GM Designers Andy Hanzel, Tom Peters, Ed Welburn, Robert Menking, William Quan, Silvia Ramos, Jon Albert, and Pres Brunning demonstrate their sketch techniques. From the ’80s. From an age before computers ruled the earth.

The quality isn’t what it could be (it looks like a copy of a copy), but the content more than makes up for it.

Thanks to Don Leblanc.

  1. I salute these ‘masters’ from the days before the computer interfered with the design aesthetic… These creative automotive designers work speaks for itself, and can’t be repeated electronically. Their sense of design, style and rendering skills are all but gone today! We can thank the electronic age for this loss…and our cars have lost their visual beauty, charm, and excitement accordingly. Thanks to all for sharing these images of their creative talent…

    John M. Mellberg
    Retired Automotive Designer

  2. These are some of the creative ‘design masters’ from the era before the intervention of the computer into automotive design! Their sense of visual design aesthetic and rendering skills have never been repeated electronically. Automotive design today, with a few exceptions (Aston Martin, Jaguar, McLaren, Ferrari, Porsche) has lost its aesthetic ‘mo-jo’ accordingly…

    Thanks for showing these fine examples of creative design sketch techniques during the Halcyon Days of Automotive Design/Styling…

    John M. Mellberg
    Ret’d. Automotive Designer

  3. I agree completely John. At one time, a design requirement was set and people with vision and skill did their best to meet it, while trying to make a statement and put their mark on the design. A relatively few, talented, lucky individuals had their designs selected and other talented, visionary individuals were selected to help hone the design and bring it to it’s fruition. Now, that’s all gone. I am no Luddite, mind you and using CAD/CAM to design chassis and suspensions and the like, must be a wonderful advantage, as is using it to possibly clean up the aerodynamics of a design. But relying on it as the only design tool has created what we have now. The same shapes repackaged over and over again, with minor details changed. it’s the 21st century version of tape stripes. Do you think anyone could have designed the 250 GTO using noting but computers? Not hardly. There is a certain purity to using mind, hand paper and pencil. You can just feel the line is right sometimes and you don’t need a machine to tell you so either.

  4. joe gagan

    Bravo John M. Melburg. you hit the nail on the head. i love the approach of these masters. modern cars, for the most part lack this spark we used to see. ( also agree with your exceptions list!)

    never got go to school for design, but have made most of my living doing it anyway – advertising, homes, electronics, etc etc.

    the GREAT designers in the video had so many cool things to teach us.

    thank you again, Gary Smith and Don Leblanc.

  5. D. Leblanc

    Thank you Gary for posting, it reminded me of my school days in Detroit.


    Thanks Gary for the article. Brings me back to the good old days, Interesting to me to see how each designer used different techniques and approaches to achieve the same end. These “old school” sketches came after my time in the playground. Biggest difference was that we rarely made any sketches smaller than 20×60 (which presented its own set of challenges).

    Good to see old friends with mod haircuts, facial hair, and patterned ties. Interesting to see Ed Welburn.

Leave Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit