Putting a Fun Spin on Cycling Culture – Illustrator Dave Brinton

Brinton Holiday Illustrations for 2017, 2012, 2010 and 2002

For at least 13 years, Dave Brinton has created an annual illustration for PEARL iZUMi to commemorate the holiday season. This year he chose to take us on a ride into the snow via fatbike with a cheerful Yeti hauling a freshly cut Christmas tree home for the holidays. After several years of Santa Claus leading the peloton (elves and more) on his road and tri bikes or reindeer geared up to pull in the season, the 2017 card draws in the fat tire fun riders are now embracing in their experiences.

When you order from www.pearlizumi.com this holiday season you will get one of four Brintoni cards. The new 2017 edition featuring the Yeti or cards from 2002, 2010, or 2012. If you’re good and lucky, you might collect all four.

We asked Brinton to share some background on his craft and on the bike. Have a read and enjoy the holiday season!

PEARL iZUMi

Please tell us a bit more about yourself. Where did you grow up? What school did you go to? Did any of this lead you down the path to be an illustrator?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, on the Stanford Campus, where my father was a professor in the Journalism School. It was a creative and nurturing environment to be sure. I was heavily influenced by Hot Rod and Surf art of the late 50’s and 60’s, most notably Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Rick Griffin. Also the fine caricature work of Mort Drucker and Jack Davis in Mad magazine.

PEARL iZUMi

Give us a brief tour of your design/illustration process.

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

I usually draw on assignment, whether it is for VeloNews or another client. Since the work is usually topical and often involves caricature, I start the process with some research. Years ago this usually involved a trek to the library and many hours of searching. Now, with the Internet, the research part is significantly easier!

I then do a loose pencil sketch for composition, tighten it up and transfer it to the final illustration paper (Strathmore 500 series Bristol Plate). I ink the final black and white using a quill pen and India ink. I prefer the flexible point of a quill pen to the fixed line that a technical pen produces.

I scan the final ink drawing and colorize it on the computer in PhotoShop.

PEARL iZUMi

Has your method of creating these illustrations changed dramatically from when you started to now with the digital advancements?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

Originally I colored the drawings with watercolor, gouache or acrylic, using a brush and/or airbrush. Doing this aspect of the work on the computer is much faster. It is easier to correct errors and in many cases produces, I think, produces a superior illustration.

PEARL iZUMi

Have you always considered yourself an illustrator or an artist?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

Such distinctions are pretty irrelevant in my mind. Is a good illustrator somehow inferior to a lousy gallery artist? To me, it’s more about the craft. I have seen some commercial illustration that certainly transcends the purpose for which it was created. And some stuff in art galleries that isn’t worth the canvas upon which it is painted.

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2002 PEARL iZUMi Holiday Card
2017_Holiday_card
2017 PEARL iZUMi Holiday Card

PEARL iZUMi

What has been your favorite illustration you’ve worked on? Why?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

Funny question. Sometimes when I finish up a drawing I feel like I never want to see it again. Then, when seeing it again a few years down the road I love it. And totally vice-versa.

PEARL iZUMi

How did an illustrator get started in the cycling Industry?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

I was originally a sign painter, owning a commercial sign shop in the 70’s and 80’s. I ended up being the sign supplier for the Coors International Bicycle Classic, which really opened the door to the industry. Both PEARL iZUMi and VeloNews became sign clients, and by the time I was ready to move away from the Sign Shop both offered me jobs. I worked for a year or so half-time for each, finally settling into PEARL iZUMi full-time, while continuing as a contributor to VeloNews.

PEARL iZUMi

Is there anything you’ve been asked to illustrate and decided you couldn’t do it? Without giving away too many details, why?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

I see myself best as having a pretty cartoony style, and I have turned down work that was too far removed from that. Jobs that were just too serious and demanded more realistic treatment.

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2010 PEARL iZUMi Holiday Card
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2012 PEARL iZUMi Holiday Card

PEARL iZUMi

What’s more important to your mind, the bike or the pen?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

Life without both would be pretty sad!

PEARL iZUMi

What’s your current favorite ride where you live now?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

Mana Road here on Hawaii Island (aka the “Big Island”) It’s a 45-mile dirt road that starts just down from my house in Waimea and climbs around the lower slopes of 13,800’ Mauna Kea. The initial 20 miles or so are pretty smooth, so I ride a gravel bike. Further up, a mountain bike is better.

PEARL iZUMi

Do you have a favorite place you’ve ridden your bike? Where and why?

Dave "Brintoni" Brinton

I’d say Tuscany and Umbria in Italy. Great roads and respectful drivers. With wonderful food and wine post ride!

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