Many people aren’t familiar with Duane Kuchar’s work (www.duanekuchar.com), but he was probably the most influential automotive artist to me back in the mid 1980’s.
I saw his work each month in the pages of Motor Trend magazine (usually in the “Trends” section), and I remember spending hours pouring over his sketches and renderings and trying to absorb his style like a sponge.
I was just an early teen at that time, and by then I already knew that I had wanted to become a car designer. Trouble was, this was waaay back before the internet had become mainstream, so it was rather difficult for me to find quality car sketches and renderings to study and learn from. But Duane Kuchar’s art was there each and every month for me in the pages of Motor Trend and it really made an impact on me. It was just so cool to me at the time – his use of color, crisp details, and very controlled technique really blew me away. I can’t count the number of hours I spent trying to mimic his drawings on my own – to say I was obsessed with drawing cars is an understatement.
I think I actually became pretty good at learning to draw cars just like him – as a matter of fact, I’ve still got all my automotive sketches and renderings from that time buried away in a box somewhere deep in my closet. I’ll have to dig them out and post them up here just for old time’s sake – I’m actually pretty curious to see that stuff now.
Anyway, his style became mine as I was approaching the end of my high school career, which was sort of a bad thing. You see, Duane is more of an artist than a designer (though he does some automotive design). All of his work in Motor Trend magazine was mildly conceptual – basically showing clean illustrations derived from spy shots from automotive photographers such as Jim Dunne. As a budding car designer, I needed to be thinking farther out into the future with my designs, and I didn’t realize that until I had an opportunity to speak with a real car designer from GM at the Warren Tech Center. But no matter – I credit Duane Kuchar for giving me the foundation from which to build my car sketching and rendering skills at such an early age.
Duane, if you’re reading this, cheers to you for inspiring me during my early years and giving me the energy to pursue my dreams of becoming a car designer. I was accepted into the Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies years later, thanks in large part to your work in the pages of Motor Trend in the mid 1980’s.