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Art Education

Art Cars

Art Cars

Artists and designers have been using the automobile as an art form in a variety of ways. The most notable art cars came from a series of cars painted by famous artists for BMW. Like Alexander Calder’s BMW paint job featured here, each car represents the style and expression of the artist. The car wrap has recently been used to decorate whole cars for advertisements and race cars, in this process designers print large custom decals of their design that are applied to the vehicle. To assist the process a  schematic templates of different cars are made to build their designs upon. The exercises below show how to utilize the templates within Adobe Illustrator.




Project | Automotive Form

Using the vehicle templates provided below, develop techniques that will allow you to paint an automobile in your own style. Analyze the art cars of each of the artists depicted here, as you do consider the following questions; What type of cars do you want to design; what era or style of car will you begin with? What colors, shapes, lines, patterns, or other elements of art will be featured in your designs? How can we use the techniques of making highlights and shadows be applied to make the car look 3 dimensional; How can the templates help to illustrate the form of the vehicle? How can we build on what other artists have shared to create our own expressive vehicle? How can the templates aid our design and what illustrating tools can we apply to the problem? How can we construct 3 dimensional models with printed and electronic media?

Draw the 3 cars featured in the tutorials that follow, or draw 3 cars from the additional templates provided. Develop the ability to render the form of the vehicle utilizing features of the different templates. As you work experiment with creating new shapes and adding pattern and lines.

The Monochromatic Mini



The Mini Template


Click to here download the Mini template

Tutorial | Linear Gradient Technique


Student Works


Mr. Fatta’s Automobilia Magazine

Logo_Flip_Car_01Peruse through the many articles in Mr. Fatta’s Automobilia Magazine for curious browsing and inspiration. There you’ll find a variety of images and stories around automobile design. Check out the sketch for Elon Musk’s new Tesla Model 3 or bask in the glory of the Golden Age of Automobiles from the roaring 20s.

The Mesh Tool Technique




 The Camaro Template

Click to download the Camaro template

Tutorial | Mesh Tool Technique



Tutorial | Camaro Rim & Trim


Camaro Custom

Click Here to download and study the Camaro Flame document


Other Available Templates

There are a variety of vehicles that are often used for promotional purposes and advertising. After practicing the techniques featured in the tutorials above, try your skills with one of the several other vehicles available. Click on the links below, download the templates, and open the template in Adobe Illustrator.

Links: Chevy HHR        GMC Envoy       Nissan Cube       BMW 3 Series         Nissan Murano


Links: Sprint Truck          Minivan           Ford Truck         Delivery Truck           Chevy Van


Links: Ford Mustang          Chevy Corvette          NASCAR            VW Bug          Dodge Challenger         Chevy Caprice


Project | Creating an Exotic Car


Tutorial | Creating Custom Rims

Sample Student Works

Click here to download Connor’s Exotic Car in Orange Illustrator document, examine the shapes and mesh tool use to guide you in your own exotic car illustration. Click here to download and study the vector work for Connor’s Exotic Yellow Car. View some vintage car illustrations using this link and click to analyze a VW Golf drawn from the illustration.

Art Car Rubric


Project | Papercraft Templates

Use choose from the following templates to base your next car design on, print the final illustrations and ensemble the vehicles you create.


A paper craft artist who goes by the name
jcarwil created numerous templates of automobiles from the
1980s that can be painted in Photoshop or Illustrator
link to jcarwil’s flicker page


Gallery page of jcarwil numerous colored,
printed, and assembled vehicles.
Check out the various photo galleries to get ideas for your own vehicle.
link to jcarwil’s flicker gallery

Chevy_65_iconImagine the design possibilities with this classic 1965 Chevy Impala.
Study the process and download the pdf
for the template. This is a great project car.
link to Gnat’s Papercraft Impala

Take yourself back to happy days in this 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Add thoughtful gradients to show highlights and shadow and with this simple
construction you have a beautiful model.
link to 57 Chevy

plymouth_38_iconThe 1930s-1940s where days of large cars with long running fenders,
big hoods and large grills.
Papermau provides a variety of great vehicle templates
link to Papermau’s 1930’s car

Project | The Car Wrap

CarWrap SUV

Using the skill developed in the previous exercises select a vehicle to design a company car wrap advertisement on. Decide on a company that the vehicle will advertise for, use the questions below to help develop the theme. Select a template from the samples above and use following tutorials to develop a vehicle that advertises a service or product. Include within the design the name of the company, the service or product, phone number and website, bullet notes, and images to build the theme.

Given your personal interests and skills, what kind of company would you dream of owning?
What kind of service or product would your company provide?
Who would be the target audience for your company?
How do you suppose advertisers create adds on automobiles?
What type of car would you use to advertise your company and why did you choose that type of car?
Why do you feel that color harmony works to represent your company?

Tutorial | Clipping Mask Car Wrap


Car Wrap Rubric



Adding Custom Flame Shapes

1970s Camaro


Camaro Custom


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