“Old School Viscom – 20 Renderings in 20 Steps” is an excellent book, written by Jason White (An automotive designer and an instructor at CCS), that covers rendering and visualizing design concepts utilizing “old school” or analog techniques. As the title states, the book contains 20 renderings presented in 20 easy enough to follow steps in over 250 pages of full color awesomeness. The design sketches included are mostly automotive in nature, however, there are a few product renderings included as well.
When I first opened the book, flipped through the pages, and scanned the tutorials, I was very impressed at the way the material was presented in a very clear, concise, and communicative way.
Before beginning and tutorials, one is presented with a glossary of materials represented as icons as well as a simple guide to some basic drawing and sketching fundamentals. Each page of tutorials contains large images that clearly show each step of the rendering process. Compared to other books that I have read and seen, these images and tutorials hold up very well in the areas of quality and clarity. For each step of the renderings, there are small icons that show what materials are used. This works nicely as a quick visual guide to what marker, pen, or pencil to grab next, and what to prepare for before beginning the next step.
Although the rendering take place over 20 “short” steps, I found them to be gradual enough that one would not get lost in the mix if you were following along. Following along the step-by-step renderings, I could tell that there was considerable time and thinking placed into the presentation of each of the steps.
The book does hint at using Adobe Photoshop for some tasks here and there, however, it does not delve into the minutia of those processes, and instead focuses on the broader analog techniques. I did not find this bothersome, but for someone just starting out, jumping into photoshop without some clear direction may be a little daunting. In any case, with a little creativity and adjustment, I think the analog techniques covered would translate just fine to a digital medium such as Adobe Photoshop, Corel Painter, or Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.
All in all, the book is a fantastic resource, and one of the best that I have come across in terms of content, clarity, and clear directions for rendering and sketching. It’s definitely worth having in any designers library. You can find it at oldschoolviscom.com for the 44.95 USD. There’s even an option to have the copy signed by Jason himself!
I had the chance to interview Jason White about the book, himself, and his feelings about sketching. Check out the interview below -
1 – Tell us a little bit about your background – Where are you from, what led you to industrial design, what’s has your career been like up to this point and how did you come to be an instructor at CCS?
I was born and raised in suburban Detroit. My father was a body engineer at Chrysler and he was acquainted with several stylists. So we knew CCS was an option very early on. I decided to be a designer after a GM stylist came to my third grade class and gave a slide presentation. I was already producing stacks of car drawings at home on our coffee table, and here’s a guy in a suit telling me I can get paid to do that! Talk to any car designer from my era and most of them will relate a similar story. After I left CCS, I found a niche as an interior designer at Ford. My main contributions there are the 2008 Escape/Mariner interior and the 2007 Super Duty instrument panel. I took a quick detour through the Hyundai studio in Ann Arbor, and now I’m back at Ford on a contract basis. I’ve been teaching at CCS since 2007. This originally came about because a friend had to leave on a foreign assignment and needed a substitute to cover his class. But since then, I’ve really grown to love the process of teaching. For me, it’s not a job; it’s more of a passion. I’ve often come home from an evening class and I’m practically bouncing off the walls; that’s how much I enjoy it.
2 – You mention in your preface that the fundamentals of viscom are often overlooked in the transition from analog sketching to digital sketching. How do you see both analog and digital skill sets complimenting each other?