Hand-drawn inspiration comes in all forms, including necessity!

Hailing from Rockville, Maryland, Chris worked as an automotive painter who specialized in hand-drawn custom and high-end restoration work on classic and exotic vehicles. Such is the case with Chris Dunlop, a.k.a. Pinstripe Chris.

During these early days, he gained much hands-on experience and education in automobile form, lighting and colorwork.

As time passed, Chris experimented with airbrushing, pinstriping and Sharpie art. After living a double life as a full-time artist and full-time car painter, Chris and his wife, Caitlin, decided to open their own paint and body shop.

It was then that necessity became Chris’ hand-drawn artistic inspiration.

As a way to illustrate paint schemes and build ideas with his ever-growing client base, Chris began drawing cars more and more. His experience as an automotive painter and illustrator dovetailed like the lines on a ’69 Mustang. Chris is not a classically trained artist, but he learned by doing, by trial and error, and by countless hours of practice. He also looks to automotive artists like Chip Foose and Steve Stanford for their expertise.

Eventually, Chris and Caitlin decided it was time to get serious about his craft. The custom car industry mecca—Southern California—was calling, and so they sold everything they had and moved across the country to Huntington Beach. Days after their arrival, Chris landed a job as an apprentice at a local hotrod shop, and Caitlin found a job at the Happiest Place on Earth.

While working, Chris spent his evenings drawing and freelance pinstriping at other shops. After a year and a half of building a West Coast client base, he decided to break out as a full-time automotive artist.

He has been creating automotive designs and renderings full time since then, though he still squeezes in some airbrushing, pinstriping and Sharpie vehicles for fun.

Chris’ preferred mediums are markers and airbrushed paint on illustration paper; he also produces digital renderings. In the following pages, we’ll show you some of his favorite Ford drawings, along with his artist’s notes.

Black Green 64 F-100

Medium: Hand drawn digital (drawing tablet)

PINSTRIPE on a '64 F-100 “This particular rendering was done for a home builder who contacted me through Instagram about his ’64 F-100. The two-tone black and green are a satin finish as is the black trim details—the two-tone being split up by a copper stripe similar to the copper used on the intakes that protrude from the hood and in the wheel spokes.”

Blue ’64 with ’56 Grille

Medium: Hand drawn traditional (ink/marker/airbrush on paper)

pinstripe blue custom drawing“This is an older concept, but I was playing with the idea of using a ’56 F-100 style grille fitted to a later ’64 F-100. Renderings and concept don’t always have to be over the top to show off an idea, but a good idea can really draw you in.”

Blue F-100 Kustom

Medium: Hand-drawn traditional (ink/marker/airbrush on paper)

“When I think about a ‘Kustom’ as opposed to a ‘Custom,’ I tend to think of a certain element of ’50s hot-rodding—the pale pearly colors, the thinner bumperettes, unusual headlight layouts and drawer knob-style grilles. When builders are making these, they just let their creativity fly and fit parts from other vehicles to make something very unique.”

Deep Red ’61 Ford

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

Deep Red ’61 Ford “I did this concept for a shop I have enjoyed working with for many years: Premier Street Rods. They took on this custom ’61 Unibody build that had already started but wanted to see a clearer direction of where it would end up with a few finishing body touches and a few color/wheel options. It’s super clean, but the details give it just the right amount of attention.”

Blue Ford F-100

Medium: Hand drawn

Hand drawn Blue Ford F-100 “In this concept, I was playing with the idea of more of a dragster/street machine style build. Nothing over the top—clean fit and finish, bigger wheels and tires, intake protruding from the hood and bit of chassis stiffening. It’s the simplicity of something like this that would make it somewhat unexpecting but with little visual hints of what it could be.”

Red ’57 Two-Tone F-100

Medium: Hand-drawn traditional (ink/marker/airbrush on paper)

“I did this drawing as a demo piece for social media a while back—sometimes just seeing the process of how these pieces come together is fun all by itself. In the details, I really cleaned up the front end and rear bumper quite a bit and went with a classic two-tone paint scheme sitting low over off white steel wheels with polished beauty rings.”

F-100 Panel Truck in Metal

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

“I’ve always liked these panel trucks, but they are a bit heavy looking. So, by sectioning, chopping and moving a few bits, we can still keep the essence while trimming a ton of fat. A sliding ragtop adds a little open-air detail to an otherwise closed look. The raked body lines give a feeling of direction and motion with the vehicle actually sitting flat.”

F-100 Unibody in Metal

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

F-100 Unibody in Metal hand drawn“The beauty of working in a more updated medium by way of using a drawing tablet is that we can test-drive variations of ideas much more efficiently. In this case, take the same panel truck from above (F-100 Panel Truck in Metal), completely shave the roof section to make a ‘cab’ area, and now we have a Unibody look. Both start from the same design work, but each has a completely different feel visually.”

Ferrari-Inspired ’56 F-100

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

’56 F-100 hand drawing“This was a pretty long-term concept piece for another shop I love working with: Fat Fender Garage. The idea was to bring some Ferrari influence to a ’56 F-100 without overdoing it. A lot of ideas were tweaked, adjusted or erased altogether. Until we came up with a balanced set of ideas that still felt loyal to the F-100 while accentuating it. A lot of time and back-and-forth with a builder goes into something like this, so communication is key.”

Red ’57 F-100, V2

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

“While it might seem like a rehash of the Red ’57 Two-Tone F-100 (similar paint combo and year, at least), this is another case for switching over to digital to finish and idea and how much more refined you can make a concept. This is another build piece for Fat Fender Garage—nothing over the top visually.

Silver ’51 Ford

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

Hand-drawn silver '51 Ford“Yet another for Fat Fender Garage—can you tell they specialize in Ford trucks? This was another one that was more simplistic. Really just aimed to show the color combo with the wheels and stance. In reality, those are the main things that I would focus on first. Especially if there aren’t many crazy body modifications. If we’re doing a clean restoration, then we better be pretty good about the color/wheel/stance.”

Green ’67 F-100 Hand- Drawn

Medium: Hand-drawn digital (drawing tablet)

“This is another build concept for Fat Fender Garage, this time pulling some cues from the Bullitt Mustang into a ’67 F-100. Again, the idea is to add carefully without subtracting the essence of the base truck. Of course, we want it to feel like more than what it started out. The modifications serve as the details in telling a more in-depth story. So that everything looks like it should be. There and not just stuck on, which sometimes is a process in itself.”

Black Ford F-100

Medium: Hand-drawn traditional (ink/marker/airbrush on paper)

Hand-drawn black F100“This one goes way, way back and is an example of how I used to do more of the traditional renderings. F-100s are a pretty timeless, classic truck, so it really doesn’t take much to clean them up. Clean up the front end/roll pan, properly fit some wheels in the fenders. Really do a spot-on job with the fit and finish, and you have a very classic custom truck.”

Red F-100 WIP

Medium: Hand-drawn traditional (ink/marker/airbrush on paper)

“Here’s another hand-drawn example of a fun, the basic concept made pretty much for social media.

The major adjustment I was playing with here was the extra-wide fenders to fit larger, wider wheels. I started to wonder how much would be too much, which led me to do the drawing. Otherwise, it can get out of proportion pretty quick. Leave out the bumpers and throw in a custom one-off wheel for good measure.”