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Driven by Design – David Rumfelt, Graphic Artist

Driven by Design – David Rumfelt, Graphic Artist

Pioneering digital graphic artist and Canvas expert David Rumfelt talks about his use of Canvas through the decades and, in particular, the creation of an iconic Ferrari cutaway drawing.

Mike Hibberd
July 27, 2020

Perhaps best known for his digital recreation of a Ferrari F40 drawing by legendary cutaway artist David Kimble, renowned technical illustrator David Rumfelt counts on Canvas as his go-to software to create a variety of passion projects and professional work.

In-demand Professional Graphics Resource

Based in Barnesville, about an hour outside of Atlanta, Rumfelt is an in-demand professional graphics resource for design studios and ad agencies. Along with marketing materials, graphics for technical documentation and corporate ID and branding design, he also works with magazines and other publications to create editorial illustrations with high visual impact.

And while there is huge variety in the work, he relies on Canvas for all of it.

Origin Story

David Rumsfelt’s Canvas origin story is a trip back in time to the very first edition of the program, Version One. Initially a desk accessory, it was unique in that it could be used while another program, such as PageMaker, was running simultaneously. It’s hard to believe it now, but this was a radical breakthrough at a time of single-program operation.

Rumfelt recalls running a 3.5-inch floppy disk of Canvas on his prized 256K Mac. He was working for Deneba Systems, Inc. at the time, which owned Canvas and he went on to be a beta tester for new versions even after he parted ways with the company.

Canvas software has been indispensable to him, he says. Since first adopting it more than three decades ago, he has used it ever since to realize both professional and artistic pursuits.

The illustration that put his career into overdrive

Ferrari F40 illustration

The Ferrari F40 illustration that was to become one of Rumfelt’s career-defining projects, remains beloved by industry professionals and car enthusiasts even today. Composed of approximately 28,000 individual objects, the illustration celebrates one of the most iconic supercars of the ‘80s and ‘90s, while putting the pedal to the metal on the software’s capabilities early on.

In fact, his digital version was so faithful to the original that some casual observers thought he was claiming Kimble’s work as his own. “People thought I had just scanned the original, and would send me notes to warn that they were reporting me,” he explains.

“Everything I do is based on Canvas. From rock band posters to brochures and technical illustrations”

Elmore James and Etta James Graphic

“Finally, David Kimble checked out my version and was impressed. To hear that kind of feedback directly from the artist was the biggest compliment.”

Technical Illustration Marvel

A marvel of technical illustration, the cutaway was widely distributed as part of the Canvas software package and became synonymous with the brand. The original was the culmination of David Kimble’s six-month tenure at the Ferrari plant combing through technical drawings, specs and other design materials.

Rumfelt’s homage reproduced Kimble’s illustration digitally by vectorizing it into objects over the course of three months, finishing in a flurry of frenzied activity just in time to make a splash at an early MacWorld Expo in San Francisco. Much like a Ferrari, Rumfelt went into high gear to get over the finish line.

“It all came down to a couple of crazy nights,” he recalls. “That illustration is the one that stands out because of all the blood, sweat and tears put into it.”

The hard work paid off as Rumfelt’s F40 poster was a smash success at the landmark annual event. Attendees were lined up around the convention center to get to the Canvas booth, where reps were plotting and printing the automotive mementos right there at the trade show. The top tier swag was quite literally hot off the presses.

“To this day, wherever I travel, I still see that poster in print shops all over the country,” Rumfelt says.

Along with the huge advantage of allowing him to use a single application for all projects, whether technical or artistic, and making collaboration easy, Rumfelt counts Canvas’ unmatched file import capabilities among its most valuable features. “Canvas is a great translator,” he says.

Just like Canvas itself, David Rumfelt’s Ferrari illustration has stood the test of time.

Canvas X Badge

David Rumfelt is a ground-breaking digital artist and genuine Canvas Original.
With Canvas software being so well known for its strengths as a technical illustration solution, its capabilities as an artistic application (in the right hands) are sometimes easy to overlook. Dave Rumfelt is one of a band of early Canvas users and artists who worked at the cutting edge of digital art using Canvas over decades. His F40 is a firm favorite of the Canvas GFX team and we’re proud to have him as a customer.

If you would like to participate in the Canvas Originals series, please email mike.hibberd@canvasgfx.com

About the author
Mike Hibberd
VP Marketing

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