Paper, Pencils, and Ink Pens – Rick Wilson

Paper, Pencils, and Ink Pens – Rick Wilson

Paper, Pencils, and Ink Pens – Rick Wilson

Rick Wilson is a freehand artist who likes to keep things simple. He uses paper, pencils, and ink pens to create beautiful black-and-white drawings of classic and muscle cars, and hot rods. He sells thousands of prints each year with his unique business strategy and pricing model.

We got in touch with Rick to ask him about his artwork and business.

AA: You grew up in Southern California, at a time when the custom car scene was taking off. Can you tell us about your early life and how it influenced your artwork?
RW: I bought my first car magazine when Henry’s Market dropped the candy rack at the register. I had no idea it was somewhere else in the store. A magazine rack replaced the candy rack, so I bought a Hop Up issue or something like that. I began to realize there were modified cars in town, and they looked just like those in the magazines. It was so much fun paying attention to my new interest in cars that the emotion of it all stuck with me for the next 65 years. I learned to love customs. Hot rods and drag racing eventually evolved with me over the years. I found out there were shops within bike riding distance from my home, so I could disappear for 8-9 hours on a Saturday and be home for dinner. My stops included the various muffler and repair places and small wrecking yards in the area of North Long Beach/Compton/Lynwood, but the real highlights were the shops of Bill Gaylord, George Cerny, the Barris Brothers, the Chrisman Brothers, and others. Larry Watson’s first shop out of high school was three blocks from the house.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: When did you start drawing?
RW: I doodled when I was about 3 or 4. Mom was good about letting me have paper and pencils. My car art began to look like something automotive by the time I was 5, then you could discern the art was about customs and hot rods by the time I was 6. High school found me trying to replicate my favorite cars from the magazines, but I put my own special modifications to those cars. I got busted repeatedly for drawing instead of studying in high school. My summers were filled with hundreds of art attempts. I kept everything I ever drew. I threw nothing away, much to my wife Barbara’s chagrin !!

AA: What medium do you use, and what are some of your tools?
RW: I am the perfect simpleton…….I use bond paper, pencils, ink pens, and the usual plastic line guides you find in art stores to help me keep my curves and straight lines in reasonable proportion. I put down lines sometimes in ink, but sometimes I use a pencil if I think I might have to make more than one pass at it. Once it looks OK, I ink it in. I use pencils for shading the final master. I use 11”x17” format only, and the final prints the public buys are that size on 80-pound art stock. I ship using thick tubes with plastic end caps.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: Many artists offer their work in color, but you only offer yours in black and white. Why is this?
RW: I heard guys state many times they like B & W. I couldn’t find many artists doing that, so I figured that would be a cool niche for me. It reminds me of the old magazines I grew up with, and this technique is absolutely loved by my customers. Besides, I send customers 3 unshaded and 3 shaded versions of my art when I am doing a commission. They can Photoshop the color in or have someone use Illustrator or whatever and get the color that way. I used to use color, but it put me so far behind in my work that I stopped doing it. That decision has had zero negative effect on my sales. I average 45-90 commissions pending at any one time. I do other things in retirement, so time is precious to me.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: In marketplaces, you usually see artists who offer high-price, limited prints. You took another path by offering low prices. Why use this different business strategy, and how is it working for you?
RW: I am a late-comer, since I am in my fourth year. All the guys out there have 10-40 years up on me, and so many of them computer generate or clean their art up. I want mine to look obviously hand drawn. When I began, I did commissioned work for $10. I had to start somewhere. I inched my rates up to $45 now plus $5 for S/H including the tube and end caps. I think that will stick for the next year or two. My prints were $1 each for a long time, and I am going to jump up to a schedule of $2-$2-$1.50-$1.50-$1 on, soon. I pay $.50 per sheet for the art stock paper and the printing charge, so I’m not getting rich here. My prices sell me to the prospect, then when they flip open my portfolio and also handle an actual print to see the size, the sale is automatic. I see myself offering a larger step-down schedule (like $4-$3.50-$3-$2-$1 on) in a couple of years and charging $100 for commissioned art, but not right now. I haven’t even run a marketing campaign yet. When I do, things will take off. I am happy now, since I don’t need money in retirement. I can work cheaply.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: You have done a lot of automotive events. What are some suggestions an artist needs to consider when doing an event?
RW: Nobody, unless I am distracted, walks out of my area or finishes talking with me as I walk shows without getting a business card in hand. And when I mail a commissioned work or mail prints ordered off my websites showing currently 500 pieces to choose from, I always insert 6-10 more business cards for their friends, along with an info sheet telling them where to get $4 glass-faced frames to hang the art. I also send a communication out 3-4 times a year, telling them about my new art, when I am adding new renderings to my sites, what shows I will be attending, etc. I’ve been in four magazines this year alone. Always keep you name out there. I use Facebook, too, and that has been terrific for business. I always pick the brains of other artists, and I pick up business cards from all the businesses I see at the indoor and outdoor venues including SEMA. I am good for bringing home 300-400 cards from SEMA alone. Later, I will email those folks and offer my services. Some of my commercial work never gets onto my web pages. No one in the USA can compete with my rates. I even offer some businesses to try me the first time for nearly free just to get my foot in the door. I also spend a lot of time cruising the internet and learning about artists I haven’t seen before and studying what they have to offer and looking at their techniques.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: What is the most expensive booth space you have encountered?
RW: I have seen $1000 rates for a 10’x10’ for 2-day indoor events. The rates for a car show like the Grand National Roadster Show can be $600-$800 for that size. I live in NV, so going to CA for five days to set up, do the show, and get back home, plus have a friend help out which costs bucks, it can run up to $1400 fast. I have to crank a bunch of fifty-cent profits per print to cover the overhead, but if I sell 3000 prints and hand out 1000 business cards, it pays for itself big time. Most outdoor one-day car shows are $100-$200 for the day, but it is expensive if I have to leave Las Vegas to attend somewhere out of state. I try to pair up two shows back-to-back over a weekend to lessen the financial impact.

AA: In a recent newsletter, you noted that you would be doing less shows, in addition to raising prices on your commission and prints. Can you explain why you made these changes?
RW: Regarding price, as stated above, I need to get a bit more in return for my efforts, but I had to start somewhere. My tactics have worked so far. I chose to do fewer shows because if I leave town and travel out and walk a show, for example, I might entice 8 car owners to have me do art for them. So I might make $350 in charges, but I lost a day or two or three travelling out and I spent maybe $200 getting things done. I end up working for 45-50 hours doing art on 8 subjects for $150 net, and my car takes a beating. I am better off doing art I know will sell and posting it. I want to specialize in famous cars of all types. I walk a show and I will most certainly end up doing another 62 Impala, a 55 Chevy hardtop, a 32 Ford street rod, etc., and they all look about the same on my sites. I need that like a hole in the head. I’d rather draw famous race cars, show cars, famous rods, iconic dream creations out of the nation’s top shops over the last 50 years, etc. I don’t have time if I am filling my hours doing redundant art and traveling out to prospect.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: Your artwork is featured in the book “240 Shorty”, a celebration of the life of the late NHRA funny car driver Tripp Shumake, by his daughter Heather Shumake. How did this offer to be featured come about?
RW: My friend Phil Burgess writes an online and print column for his employer, the NHRA. He mentioned Heather’s intent to do a book, and since Tripp was a friend, I asked Phil for her contact info and then wrote to her. I did the art for free, plus she had me contribute content about my memories about her Dad. It will come back to me over the years as readers take note of my art and inquire. Artists should always think outside the box how they might use their art to help others in projects, publications, ads, etc. I have a bunch of people starting to use my art for flyers, business cards, yellow pages art, etc.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: What do you want to do in the next 2-3 years with your websites?
RW: I have maybe 100 cars and trucks I want to render and make available for sale regarding restyling I do to various makes and models. There are at least 50 that I have held in my head for 45-55 years, and they will get done. I also want to add content regarding boats, off-road vehicles, circle track cars, Bonneville racers, and nostalgia drag racing rigs. I could easily do 300 of those right now. I am finally getting motorcycle content, too. I have well over 500 friends who are world-famous guys who want to have their cars done, so I won’t be lacking for subject matter.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: Do you have any more book deals coming up?
RW: Yes, Linda Vaughn has had an interest in having me illustrate her next book. Also, a gentleman back in the MidWest restored a famous gasser and wants to do a book and I will be illustrating it if he goes forth and does it. I am also the resident artist for Traditional Kustoms Magazine where I can free-wheel original art for the reader’s enjoyment. I get four pages per issue, and I can squeeze 7 or 8 pieces in with captions very easily.

Rick Wilson Artwork

AA: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
RW: I have been able to escape being turned in over the last 45 years despite my picture being in all the post offices across America. I spent the second half of my childhood in Northern CA and lived on a ranch, so I am a great lover of all animals. I am also a Corvette freak, and I am a great fan of Ed Tillrock, Steve Sanford, Keith Kaucher, the late Dave Bell, the late Tom Medley, BoMonster, and also Harry Bradley. When I grow up, I want to be able to draw just ten percent as well as they do.

We would like to thank Rick for taking the time to do the interview. You can see more of his work at his websites: and

Jack Pumphrey - Golden Classics

Golden Classics – Jack Pumphrey

Jack Pumphrey - Golden Classics

Jack is a self-taught artist who provides portraits of classic and custom cars out of his studio in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He works nationally with customers, prospects, and referrals.

Being on Jack’s mailing list, we have always been impressed by the way he balances his newsletters with various marketing, informational, and humorous messages. Readers quickly see that he is not only a great artist, but also a great communicator.

We got in touch with Jack to ask him about his artwork and business.

AA: You have hundreds if not thousands of pieces of artwork on your website, what is your favorite automotive decade and why?
JP: The golden classics of the 1930’s. The orphaned cars; Duesenbergs, Packards, Stutzs, Auburns and the early Lincolns & Cadillacs, too. These cars were the first with the powerful v-8’s and V-16’s., front wheel drive & turbochargers.

Jack in the studio

AA: How many pieces do you average in a year?
JP: I complete 30 to 40 new client commissions every year, of those about half are from repeat customers.

In addition to the commission work I’ll try for another 40-50 new pieces for inventory from which prints are made. Often, I’ll do a study in pen & ink and if it “Rings my bell” I’ll do it again in watercolor.

Altogether, about 80 to 90 new works every year in addition to a few outright design jobs or architectural renderings. I try to stay busy.

California Dreaming

AA: On one of your newsletters you said you were going to take more time on commissions and would be raising your fees. How did raising your fees affect your business?
JP: It has not changed the flow of work but the added attention is paying off with more referrals.
The personal satisfaction is rewarding, too. As I grow older I’m assuming my last delivery will be what I’m judged on by my peers.

1995 Ferrari 512 and 1935 Waco

AA: What are your thoughts on conventional and digital prints? Which do you use?
JP: There was a time before the advent of decent high quality digital prints when print artists like myself would buy a run of prints, usually lithographs, bring them home & take over the dining room table where I’d inspect each one, sign & number them in pencil, fill out the certificate of authenticities and put them on a shelf in the studio hoping they would sell. This represented a huge investment in inventory and my time. Add to this the accounting, keeping ledgers of buyers and the extra cost of insurance and marketing to let the world know your s/n prints are available.

Just printing a catalog of prints was tough to justify let alone pay for the cost of mailing & fulfillment, I don’t know how I afforded it the way I did it then compared to the way prints are sold today.

Today, sales of prints off of my web sites are guaranteed for 30 days and are more affordable than the previous signed & numbered I still offer unique prints that I either embellish or do a re-marque in miniature but these prints are sold out of my studio, not from the web sites.

Ran When Parked

Silver City Show and Shine

AA: You offer your artwork on a number of items such as canvas prints, framed prints, metal prints, greeting cards, throw pillows and a few other items. What do most customers choose?
JP: The most popular prints are on museum-grade paper shipped rolled in a tube. Next are large stretched canvas prints, ready to hang. Then comes the images printed on metal & acrylic. Following these are unusual personal use items like digitally printed throw pillows, tote bags and leading the pack, smart phone/iPhone cases.

Mercedes Benz C112 Concept

AA: In May, the book Where The Old Highway Had Run by Chuck Klein came out. The book consist of great stories, each with an image next to their title. Your artwork is on the cover and also with some of the stories. How were you approached to do the book? What is your relationship with the author?
JP: I was recommended to Chuck by a referral from Angelo VanBogart, editor of Old Cars Weekly. My relationship with Chuck is friendly & professional. I respect his skills as a writer and how he merges his experiences with law enforcement, training new recruits, and his love of cars into stories that are hard to put down once you start. I hope I’m called upon to do more collaboration with my art & his writing in the future.

Where The Old Highway Had Run

AA: This year in your newsletter you included comments made to an artist who didn’t have nice things to say about your work. You handled the situation with class, never going down to their level. How did you keep your composure? Was it your experience working with clients?
JP: I chalk that up to simple jealousy on the heckler’s part. He objected to the way I prepare my art but, after he was enlightened to how I’m able to produce high quality & accurate renderings, quickly and profitable, he came around. We are now friends and share ideas. I admire his old fashioned & “pure” approach to his work as a pen & ink artist but not how he gets it done. If he worked in my studio he wouldn’t last very long because he couldn’t keep up!

My approach to art is as a business, not a self-gratification or, showing off of my abilities at a “Friday morning coffee-klatch of local retired people who are good at bitching & criticizing but not at selling their art”.

Rather, my time is money and If I’m to sell my art in a very competitive environment, I’d better be accepted as an artist who produces automotive art people want to buy, # 1 & it better deliver on time, guaranteed and be affordable # 2.

Tularosa Motors Used Cars

Dick's Drive-In Volkswagon and Istta

AA: What would be your advice to someone getting into the automotive art business?
JP: First off, know if your art is good enough to compete in a tough market. Art sales, worldwide are soft so, don’t rely on just your automotive art to survive. Be versatile, not only in your art mediums but in your subjects. become proficient in the home rendering & yacht/marine markets.

Get a proper education in the arts, it’ll give you networking experiences. Pick a large market that will support more than a few car artists. Start early and put together a winning portfolio, something you can show to prospective buyers. Top off everything with a web site or, sites where prospective buyers will find you.

Or, concentrate on welding or running a wrench……….whichever you find most rewarding!

I started out in sales of printing presses and lithographic supplies, doing my art on the side because it was rewarding & fun. Then, I went into sales of high quality advertising sales brochures and other printing concentrating on advertising agencies, calling on their production managers. It was during one of these sales calls that I noticed they were having trouble locating a production artist who could do an illustration of a garbage truck…… pen & ink………by tomorrow……….I held up my hand and said “Pick me!…Pick ME!” ……….that was 50 years ago, wish I had started sooner. I’ll be 80 soon and still draw & paint every day. Couldn’t be doing that if I was a professional ditch digger or a high-iron guy.

Barn Finds DeSoto


We would like to thank Jack for taking the time to do the interview. You can see more of his work, and sign up for his newsletter, at his website.

Rick Herron Interview

From Classic Design To Modern Concepts – Rick Herron

Rick Herron Interview

Rick began drawing around 1958 when he was about 8. He worked many jobs in the automotive industry gaining a knowledge of how an automobile works, and completed a degree in English Literature in 1982 and in Graphic Design in 1999. He has done commissions for Sports Car Club of America racers and for Mercedes Benz. We got in touch with Rick to find out a more about him and what he is currently working on.

AA: What inspired you to start doing automotive art in the first place?
RH: I’m an old guy who has seen the major changes to the exterior of automobiles from the vestigial fenders of the 40s to the slab sides introduced by the 49 Ford and the advances in aerodynamic knowledge and more sculpted bodies culminating in automobiles like the Ferrari Enzo. The fifties were transformative years for automobiles in part because of the passing of the Interstate Highway Act which, modeled after the Autobahn of the thirties, made the U.S. a truly modern mobile country and shortened the distance between states and municipalities. In my eyes the automobile had become the most important artistic expression of the 20th century replacing architecture as the most influential technologically advanced art form in the world. I wanted to be involved in designing them.

Rick Herron

From 1955 to 1959, I was in Argentina, living as a state department brat. I became interested, as had the Argentines themselves, with Formula One, and because of their hero Juan Manuel Fangio, a five time World Champion, also fell in love with the cars he drove, specifically those from Mercedes Benz.  Really, what could be more impressive to a young boy than those beautiful silver W196 open wheeled and streamlined racing cars, followed by the SL and later SLR 300s. As works of art in themselves they were not equaled in beauty until the Ferrari 250 GTO and Jaguar XKE. I had a vintage plastic toy Streamliner W 196 and would spend hours admiring its lines. These cars stirred my interest in automobiles as art.

By the time I was in my teens I had transferred my loyalties to Ford and their GT4Os, the most important post war vehicle in my opinion, and then AC Cobras and Caroll Shelby. As an American boy I had yet to be immersed in American racing which would come later, but international designs of midship engined cars, Lotus, Cooper, Ferrari, Lamborghini and others, all mid engined, still the standard for performance vehicles, grabbed hold of me and never let go. I wanted to become an automobile designer of exotic vehicles. More on that later.

As with all young people we have aspirations which more often then not we fail to realize. I never went to the art Center College of Design, though I applied, and never worked for Ford or GM. Instead I went on with my life working in the automotive repair and parts industry. I like to think of this as like a fine artist studying the human form, getting an understanding of what lies beneath the skin. In art class they teach you the proportions of the human frame, the bone structure and the musculature. My education was on what made a car tick, inside and out.

To learn how to draw cars one needs to understand what lies beneath the metal skin, where do the passengers sit, the engine, transmission, and axles reside, how much travel is required for wheel and tire movement without hitting the inside of the fender wells and how much passenger space is required to seat the occupants comfortably, as examples. After all the exterior serves not only as a way to direct the wind around the car but as a way to package the whole thing. Not realizing it at the time I was getting a holistic education about automobiles, as I was also studying their form. I remember picking up fender body panel for a customer and was amazed that they were stamped not sculpted as were the original clay mock-ups. At the time I had never considered their construction.  The lure was irresistible and the side drawings I made of those cars in the 50s magazines soon mutated into my own mid-engined concepts, beginning as simple pencil drawings.

MB 300SLRMy most recent acrylic painting of a MB 300SLR and an F104 Starfighter.

AA: How has your work developed throughout the years?
RH: My first drawing were side sketches of a 58 Edsel done in pencil. I was only 8 and my Mom had given me a Life magazine where all the 1958 American models were pictured. There were few automotive magazines at that time especially in Argentina. This allowed me to begin to understand proportions. The tires on my drawings now fit into wheel wells and doors extend all the way to the rocker panels.

1957/1958 were seminal years for body design of American cars. Throughout the 50s auto designers were finding out about streamlining, especially from the Europeans and were feeling out the ideas on how to use the envelope bodies and what to do with their flank sides. I could see that the cars, from 57 to 58 had made a gigantic leap forward in styling, best reflected by the transition of the 57 to 58 Chevy, with the exquisite 58 Impala leading the show. Instead of tacked on taillights and adding complicated chrome bling to make the sides interesting, the bodies themselves now became sculpted pieces, a giant leap forward. I began to understand that drawing and designing cars was a 3D process translated  by the mind of designers of the day into 2D on paper. There were no computers. Then the fabulous GT40s changed everything.

The GT40, based on a race car designed by Lola’s Eric Broadley, brought home hard and fast the necessity of aerodynamics and not simply streamlining, the former being a more precise and scientific analysis of where the wind travels over the car’s surface, just at the time when computers were beginning their ascendancy. From there it was a simple leap to development of air dams, spoilers, wings and under-body venturis and diffusers. Cars could now go faster and stay on the road. Credit also had to be given to Dr. Kamm and the German Kammback principle found at the rear of a GT 40. I studied this car more than any other.  It was the perfect aerodynamic testbed and one of the truly first successful holistic development of a cars body made me understand that there was more going on than a side view could depict and I knew I had to begin to draw in three dimensions. This was in the sixties and there still were no personal computers.

The French developed the Bezier curve which was adopted by the Aircraft industry to use in mainframes in the design of high performance aircraft. And soon computers would be used to also test concept automobiles without having to build a prototype. I habituated myself to conceptualize my vehicles in 3D form where I could follow the airflow around the body in my mind. This is key for any good designer/artist to learn. It became easier to then translate on paper in 2D form. My formal art education was yet to begin but at least the mind was working.

In the 80s and 90s I created concepts in pencil and later color as seen at my site page.  So much of my development as an artist stemmed from an aspiration to actually design and build cars or be part of a team that did so. I was beginning to get a complete picture of what an automobile was.

BMW ConceptAbove. On the left, drawing from the late 80s on the right mid/late 2000s of my BMW concept.

ValkyrieAbove the Valkyrie concept made with sheet plastic and utilizing a Jaguar XJ220 1/18 chassis. My first successful scale mock-up or sculpture, early 1990s. Long before the Enzo.

A health change around 1997 forced me to make a career change from a white collar employee to try my luck at Graphic Design. With the help of my wife I went back to school and got an associates degree in Graphic Design, a technical one. I then began doing digital as well as acrylic art and sold quite a few prints and paintings. The site remained for many years on the top page of most related keywords.

Getting even a Graphic Design degree was invaluable in my growth as an artist. The program, as all degrees in the arts at that time, required a number of foundation courses related to the fine arts. These were absolutely necessary, do not avoid them, learn about them on the Internet, the principles of art and the principles of design, the color wheel, perspective and probably some others I have missed.

For me these all came together. Now all my art would be in color. For most automotive artists this is preferred though black and white is excellent in pencil. Remember, I was taking these art classes at the same time as the computer graphics classes which also taught us the traditional hands on methods using paints and cutting paper. I have no idea if this is still done, but in a sense this was good as I believe that artistic individuals love to work with their hands anyway and I believe it stimulates the brain.

AA: What are you working on at the moment?
RH: Everything is in flux and projects take time. One I have been involved in but cannot go into detail on because of proprietary reasons is the transferring of one of my blown up digital art-pieces to flooring for buildings. The artwork is called Show Off and depicts my daughter driving the original Vette show car up the Pacific Coast highway. More than that I cannot tell you. The company that created the idea is showing the uniquely mounted art-piece at conventions.

Show offAbove Show off.

I try to contribute to the Guild of Motoring Artist’s magazine ‘Redline’ as often as I can. I was accepted as a member about five years ago into the international automotive artists group based in England.

I have prints for sale at Fine Art America as well as Artflakes in Germany.

I would like again to do more design work, rather than portraits or narratives of classic vehicles, but I am always available to do a painting on commission. This brings me to the fourth question below.

AA: What else should we know about you and your work?
RH: The final stage of my development came as an auto designer. Realistically, it is hard to avoid the fact that most automotive artist would rather design a vehicle than paint an image of one designed by someone else. I had long given up the idea of ever designing a car until, through my site, I was invited to do renderings of a concept that eventually became the Iconic AC Roadster, and later a modded TR3 for a customer in Australia. The Triumph mod can be seen at The Iconic AC Roadster, on line though it differs somewhat from the concept. Soon following this I was invited to do the renderings of a full line of vehicles for The newer versions of the vehicle are not shown and maybe one day I will be allowed to post them on the site.

When I started working for Erra I had never used a 3D program, but I was asked to purchase one under 1k. I chose to go with Solid Thinking and spent months learning how to use it. I eventually created a series of trucks, buses, sedans, pickups and sports cars for a full line of vehicles, unfortunately the automotive aspect of Erra was put on hold.

I was able to transfer the knowledge of Solid Thinking to create some of my own concepts which I show below.

A modern version of a Talbot, front, side and rear. A concept of a New Cobra, 4 different versions, and  the Zeta concept.  These have never been published anywhere before, even on my site.

Talbot Concept

Cobra Concept

Cobra Concept

Zeta Concept

AA: Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
RH: Strive to learn what you can from wherever you can, life experiences are as important as degrees if you use them. To create beautiful art may require learning the tools and how to apply them but the creativity is always with you.

Take every opportunity that comes your way and give yourself more credit than you normally would. Every new thing requires a learning curve. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge into a new unfamiliar project. Keep growing. As they say if you don’t try you will never know.

AA: What type of prints do you offer and where can they be purchased?
RH: As mentioned earlier I sell through Artflakes and Fine Art America.  But for a full view of my posted work, check out where I can be reached by e-mail for commissions on original portraiture or design projects.

Delorean ConceptOriginal Delorean concept. Above 3D below, 2D version. The 3D developed from the 2D.

Delorean Concept

We would like to thank Rick for taking the time for doing the interview and sharing with us information about him and his work. See more of his artwork at his website

Claudia Rizzoli Interview

Pencils, Pastels and Vintage Sports Cars – Claudia Rizzoli

Claudia Rizzoli Interview

Claudia Rizzoli is a self-taught artist in Argentina who draws and paints older models and classics. We contacted her to find out more about her work and what she has been up to lately.

AA: What is your preferred medium and why?
CA: My preferred medium are pencils and pastels. I feel its like the prolongation of my hand and my thinking, I can do everything with a pencil. I like the oil painting too, but it needs to much time for see the final result.

Claudia drawing tools

AA: We see on your website that do a lot of vintage sports cars. Where do you get your inspirations?
CA: Yes, I love the vintage sports cars!! They have a lot of details that the modern cars have not, and I see a special romantic air in their lines. They are fantastic!!!

Claudia easel work

AA: On your Facebook page there are pictures and video of you at car shows. How important have the shows been in selling prints and commission work?
CA: Those events and the Facebook page are very important to be known. At car shows I sell my works, cars and portraits, but commissions mostly.

Claudia at show

AA: What is your studio like?
CA: I work at home!! We are building a house with an “atelier” because I need my place to dream with the art. It’s very important to an artist to have yourself a place.

Claudia at table

AA: What are you working on at the moment?
CA: I have finished an old Whippet Overland for to be exposed, but I have found a beautiful Allard to make a new work and I´m doing it!

Claudia work in progress

AA: Where do you see yourself in five years?
CA: It is a beautiful question!!! I really don´t know, but I dream with trips by Europe and EU to sell my Works.

Claudia with framed work

We would like the thank Claudia for taking the time to share with us a little about her and her artwork. See more of her artwork at and

UPDATE: After the interview, Claudia won first place with the Whippet at a expo in Buenos Aires. Congratulations Claudia!

Whippet First Place

Claudia Awarded First Place

Art Station Project Brochure

Ron de Haer

Ron de Haer

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Kaytee Esser - Classic Car-ma

Classic Car-ma

Kaytee Esser - Classic Car-ma

Kaytee Esser recently posted about her new book titled “Classic Car-ma”. We got in touch with Kaytee to find out more about the book and what inspired her to write it.

AA: Can you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
KE: Sure, I am a portrait artist to start with, I paint more portraits of dogs than people but I like to do both. I grew up mainly in Pennsylvania near Chadds Ford which is Wyeth country. I received a B.F.A. from Kutztown University and started my art career as an Archaeological Illustrator. I have been on digs from VA to MA and one for the National Park Service out in Arizona. Then, after starting a family, I went into Computer Based Training and not only did the graphics but wrote content as well. Now I am working part-time as a marketing assistant so I can concentrate more on my automotive artwork.

My husband loves old cars so he took me to the Turkey Rod Run when we were dating. The Turkey Rod Run is where they fill the Daytona Speedway with classic cars and you can walk all day and not see all of them. I just fell in love with them so I had to start painting the classics.

AA: What is your preferred medium?
KE: For my cars, I use oil on canvas. I like the way I can blend color together and layer up.

AA: What is the title of your new book and how did you come up with it?
KE: The title of my book is “Classic Car-ma”. My longtime friend and writer Linda Wooten Carter came up with the name. It so fits both our sense of humor and the memories the cars invoke. Linda wrote the stories for my paintings.

 Classic Car-ma

Kaytee and Linda

AA: What is the book about?
KE: I think the preface to the book tells it all: “These are the cars driven by our grandparents, our parents, and us. They are the stars of the show. This book is for you, the classic car aficionado, who appreciates the character and history behind the 20th century automobile. We hope studying the paintings and reading the stories evoke happy memories of cars and people who have played an important part in your life. These are their stories.”

AA: What inspired you to write it?
KE: Every time I was at a festival or art exhibit of my work, people would always tell me stories about that particular car that set a memory for them. I told my friend Linda to take a look at my paintings and come up with a short story for each one that would set a memory.

AA: How many pieces of artwork went into the making of this book?
KE: There are 17 paintings in this book. I know that there are some cars I did not include but that may be another book.

AA: What was your most challenging piece?
KE: The 57 Ford Fairlane with ghost flames. I painted it at a distorted angle so I had to make sure the detail in the front section was precise as well as the painting being 2ft x 3ft. All the detail and the angles were time consuming.

1957 Ford Fairlane

AA: Which one is your favorite?
KE: The 48 DeSoto, because it was my first one and it is the most painterly…besides, my Dad had a DeSoto.

1948 DeSoto

AA: When will the book be released and can it be purchased?
KE: The book was released on April 1st of this year. The initial launch was at the 44 Monroe Gallery in Jacksonville Florida on Art Walk night. The gallery got into it with a retro theme and my husband parked his 1961 Studebaker Lark outside in front. We played oldies and danced all night.

Everyone at the show

Hippie chicks

Linda, Greg, Kaytee and Studey

Kaytee at the show

The book sales were fabulous that night and we hope to continue that with appearances at the local car shows and maybe taking the entire exhibit on tour. Anyone can purchase my book by going to my website and you will see it on the front page.

AA: What are you doing when you’re not creating artwork?
KE: When I am not creating art, I am marketing, looking for new markets, teaching workshops, riding with my husband on our motorcycle and going to the beach.

We would like the thank Kaytee for taking the time to do the interview. She has been on since 2013 and has been active in posting updates.

To get her new book “Classic Car-ma” go to

Classic Cars, Nostalgia and Tropical Places – Mark Watts

Classic Cars, Nostalgia and Tropical Places – Mark Watts

Classic Cars, Nostalgia and Tropical Places – Mark Watts

Mark Watts has been creating art for the past 30 years. He has two studios, one in the rolling hills of Bucks County Pennsylvania and one in Sunny South Florida.

Mark has worked for clients such as Walt Disney, Budweiser, Warner Brothers Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Hasbro Toys, Tyco Toys, Crayola, William Morrow Publishing, and Avon Books – QVC Home Shopping Channel to name a few!

We reached out to Mark to find out a little more about him and how he got his start.

AA: What is your preferred medium?

MW: I like them all I paint in mostly with acrylics, and occasionally oils. In the beginning of my illustration career I used airbrush almost exclusivity with dyes, watercolor and gouache then I switched to acrylic. I also like digital now, it is faster and easy to change and correct color. Of course when I started out in the late 70’s everything was done by hand, no computers. The software I use is Photoshop, Painter, Illustrator, Lightwave and Vue. I also use a combination of 3D rendered software with a Wacom tablet.

Mark Watts in Studio

AA: How do you get your inspirations?

MW: I love classic cars, nostalgia, tropical places and I like to illustrate reflective surfaces so a lot of my inspirations come from that.

Tropical Retreat

Key To Your Imagination

Tropical Get Away

AA: Do you have a set schedule of working creatively everyday or is the process more fluid?

MW: Never had a set schedule but I work almost every day except when I am on vacation.

Mark Watts Studio 1

AA: What are you working on at the moment?

MW: I designed a unique table for artwork that I came up. The idea is – Mark Watts Table Art – framed art work that turns into an art faced coffee table. The artwork can be changed out at any time. I have been working on this for about a year, I just received a patent for the idea, and am working on mass production for stores.

I am also working on a new line of fine clothing featuring classic cars silk shirts.

Mark Watts Studio 2

AA: You have done work for it seems all the top companies, what would you say was your first foot-in-the-door to working with them?

MW: Well when I was first out of college it took me six months to get my first job and I was really trying hard. I would get up early every morning and make call to New York publishing companies, book companies, magazines, ad agencies and try to get appointments to go in and show my portfolio. In between calls I was working on new pieces for my portfolio. I would go to New York once a week and have anywhere from four to seven appointments set up for that day.

It took six months until I got my first job. How I got my first job is that I was hired by my future wife’s Uncle Frank to paint a portrait of Pope John Paul who was the Pope at the time. I had the original airbrushed painting in my portfolio when I went in to see William Morrow Publishing. The art director’s name was Cheryl and she looked at the Pope John Paul’s Painting and loved it. They were working on a new book, Man From A Far Country about Pope John Paul. She said wait here, I would like to show this painting to the editor and some other people that would make a final decision. She came back about ten minutes later and said they would like to use it for the book cover. Of course I was very excited, my first published piece! She said they would pay, I think it was $750.00. I said I would need more and as I can recall, it was about $1,300 and she said OK just like that. That was the start of my illustration career.

One final note on this story, on this day I was getting a little discussed and could not believe I did not get one job after maybe 70 or more showings of my portfolio but I knew I had some good Illustrations. That day it was raining so hard I was soaked and the wind was blowing my 40″ X 30″ portfolio all over the place. I remember opening the large door to William Morrow Publishing on my way in and saying now this is a mission I will never quit. That is the day I got my first illustration job. After that a lot of the New York publishing companies, book companies, magazines, ad agencies I had seen over the past six months started calling me. After a while, I now had some printed work to show to agents. I was able to get an agent, Mendola and he got me a lot of high profile jobs.

Mark Watts Studio 3

AA: What is one of the highlights in the client work you’ve done?

MW: I was given the opportunity to work on the Transformers toy packs back in 1985, when they first came to America.

Many, many illustrations ago, I was called into my agent’s office in New York. I was shown the Transformers toys fresh from China, some being prototypes. Some of the Transformers toys being sold in China had done very well. At that point I was given a top secret Transformers Bible to be kept under lock & key. It contained technical drawings of each Transformer including the placement of colors, logos, etc…

Originally I was given six to start with that were to be used on blister packs for the Autobots. I completed the drawings with forced perceptive to make the toys more exciting and menacing.

Transformer 1

The illustrations were painted using an airbrush with Dr. Martian Dyes and Luma Dyes. I cut frisket to protect certain areas and cut tracing paper to move around when spraying to create a softer edge. Later paintings were done with airbrushed acrylic paints.

My objective on these illustrations was to make them as reflective as possible, like car paint, exciting with a lot of reflections.

I completed the set of six and the client was very happy with the results. That lead to years of work on around 45 boxes and blister packs.

Transformer 2

You never know when a toy will take off like the Transformers and become such a sensation. It was my pleasure working on all of the illustrations for the Transformers packaging, the toys were enjoyable and I am sure they were a part of many fond childhood memories.

The art seams like Pop Culture art to me now. People can see some of the Transformer artwork I did on my website. I offer them as signed prints on canvas, aluminum and paper.

Transformer 3

There is also a new Transformers book, Legacy The Art of Transformer Packaging. My artwork is on pages 7, 14, 15, 30, 34, 35, 82, 83, Ram Jet on page 242, Reflector on page 264, Eagle Eye on page 283, 295.

Transformers Book Cover

AA: Recently you had a show at the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) in Hershey Pa. How was it? How did you do?

MW: The shows are great for exposure and to acquire sales and new commissions.

AA: How many shows do you do in a year?

MW: Right now I only do about four shows a year. I am trying to mass market my Illustrations through different products.

AA: We noticed on your site you offer giclee canvas prints and aluminum art. What would you say to a potential customer who wanted to know what is the difference between the two?

MW: Well one is printed on high gloss aluminum and the other is on canvas.

AA: What are your goals for the future, both work wise and life?

MW: Well as stated above for work, to mass market my Illustrations on prints and products, I have some more Ideas for products, and products that I want to patent. I also have many more Illustration Ideas floating around in my head and on sketch pads that I will be doing. Right now I kind of have my business hat on for a little while longer. As for life, I just had my first grandchild, Crew Winsor Watts. I am enjoying him and my three children, Justin, Britney and Amber. They are all doing great and are very artistic as well. My Wife Terry is a Nurse and is going to start working on a children’s book. I think she is going to let me illustrate it.

AA: What are you doing when you’re not creating?

MW: I spend time with my Wife, Children and Grandchild, I play golf, tennis and fish on our boat in Florida. We have a house there on a golf course and the boat is about five miles away. I Have a Studio is at my house in Florida and live there as well.

We would like the thank Mark for taking the time to do the interview. He has been on since 2009.

Find out more about Mark and his artwork at his website

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