! Lately I’ve been enjoying the color pencil style of sketching, so that’s what I used here. I hadn’t had a chance to do much digital rendering lately, so I loaded the sketches into my iPad and got working. Here’s the boot all rendered up along with some color ways:


Black fits the moto style I was aiming for. I tried some bold colors that could highlight the texture of the boot well. My favorite is the olive with a tan sole - it’s a bit different from my personal style, but I can see how people can get creative with mixing this boot into their wardrobe.

… and then the sneaker. I’m not too much of a sneaker head, but I had a lot of fun with this one.


I’ve always enjoyed designs that pulled the sole in a bit more to look further integrated. So that was the challenge here, and how do I design this in a way that makes it a statement feature, but not too overpowering. There’s also a peek of what the sole could potentially be.

In exploring these color ways, I thought - what ways could I break up the shoe, and how do I keep it balanced overall? I gave it a huge Nike logo and tried some texturing with Procreate’s native brushes.

There’s some things that need to be worked out if I were to take this further, especially the back. I only planned to briefly finish that sketch, but I just loved detailing this out. Sneakers are a completely different ball game. I would love to do a real project on footwear. It’s one of those things you see all views of, like watches and eyewear. So you have to be extra aware of how the designs translate when it’s turned around.

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Sketches: Winter Coat

Sometimes I participate in an instagram group called Weekly Design Challenge. The theme for this week was winter jackets. I ended up sketching a coat because it’s something I’m more familiar with. Compared to the coats I usually see, I tried to give this design more of an edge with exposed metal zips and leather trims. The wing collar also gives a more confident look. Sketched on the iPad!

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Suzuki Jimny

There was an industry event for Old School Car Class last Saturday that I was invited to pin up work for. It had been a while since I committed to a car sketch, and I absolutely needed to see where my skills were at. So, I pulled out some prismacolor pencils and got working!


I went old school with indigo and black prismas and tightened up the sketch with the iPad. Going back in with a black overlay on the dark parts helped give more weight to the car. This is a new technique and style for me, and the process helped inform how I should approach using colored pencils more efficiently.

My test subject was the new Suzuki Jimny. I’ve always enjoyed the look of 4x4’s, but there was something refreshing about the proportions and character of this one. Also, I love how it looks in tan:


Anyway — the event was great! Dan Zimmerman from Fiat Chrysler came by to show us some car sketching tricks while dishing out some words of wisdom. Anything can be a car if you just add wheels, basically.