Stephen Wiltshire, who has photographic memory, had just 60 seconds to look at the Micra before drawing it in 3D, using VR tech.

British artist Stephen Wiltshire has an amazing gift: a photographic memory that allows him to draw minutely detailed images after only a couple of minutes looking at the subject.

He specializes in huge pen and paper drawings of cityscapes which he typically tackles after a brief helicopter ride across the city. He loves drawing American cars, as well, and apparently has an encyclopedic knowledge about them.

Nissan challenged Stephen to put his skills to the test drawing the latest Micra hatchback, giving him just 60 seconds to look around it. Sounds – relatively – simple, but there was an extra layer of complication added on.

Rather than draw the Micra as he normally would, in 2D, on paper, Stephen create his image in 3D, using virtual reality technology. But he needed only a couple of minutes to familiarize himself with the Google Tilt Brush handsets and HTC Vive headset before setting to. And it clearly didn’t limit him, as the finished piece bears his distinctive style.

Stephen said: “I like the Micra. It’s very futuristic and I love the orange color. I like the shape and I like the lights, and the strong line down the side. It’s a very clean design.”

The latest, fifth-generation Micra is a giant leap forward from the old car, which was pretty dire. A backwards step, even. Early reviews suggest the new car is right on the pace with rivals like the Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. The old car, by contrast, was a little shaky against the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Nissan Europe marketing chief Jean-Pierre Diernaz said: “We believe the new Micra’s design is very memorable, and challenging Stephen to draw the car – and doing so using the innovative Tilt Brush – is a great way to communicate that.”

Stephen, who lives with autism, showed his talent at an early age, using drawing to communicate. He published his first book of architectural drawings at just 13 years of age. He now has a studio in London and travels the world to draw his cityscapes.

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