Artist Ricardo Santos Is All About Cars and Color

In his spare time, Award-winning illustrator, graphic designer, and art director Ricardo Santos drives rally cars. And when he’s working? His mind is still firmly in the driver’s seat. With artwork that has graced the covers of Portuguese publications Turbo and AutoSport, as well commissions from brands including Ferrari, Nissan, Red Bull, and many more, Ricardo Santos has made a name for himself by creating illustrations of rally and Formula 1 cars from the ‘80s and ‘90s. 

Each of his pieces features accurately detailed depictions of iconic cars set against intensely saturated bands of color or geometric patterns. “I try to focus on the shape, shadows, glow and colors of the cars to create simple but eye-catching images,” Santos said in an interview with, “which I believe is a direct influence of my experience in newspapers and magazines trying to create simple and easy to understand work.” Santos’ “Graphic Story” series, for example, features a series of cars from one manufacturer in profile with horizontal stripes of vivid colors.  

But let’s not paint Santos into a corner. His works are inventive as well, such as a wooden car hand-painted to have its own vehicular version of a cardiovascular system with blue and red veins labeled like an anatomy diagram.