Harry Bradley designer and teacher at Art Center Pasadena

Harry Bradley's sketches for Cadillac Allanté interpretation
Harry Bradley's sketches for Cadillac Allanté interpretation | Source
Mercury 69
Mercury 69 | Source

Harry Bradley has been my teacher at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena (here one of his famous drawings) and I decided to tell you about him a bit because he has been for me probably the best teacher I ever had.
Since I often write about drawings, perspective, shading, creativity, skills... I think I have to tell you about Harry.
First of all he was kind of crazy guy with a good humor, but most important he really knew how to teach drawing cars. He would sketch with and for us wih his dark and light graphite old pencils (the yeallow ones remember?), he would take a white paper and start sketching in perfect perspective up side down! Got the point?

Camaro pencil sketch
Camaro pencil sketch | Source

He would be looking at your face while sketching explaining why he would do what he was doing, he would do this without turning the page (up side down) and , in the same position, he would start applying shadows changing pencils using his fingers to create better shading, using an eraser to make highlights spots.
At the end of his demo tutorial he would finish it with some linework cleaning up.
Simply great memories full of passion and devotion!
I remember also when he would get mad (at me for example) just because my drawing had some wrincled corner and for this I would not get my so waited critic.

Beatnik Bandit pencil sketch
Beatnik Bandit pencil sketch | Source

Discipline in sketching a car (linework, perspective, focal point, shading, composition on page) and discipline as student (just like in the real world) be on time, perfect work, nothing missing better if with some extra quality work (basically better 35 perspective sketches then the 30 requested).

During his lessons he made me feel like a designer at work, this is the magic about my friend Harry. He made us work like hell without feeling the heavy times, I had a sort of studio chief in front of me and not just my academic teacher.

Great times! I hope you can have the same chance I had.

Car Design Education Tips

© 2010 Luciano Bove

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Comments 9 comments

Szekely Daniel 5 years ago

very nice story......impressive teacher

i hope that in twenty years i'd be able to name a former teacher as a friend.


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luciano63 5 years ago from Paris Author

Dear Daniel,

some years later I started to teach to Art Center Europe and Harry became my example to follow. I married his method and I had a lot of fun with students.


Terry Parkhurst 5 years ago

I had Mr. Bradley - still "Mr. to me, out of respect - for a Transportation Design class at the Art Center College of Design. Not only did he demonstrate that he was a creative genius, but an extremely kind and supportive teacher of design.

After teaching us some of his ways of approaching rendering, we had to come up with a vehicle and make a presentation on it, by the end of the class. For some reason, I'd become intrigued by all terrain vehicles and came up with one that would be amphibious; but I knew little about chassis design.

As it happened, Peter Brock was a visiting professor that summer, and it took all I could do, as a 19 year old car in awe of him, to take some of my sketches over to him, at a break. But he too, was a kind and encouraging man; he sketched out some ideas for me and explained the nuances of independent suspension, on a piece of vellum paper. I still have that drawing.

By the end of the class, I was able to put something together that got me a "B," as I recall. But the real reward was when Mr. Bradley, called my idea "the new American hot rod," in front of the class. It was indeed a priceless moment.

Footnote: I lost track of Mr. Bradley when I left Los Angeles in the fall of 1970. However, as fate would have it, came across Mr. Brock, while myself working for an auto trade magazine, covering a Panoz presentation, in Bellevue, Washington. He lives about 15 miles east of me, and we keep in touch, via the Internet. The Art Center was - and probably still is - an invaluable place to learn design and understand life, people too.


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luciano63 5 years ago from Paris Author

Dear Terry when I read your story I felt homesick and school days missing! Great story that reflects ACCD real life of that time (for me late 80's). I met Bradley few years after my BS because I gave lessons in Art Center Europe and he passed by one time for few weeks, it was great to meet him being a teacher myself too! Few times we wrote early 90s after no more and I do not know if he is still teaching.

Thank you for your story and for commenting.


Sayed  Faramawy profile image

Sayed Faramawy 5 years ago from Egypt

I respict your respiction to your teatcher. we are in the middle east respict greatly the teatcher but unfurtunately this was just in the past and I think education does not start fail down here unless the students start Underestimate the value of the teacher.

The upper car takes my heart because I drawn one like it (reffers to 1970,s) and that was about 1996 and completing the decoration surround it with a beautiful girl with a short skirt and a big guitar accrossing the car. thank you for remembering me with this lovely paint for my heart.


Mohamed Eissa 4 years ago

Dear Luciano, I know now why you are in love with pencil graphic. I admit that is really great and really perfect proof of talent. AsI told you before I started using more technology stuff like sketching on screen and on my IPad, but this really made me feel that I miss sketching on plain paper.

Thank you for your contribution to improve others talents and abilities.


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luciano63 4 years ago from Paris Author

Thank you Mohamed!


James Shyr 2 years ago

Harry was my 5th term Trans teacher, 23 years ago.

Toward the end of term, while painting the scale model all night, three days before the final presentation, I accidentally dropped the model with newly painted color coat from the cart in front the paint booth.

I had to patch up the model from clay, sand it, paint it, for three days straight, no sleep.

For those three days and nights, Harry was next to me for 12 hours each day, sometimes next to me until late at night. That was Harry, I am grateful forever.

At the end, I got a B+ from him, one of the highest in the class.

Thank you Harry!


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luciano63 2 years ago from Paris Author

Excellent story that describes really well Bradley's qualities!

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