Mike Gillett

"From the first time I picked up a pencil, I have been drawing cars and according to my parents I have always had a pencil in my hand. There is a history of car enthusiasts in my family so it was fairly certain I would be involved in vehicles in some form.

 

I studied Automotive Art at Coventry in 2006, where I learnt the art of communicating ideas in drawings among many other industrial design techniques. One of the techniques that stayed with me was the use of light and dark media on Canson (mi-teintes) paper which has been used in automotive styling studios since the 1930s. A lot of my work is wax pencil on either Canson paper or a similar, textured coloured card as it gives a sense of authenticity, reflecting over a century of history in the way cars have been designed.

 

Today I am a design engineer at a consultancy in Essex. The job has taken me all over the world and allowed me to work on a large variety of vehicles from supercars to large commercial vehicles. I am still called upon to illustrate and sometimes be involved in the styling of vehicles throughout my working day, but if I’ve spent all day on a computer just doing CAD I find it relaxing to draw by hand again once the working day is over.

 

I also like to create digital artwork on software such as Adobe Illustrator using a Wacom tablet. It can be a lot more flexible, allowing the artist to correct mistakes and modify colours as you go, but it can be much more challenging trying to portray emotion and character. It can also be even more time consuming than using pencils on paper as it often pushes me to try and perfect every single line in the image.

 

A lot of my artwork follows my love of American cars and Hot rod culture. In 2013 I decided to commit to this passion and purchased a 1981 Ford Mustang, which I tend to spend summer working on to keep it on the road. This only tends to leave time in winter to creating artwork, whilst the weather doesn’t permit working on the car but it helps me focus on creating pieces that I have had in my head for quite some time."