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Jim Hatch :: Technical Illustration

By June 10, 2013Interviews

Since graduating from Otis/Parsons back in 1991, Jim Hatch has built an extensive and impressive client list that includes ICON Motosports, Volkswagen, Tourmaster, Buell, Honda, Dunlop, Nissan, Lexus, Specialized, and Giant Bicycles.

ICON Overlord

“My first job was working for technical illustrator Kevin Hulsey where I learned a great deal. I was then asked to help design and build the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. That was an amazing experience seeing it come to life and meeting nearly everyone in the car world in the process. I left the museum to live and work in Santa Barbara, California and built a studio/garage to work and tinker with my motorcycles.”
– jim hatch


Read the full interview with Jim Hatch after the jump below…



What’s your daily routine like?
My schedule is primarily dictated by my deadlines and what is due next. I make a big pot of coffee and head out to the studio to see what the day will bring as I fire up the Mac.

As you mentioned, you apprenticed under Kevin Hulsey. Can you tell us about this apprenticeship?
I feel very fortunate I was able to meet and work for Kevin. He was very kind, patient and an absolute master. Although I was only at his studio for a year it felt more like 5. This was the hey day of the glossy car brochure and large art budgets. At the time all the art was still done by hand and I would ink most of the art on Crescent cold press illustration board with a Koh-i-Noor Rapidograph and Kevin would airbrush everything. It was amazing watching Kevin work with a huge bank of Iwata airbrushes lined up. I started while still in college with very minimal inking skills and left an inking machine – it was the best learning experience of my life and I am proud to say Kevin is still a dear friend.

ICON Airmada side

ICON Airmada

Regarding your stint at the Petersen Automotive Museum, what car left the biggest impression on you?
One of the more interesting cars and experiences was the Cizeta-Moroder V16T original prototype we picked up from the house of composer Giorgio Moroder in the Hollywood Hills. I have a weakness for an Italian V-16 and Marcello Gandini design. With that said every day and event was like a history book come to life working at the Museum, it was a magical time.

ICON Variant
Buell Chassis 1000

Tell us about your cars and motos…
I currently have a 4×4 truck and 5 motorcycles and each has great meaning to me. I still have my first street bike I got in college a ’84 Honda Nighthawk 700S. Jhatch_DucatiSSI then got a ’96 Ducati 900SP while I worked at the Petersen Museum and still have a blast every time I ride it. I then got back into my first passion of dirt bikes with a ’00 Yamaha WR 400 and had the best times riding all over CA with friends. Next was the ’07 Honda VFR 800 Anniversary Edition and this is my go to comfortable long-range gentleman’s sport bike. Last year I got the ’13 KTM EXC 500 so I could join in more dirt rides that require a license plate.

What’s your creative process?
I work almost primarily in .PS on a Mac tower with a 30″ monitor using a Wacom Intuos Tablet to draw. I generally sketch first over whatever reference I compiled then submit a line drawing for approval. I create most of my line work in .PS drawing in paths and will on occasion bring them over to .AI for more precise line control. From there I will go to color and tend to keep as much as possible on layers for changes and presenting the client more options for the final art use.

Biggest challenge in creating cut-aways?
I think the biggest challenge is probably reference and understanding what is to be shown. For example the ICON folks are great and will generally send me an actual product that I can cut up and shoot myself.

Specialized saddle
CW Gilera

Seriously, they let you cut up a helmet or vest?
Yes I have cut up many a product! I have a cabinet in my office with dismembered samples just in case I need to go back.

What’s the most complex cut-away you’ve ever done?
I would say the Nissan GTP Ghost view I did since I did it by hand in ink and really took my time. That was a car on display at the museum and I would stay late after work to shoot pics of it and take it apart when no one was looking!
Nissan GTP

Car or motorcycle that you most would like to do a cut-away of?
I would love to do a cutaway of the Britten Motorcycle. John Britten was a genius and we lost him too soon. On the car front a friend of mine, Phil Reilly who runs a renowned restoration shop and is a principle in the Historic Grand Prix Association owns a 1974 Brabham BT-44 F1 race car. We have discussed me doing an art piece of that car that was designed by Gordon Murray who I consider an absolute master. So I need to arrange that project soon.

Best piece of advice you ever received about your craft?
I think Kevin once told me to put time and care into everything you do as you are depicting a product that was meticulously designed by a company and its designers so you need to do it justice.

Artists that have influenced you the most?
I have a wide range of artists I admire from early on I loved J. C. Lyendecker and Norman Rockwell to the cutaway artists: Kevin Hulsey, David Kimble and my favorite Tony Matthews. I also admire the more painterly car artists like Hector Luis Bergandi.

Buell Ergo
Cars of Historic Grand Prix

Your favorite place to visit for creative inspiration?
I have to say I am most inspired and in the zone when I am riding my motorcycles or hiking up the mountains here in Santa Barbara.

What are you working on now and what are your upcoming plans?
I am working on several projects related to riding gear and accessories for a variety of sports. I will post my new art as soon as I can and hope to continue helping out my many great clients when I am not riding.

+ Source: Jim Hatch :: Technical Illustration