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‘David Kimble’s Cutaways’ Book Review: A Legacy of Stunning Automotive Artwork

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David Kimble's Cutaways book review CarTech cover

4 out of 5 stars rating



Cutaway illustrations have been an essential, overlooked part of the automotive industry for decades–way before digital computer rendering was common. The art form garners appreciation for vehicle design by emphasizing the smallest parts and overall construction simultaneously. From measuring to airbrushing, it’s a marriage of art and math.

David Kimble’s Cutaways takes readers through the legacy of the artform’s master, with hundreds of cross-section illustrations of American, Italian, Japanese, and German cars. Written by Kimble himself, the book from publisher CarTech is an exclusive look into the artist’s 50 years of work, with the first time some of his illustrations have been shared in print.

David Kimble’s Cutaways: Techniques and Stories Behind the Art
Text and Art by David Kimble

Product Details: Hardcover, 192 pages, 11 x 8.5 inches
Price: $39.95
Publication Date: September 2015
ISBN: 978-1-613251737
Publisher: CarTech Inc.
Website: http://www.cartechbooks.com/

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David Kimble's Cutaways book review CarTech author


For half a century, David Kimble has been creating highly-detailed cutaway artwork for automotive companies, magazines, books, and many other sources. From mechanical components to overall body designs, his illustrations have captured the finest aspects of every car, motorcycle, and race car imaginable.

Kimble has worked with publisher CarTech to release an exclusive compendium that features over 200 of his illustrations accompanied by his own words. Each drawing comes with insight into its history, creation, and techniques. In addition to his automotive work, Kimble also includes some fun pop culture cutaways, like a cruise ship and the USS Enterprise.

The eight-chapter book covers different aspects of his portfolio, with the first few devoted to his artistic techniques.

Chapter 1: It All Starts With a Drawing
Chapter 2: From Ink to Airbrush
Chapter 3: Highlights and Reflections
Chapter 4: Engines and Transmissions
Chapter 5: Cars from the Golden Age of Classics
Chapter 6: Travelling the World to Illustrate Cutaways
Chapter 7: The Corvette Years
Chapter 8: But Wait, There’s More

David Kimble's Cutaways book review CarTech pages

Product Quality

David Kimble’s artwork is gathered in a hardback book of sturdy binding and thick pages that show off all the vivid colors and minute details of each illustration. The dust jacket design is duplicated on the cover itself; I especially like the orange/blue color scheme it uses. I’ve been carrying the book around for a week and it’s shown no signs of wear.

The book’s rectangular dimensions maximize the space the cutaways are given on the page while still cramming in plenty of text. It’s smart that not all pages are white; with some colored red, black, or brown, the illustrations are given extra contrast.

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David Kimble's Cutaways book review CarTech engine illustration

Overall Review

Undeniably, Kimble’s cutaways are gorgeous and stunningly crafted. Vividly colored and meticulously rendered, Kimble elevates cutaway sketching to a form of contemporary art. Even each steel pipe and gasket is given a lifelike sheen. No matter what subject the man draws, his virtuosity in envisioning and executing cutaways always comes through.

David Kimble's Cutaways book review CarTech art designWith the book’s text written by Kimble himself, he’s obviously the insightful expert on his work, even if he does talk his work up. It’s fascinating learning about the techniques behind the art, such as how the body is drawn to appear transparent and given a reflective sheen. He details each layer, frequently using trade jargon (both automotive and artistic) that may fly over casual readers’ heads.

For as insightful as all this is, the text overwhelms each page, encroaching on the space around each illustration. As an art book, it would be more satisfying if the illustrations were given room to breathe, as the best pages are the ones with illustrations not crowded by text. Thus, the book could’ve used some editing to reduce the amount of text; for instance, the body text is repeated in the captions verbatim, taking up even more of each page.

If you’re a fan of automotive art, this is a must-own, regardless of minor issues with the layout of the pages. If you don’t know anything about cutaways or don’t already have a appreciation for this intricate form of art, you will after even briefly glancing through David Kimble’s Cutaways.

David Kimble’s Cutaways is available through the publisher’s websiteAmazonBarnes and Noble, Abe Books, and other retailers.

Product provided for review by publisher.

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  • Aaron WidmarSenior Editor

    Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.