5th Avenue Death Match – Sketchbattle Pro #16 New York

Just when we think we have the “Experiment” part eliminated from our event title, we do something new and exciting.  In New York at the Jalopnik office we were presented with something that had never happened in 15 previous events – a tie.  And how we handled that will likely happen again, so we present to you our first “Death Match”.IMG_8964

Started in 2012 by founder Brook Banham and partner Judith Banham, the event grew slowly until partner Frank Schwartz and AACS came on board in 2014.  The event then expanded from Detroit to Los Angeles in 2016, to Las Vegas in 2017 and to the Bay Area and San Francisco last year.

Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment 15

Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment 15 Detroit

This year Sketchbattle Pro is on target to come to at least 3 new cities, the first of which is the New York event presented by Jalopnik and held in the Gizmodo Media offices.original

The event was held with support from  Covestro, a world-leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials for key industries such as automotive. Extremely lightweight and incredibly thin, with good molding properties and a metallic look and feel? Covestro is setting new standards on the composite materials market of the future with an innovative combination of fibers and plastics which can make a designer’s life easier! The automotive industry wants to minimize weight – the new composite material makes that possible.



Sketchbattle Pro competitions features rounds where the professional and student designers sketch a pre-determined theme for a set time live in front of the audience.  After each round the sketches and designs are hung on a display wall and evaluated by the judges for sketch quality and adherence to the given theme.  Based on their scores, the judges then eliminate half of the contestants, who then move on to the next round. IMG_9632

In the Championship Round (final round), the score cards are reviewed and a single winner is chosen who is awarded the cash prize, a Mobsteel title belt, a Brazen Sports Watch and is invited to attend the annual Championship of Champions held in Detroit.  The list of Judges and details on the themes can be found here.

IMG_9088 The list of contestants and can be found here.


For the first round the sketchers were asked to develop a modern design for a Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am.

With 7 contestants (one was a no show), the range of designs and concepts was pretty broad, as to be expected.


After the judges conferred and scored the sketches, 4 contestants were awarded the wins and moved on to the 2nd round.  From left to right, Ricky Ryan Goimarac, Finn Yonkers, Kevin Richards and Daney Chhang were chosen to come back and compete again in the Championship Round.IMG_9510

The theme for Round 2 – The Championship Round was for the sketchers to design a concept for a 2030 Duesenberg Electric Vehicle.

At the end of the championship round, the judges are supposed to pick a winner.  The problem? They couldn’t.  As the time drug on and they went back and forth between the two sketches of Yonkers and Richards. Yonkers nailed the electric part of the design brief with the vertical batteries in the front, but the unfinished interior bothered them.

IMG_9670.jpgRichards nailed the stance and proportions of a modern Duesenberg, but the electric part was not quite evident.  So we decided to have a pow wow and review the judging criteria again, but it didn’t help.  So the event organizers conferred with the venue and hosts and asked something that had never been asked before “Should we make them do it again?”


So, for the first time ever to a sudden death, Death Match – 5 minutes of sketching with the theme of 2100 Volkswagen Beetle.


In the end the use of a central backbone and Beetle-esque roof line won the Death Match for your winner, first New York Sketchmaster and latest sketcher to be flown to Detroit for the ultimate championship is Kevin Richards.

IMG_9785IMG_9800.jpgLooking at the winners from the past events, here is how the current school championships are distributed:

  • College for Creative Studies = 7 wins
  • Art Center College of Design = 5 wins
  • Academy of Art = 1 win
  • Lawrence Tech School of Design = 1 win
  • Cleveland Institute of Art = 1 win

Thanks to our judges, Jordan and Jason.  Thanks to our fantastic staff,without whom Brook and I could never manage an event.  Sara as Ring Girl and helping the event run smoothly, Aaron our assistant and setup, and Judith for all her work keeping the whole event running.  And finally, thanks too to our hosts Victor  and Patrick – the venue was perfect and the audience was phenomenal.

And thanks to our photographer Jon Adams.  Here are a few more shots but visit here to see the full gallery.  If you repost a picture please give Jon credit.

See you at out next event on May 1st at the AUVSI Xponential conference in Chicago.

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.
This entry was posted in Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s