20 Jan Driven to Dream: Love of Cars Taken to New Level by Artist Daryl Thompson
“The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach
Talent and ambition meet in the middle of the road with artist Daryl Thompson and his collection of dynamic drawings all based on the love of cars. Thompson is a digital automotive artist and a TikTok sensation who lives and works in Houston, Texas.
At a young age, he had a true fascination for cars and all things related to four wheels. Like many kids, he collected Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars with each birthday and Christmas present leading to expanding his collection. His fascination turned into discovery, which led him to replicating his favorite vehicles with his Technic LEGO set. His love of cars stayed with him through adolescence and would resurface later with his “ah-ha” moment of merging career with creativity.
Originally from Vernon, Connecticut, Thompson first pursued studies in electrical engineering and after a few semesters, he redirected his focus to computer graphics. He earned an associate degree in computer graphics from Hartford Capital Community College.
Thompson’s first job out of school was creating animations for children’s interactive multimedia games and then he became an animator for a plastic technology training company. Later, he moved to Houston and became a graphic designer for the Houston Rockets. This step in his career took him on a new path, moving from basketball games to designing games for casino slot machines with play features.
After working as an animator/graphic designer for 20 years, Thompson decided to take a leap at being an entrepreneur, following the intuition that it was the perfect time to branch off on his own and go for it. Taking his childhood love and combining it with his talent in design, he decided to take his hobby of doing automotive artwork more seriously.
In his previous work with the slot machine company, Thompson was asked to create a car-themed game of his choice. He chose a classic car to be the main star in this new project. In his first attempts, he grappled with the design until he discovered he could refine his drawings with vector artwork in Adobe Illustrator. As his talent has grown, so too has his freehand work using his iPad Pro with Procreate, a digital illustration app.
For many years, he maintained accounts on Facebook and Instagram, but when he opened his TikTok account, his number of followers skyrocketed to almost 90k and counting. As many of his online fans will tell you through their likes and reactions, his work is downright epic!
Today, Thompson is working to grow his online automotive artwork business by exploring all types of car genres. He loves motorsports and as seen on his social media channels, he is obsessed with creating artwork for Indy and F1 racing.
As for his process, Thompson starts by studying a picture, then he draws it by freehand and colors the car lines, one by one, until it’s a work of art. Afterwards, he creates a background that complements the look and the feel of the car perfectly. Because he does it digitally, Thompson can show an audience how he did it in a video start to finish and even create multiple backgrounds after the fact for the customer.
Each of his pieces are customized to the car and no shortcuts are taken. Thompson said each of the pieces takes him from 12-24 hours depending on how intricate the vehicle is. The best part is because they are digital, fans that purchase his artwork can have the image large as they like and print them on photo paper, canvas, or however they would like to display it!
Thompson collaborated with the Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest to illustrate coloring outlines based on past youth winner drawings for the “Activity Book: Coloring & Cars” designed by Melissa Richardson Banks of CauseConnect to help guide kids in creating cars of their own imagination.
Partnering with the Houston Auto Show and Houston Automotive Dealers Association, and in recognition of the Truck of Texas Award presented by the Texas Auto Writers Association , Thompson created a special commemorative artwork of the 2022 Toyota Tundra that was also displayed at the Houston Auto Show at NRG Center, January 26-30, 2022. Attendees were invited to come to the show to see his artwork and to pick up a special coloring page featuring the 2022 Toyota Tundra drawn by Thompson, which was given away for free to families so they could design their own drive to dream!
The Toyota Dream Car USA Art Contest is held annually and artwork submissions created by youth, ages 4-15, are accepted online or by mail each year, typically October 1 through January 31. Get details about the current year’s contest and download the coloring book (and a teacher lesson plan and a set of family activities) at www.toyotadreamcarusa.com.
Houston Automotive Dealers Association