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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

David Austin Kimble (born 22 February 1944; age 78), generally credited as David A. Kimble or simply David Kimble, was a technical illustrator who has served on Star Trek: The Motion Picture as production illustrator, employed at Astra Image Corporation. Already a famed contemporary automotive technical illustrator, he was responsible for the creation of the exterior orthographic ship's operations graphics of the refit-USS Enterprise as featured on various computer consoles on the Enterprise bridge, seen in that movie and the two subsequent Star Trek films. Kimble followed up on his work for the movie with the creation of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture Blueprints, and their derivative cutaway drawing of the refit-USS Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. For his work on the movie, Kimble has not been officially credited.

At the time ASTRA colleague, Production Illustrator Andrew Probert, clarified, "David Kimble helped us out in preparing working drawings for all the spacecraft that were, in fact, later published by Simon & Schuster as the official Star Trek blueprints. David was brought into the project by Robert Abel because he is a cutaway artist; his specialty is doing see-through views of anything from race cars to sailboats. Later on, I assisted him in a technical capacity on a new poster that he had published. It was a beautiful cutaway view of the Enterprise, showing where all the sets allegedly belong." (Return to Tomorrow - The Filming of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 157) Decades later, his memory a little dimmed, Probert elaborated in more detail on the latter,

"I really don't know how David got brought into it. I think Richard Taylor contacted him. David Kimble is an artist who is known worldwide for his accuracy in doing machinery cutaway drawings. He has done ocean liners, spacecraft, oil rigs, and automobiles, which are very popular with racing fans. So he was brought in to do the cutaway of the Enterprise. That was the big carrot that was dangled in front of David, because he was drooling over putting those decks and other spaces together. Part of the package was that he also draw the blueprints, the six-sided views of all the ships. David just knocked himself out doing the blueprints, and those are all totally accurate to my designer's mind, and to the models, or they're close enough to the models to work, but they're totally satisfactory to me as the designer. The cutaway was a lot of fun. It took him a long time to do that. He did all the decks, we planned out the spaces together, and if you look in the botanical garden section, he painted my wife and me walking on one of the paths. We're just little dots of color, but I know it, she knows it, and David knows that those dots are us." [1]

The cut-away drawing was originally a black and white illustration that was published in various magazines in 1979. Kimble revisited that drawing and upgraded it to a full color cutaway poster, published by "Mind's Eye Press" in 1980, and the first officially licensed one of its kind, though, like its successors, it is not considered canon. The original drawing ended up in the possession of Rick Sternbach measuring fifteen inches in length by eight inches wide, who ultimately sold it on 8 August 2010 as Lot 309 in Propworx' The official Star Trek Prop and Costume Auction, estimated at US$100-$200 and selling for US$180.

Kimble's stint at Paramount Pictures apparently turned out to be a bit of a disillusionment, as was recalled by admirer Chris Cushman, when he sounded out Kimble for a possible co-production for a cutaway USS Enterprise-D poster, "I asked him what he thought of the Enterprise illustration I had started and he loved it, I pushed the conversation into the direction of a possible collaboration figuring he had the contacts at Paramount. He looked less than happy when I mentioned that, explaining that he had not profited from the first poster very well and preferred not to work with them again." [2] Cushman's company, Sci-Pub Tech, went on to publish a series of Star Trek starship cut-away posters, very much reminiscent of the one Kimble had done.

Career outside Star Trek

Kimble, hailing from Los Angeles County, California, and a graduate from the Academy of Technical Arts, Gardena, California, is an accomplished illustrator and best known for his cutaway drawings of cars. His expertise is a highly sought after commodity by the automotive industry, like General Motors and publications in the field, such as Sports Car Graphic and Road & Track. Repeated requests for art from the latter, led Kimble to found his own business company, David Kimble Illustration, in 1976. [3] Many, in fact, consider him the "king of the cutaway technical drawing". A Google image search under his name will yield many fine examples of why his work is so well respected. He considers himself to be "very eccentric and very aberrant", with a collection of well over a thousand movies and working as much as seventeen hours a day on a regular basis. David Kimble is married with one son, and was living in Marfa, Texas as of 2000.

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