Automotive Design Course – Everything You Want to Know About the Tailored Course Program

For many aspiring car designers and their parents, finding an automotive design course outside the normal college or university structure can be quite difficult. The same can be true for anyone looking to change careers or just explore if they have what it takes to become a professional car designer.

With this in mind, we created the “Tailored Course” program. It is not a replacement for a 4 year accredited degree program at a top design school It is designed to be an excellent way to prepare for and gain admission to such a program. To get into a top design college or university, you’re going to need an excellent portfolio. One that skillfully showcases all of your abilities and talents. A masterful way to set yourself apart from the other applicants is to have a complete transportation design project as the cornerstone of your portfolio. Very few applicants will have such a project to show the college admissions directors. By completing this automotive design course you will. Preparing such a project on your own for your design portfolio can be extremely difficult. For starters, do you know what elements such a project should contain?

The Tailored Course program is designed to provide the aspiring car designer with such a project for their portfolio, setting themselves apart from the thousands of other applicants. The format is based on the same semester and class structure that is taught at the top design colleges and universities around the world. Moreover, many professional automotive design studios at major manufacturers use the same format to create and complete their design programs.

Does it work?

The Denning Competition is one of the toughest automotive design competitions for high school aged students in the United States. Of the hundreds of entries submitted each Spring, 5 winners are chosen. 3 of the five winners this year studied with me and took this course. Another recent graduate was admitted to and received a scholarship to attend the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit. He turned down the admission and the scholarship. Why? Because he was also accepted to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. Art Center along with CSS are arguably the top 2 automotive design schools in the world. Wouldn’t you love to be in a position to turn down a scholarship to one of the world’s top automotive design schools so you can attend another?

These are the results this course is achieving.

A Transportation Design Course That Starts With You

One of the major differences between our transportation design course and the one size fits all programs available on-line is that our program is tailored or customized to maximize your individual growth. Before we begin the first class, an extensive review of your work to date is done. This is combined with a discussion of your short and long term goals. An assessment is made on your current development level. Your strengths and weaknesses are analyzed and a path to reaching your goals is crafted. The idea is to insure you get the maximum  out of the course.

All this information is distilled down. Then a custom, tailored transportation design course is created exclusively for you.

Here are some examples.

A student came to us who had spent most of his time drawing cars that already existed. His goal was to become a car designer and was unsuccessfully trying to prepare a transportation design portfolio for a top design school. The student could draw pretty well but lacked the understanding of where car designers drew their inspiration from. He needed to stop copying and start creating the new designs the world had yet to see. A 12 week course was created exclusively for him. The course focused on how to get inspired to create new forms, how to think about the vehicles of the future, how to package and proportion them and how to represent his new designs in a way he had never done before. When completed, he had taken his talent and his portfolio to a whole new level, now confident about applying to the best schools.

Another student came to us wanting to apply to a world class masters transportation program at a top design college. Up until now he had a scattered collection of car drawings and some digital renderings. His drawing skills were good but lacked the emotion found in car design drawings. Since he was on a deadline, an 8 week course was created exclusively for him that allowed him to work on a single design from start to finish encompassing all the elements of a design program. One key component of the course was a focus on learning to draw using the car designer technique. When completed, he had a near professional project that was the center piece of his portfolio. His drawing had improved immensely and he was ready to start his master program.

Student car sketch done as part of the automotive design course

Student’s first marker sketch done as part of the Tailored Course program

Car deisgn sketch done by tutor

Sketch done live during class by the teacher (then sent to the student) Each step to achieve this look is shown and explained.

Student sketch - autmotive deisgn course

Student work a week later. Massive overall improvement in drawing ability and quality of design

How Does This Car Design Course Work?

Each course is designed to maximize the students current abilities, improve weaknesses and have a complete project from start to finish that showcases their overall talent. The subject matter for each course is different. One student’s designs were very cartoon-like and animated, lacking maturity and sophistication. For his course he was tasked with designing a Rolls Royce for 2040.


Rolls Royce is one of the world’s oldest car brands. They have a huge history to draw from. Moreover, the design language of the marque is one of elegance and sophistication. A little goes a long way when designing a Rolls Royce. This subject allowed the student to both dream into the future and work on evolving his visual design vocabulary. The progress between the second and third class was so great the student didn’t recognize his drawings from a week before. He couldn’t believe they were done by the same person a week apart. This is the kind of exponential improvement and growth is common with our students.

Understanding the Elements

Once the course is designed to maximize your growth, it’s sent to you for you to review. The course work for each week is clearly laid out and each week’s work builds upon the next. For many of our students, many parts of the program are aspects of car design they have never been exposed to before or didn’t know existed. Many high school or grade 8-12 age students have never done an image board or even thought about creating one. Many have never done speed form studies or a final presentation rendering. All of these aspects are core components of our car design course.

Each class runs for 45 minutes held over a meeting software app like Zoom or Facetime. During that time you are receiving one on one attention and feedback from a professional car designer. During the online class, the interim weeks work and progress is discussed. The student’s work is reviewed. Suggestions and direction are given on areas to focus on to create improvement.

In addition, whatever technical skill the student may be lacking is demonstrated live during the class. This is a key aspect of the course. The student learns how car designers create their drawings with all the tips, tricks and inside knowledge, shown step by step. This is an invaluable part of the experience for most students. Moreover, when the class is complete, any demonstration images created during the class are emailed to the student for reference.

Why Study Automotive Design This Way?

Automotive design is one of the single hardest fields to break into. There are many people who want to do it professionally, yet only a handful of positions open up each year at the major manufacturers. With interest in the study of automotive design exploding in countries like India and China, getting a head start on your design education journey is even more important than ever. Your competition is worldwide.

This is where our Tailored Course comes in. How valuable would it be to learn to draw like a car designer years before your peers? How valuable would it be to learn the principals of how light and shadow work? What about how reflections are created and how to integrate these concepts into your drawings as soon as possible? How will knowing these skills many year ahead of your peers help you improve the overall quality of all your creative work? How will having this knowledge help you improve your portfolio? How will having a completed automotive design course project in your portfolio help when you apply to a top design school? The answer to all of these questions is, immeasurably.

More than just preparing for admission to a top design school, our program works to instill a level of confidence and quality of work that will allow the student to apply for scholarships. If granted a scholarship, the potential financial savings for the student and/ or parents over the course of obtaining a 4 year degree can be tens of thousands of US dollars.


You can never go wrong investing in yourself. For parents, the same can be said for investing in your child’s future. Automotive design is a field that pays very well. It can provide an upper middle class and beyond lifestyle to someone in a fully developed country like the United States or the United Kingdom. Financially and creativity, it is a very rewarding career  path. Take it from someone who’s been there. There is no substitute for the happiness you feel when you see your design in the world, on the road. It’s a happiness no one can take away. A small investment now at the beginning of you or your child’s creative journey can pay huge dividends long into the future.

The 8 session course is $720 USD.

The 10 session course is $900 USD.

The 12 session course is $1080 USD.

This covers the allotted number of classes, the initial interview phase, custom course creation, weekly follow up and final presentation class where an outside design professional may be brought in to join me for the review. Each class is paid weekly. There are no upfront costs or contracts to sign.

You may be asking what are the benefits and / or differences in the courses other than the number of classes?

The reason for having courses of different lengths is that each student is at a different point in there design education journey. If you’re a student who knows how to draw using the automotive design technique, we can get started on working on developing your design skills and ideas right away. If you’re someone who is drawing cars with your hand and wrist and drawing cars from your shoulder is brand new, you’re going to need those extra classes to learn the basics.

In addition, having a longer automotive design course schedule also allows for the option of developing a design in 3-D using foam, clay or wire. This is often an overlooked part of the education process (as learning to draw cars is hard enough!) The inclusion of a 3-D model in your portfolio is another way to take your work to the next level. Because this program is tailored to your needs, if you want a 3-D development component included as part of your course, we can make that happen. The expanded 12-week schedule can include that.


There really is nothing else like our Tailored Course for Automotive Design. It combines an award winning transportation, automotive and product designer with a proven methodology that achieves results. It’s cost effective and provides a path for achieving what is for many, the first step in their design career: Acceptance to a world class transportation design program at a top college or university.

Due to my professional design responsibilities, I can only work with so many students at a given time.  Time slots are limited. If you are committed to taking your design work to the next level and have the “gas in your veins” required to do the work, fill out the form below and let’s start the conversation.


“I’m an aerospace engineer with a few years of experience in the automotive industry. I have been looking to greatly improve upon my design skills so I can apply to design school for a MA in automotive design. After looking at Michael’s website on How to Draw Cars and researching him on the internet, I decided to have a go and contact him.

I had some existing drawing skills but needed to take a deeper dive into what is like to design cars for real. Through working on a project with Michael, all the way from the start in conceptualizing packaging to getting into a detailed design, I have had a chance to loosen up on my sketching and deepen my knowledge in different skills related to car design. Beyond drawing, I have been able to better understand reflections, color, shading, interior design, and to think about how to create different areas of a vehicle.

One other thing to highlight is the fact that lessons with Michael are completely personalized, which is a huge benefit since feedback is delivered directly and clearly; beyond explanations, he’s able to sketch live to show how to improve upon the work presented throughout the course. I look forward to continuing to work under Michael’s guidance as, so far, the experience has exceeded my expectations.

– Alejandro AE

Alejandro has been accepted to the Transportation Design Program at Coventry University in Coventry England and is on his way to making his dream come true.

Get Started Now!

• Start improving your automotive design skills now

• Use the form on the right to let us know you’re interested in our

“Tailored Course” Program

• Develop all aspects of your automotive drawing and design skills

• Live, one-on-one personal instruction from a professional automotive designer

• Improve your drawing, design and presentation skills

• Take your portfolio to the next level

• Get on the path to achieving your dreams

• Upon completion you’ll have a talent showcase project for your portfolio

If you have any questions about the Tailored Course program, please email.


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