We launch the New Year with the automotive artwork of California artist, Ron Duke. You may know him from his posts on TalkGraphics.com or his gallery on Xara.com And if you’ve never had the chance to chat with Ron about his art and methods you are in for a treat. In addition to sharing a gallery of images with us Ron graciously agreed to a short interview with Barbara Bouton, where he talks about his background, why he draws cars and how uses Xara to create these outstanding images.
Xara Xone: Ron from your online profiles and previously published bios we know a bit about, you are retired from Campbell Soup Company in 2000 and because of illness you don’t get out much, but not so much how you came to your art and how you create your art. Gary and I are among your many admirers, and I want to thank you in advance for taking the time to answer a few questions about you and how these powerful pieces of art come into being.
Xara Xone: Was creating art part of your job at Campbell Soup Co? Is your professional background in art?
Ron Duke: No, I’ve no art background to speak of. I took a drawing and painting class and a commercial art class in high school; each one semester, but that was pretty much it.
Xara Xone: Before discovering Xara did you draw cars using physical media – markers, paper etc?
Ron Duke: I never drew cars before Xara. I only sketched a little here and there, more like doodling. I drew only what came to mind at the time. It could be anything. I do remember toying with caricatures of people I knew for a while.
Xara Xone: Why cars and not some other subject?
Ron Duke: I’ve always had a real love for cars, old and new, but especially old as they are nostalgic. So that is the reason for my emphasis on cars and motorcycles; mostly cars.
Xara Xone: You’ve drawn a couple of motorcycles. Do you like drawing them more or less than drawing cars?
Ron Duke: I didn’t use to like drawing motorcycles as I thought they were too much work for the reward, with all the motor parts and gears. However, with a particular client who loves motorcycles, I’ve had to do a lot more of them in the past year. The result is—I enjoy doing them more so now than before. And I have drawn other things with Xara, such as portraits, flowers, fruit and such.
Xara Xone: How long does it take you to complete a drawing?
Ron Duke: A typical drawing of a car or motorcycle would probably take 60 hours give or take, depending on the specific vehicle.
Xara Xone: How do you find your resource material?
Ron Duke: Most of my source material comes from the Internet. This has proven very helpful as I like to include a lot of detail in my drawings and so I have to research to find close up shots of various body parts and emblems, etc. Some of my material comes from customers themselves.
Xara Xone: Do you use filters? Do you have favorite ones?
Ron Duke: I do use filters, but to be honest, I’m going away from filters more and more as I learn new techniques. An example would be using the 3D tool to create a “nut” for a part in a motor. With just a little more effort I can now draw a better “nut” myself without the filter.
Xara Xone: When did you start using Xara?
Ron Duke: I started using Xara in 2000. My first car (LOL) would look silly compared to my current work. I only wish I hadn’t lost my early work to a system crash.
Xara Xone: Any advice to new users?
Ron Duke: Advice is a tough one. I guess my advice would be to get to learn the tools in Xara and how they work. Secondly, don’t look at a project as a whole; rather take one small aspect of the overall project and focus on just accomplishing what you want with that, and then move to another part of the project. Bit by bit you’ll gradually see your project/drawing developing. Be patient with yourself, and always try to do something you’ve done before with a different approach.
Xara Xone: Are there any secrets you’d care to share concerning how you make these fantastic autos?
Ron Duke: It’s always helpful to have references when drawing. I always use a layer to keep pictures of my subject and various individual parts. This layer remains visible but not editable. Hope someone can glean something from this.
Xara Xone: Thank You , Ron for sharing your story and your art with us.