It takes artistic talent, knowledge of 3 dimensional form, creativity, the ability to work with others, salesmanship, a lot of hard work, and a bit of luck of course.
I've been drawing cars since I can remember, but some other designers didn't start to draw until they went to college. The minimum would be the 4 years of school I suppose. As a designer you are continuously improving your skills and knowledge.
Most designers have a bachelor's or master's degree in industrial design. Specialization in transportation design is common, but not absolutely necessary.
I would refer you back to my auto design page, where I have a list of the most well known schools offering transportation design.
Unfortunately I don't have an answer to this question. If you are a U.S. resident you can request financial aid through the school. If you are an international student, you won't qualify for financial aid in the U.S. Many RCA students are sponsored by the car companies. The design program in Umeå, Sweden is offered without tuition fees. Many European countries offer some sort of financial aid to their citizens.
Most (but not all) designers start working before the age of 30. It takes a full time commitment to be competitive with other students.
Most important is art class, especially figure drawing, drafting, wood/metal model building, and some sort of computer graphics class will prove helpful as well.
Different schools have different requirements. Art Center wants to see design related work, whereas CCS prefers a general portfolio with life drawings rather than design concepts. A portfolio should have about 10-20 finished pieces. Better to leave out a few pieces than to put in too many. Sketchbooks are always a plus too. Ask the school what they expect to see.
You will need a design degree, a portfolio, and a resume/CV. Some companies advertise in Car Styling or Auto and Design when they have job openings.
I no longer give contact information to people I don't personally know. Perhaps there is a list of addresses somewhere on the web.
I have a list of recommended art and design books on my site. The most popular books are How to Draw Cars Like a Pro by Thom Taylor and Draw Cars by Doug DuBosque
First we make accurate 4 view orthographic scale drawings of our design. Then an armature is made from plywood and blue foam to the rough shape of the model. The surface is roughed up and sealed with shellac. Then automotive modelling clay is thinly applied to form the final shape. Sculpting tools are used to refine the model. Kaneko Enterprises have a Clay Modeling book for sale.
Chavant automotive clay solidifies at room temperature. It softens when heated.
The models I did at school were painted using automotive primer and paints, then clearcoated. Before applying the primer we sealed the clay with shellac so that the solvents in the paint didn't damage the clay. In the industry, most models are given a painted appearance with a flexible film called Dinoc.
Although computers are being used more widely throughout the development process, clay models are still used for a hands-on evaluation of a design. The use of milling machines and other types of rapid prototyping help speed up the modelling process.
At work we use high end Alias AutoStudio 3-d modelling software (which includes Studiopaint 2-d software.) This software runs on Silicon Graphics UNIX workstations or Windows NT. I'm not sure which low end 3-d software is good for designing cars on PCs. I've heard of "Rhino", but am not familiar with it. On PC or Mac, designers use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, Painter, and Quark.
I use Prismacolor pencils or ballpoint pen to draw. I used to use Vincent vellum (a heavy, slightly rough, tracing paper), but now I use marker/layout paper which is very smooth, more opaque, and has a coating to prevent markers from bleeding thorough the page. Regular white copy paper isn't too bad either. We all use some type of felt tip marker (Chartpak, Prismacolor, Copic, Design, Pantone, etc.). If you're low on cash all you need are pencils, paper, a set of greys, black, and some basic colors. You can use pastels (we use Nupastel) to create soft gradations in addition to the marker reflections.
I've never bought art supplies on the web, but that would be an alternative if there aren't any art stores where you live. Even office supply stores or arts and crafts stores have a limited selection.
In the cardesignnews.com forums I found:
George Vincent Inc.
95 Industrial Av E
Telephone: 1 800 662 0838
Each person develops their own style, but if you're just getting started I would recommend trying to get hold of the book Marker Magic or a cheaper alternative such as Rendering With Markers
Why does everyone want to know this? We're paid equivalent to automotive engineers. Starting pay in the US is about $40-50k a year (in the UK about £20-25k, in Europe about E30-45k )
No. Not all companies hire new designers every year, and new car companies don't appear very often...
Since you'll have an industrial design degree, you can work for suppliers who specialize in interiors, wheels, convertibles, etc. Others work for product design companies or even designing shoes for Nike or Adidas.
No, car companies don't buy "designs" from individuals. We might use outside designers to come up with different proposals, but we make exterior designs all the time. The difficult part is to engineer and design the whole car to get it into production.
Besides drawing, we make proposals on the computer, work with engineers, go to meetings, argue with finance people, assist clay modellers, do a bit of market research, meet with customers, try to keep up with the latest trends, do paperwork, and hopefully attend a motorshow once in a while.
It's not as glamorous as many people think and it can be stressful at times, but it can be very rewarding to see someone drive a car that you've worked on.
So far, I would say none. I have worked on many different projects, and as a part of a team, it's difficult to claim that any particular design was made by only one person. I have made several proposals, but they have been changed to the point that I would no longer consider them as my own.
For a brand new car, the industry average is about 36 months after the design is chosen. We start about 12 months before design approval and the other 36 months or so are needed to get everything engineered, tooled up, and tested. That makes 48 months in total. If you want an in depth look at how cars are made, I would recommend reading CAR by Mary Walton. It's a behind the scenes look at the development of the Ford Taurus, but is much more interesting than you would think :)
I've kept the images small to speed up loading times, but I now have larger images when you click on the thumbnails.
I don't mind as long as you acknowledge where they come from, add a link to my site, and they are not used for commercial purposes.
No, I don't lend out any of my original work. I may consider offering prints of my work for sale at a later time.
I am unable to show my recent work for reasons of confidentiality. I might consider adding more images from school as I get more time to update my site.