Cutaways. We've always loved them, but never understood how they're made or what incredibly anal person created them. Here's the answer: Yoshihiro Inomoto, and he's been mastering these cartistic marvels for 40 years.
Here at Jalopnik, we're fans of all things strange, disturbing and intriguing. Technical illustrations, or cutaways, have long been something that have absolutely stumped us. What incredibly anal person could sit there and actually create one of things? What methods do they use? How come it looks so damn awesome and makes me feel so damn stupid? Continue on to see and learn what it takes to be a true master at the craft of technical cutaway illustrations.
Born in the Kumamoto Prefecture of Japan on April 29th, 1932, Yoshiro Inomoto was destined to create at a very young age. He gained an appreciation for the styling of all types of transportation and was inspired by illustrators such as Herbert Schlenzig, Peter Helck, Walter Gotschke and Max Miller. His interest in automotive illustration and mechanical engineering caused him to leave school during his third year of junior high, feeling as if he was being held back in his teachings. He began to teach himself how to draw and continued his eduction his way; by taking courses in illustration and design.
With very little formal training and work experience, Inomoto began his professional career in 1952 at Toyo Kogyo Co. Ltd, which later became Mazda, working in the styling studios. He moved to Nissan's advertising group in 1957, while making illustration contributions to Automobile Quarterly as a side job. He hit a pivotal point in 1976 when he finally left Nissan to pursue a career in freelance illustration. The results of his newly found career, below.
(images taken down at request of kh. You can see his path of destructionHERE)
Now that you've fully immersed yourself in the above gallery of illustrations, we'll talk about how Inomoto creates these amazing pieces of automotive art. He first starts out by creating a very loose freehand sketch of the car's exterior, tightening it up as he progresses through the sketch. In order to understand the construction and layout of the subject, he'll draw out a set of plans to determine the correct sizes and positions of each and every component.
Inomoto has been hired numerous times by Formula One teams to create a technical illustration, but due to the extreme secrecy of the inner workings of the race car, he sometimes has to make up the inner components of the engine, chassis and suspension systems. Based on his vast knowledge, he's able to recreate these components and implement them in a realistic fashion.
Inomoto prides himself on creating the illustrations using only freehand sketches and in turn creates an impression of what the subject looks like rather than creating an exact replica. He's also been known to take certain liberties with the creation of his cutaways:
"If I feel the car is powerful, the engine may be a little larger than reality, or if the brakes are very good, I will draw them a fraction bigger or exaggerate their appearance. Consequently, my drawings always contain the feeling I have for the car"
As we mentioned earlier, all of Inomoto's illustrations start with very rough freehand studies of the vehicle's body, chassis, suspension and interior and are tightened up as he progresses. When he's reached a point where he feels every component is in its exact position he'll re-sketch each and every line into a final construction drawing on paper. He then mounts this final sketch onto an illustration board to ready it for painting.
Inomoto's been doing technical illustrations for more than 40 years, which means he hasn't always had the use of modern equipment like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. Instead, he relies solely on his paintbrush and acrylic paints to realistically paint all of the vehicle's components including the fine gradients needed to represent the exterior sheet metal.
He has now spent some time to learn the modern tools of digital illustration, but still prefers to work with the basic tools he'd learned to use so many years ago. Yoshihiro Inomoto is a true master of his craft and has inspired the popular modern technical artists such as David Kimble and Tony Matthews. While many manufacturers use computer 3D models to cut away at a vehicle, they'll never touch the magic that Inomoto has embraced with his technical illustrations.
(all images © Yoshihiro Inomoto)