Automotive Designer Dillon Blanski's work can actually be seen (and driven!) on roads all over the world - a highly coveted achievement for any Automotive Designer. His award-winning designs, including the 2010 + 2013 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKC Concept and 2015 Lincoln MKC have helped cement Ford+Lincoln as brands with their feet firmly planted in the future.
We caught up with Dillon to chat about what he's been up to, his current successes and how he got there. For any aspiring Automotive Designer - listen well - Dillon is living the dream.
Dillon, where are you from and where did you attend school?
I spent most of childhood in Claremore, OK. After high school I went to Rogers State University for a year and then transferred to the College for Creative Studies where I got a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Industrial Design.
At what point did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career in Product Design?
I've always had an interest for cars and I think I've always known that I wanted to be a designer of some kind. As a kid I spent a lot of time with my dad restoring old cars and taking them to car shows so I had a lot of exposure to the classics. When I got a little older and started buying Motor Trend magazines, I always loved looking at the art work of what they thought the new cars would look like. My mom was an art teacher so she would always encourage me to draw my own cars too. Visiting CCS when I was in high school and seeing the clay models and sketches on the walls just made it even more clear that I wanted to be an Automotive Designer.
How long have you been working in the industry and what is your current gig?
I've been in the industry for 7 years now and currently work in Dearborn, MI for Ford Motor Co. in the Lincoln design studio. Some of the cars that I've been a part of and designed while at Ford have been the 2010 Ford Fusion, 2013 Ford Fusion, the Lincoln MKC Concept and the 2015 Lincoln MKC.
What are you favorite drawing tools, both analog and digital?
My favorite drawing tools are the basics. I almost always carry a moleskin sketch book and a black ball point pen with me in case something inspires me. At work I typically sketch on paper, scan it and render it in Photoshop using a Cintiq 24HD. I also like to build quick models in Alias and render them in Bunkspeed Drive.
What were some of the biggest challenges in getting to where you are in your career?
One of the biggest challenges I've faced in my career so far has been the ability to design something new that hasn't been seen before, and it can be difficult sometimes when it seems like everything has already been done. But there are always new ways of looking at objects for inspiration or new technology that's out there that can change the way we design.
Were there other career choices or have you always been dead set on this career path?
Automotive design was always my first choice, but if that hadn't happened I really enjoy product design, graphics and photography. I know that I still would be doing something creative; it's just in my nature.
Favorite resources? Blogs, books, websites, etc.
There are so many really cool resources out there now for designers to be inspired by it's hard to name just a few. Some of my favorites and the ones that I visit most frequently are: anything by Daniel Simon, Goodbrush.com, rhubarbes.tumblr.com, petrolicious.com
How do you stay inspired?
Some times it can be difficult to stay inspired and I get those designers block now an then. I think the key for me to staying inspired is to not burn myself out and thinking about designing cars 24/7, so I like to just step away from a project for a little while and do something else whether it's just free sketching, riding my bike or just spending time with my family.
Any advice for anyone just starting out on how to break into the industry?
The best advise that I could give to someone who is just starting out in the industry is to be always stay humble and learn from everyone and everything.
Huge thanks to Dillon Blanski for chatting with us and sharing his experience in another IDRAW Feature. Follow him here to keep up with his creative pursuits:
P.S. - Make sure to follow along as Dillon takes over the IDRAW Instagram for the week!
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