Animations World Network: A World of Design According to Syd Mead

Commissioned in 1988 by Lockheed and based on classified information, Mead’s Advanced Tactical Fighter captures the USAF in action. All artwork © 2001 Syd Mead and Oblagon Inc.

At a recent appearance at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Syd Mead spoke of his educational background as an artist, his time working for the Ford Motor Co., his famed concept cars (he is certainly one of the most prolific designers of “The Car of the Future”) and his contributions to s Blade Runner and Tron, which have become milestones in visual design. He also covered in detail his designs for cruise ships, airplane interiors and his latest illustrations for concept vehicles, including one huge windowless blimp-like form that features the exterior world shown to travelers on interior, 360-degree digital screens.

And funnily enough, he showed one of his first vehicle sketches, made at about age three, of a huge windowless blimp-like form — and the comparison went to show how there has always been a continuity in his work. Nor did he leave out his low opinion of recent Cadillac design (his one-time car of choice), or his working methods of drawing and painting without the use of digital tools, through a meticulous process of retracing an original image to maintain line definition as colors are added. These techniques are available on his four DVD set, which covers his artistic process in all its stages from rough sketch to finished illustration, while his recent work, along with classic illustrations, are available in his latest book, Syd Mead’s Sentury.

 

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