Book Review: Drive by Scott Robertson

Concept Design, News 30 Oct 2010
Book Review: Drive by Scott Robertson

An exclusive review of DRIVE, the new illustration book by concept designer Scott Robertson. Available for sale from the next weeks, it features new vehicle concepts that document the evolution of the author’s visualization process and techniques.


Previewed back in August, “DRIVE” is the fourth illustration book by concept artist and designer Scott Robertson. It follows “Start Your Engines”, “Lift Off” – both focused on vehicle design – and “Alien Race”, which features alien characters and environments.

DRIVE Vehicle Rendering DRIVE Vehicle Rendering

DRIVE Vehicle RenderingLike the first three, “DRIVE” is published by Design Studio Press, a specialty publisher founded by Scott Robertson himself.

A the moment DRIVE can be reserved online and will be available for sale within next 10 November in paperback ($34.95) and hardcover ($49.95) editions.

In these days the book is being presented at the Lucca Comics and Games event in Lucca, Italy, where it is also available with an Italian translation.

Book Review

DRIVE Vehicle Rendering The works featured in DRIVE were created specifically for the book by Scott Robertson with the collaboration of Annis Naeem and Daniel Gardner, two design students from Art Center College of Design, where Robertson has been working as a teacher since 1995.

The vehicles were designed with the videogame industry in mind. They are “pure styling exercises” aimed at expressing fun and “coolness” rather than proposals for the present.

Nevertheless, they don’t look like out-of-the-world creations; quite the opposite, they appear as working engineering creations of a near future.

DRIVE Vehicle RenderingThe book is divided into four chapters: “Aerospace”, “Military”, “Pro Sport” and “Salvage”. Each section includes different types of vehicles: fast cars, off-roaders, some motorcycles and sci-fi heavy-duty transport vehicles.

Given the theme, the vehicles presented have a bold design that make them perfect for videogames but also for sci-fi movies.

DRIVE Design SketchesThe concepts showcase a wide range of styles: from the sleek and hi-tech look of the “Aerospace” section, to the solid, industrial feel of the “Military” vehicles.

The overall sensation is a strong influence of the aircraft and sci-fi worlds, with some references and homages to works of artists like Syd Mead.

In addition to the beautiful images, a great added value of the book is the extensive visual and textual information on the techniques used.

DRIVE Design SketchesFor each vehicle the author provides a general description of the project and an overview of the methods involved in the creation process.

An interesting thing is the useof a combination of different tools and techniques: these include marker and pen sketches, 3D modeling of components – maily done in Modo by Luxology – abstract sketching and digital painting and post-processing in Photoshop.

For some illustrations the vehicle body was hand painted in Photoshop and then combined with 3D renderings of the wheels, which given the complexity of these components helped to save time in the creation workflow.

DRIVE by Scott Robertson - Page 57

For other images a basic 3D model of the vehicle chassis was created and rendered in Modo and then the image was processed in Photoshop using custom brushes.

Another technique that allowed to explore new ideas and create “happy accidents” was the creation of starting images using Alchemy, a free software which offers a set of abstract sketching tools which helped Scott Robertson to create “fresh and innovative shapes” and to “explore innovative ways to reinvent his visualization processes.”

DRIVE by Scott Robertson - Page 77DRIVE is a rich source of inspiration for industrial designers, concept artists and car lovers. The images featured have a “cool” factor that revives our memories as children playing with car and spacecraft toys, and at the same time demonstrate the potential of the modern digital creative technologies.

For more information on DRIVE, a number of previews are available on Scott Robertson’s weblog, while a review of the book is available on Car Design Fetish.

About Scott Robertson

Scott Robertson graduated with honors with a B.S. degree in Transportation Design in April 1990.

He began teaching at Art Center College of Design in 1995, first at Art Center Europe in Vevey, Switzerland, and then in Pasadena, California where he still teaches today.

Some of his clients have included BMW Designworks/USA, Mattel Toys, Scifi Lab, Minority Report feature film, Nike, Universal Studios, Rockstar Games, Sony Online Entertainment and Fiat.

For more information you can visit Scott’s weblog and official website.

in paperback ($34.95) and hardcover ($49.95) editions.in paperback ($34.95) and hardcover ($49.95) editions.

Image Gallery

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Book Review: Drive by Scott Robertson - Image 1
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