isn’t always what you see, it is what you know.” My
high school art teacher, Mrs. Olsen, would feed us that line when
we were following a picture too closely and were losing the composition
because of the details. For instance, it may appear that a shadow
is darker, but if you make it that dark, you might lose the balance
in the overall illustration.
artists don’t need to be taught such things, they just know.
If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t finished. Sometimes
an illustration is never really finished, at least in the mind
of the artist. But when a client is paying for a piece of art,
it better darn well get to the point of “finished”.
There is a fine line between production and creation. And Keith
Kaucher knows that line.
Kaucher is a technically accurate Designer. With a background
in industrial design, for Keith, there are certain things that
are important to completing an illustration. It has to be right.
The proportions, the angles, the shadows, the forms. It is one
thing to design a car that looks awesome. It is quite another
to create a car that will fit actual human beings within its proportions,
or moreover can even be built as it’s draw on paper.
graciously agreed to an interview with Mustang Evolution, to get
some insight into the Designer, the Artist, the Inventor, the
Innovator, and also a true Mustang enthusiast. Keith used to drive
around in a 1966 Mustang Shelby GT-H tribute car. A real nasty
beast – Black Nasty, by name.
a chair and enjoy the ride as we get to know Keith Kaucher a little
Evolution): So where are you located?
Keith Kaucher of Kaucher Kustoms, is located in down town Santa
Monica. The address is 1238 7th St. Santa Monica, CA 90401
address and links?
long have you been illustrating cars / Mustangs?
Professionally, since 1994. But I’ve been drawing cars since
I was five years old. When I turned 13, I decided that art was
what I wanted to do for a living. So I started by drawing my model
cars that I was building first. Then trying to build them as accurately
as I could to my drawings. I think this is why I’m so obsessed
with proper proportions when I draw, and keeping things in scale.
you specialize in any specific range of years for Mustangs?
First generation, mostly. But I do late model stuff. I’ve
designed body kits in the past for Ground Design 2000, and a SEMA
proposal for the late Joe Gozinski of Chicane Motorsports. And
long before that, for MPH Mustangs.
you work specifically on paper? Metal (painting on cars)? Digital?
I do both digital and on paper. I have been drawing in marker
for years. But in 2005, I started transitioning into digital using
Photoshop as my main tool to draw with, and now I’m learning
sets your artwork apart from others’?
Well, I’m more of a designer then an artist. There are automotive
artist out there that kick my ass when it comes to drawing, but
I am a custom car designer. I think that I have some innovative
ideas when it comes to restyling a car. The other is that I live
and die by getting proper proportions. I also test my designs
out in scale using scale model cars if I don’t have access
to the actual car. As long as the scale is the same between the
model and the parts I’m testing, it will be very close.
I do this so I’m not selling my clients a false idea of
what the car will look like.
I am also
an industrial designer by trade. So when I design, I’m thinking
about how all of this is going to go together. I am not just drawing
something that will be impossible to build. I don’t want
the builder or, most of all, the client mad at me because none
of it scales out. I’ve been told by several of the builders
I work with that my drawings scale out within 1/8 of an inch.
I can also provide scale elevations on a grid to get true measurements
test my designs on scale models when there’s questions –
to double check my concepts before they go to the builder. And
if needed, I can provide scale elevations on a grid to get true
methods/media do you use to create your illustrations?
Well, these days, it is Photoshop and high quality photo paper.
My prints are 12” x 18”. It used to be markers and
mixed media on 70# bond marker paper.
kind of turnaround time can you usually produce something in?
One to four weeks on average. I’m usually waiting for approvals
from my clients
or who inspires you and your art?
I’ve always considered Steve Standford my mentor. His artwork
is beyond reproach. Before I met him in person, I used to clip
out his artwork from magazines and clip it up on a board in front
of my drawing table while I was rendering a similar car to see
how he shaded his cars. Later, we met and he shared so much information
with me that my art got better after just that one meeting.
big would you like your name to be in the art community?
I’d like to be in the top three someday. I have no idea
where I am now. I just keep pushing to get there.
you have your work available as prints? T-Shirts?
Yes, just go to the store on my website – www.kaucherkustoms.com
– I have prints and T- shirts. I
have a new t-shirt but my old silk screener quit the business
and I need a new guy to do these for me and I’ve honestly
been too busy to follow up with it.
busy is usually a good thing, right? What wins / trophies / accolades
/ celebrity clients / high profile users / magazine articles have
your artwork garnered?
ME: What future projects do you have planned or ongoing that you
can share with us?
Personally I’ve just finished the design, and I am now in
the process of building Black Nasty II – a ’67 Pro
Touring Mustang Fastback. Let’s just say, for now, that
she’s going to be Blacker and Nastier.
I’m bringing out a line of 1/25th scale Resin car models
based off my most popular designs under the brand name KMT. I’m
designing steering wheels for Grants Products. I’m working
on a custom direct replacement dash gauges and panels for ’67-’68
Mustangs, some custom direct replacement taillights for ’05-’09
Mustangs, and there is a deal cooking on a Kaucher Kustoms Signature
line of Hot Rod and Muscle Car wheels.
there any artists that you would like to work with?
I would say (car designer), longtime friend, and fellow Santa
Monica High School Graduate, Raffi Minasian. Growing up in the
same town, he and I have history and a lot of ideas with common
ground that I know we could design an awesome car putting our
ideas together. Plus we’re both Mustang enthusiasts. In
fact, he owned a very sharp ’70 Boss 302 when I first met
him 20 years ago.
information? E-mail addresses? Phone numbers? Whatever you feel
comfortable sharing in the article.
My direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org,
the office number is (310) 656-9993
you so very much, Keith, for taking the time to share your story
and your art with Mustang Evolution. You have so far had a wonderful
run of successes and very impressive accomplishments.
readers, please take some time and view Keith’s illustrations
and projects in our gallery. If you have a project car, like the
V8 Interceptor for Stacey David from Gearz, or James Hetfield’s
’56 Ford Pickup. Putting it all down accurately on paper
first not only gets a great sense of the finished product., but
it is a great tool for your builder to help eliminate costly rework,
and is useful in acquiring sponsorship from product manufactures
for your build.
design will be a great motivation to complete the project. If
you’re building a professional show car, you’ll need
it for your build book for the judges. Not to mention, just having
the rendering makes a great memory to hang in your man-cave, at
the very least.
more of Steven Valline's articles at www.mustangevolution.com.
Ford Mustang revealed at L.A.'s Belasco Theater
CREDIT: KAUCHER KUSTOMS
Torino GT design by Kaucher Kustoms
CREDIT: KAUCHER KUSTOMS
Comet A/FX Dominator design by Kaucher Kustoms