Jason White, a contract car designer at Ford and an instructor in the Transportation Design department at Detroit's College for Creative Studies, must be a wonderful teacher. His first book, the self-published and obliquely titled Old School Viscom: 20 Renderings in 20 Steps, is fascinating from the first page to anyone who has ever wanted to draw cars.
Although it's more of a textbook for first- and second-year transportation-design students, Old School Viscom so carefully lays out the tools, materials, and tips for drawing fifteen cars, two motorcycles, one racing helmet, a forklift, and a power drill in twenty careful steps that even a neophyte who likes doodling will want to take a stab at the most interesting occupation in the automotive universe.
Let's start with the name Old School Viscom. "Old school" was how White's designer friends would describe his hobby of practicing old design techniques he'd learned. "They would say, 'Wow, that's so old school,' " he says. "At first, I thought that I didn't want them to be labeled like that. But then when they'd add that they hadn't used these techniques in ages, I realized that I didn't want them to die. I wanted to preserve them in some fashion."
"Viscom" is shorthand in the design world for "visual communication." He adds, "If designers know how to communicate ideas, they are far more likely to be successful. The more visual communication tools you have at your disposal, the more likely you'll be to get your designs noticed."
Old School Viscom isn't about the subjects within. Amusingly, White didn't label any of the fifteen cars (including the stylized Porsche 907 shown here) because it never occurred to him to do so. The twenty subjects were carefully chosen to illustrate twenty different viscom tools. "I selected cars with forms that lent themselves to a technique, or to graphics such as on Formula 1 cars, or to shapes like the rudimentary spherical shape of François Cevert's helmet." That would be rendering #1.