Judges announced for the Detroit MSBE 2017

18 contestants will be vying for the title of World Champion Sketchmaster when the Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ returns to Detroit tomorrow night, Tuesday January 10th.   The $2500 top prize by BASF will be awarded to the lone survivor of 3 rounds of sketching, based on the judging of a unique cross-industry panel of experts and design luminaries.  Doyle Letson of Ford, Marc Mainville of GM and Camilo Pardo along with a guest judge each round will jointly decide the 2017 winner.


The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment™ is a live automotive sketching deathmatch with more than just a Grand Prize.  Mobsteel have produced an awesome Title Belt and M1 Concourse is throwing in a track day in a Viper or Hellcat making the grand prize package worth more than $5,000.  Note that no designers will be injured during the “deathmatch” (at least that is the plan).  Since the first event was held in 2012, The Sketchbattle, as it is known, has grown to become the most interesting and exciting of all the unofficial auto show events.  Over 500 people attended the 2016 event where Omar Gonzalez was crowned Sketchmaster .  Tickets for the 2017 event can be found here.

My Pic

Doyle Letson, Chief Designer for Ford Global Interiors

For the 2017 Detroit Sketchbattle, Doyle Letson, Chief Designer, Ford Global Interiors is the Chief Judge.  Doyle is a guy who you can describe with just a bio at your own risk.  He started his career at Caterpillar, moved on to designing boats at Wellcraft, then moved to vehicle exteriors and finally ended up in interiors.  Doyle has passions outside 35 year career in the transportation industry too, you might just bump into him at some local club singing lead for a rock and roll band or out on a lake somewhere fly fishing.  Maybe one year he will bring his band to play after the awards ceremony (we can dream).


Marc Mainville, General Motors Design Manager

GM Design Manager Marc Mainville has a diverse career that spans exterior and interior design, as well as production and concept vehicles. Marc’s recent credits include leading the exterior designs of Motor Trend’s 2016 “Truck of the Year,” the GMC Sierra, the upcoming next-gen GMC Sierra and the 2015 Cadillac Escalade.  He is currently overseeing wheel design for the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands.  Prior to GM, Marc worked at the Hyundai America Technical Center in Orange County, Calif., where he designed the exterior of the HCD-10 Hellion concept vehicle and contributed to several successful exterior production programs. He also completed an overseas assignment at Hyundai’s R&D Center in Namyang, Korea. When he is not working, Marc enjoys taking his Corvette to track day events and working on his straight-8 powered, ’35 Chevy hot rod project. He holds a degree in Transportation Design from the College for Creative Studies (1999).



Camilo doing what he does best

Born in New York city, Camilo Pardo moved to Detroit at the age of 10 and had by that age developed a fascination with 60s and 70s era sports cars and modern art. After graduating from Detroit’s prestigious design school Center for Creative Studies in 1985, Camilo was hired by Ford Design Center in Dearborn Michigan. His assignments included working in the Dearborn Advanced Studios, Ford of Europe- Torino, Italy Studio , and the Design Studios in Cologne Germany. After 15 years at Ford Motor Company, he took on what was for him the ultimate assignment … a state of the art re-design of the classic Ford GT race car. This project developed the 2002 Ford GT concept car which became the 2006 production Ford GT. Today, Camilo continues to explore additional avenues of art & design. His work is created in his Detroit and Los Angeles studios, and include fashion and sculptural furniture design.  His work has made the rounds from main art galleries in Metro Detroit, Italy, Japan, to the Contempory Furniture Fare in New York.  As a dedicated artist who sets no limits on his creative endeavors, Camilo has found that his outside artistic expressions further strengthen and complements his passion for automotive design.

For the first round a special guest judge will join the panel.  Bernd Herrmann, Head of Design Managerment at Leonard Kurz Stiftung & Co. KG will help judge as the design theme is to create a compelling interior sketch that rethinks the use of interior trim pieces focusing on traditional American Trucks like SUVs and Pickups.  “People spend a lot of time in their cars and expect not only good functionality but also a cosy environment.” stated Herrmann “Visual effects alone are often no longer sufficient to fulfill these requirements, which is why tactile elements are increasingly being integrated into the surface design.”


Paul Czornij, right, deep in thought at the Los Angeles Sketchbattle

For the final round the theme will be color – more specifically to create a compelling story about a new color concept that is shown through a concept vehicle.  For this round the perfect guest judge is Paul Czornij, Head of Design for the BASF Color Excellence Group, and as such makes a perfect partner for the other designers on the panel.  Paul was instrumental in developing the “Color of the Year”, Reflexion Nebula, which was recently unveiled at the SEMA show on a custom 2009 Nissan Skyline GT-R.  “Our design team predicts a stronger presence of blue shades that offer versatility and broad appeal in the automotive space,” said Paul  “This is apparent in Reflexion Nebula, with its dynamic and scintillating look that is both playful and sophisticated.” 

About Frank Schwartz

Frank Schwartz is the founder of CarFriend.me and Advanced Automotive Consulting Services, partner in The Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment and serial entrepeneur. A long time automotive enthusiast, Frank started reading car magazines at the age of 8 and has spent 30+ years working inside the automotive industry. In his spare time Frank races with the Sports Car Club of America, spends time working on his numerous project cars and supports many local charities.
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