Classic Automobiles

Classic car illustration closeup by Brad Fraunfelter

Metallic surfaces and highlights

This type of illustration can be used to promote auto body work, polishes, painting services and vehicle-related products. The image was inspired by a close-up photograph I took of a vehicle at a vintage auto show in California.  The vehicle had been converted from an old farmer’s truck to a curvaceous, classic automobile and I was attracted by the reflections and sparkle of the glossy polished metal flake finish.

Using the photograph as reference I repainted the image in Photoshop. I wanted to show off the sparkle of the paint job, so I painted in the flare streaks to each point where there was bright reflection on the surface of the car.  I wanted to show the iridescence of the particles in the paint itself, so I zoomed into the image, and added “Noise” by use of the “Noise filter” and then increased the saturation of the noise “grains”.

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Brad Fraunfelter's exquisite illustration of a blue Cobra classic sports car

Blue Cobra Sports Car

This piece inspired from a photo I shot of a Classic car at a Glendale, California auto show.  I loved the look of the reflections on the chrome surfaces so I decided to enhance the slick look of the vehicle. The cars were parked on a grassy lawn, so I replaced the lawn with a stock image of the gray slate background.  The shadows were then painted in along with the light flares to give the auto it’s extra “sparkle”.  The original photograph had a problem: The hood of the vehicle was raised, leaving a gaping hole to show the engine — which I did not find particularly attractive. I wanted to show the beauty of the car’s polished surface, so I repainted the hood in the closed position.

Digital illustration of a 1960 Mustang "On the Open Road" by Brad Fraunfelter

On the Open Road — 1965 Mustang

One day while photographing cars at our local Auto Show I spotted a classic 1965 Mustang.  It was a crystal blue color and had a license plate showing a rearing horse with a blue bolt of lightning flashing behind it and silhouetting the horse.  The image on the license plate gave me an idea of doing a painting of this car speeding down a desert highway at dusk with its lights gleaming and a flash of lightning in the distance.

The landscape was first painted in in crisp detail – without distance blur. Then I did multiple sweeps of the foreground using the Motion blur filter… The Motion Blur filter works by blurring all items that have been selected in the same direction.  Since I was working the scene from left to right I needed to change the angle of blur with every sweep of the filter so that the blur followed with the perspective of the scene.

Using the Photoshop selection tools I selected the headlights of the car and turned up the brightness and contrast, which instantly had the effect of “turning on” the headlights.  I wanted to give the scene some atmospheric mood so I added rain to illuminate the beams of the headlights.  The rain was painted in by stroking dozens and dozens of straight lines, fading out the edges, and then using the Dodging Tool to brighten the areas in front of the headlights.