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| AB•MAG | Summer 2006


AB•MAG: Premier Issue, Summer 2006

Industry News and Report Product News & Spotlight From the Editor Them’s Fighting Words Commentary by Mike Learn Product Review & Testing Digital Dick: Cyber Sleuth Tips & Tricks Tribal Blades by Scott MacKay Illusionwear Body Painting by Battle Dress Paint N Body Helmet Head by Ryan Young HELKEN by Mike Learn Setting Goals with Steve Leahy The Devil’s Playground by Vince Goodeve Budding Artists with Colin For the Educator A series for Teaching Airbrush The Airbrush Gourmet

Just Paint It! Business on A Budget with JD Q&A From Words to Profit by Tom Davison


Pin Ups with Ed Krup


| AB•MAG | Summer 2006


I recently had the opportunity to attend a paint clinic put on by John Kosmoski and House of Kolor (HOK). As a custom painter I’m always looking for information to perfect my trade and this was a great experience. John is celebrating 50 years in the paint industry and his passion for painting is just a strong as it ever was. As the attendees began arriving they found John in an opened booth laying out graphics on a couple of fenders and a hood. When the class started John asked everyone to turn off the ringers on their cell phones so he would not be interrupted. He invited us to pick up a note pad and pencil to jot down notes. However, I soon found that he had so much information that keeping up with him would be a challenge.

Publisher: Editor: Art Director:

Steve Angers Diana Learn Diana Learn

Contributing Writers:

Lee & Lisa Bercyl Tom Davison J. “JD” Dirom Vince Goodeve Robert Hood Ed Krupski Steven Leahy Mike Learn Scott MacKay Shane McConnell Pat Reynolds Ryan Young

Advertising Director:

Steve Angers

AB•MAG 20 Hampden Drive #2 S. Easton, MA 02375 800.232.7227 • Fax: 508.230.5891 AB•Mag is published 4 times per year: Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring for $27.96 per year by Orchard Trading Co, 20 Hampden Drive #2, S. Easton, MA 02375. All Contents are copyright ©2006 AB•Mag, all rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted, in whole or in part without prior written permission from the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES Subsriptions may be purchased online via or at One year $19.99 SUMISSIONS Please email submission requests to Include idea, and/or manuscript and at least one image. If your article is chosen for publication, you will be contacted for further info and hi-res imagery.

As he began talking about HOK’s new products, his passion really came through. He started by informing us of the new Kameleon Opals that can be sprayed over light bases to give an opal effect. He also talked about a translucent flake that may be sprayed over white or light bases without the salt and pepper look. Another new product he talked about was a new Majestic Kandy, a new Iced pearl and a 40 micron version of all the Kameleon dry pearls. HOK will now carry Kosmic Krome, chrome paint. This is intended for graphics or air brush projects. The new product I liked most, though, was the new Metajuls base coats. The product was released in 2005 as a 90 micron base coat. They will now offer a 40 mini and a 150 monster size. Anyone that’s ever done a flake job knows the work that goes into it. With Metajuls, though, you can get the same effect without all the work. For one of John’s demos he spayed the Metajuls and then put two coats of Kandy over them and cleared. I could not believe the effect and it all layed down like a baby for a nap. So to summarize it all, after taking in all this information, enough to right a tips and tricks column for a year, and getting my fill of the free food to boot, I think this is about the best 20 bucks I’ve ever spent. So weather you’re a HOK user or not, if John is scheduled to come to your area, take it from me, its well worth it to go. About the author: Bob Hood and his beautiful wife and art consultant, Penny, own Bobs Body and Custom Paint in Decatur, IL. Bob has been perfecting his talents for nearly 20 years and looking forward to many more. Email him at


AB•Mag - July 2006 Volume 1, Number1

As he started explaining the basic structure of paint and solvents and the reasons for following manufactures guide lines for painting, I felt like I was listening to a chemist yet he spoke in laymen’s terms. We then watched as he demonstrated his techniques of marbleizing, spraying pearls, flakes and kandies. He went on to cover proper spray gun adjustment, spray techniques, masking secrets, and spray booth protocol. In addition, he brought us up to date on many of the latest products industry-wide.


SEM MAKES A COLORFUL SPLASH SEM is pleased to announce its revamped custom finish line. The improved COLOR HORIZONS brand has a much broader offering to include richer colors and better hiding, along with more stability and ease of use with most automotive refinish paint systems. COLOR HORIZONS offers rich colors, awesome hiding and is easier to use than most automotive refinish paint systems. COLOR HORIZONS is a complete line of dynamic bases, candies, HYPERBASE, fluorescent concentrates, primers, clears, glass flakes and pearls to fulfill every need! From detailed airbrush projects to complete automotive restorations, COLOR HORIZONS will make success a snap and save your shop time and money. These custom finish products will get your creative juices stirring! For more information on SEM products and services, call 1-800-831-1122 or visit us on the web at Got a Product You Would Like to Promote? Send a Description and Image to

PAINT THIS! Custom Airbrushing Techniques DVD Ed Hubbs has known that he wanted to paint since he was a boy. Now, with 27 years of experience Ed, along with his sidekicks, Mack Wilson and Ben Donnelly, shows you how to do the popular realistic flames, colored flames, and tribal flames. This 60 minute DVD also includes detailed instruction on doing carbon fiber, colored carbon fiber, and brushed aluminum. The DVD is loaded with bonus techniques and hilarious out-takes. MSRP $39.95. Check it out at www.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

NEW !!! Red BEARon Freehand Airbrush Templates


The Red Bearon Freehand Airbrush Templates break the mold of the stale hand held templates of the past. These solvent proof templates are engineered to provide durability while still demonstrating the flexibility demanded by the artist. As the only Freehend Template system to come with both positive and negative shields, these templates are guaranteed for life! If one ever fails, simply return your defective template and you will receive a new one. . . NO QUESTIONS ASKED! Red BEARon Templates are available only through Bear Air and

This bundle contains 10 essential texture products with hundreds of uses! The kit includes 4 semi-rigid (and YES, one is the FAMOUS PIZZA SCREEN), 4 stretch (including large and small fish net) and 2 basic materials (cheese clothe and batting). Some popular uses: snake, lizard and dragon skin, fish scales, leather, carbon fiber, spider web, fabric, clouds and biomechanical backgrounds just to name a few. This is a must have tool for ANY airbrush artist! Check it out at a fine airbrush supply store near you or at

GILDING MADE EASY WITH ROLCO SIZE & LEAF ROLCO QUICK DRY GILDING SIZE – The preferred clear gilder’s size for fast leaf work. Rolco size affords excellent durability, flexibility, and open time for interior and exterior gilding applications. ROLCO METAL LEAF PRODUCTS – Variegated leaf is a metal leaf composed of a metal base, such as copper and composition gold that has been treated chemically to create random color patterns. Variegated leaf is sold in books containing 25 leaves of red, blue/ green or black varieties, separated by a thin tissue paper. Pick up Rolco leafing supplies at your favorite custom finish supply store or visit

SHOW OFF YOUR WORK!! Display Half Tanks Now there is a great way to display your artwork without the time and expense involved in splitting metal tanks. These half tanks are light weight, durable and come with mounting tabs that won’t disturb your art work. Use these pieces for practice, for samples or as the start of a piece of art for your wall! Ready to scuff and paint. Look for right or left oriented half tanks at fine airbrush and custom paint shops everywhere or visit


MLA Air Essentials BASIC MOJO Texture Pack!


The purpose of AB•MAG is to provide both an outlet and a source for artists and those involved in the art industry to share, grow, expand and have some fun while we are at it!


ome People say everything happens for a reason. That the strange and seemingly random series of events that we call life, are connected by purpose and that each foreshadows or lays foundation for the next. I am one of those people.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

I can trace the birth of this magazine back to a muggy afternoon at the Easyriders Show in Kansas City, MO in April of 2005. I had flown out to cover the event and to attend an Industry Bash hosted by my good friends Kim and Cheryl Suter. After walking the show and shooting my fill of pictures, I stopped by the Perewitz booth for a rest and a chat. After a little catching up, Dave and I started talking about the upcoming Grand Opening Party that he was hosting to debut the new shop. An hour or so later, we had concocted a crazy plan, an event, that we had only weeks to execute. Dave had a brand new building with plain empty walls – together we knew a bunch of artists. We set out to see who we could get out to Bridgewater, MA in 3 weeks to have an impromptu wall painting party.


A few short weeks later, I found myself videotaping a planning meeting between Mike Learn, Vince Goodeve, Billy Streeter, Keith Hanson, Steve Leahy and 2 New York Graffiti Artists, Peak and Diva: artists from all over the country, in one room, working together. It was a thing of beauty. While the artists were doing what they do, I had the opportunity to get to know Mr. Steve Angers, owner of Bear Air and now Publisher of AB•MAG. Steve was the man who brought us the paint, the

brushes and the air to actually pull off the Live Art Event that was happening all around us. And that was when it happened. AB•MAG was born. Mike and I had been discussing putting out a Quarterly Magazine recapping the content from Steve was kicking around the idea of doing the same with content inspired by his web site, Between the 3 of us, we had a strong network of contacts that covered several industries. Most importantly, however, we shared a passion for growing the art form through education, information and cooperation. So a year later, here we are publishing our first issue. It is exciting and exhilarating. We have big plans and big dreams, and we are counting on the artist community and those that serve it to receive our honest efforts with an open mind, and to help us maintain the flow of pertinent and real information by participating in this publication. AB•MAG will hold nothing back. We feel there is nothing to be gained by withholding, and everything to be lost if we do not perpetuate the success of airbrush artists everywhere. To steal an oldie but goodie, AB•MAG will not give you a fish to eat today; it will arm you with the tools and resources you need to fish, so you can feed your family for a lifetime. Until next time. . . The ‘LEARN’-ing starts here – and remember, HAVE FUN!

PS. Oh, and the Perewitz party? It was a HUGE success. It was a particularly proud moment for Dave as he was honored by artwork presented to him by his peers. The event was covered in several magazines and on several TV, Cable and News shows. I have a feeling you will hear some more about this soon. ;)



“I have to attribute a great deal of my success to the fact that I was willing to see past the old school ways I had learned and at least openly embrace something to make my life more efficient.”

by Mike Learn


thought I would start off my first commentary column by addressing the “technology enhanced vs. all ‘freehand/old school’ airbrushing” controversy that is lingering around the modern art industry. Many of you know my stance on the issue, but maybe not the basis. Here it is.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

You have 2 choices in life. You can be the hammer, or you can be a nail. You can put aside all your pre-conceived and pre-programmed ideas of what it means to be an artist, and embrace the tools that modern advancements have provided for you, or you can sit by and be squashed by them.


Today’s commercial art and sign market is progressing at an enormous pace. Advancement in all areas from computer processors to printers and lasers keep even the largest companies on their toes. As most of you know, right now you can have a digital rendering that was created in PhotoShop, Illustrator, CorelDraw or any number of programs, printed on film and applied to your car, truck, van, building, coffee cup, whatever. A technology called digital sublimation is now being perfected. This process will allow digital printing and reproduction to be applied directly on to a clear coated surface of any kind. Every day, advancements in digital technology are further reducing the marketplace for airbrushed art. As a modern artist, you will always be subjected to the groups of people that will give you a hard time, because for some reason they feel as though these modern tools in the hands of an artist, somehow bypass the creative process. What a bunch of crap. You are still the “Man (or Woman) Behind The Machine.” You may be expressing yourself in a different fashion, but the platform, art, is the

same. If we can adapt to the changing marketplace, the art form will grow and flourish, especially with media exposure we have gotten in the past few years, and will continue to get in the coming years. Those who won’t, or are not willing to at least consider some adjustment, will more or less suffer the consequences of not being able to meet their full monetary potential in the marketplace, and the viability of the art form will cease to exist. If you wish to be competitive in the marketplace as “custom paint shops” pop up all over, flood the market and

lot of time being trained that I would be doing art “that way.” I left college to pursue a musical career to suppliment my artwork. It took years for technology to become affordable for me. Eventually I saved enough to buy my first computer, and it was years again before I could get a vinyl cutter, let alone a printer. But I did it. And I have to attribute a great deal of my success to the fact that I was willing to see past the old school ways I had learned and at least openly embrace something to make my life more efficient. There is no real motive behind

technology has something to offer. As time goes by a lot more people will be using technology to enable themselves and maintain competitive pricing. You can rest assured that art students today are learning to use all the tools available to them and that the future great artists will not be encumbered by, or tied to, the old school way of thinking. We are experiencing the evolution of the art form. And as we all know, the basic principle of evolution is that only the strong survive. With that in mind, why not embrace these efficiency tools to do the groundwork for the piece of art

“If we, as artists, can adapt to the changing marketplace, the art form will grow and flourish. If we cannot or will not, the viability of the airbrush will cease to exist.”

Early in my career, not long after leaving art school, I realized how quickly my college schooling was becoming outdated. Within a year or 2 software companies were flourishing and the days of paste up and cameras were gone. That realization, nearly 20 years ago, forced me to make a decision to either back out or embrace technology and accept the fact that I had wasted a

my use of technology, other than to get the job done. As a career artist, I am constantly struggling to create art that will not only satisfy my client, but also satisfy myself. I have found a method that allows me to do both. If you are satisfied as an artist and do not want to compete in a world, local, or regional market, you can certainly continue on with old school ways with no worries. You may enjoy art as a hobby, or find that part of your enjoyment is in masking, taping, tracing, cutting, and if that is the case, then by all means, don’t feel compelled to change. But EVERYONE eventually has a “customer” - someone that wants to pay you for your art. And as soon as you accept that job, you have crossed the bridge and are playing a whole new ballgame. Suddenly you will realize what your time is worth and you will need to set a standard for yourself, and at that time you may find that

and spend more of your valuable time doing killer freehand airbrushing? Next month’s column: Grow Some Cajones – How To Make Difficult Decisions in Your Art Career.


drive prices down, you have to enable yourself to do a quality job in less time. NONE of this is to say that freehand skills are not essential. It is the basis of what we do. The brush – paint – paper, will ALWAYS need to be there. No technology in the world will enable you to paint better or build your freehand skills for you. You still need to spend time with your brush and know your medium. However, utilizing technology such as computer rendering, digital proofs, mask plotting and as a way to move from sketchpad directly to getting busy with the airbrush, only makes sense to me on any level. It allows you to get to the fun stuff (actually airbrushing) faster, and with less room for human error, mechanical failure and less time spent on cleaning up.


PRODUCT REVIEW – Badger 3155 Detail Airbrush


he Model 3155 Hybrid, is a superior quality-precision crafted airbrush designed, engineered, and manufactured by Badger Air-Brush Co. The Model 3155 is possibly the most distinctive airbrush available to date. It has a single-size paint tip, spray regulator, and needle that work with any properly reduced medium, including acrylics, gouache, inks and dyes, enamels, lacquers, stains, etc. The Hybrid works especially well with Badger Air-Opaque, Air-Tex, and MODELflex Paints. The Model 3155 is suitable for many applications including fine art and illustration, fabric painting, sign painting, automotive graphics, model painting and detailing, taxidermy, and a wide variety of decretive painting applications requiring a finer spray pattern. recently took the new Badger 3155 Detail Airbush for a test drive. The fit and finish are top notch for an airbrush in this price range. The airbrush is easy to clean and atomizes paints at all popular air pressures, 60 PSI for shirts to 10 PSI for temporary tattoos. But where the 3155 Detail Airbrush excels is with PPG Envirobase urethanes. Watch as we have one of the BearAir Intro to Airbrush students take the 3155 Detail Airbrush for a spin through the exercises that are outlined in the 3155 Detail Airbrush Kit. We are using PPG Envirobase paint on a white redi-tag for these exercises.

First is a basic freehand exercise. We start with a dagger stroke series. Very clean starting and stopping. Next is the dot series. Down on the trigger for air . . . back for paint. Leave a dot. Very fine dots by the end of the pattern.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

Exercise Two we do a dot grid and then connect the dots. Notice how small this detail is when compared to a dime.


Exercise Three works on painting even tones in varying depth. See how you can bring out the richness of the colors by adding more layers of color. Awesome!

Product: Badger Hybrid 3155 Custom Detail Airbrush Set

Exercise Four shows the versatility of the shading that can be accomplished with the 3155. Sweet.

Includes: Airbrush, 6 Foot Hose, 2oz Glass Bottle Assembly, .25 oz Color Cup


Tip size: 0.35mm

Mediums: Handles all solvent and water-based mediums Action: Double Action, Internal Mix


Exercise Five combines all of the previous 4 exercises to show the three dimensional effects that can be accomplished. We used the Red Bearon Eins Skull Template

Air Pressure: 10-60 PSI


abilities left open by your less suspecting broadband Internet user. They are commonly in it for the thrill of things. The bigger problem at hand, however, is spyware and viruses, which take advantage of the same security holes. So you are thinking, “what do I have to do to ensure some safety?” Not much really. It’s basically making yourself a lesser target so the bad guy moves on to the next person in line. It’s just like locking your car doors in the mall parking lot and moving your CD collection binder off the front passenger seat.

by Shane McConnell

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

Greetings! Allow me to introduce myself. I am Digital Dick, Cyber Sleuth extraordinaire. Some call me a PC Guru, and others call me a Ladies’ Man. My job is combating crime and/or evil in the sick and twisted digital world. Computer Forensics and Data Recovery is my game. I spent my gumshoe years learning about technology by fixing computers for those who had fallen victim to Internet bugs and digital slime. I learned a lot in those years, one of the biggest things; knowledge is power. Allow me to charge your batteries.


Today’s lesson folks, is how to protect your selves while surfing the World Wide Web. The Internet is truly a dark and dangerous place if you don’t know where you are going. Because having broadband Internet is almost as common as owning a microwave oven these days, hacking, viruses and malware are equally as popular. I’m not talking about your elite hackers like Kevin Mitnick either. I’m talking about your Google-savvy 14 year old that has downloaded a folder full of the free hacking programs commonly available online. These no talent pukes are referred to as “script kiddies.” Script kiddies use programs that real hackers have written to exploit security holes and vulner-

STEP 1: Lock the car doors. All programs that utilize network access or the Internet on your computer must use what is called a “port” to communicate. This “port” is a software port and not a physical hardware port. The average operating system has something like 69,000 ports in it. Ports are normally specific to a program or protocol. For example, Internet web pages are viewed on your computer via a program like Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer will use port 80 to get that information off the Internet. What you need is a firewall to lock down all of these ports from anonymous outside requests. The easiest, and one of the best ways an Average Joe can lock down these ports is by installing a “broadband router” in-between your computer(s) and your cable or DSL modem. These broadband routers can be found at most electronics stores and are easy to install. Routers do exactly what a firewall does, less a few bells and whistles; they block all those ports from the outside world. Programs on your computer can still use any port it needs to get out onto the Internet without a hassle. By a hassle I mean, if you were to install a software firewall on your computer to block ports rather

than a broadband firewall, it prompts you every freaking time a program wants to use the Internet. I was told that after you get things established with the software firewall it “knows” what is ok and is less annoying. But I never made it that far. One of the only advantages I see to having a software firewall is you will know when something is trying to get out on the Internet. For example if you had a virus and your anti-virus software didn’t catch it yet, your software firewall would more than likely stop it (because the virus is trying to use a port to get out onto the network or internet). Either way, get something that locks down your ports, broadband router or software firewall.

rus. There are some great free ones out there. Windows Defender, Ad-Aware, Spybot, Spy Sweeper. You can run multiple anti spyware programs simultaneously. Allow the software to auto update, or make sure you update it daily. One of the most common scams that these knuckle heads do to get their spyware on your system is send a popup via a less than credible website that usually says something to the effect of “your system is infected click here to clean it” when really you are clicking an executable or activating a script to install an unwanted program. STEP 4: READ! READ!! READ!!!! The one thing I cannot FREAKING stand

puter in order for them to run. These types will install the spyware as soon as you accept the End User License Agreement (which stated it was going to install the spyware and you were agreeing to that). Read the End User License Agreement (EULA) and you will catch this kind of stuff. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to! Prevent yourself from installing crap! Take the extra 10 min to read the directions and the EULA, it may save you hours of your precious time or from calling to annoy a computer savvy buddy. I hope that you take my advice. I employ these practices on all of my systems and I haven’t been hijacked or mal-

The Internet is truly a dark and dangerous place if you don’t know where you are going.

STEP 3: Very important; get spyware/ adware protection. These programs work on the same principles as anti-vi-

is optional toolbars or programs that sometimes come along with free downloads. For example; Adobe Acrobat Reader comes with a toolbar if you don’t uncheck the box that says “Install the Yahoo tool bar also.” If I wanted the damn toolbar, I would download it and allow it to hijack the s#*% out of my browser myself. About 60% of the free software out there is crap. Keep in mind the way these people make their money with free software is via advertising for others. Some free programs require you to have spyware installed on your com-

ware-afied for almost a year straight. Stay tuned to the next issue when we talk about adding a hard drive to your desktop computers. Digital Dick is Shane McConnell, CEECS, EnCE. He is a member of the law enforcement community and also is a small business owner. Shane is a computer forensics and data recovery specialist with experience and training originating from local, state and federal entities. To contact Digital Dick for Data Recovery services please visit his website at: or email him at


STEP 2: Make sure you have an antivirus program. People PLEASE! This is common sense by now. You must have an anti virus program running all the time. The good anti-virus programs will update DAILY. There are a couple really good free ones out there such as AVG Free. Do a Google search and you will find it. Let it provide real time protection and let it do its daily scans (I set mine to run overnight). You should only run ONE anti virus program.


FIRE HELP Here is a little something that might help you with real fire layout. Make four or five black and white reference photos of some true fire that you like and try to mimic what you see. Use mostly the shield until you become comfortable with what your doing, then add free hand to terminate the flame. Having a couple of different size shields will help also. Some will say to have some fire photos for reference, that works good for the color stage but I do best looking at black and white for the layout and underpainting on colored base. The randomness of realistic fire is not something you pick up on the first go around. Just keep at it and it will come. ~Hoodlum

THE BOILING POINT It has often been asked what “back flushing” or “boiling” an airbrush means. It’s a method of cleaning your airbrush or even a large spray gun BEFORE tearing it apart. Here’s how: (I do this before every color change and before the final cleaning of the day.) 1) Spray the remaining paint out of the airbrush. 2) Refill the color cup, reservoir, jar or whatever with the same solvent as the paint used and spray that through until it runs clear. 3) WHILE you are doing step 2, intermittently place and remove your finger tip (of the other hand) over the tip of the airbrush to block the flow of cleaner. This will cause the liquid to BACK flush (run backwards) momentarily, causing a cleaning action. (much like reversing a blender’s motor). Do this repeatedly just by tapping your finger over the tip. Be careful to not prick your finger with the needle or to not bend the needle. This backflushing action does much to help clean excess paint out of the airbrush. 4) Now, unscrew the handle, loosen the nut holding the needle and pull the needle backwards out of the airbrush and wipe it clean. Be careful to not let the trigger or the backlever fall out - they are held in by the needle.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

You have now back flushed the airbrush (some call it “boiling” because of the bubbles that form in the cup). It is an important but simple procedure to cleaning your airbrush. ~Dale Robert Lampman


THIN IT AGAIN, SAM! Re-using Paint Thinner - After you have “boiled” your gun, put the dirty thinner into a coffee can or something similar with a lid. Keep on filling that can up with the dirty thinner, and once it’s full, set it aside for a couple days. When you return, you will note that the pigment and contaminents will have settled to the bottom and you can no syphon out the clear thinner and use it again for cleaning your guns. NEVER RE-USE THINNER FOR THINNING PAINTS! When mixing paint, your thinner MUST BE PURE. ~ Mike

A DAGGER FOR YOUR THOUGHTS Here are some tips on practicing your dagger strokes: Start by doing rows of dots. When you do this, keep the air on the whole time and rock the trigger back and forth. Keep doing this until your finger starts getting comfortable with this movement. This exercise helps to create muscle memory. Once you get the trigger action going, start moving while your finger is rocking the trigger forward. This will give you a thicker beginning and a razor sharp point. Continue to the next dot and repeat. If you use this technique of keeping the air on, you will eliminate the spit of paint that comes off the end of the gun when you start a new line. While you are working your dagger strokes, loosen up and use your whole body. Change your distance from the surface. Move in close to get a really tight stroke, and bring your distance back to get nice fade strokes. Do You Have A Tip or Trick that you would like to share? Send it to, or post up on one of our affiliate web sites: A dagger is best achieved when you completely close the • • paint flow off using a smooth transition. Start with strokes of about an inch or so at first, then work your way up to the bigger and/or longer lines. The more you practice this, the smoother you will become. Once you get your dagger strokes down, everything else will come together more easily and more naturally. ~Grafx

MARTHA STEWART HAS NOTHING ON US! Here’s a cheap and practical addition to your spraying area. I bought one of those plastic hanging shoe holders from my Target for around $5. It has 38 big compartments that you can store your paints and other things in. It’s clear heavy vinyl so you can see your paints or you can label them. No more digging thru a shoebox looking for the right color, now they’re hanging right where you need them!! ~Badges2

MANAGE OVERSPRAY CHEAP and EASY! If you’re not lucky enough to have a dedicated spray booth, or are working from a home shop you will have come across the issue of overspray. Covering up parts with drop cloths and what have you is time consuming and cumbersome. For ease of use get some large clear plastic yard waste garbage bags and bag your stuff. The bags are big enough to fit over motorcycle parts on the stands. Works great. ~ Stormwerks

Before spraying the desired color within the masked area: 1. Be sure all edges are pressed down(the top of your fingernail works good) 2. Apply a light coat of intermediate/intercoat clear to the edges of the tape (*key step*) 3. Apply desired color, after the clear has had time to dry, in light coats, building up the color slowly. This also prevents an edge from building up against the mask. To prevent pulling paint up with the mask, always pull the tape up at a 90 degree angle to the painted surface and toward the tips (points) from the middle of the graphic. Do not start at the points because this is where the paint has the least amount of surface area adhered to the substrate. ~CGant




In commemoration of my first HowTo article with AB•Mag I have decided to write about my favorite technique to teach, which is also most of my students’ favorite to learn: Three-Dimensional Blades. If you’re looking for a new style to integrate into your portfolio, this technique is a must-have. If you enjoy working with graphic styles like flames and tribals but want to get more “pop” out of your work this effect will help you get there; I will demonstrate how to effectively add bevels and blade-like aspects to your work. Although this can appear very complicated, once you learn a few quick steps any type of graphic design can become a realistic three-dimensional masterpiece. I particularly like to sell this design to the customer who is looking for something basic but still a little different than his buddy’s traditional pin-striped flames. This look feels more complex than it actually is, and will prompt people to reach out and touch the surface to see if the metal is really there. An added bonus is that it can often take less time a traditional flame and pin-stripe job.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

Personally, I like to take the design to the next level and combine graphic styles with freehand artwork. In the case of the piece I’m using for this demonstration, I want an aggressive demon and skull image to complement the aggressive style of the blades. I promise that once you complete your first piece in this style you will love the overall outcome and want to incorporate it into your portfolio. I hope you’ll enjoy learning this style as much as I


Three-Dimensional Blades - If you’re looking for a new style to integrate into your portfolio, this technique is a must-have.

1. For this piece, I am starting with a black enamel-coated sign blank which I have scuffed down with a grey scuff pad. I clean the surface with a post-sanding cleaner to remove any residue and get it ready for layout. I measured to find the center and ran a tape line.


I use 1/8� green fine-line tape to lay out the first side of my design. I prefer the green fine-line when I plan on allowing the design to remain in tape for a while. It has less of a tendency to shift and leave glue residue than other styles of tape available. To create a mirror image of the design from the right side to the left I line up a piece of masking paper over the tape marking the centerline and then lightly rub a pencil or piece of chalk over the surface of the masking paper. As you can see in the picture, the pencil leaves behind darker lines in any raised areas, like where the tape is.


3. Once I have finished pouncing out the design, I remove the mask and flip it over so that it lines up on the opposite side of the center tape. It is important that in this step I remember to still cover the tape. If I were to line it up with the outside of the tape, the design would end up 1/8’ off center to the right side. After the mask is lined up, I use a pounce pad by patting and rubbing the powder over the holes. When I pull the masking paper away, there is a chalk outline forming a mirror image of the other side. 4-5. In this picture, you see the chalk outline the powder left behind after I removed the mask. I blow off the excess dust and tape out that side of the design, following the chalk lines left from the mask. At this point I can cover the entire area with transfer tape. Once the transfer tape is applied, I cut the design with a precision utility knife, letting the blade run in the center of the fine line tape which will still be visible through the transfer tape. The fine-line tape keeps me from cutting through to the surface. 4. Once I cut the whole shape out with my blade I pull away the areas where I want the paint to go. 6. Now, I am ready to begin painting. The first step in obtaining the metal effect I’m going for is by spraying down bands of silver metallic. The nice thing about going over black with silver in this project is that the areas where you do not spray still get hit with some overspray, creating a charcoal color. You can enhance this effect by adding some black candy to make the color more dynamic. Before I go any further, I like to note the direction of where I want my light source to come from and draw lines stemming out from that point. I draw arrows directed towards the points were the light will impact the surface. Because the look we are trying to achieve is a blade that is beveled on the outside and inside edges, being consistent with the light source is crucial. I start defining the beveled edges by picking a few areas and taping them with fine line tape. This image demonstrates my technique, note that I start at a point, gradually tapering the gap open and then closing it back up at the other end.





2. Next I use a pounce wheel and to follow the inside edge of the design. The pounce wheel leaves small holes in the paper which will allow the pounce powder to pass through in the next step.


7. With each bevel section taped out individually and back masked to protect against overspray, I spray with a very thin white paint where the light will hit the blade. Following that, I use black candy and a thinned black base paint on the edge where the light is will not hit. I also come back again with the white and add some light reflection in the dark areas. This represents the light reflecting off the highlighted side of the blade. This also helps to add some contrast to the dark side of the blade so it stands out from the black base.



8. It is often necessary to move around the design taping off sections one at a time and repeating the process outlined in step 9 quite a few times. If I am able, I try to tape out multiple sections at a time. It can make the process go quicker and help to keep everything uniform. I like to do the left and right sides at the same time, and I never work on sections that come into contact with each other at the same time. At some intersections the beveled edge should end in a sharp intersection with another bevel. In these areas, I have the edge meet up flat against another; this gives it a nice carved and sharp look.


NOTE: There are other ways to make the masking process faster. Laying another sheet of transfer tape down and cutting out all the edges at once, then spraying them all at the same time can greatly cut down on masking time. The downside is that this method can be very difficult to keep clean and workable when you are working on a curved surface such as a motorcycle tank. 9. After I have completed all the previous steps and am happy with the state of the beveled edges, I pull away all of my edge tape outs. At this point I like to add some rivets. There are many different ways to execute a rivet, I prefer to use my vinyl plotter to cut out a square with a circle cut out of it, removing the square from the backing sheet while leaving the circle behind. I adhere this template where I want to paint the rivet. Based on my previously defined light source I spray a white highlight where the light would impact a true rivet and spray a shadow opposite. I spray the majority of the paint onto the mask and only allow small amount to fall inside the template. This gives me a greater level of control when building a highlight in a small space.


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10. After I remove the square mask I place the circle mask that was left over on the vinyl backing on top of the rivet I just painted. Again taking my cues from my light source, I place a highlight in the appropriate area and a shadow opposite. This makes the rivet appear as though it has been punched into the surface of the metal.


11. Now it is time for all the masks and tape I have used to be removed. Also, it is important to clean the surface of the metal with a cleaner specified for this purpose. While it is still wet, I get a quick preview of how the blades will look when cleared. If everything has gone well, they should look like they are popping out of the surface. To take this project to the next level, I am going to add a free hand illustration in the center of the blades, which is why I left such a large opening in my design from the start. It is good to know that I could stop right here and still have a great looking piece. The design can stand completely alone as an interesting and marketable look that will really turn some heads once it has been cleared.


12. In order to integrate a freehand mural into this piece, I need to cover the blade graphic with a clear masking material, cutting around the edges with a precision utility knife. This ensures my hours of work stay protected form any overspray or mistakes.


Once the blades have been protected, I lay out my illustration design with chalk. I always use regular pure white chalk only. Never use squeakless or dustless chalk! It contains oils and silicones which can (and probably will) contaminate your art, resulting in fish-eyes or solvent reactions in your clear coat. Either of these reactions can occur immediately at the time of clear or months down the road. This is definitely not good for customer relations or for your wallet. 13. Now I can start working on the under-painting. An under-painting is a complete layout of an illustration, usually painted using a light color which is in this case white. I want to render all of my base images and also work in most of the underlying detail. It is important to keep this stage as tight as possible. Working tight and clean will be a huge benefit later when other colors are added.


14. I switch to a thinned black and start darkening my shadows to bring definition to my image. I work areas slowly and don’t rush in to try to get a final level of detail at this point. This stage is simply for building the images in layers so they look more natural and realistic. Generally, the darker something is the deeper it appears. I really want those eye sockets to be both dark and deep so I’ll continue working on this area, as well as the entire piece, with black.


15. The next stage involves a lot of switching back and forth from black to white while defining my highlights and sharpening the design. I also use a color called smoke which is a black candy that is available under many names through paint suppliers. I like this color because it really smoothes out my shadows and gives everything a natural black cast with a slight purplish blue tinge. Although subtle, this really makes a difference in the appearance of the finished piece after it has been clear coated.


Final: I clear coat most of my work with four coats of high solids clear. I use a lot of clear to ensure that I have plenty of product to wet sand and smooth. I never want to be able to feel where any tape out lines were. If for some reason the clear is not quite deep enough to get the painting super smooth, I will sand the clear with six or eight hundred grit the next day and give it more clear at that point. Remember to always check the technical data sheets that are included with your product guidelines to fully understand film thickness and cure times. Once the clear is ready I wet sand and polish it to a show-quality finish before put it on display. But that’s another How-To. Scott MacKay is Owner and Operator of: Thin Air GraFX Peabody, MA


I continue to work with the design until I am satisfied with the piece. A bonus with working over a straight black base is I can now go around the design and fix any overspray or scuffs that may have occurred throughout the process. I also can not resist adding a touch of blue candy to the eyes of the skulls to give them some character.


Model: Karen | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

by Lee and Lisa Berczel Lisa and Lee of Battle Dress Paint N Body in Corona, CA use the human body to create some of their finest art. Over the next several pages, they will share with us some tips, tricks and, well, lets just call it eye candy.

The art

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of body painting is making the model’s “Illusionware” look so real that the audience, print or live, believes that the person is clothed.


The real secret to this type of art is working with the model’s body. You must take into account the curves and dips that are present on all people and the variations that will be on every individual. If you ignore this advice you will produce a product that has the appearance of having a decal slapped on the body. Amusing maybe, but hardly worth the time and effort invested for the artist, model or photographer.

Model: Jenny Choas, | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Model: Pia Kaamos | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Battle Dress Paint N Body was born when two friends approached us with radically different requests. The first friend, Adam, is a published author, designer and photographer in the science fiction/fantasy genre. Science fiction as in the future, fantasy as in the girls aren’t wearing many clothes and genre as in it’s a theme. Eventually the topic of bodypaint for the models was broached and a plan for “painting the costumes” on to the women was devised. At the same time Mark, friend number two, bought a Nascar helmet off of Ebay. He had this strange notion of driving a car in some demolition derbies over the summer and asked us if we could design and paint a cool image onto this helmet for these events. The combination of these two unrelated but freakishly odd requests snapped my wife, Lisa, into an arts and crafts frenzy that has led to a serious drop in our bank account, a sharp rise in the stuff filling up our shop space, a severe lack of weekend time, and the photos that are our web gallery. This aggressive hobby continued for quite a while,and then in the early part of 2005 (melodramatic music inserted here) Lisa’s left arm began to ache and eventually not move so good. My poor wife required surgery on her shoulder. Through the recovery time, the company that she was working for combined two departments and her job went by-by. Hence, ergo and so forth the official creation of Battledress Paint –n- Body and the desperate strides taken to make it a real, viable and profitable enterprise ensued.

“How do you get the models?” you may ask. It is not as easy as you may think. You have to get a model that has the right temperament. Not just anyone will undress just because you ask them, I’ve tried, and it only worked once. Usually we leave it to the photographer, if you’re going to open a can of worms, it’s better to have a professional fisherman on hand. The best model is a calm one, one that twitches around and keeps trying to look at what is going on can frustrate the artist and lengthen the paint time: “Oops, did I move and do that? Can you fix it?”


Since we’re doing an article about body painting I will not delve into the various other aspects of our business (motorcycle painting, minor fabrication, fine arts, and sculpture) but jump directly into what everyone has interest in, the models.


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What is good are the body paints and makeups specifically designed to use on people – at the psi recommended. They are FDA approved and generally non-lethal. Always patch test the model. By this I mean spread some of the paint to be used on the person’s wrist and wait for about 15 minutes to see if there is an allergic reaction. Sending a model to the hospital or the morgue makes it harder to get more models. They talk, well the ones that go to the hospital do.


Next, who’s the audience? Is this a live show or a photo shoot? Cameras hate intermittant metallics and a little white go a long way whereas in person it can be just the opposite. Once all these issues are addressed you need to start painting the model. Oh, did you plan the paint or are you going to wing it when the model arrives? Trust me - plan the job and discuss it with everyone involved, a lot. If an assistant is available they can be very helpful, if they are not there just to ogle the model. The worst thing that can happen is the “Oh my gosh there’s a naked/nude/seminude/bare-breasted/thonged woman in the room, can you believe it, like wow. Cool. Can I take some pictures?” You won’t get a lot done. As the old assistant to my lovely wife, if you told me at 18 that I would be helping paint young (legal),

Model: Kaylie, Featured How To at | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Model: Jill | Photography: Battle Dress

Now that you have the canvas, the media is the next step. Acrylic craft, fabric tepera or rattle can paint is not, I repeat not acceptable. Not only will you have a possibly sick model, the photographer will be paranoid that the fumes and overspray will damage his expensive, sensitive equipment or ignite at some point and blow up the studio. Bad form.

beautiful women and that I would do it in a professional, detached manner – I would have called you insane. But, that is what is happening. The model must be treated with the respect due any person in a vulnerable situation. Therefore I am the proper assistant, I get drinks, help support arms or anything else that the model, photographer or airbrush artist needs. A comfortable model is a happier model is a better model. One of the big advantages of painting a person as opposed to a motorcycle tank is that they can help you in the positioning. “Can you move over here, lift that or rotate down”. The disadvantages of painting a person is that one; they get bored and two; they can move in random directions with no warning. And they can sneeze. At this point you now can use many of the techniques that you would use on a static piece, on the model. Freehand shields, stencils, graduations, brush tricks, transparents, stippling, spattering and just about anything else you can think of are viable. With a little planning and a not too serious attitude, you can produce a wonderful looking bodypaint relatively quickly. Remember everyone have fun. And after the paint is completed, that is the time to appreciate the art. And as you can see it is truly art.

Lee and Lisa Berczel are Owners of: Battle Dress Paint N Body Corona, CA


Model: Jenny Choas, | Photographer: Phillip Kim Marra of PKM Images,

Model: Jenny Choas, | Photographer: Mitzi Valenzuela,


Model: Belladonna | Photographer: Adam Chilson

Model: Michelle | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Model: Brooke | Photography: Battle Dress

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Model: Joseph, | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Model: Belladonna | Photographer: Adam Chilson,

Model: Melodie Gore, | Photographer: Adam Chilson,




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Pa i n t i n g H e l m e ts i s m o r e t h a n j u s t a p p l y i n g pr ett y c ol or s t o h a rd p r o t e ct i v e s h e l l s .



Where do I start? I guess before I get to explaining why I am here and what we are doing I should introduce myself to the fine readers of AB•Mag. My name is Ryan Young and I am the proud owner of Indocil Art and Design in good ole, by God, Rock Hill, SC. For all you Yankees and guys out West, here is where it is appropriate to let out a hearty “Yeeee Haaaaw!” We are a custom paint shop that focuses most of our attention on providing high-end custom helmets to racing’s elite, good ole boys, professionals, idiots, hobbyist, and fellow racers. This is my How To column called “Helmet Head.” This reoccurring column is devoted to helmet painting and will address real questions and should provide you with some of the hard to find knowledge, secrets of helmet painting and some very opinionated views on everything from the paint industry to why I prefer briefs over boxers. I hope that what I share in this column can help others and maybe find its way into other parts of the custom painting world.

I started Indocil Art and Design in 1999 as a full time sign shop with one major goal. I was desperate to do something art related and make a living without installing automotive glass and windshields. I ate, slept and breathed signs, and after finding a website called that was devoted to the art of sign making, I decided to concentrate on the traditional forms of sign making. We had a computer and a plotter that I was pretty good with but my love was in pinstriping, airbrushing, hand lettering, gold leafing and anything done in a traditional fashion. I started going to Pinhead meets, sometimes driving 14 hours one way, just to practice with people that would teach me just some of the tricks of the trade. I was starving for this information that some of the greatest artist in the world were willing to share with anyone that had the passion for the art and the desire to learn.

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As of Jan 2006 we only do helmets due to our growing workload. Indocil’s reputation for providing some of the wildest helmet paint now needs our full attention.


I know some of you are asking “what does this have to do with helmets and custom painting?” Good question, but simmer down I am getting to it! I feel the techniques and lessons learned from traditional sign painters and pinstripers have been invaluable and have helped my helmet painting reach a level that I would have never though possible a decade ago. I also feel that helmets are a lot like good signs. Signs and helmets do the same thing when done right. When you think about it, they both provide information and relay messages. Who is this driver? What is his or her personality? What are they trying to sell or what are they trying to promote? Are they promoting the driver the team or are they promoting a product? I use rules of good sign design, color theory and traditional techniques to produce helmets that many consider some of the best in the country. In all forms of custom paint it is important to be as versatile as possible and painting signs has allowed me to think outside the box of your typical helmet airbrushing. Fast Forward to today, and Indocil hardly resembles the sign shop I started in 1999. It has been my goal to produce the wildest most visually appealing helmets available, and to help make this possible I have surrounded myself with a great group of guys. I employ two people that help with every aspect of custom paint. Michael Starnes is my shop manager and he is the guy that handles the prep, and clearing when he isn’t scheduling jobs and order-

ing supplies. We crank out 5 to 10 helmets a week and it is a daunting task keeping every thing running as smoothly as possible. I also have one other artist, Dwain Cromer that assists with design and helps with marketing. Dwain is an excellent illustrator and artist and a growing part of Indocil Art and Design. Together we have been fortunate enough to paint on many types of projects that have been far from boring. We have painted for teams seen in NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, SCCA, and countless other sanctioning bodies. We painted the helmets seen in the upcoming Will Ferrel NASCAR comedy Called ‘Talledaga Nights, The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.’ We have painted bikes seen in Biker Build Offs and at shows taking ‘Best of Paint’ many times. We have also painted custom shotguns for professional clay shooters from South Carolina to California. We have painted racecars to refrigerators, but as of Jan 2006 we only do helmets due to our growing workload. Indocil’s reputation for providing some of the wildest helmet paint now needs our full attention. In the following issues we will talk about every aspect of painting helmets from proper prep to final clearing. I will share some of my hard-learned lessons like the proper way to remove and install the trim molding. We are also very familiar with specialized bases such as Vacuum Metalizing or chrome bases and will further explain these processes. We will also explore a process called aqua setting. This is a procedure that applies faux carbon fiber and realistic camouflage to parts that can be submerged under water. We will start a sample helmet that you, the reader will be able to follow from start to finish. We will talk about everything from paint application, to your responsibility as a helmet painter.

Painting helmets is also a huge responsibility and should never, under any circumstances, be taken lightly. Most racing helmets cost and average of $600, and jumping blindly into one head first may not be the way to go Bucky. There are some things you never do when painting helmets, and we will, over the next months, try to help you get a good feel for what is and what is not OK. The BEST outcome from you screwing up a helmet would be a ticked off customer that gets a $600 refund. The worst thing that could happen is someone gets hurt or even killed. We have been working with select helmet companies as outside consultants and are helping design new helmet models for drag racing. Working directly with helmet companies in the design process has allowed us to gain huge amounts of knowledge and an understanding of the ever-changing helmet safety business. We will try to keep you updated as we get new information. Much like the lessons learned from the old timers and people I have met, my articles will have more than How Tos and safety information. I will be climbing on the soapbox to share my beliefs on things AB•MAG Helmet Project - Concept Drawing like proper business ethics, paint products and giving respect where


In the following issues we will talk about every aspect of painting helmets from proper prep to final clearing.


respect is due. I am a very opinionated person and I know that all of my beliefs will not be met with open arms. I do, however, promise you this: I will never sugar coat anything or try to hold back important parts of a process. If I talk about a product or a method of painting I believe in it 100%. I will not promote warm cow pee strained through a dirty sock as the newest thing in paint just because someone is writing me a check. I refuse to feed you the same old recycled How To crap that can be seen in most other magazines. I just want to share information, entertain and share my future business triumphs and failures with like-minded painters and people that understand a little about what is going on at Indocil Art. So there you have it. That’s who I am and what I am planning on doing. Feel free to ask any questions about helmet paint or the type of conditioner that I use in my hair to get that beautiful glow, by writing Helmet Head at AB Magazine (HelmetHead@AB-Mag. com). Also, please remember Bucky, these are my beliefs and opinions and if you need to send complaints, please address them to “The Burn Pile” at Indocil Art and Design, 425 Rawlsville Rd, Rock Hill SC.

by Diana Learn By far, the single most asked computer skill question we get at is “how do you make a bevel?”

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Mastering the concept of creating an equi-distant contour around a shape or within a shape is an absolute must in graphic design. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest things to do. Here’s how.


Create your shape, whether it is a simple square, a line of text, or a complex tribal design. Select that object. In Illustrator, choose Object -> Path -> Offset Path, or in CorelDRAW go to Effects -> Contour. In both cases you will get a dialog box that will allow you to set the size of the bevel, specify inside or outside, and with a click of the OK button, you have a perfect bevel!

AI TIP: Specify + or - numbers in the dialog box to contour inside (-) or outside (+) the shape.

CDR TIP: Specify the number of “steps” in the Contour Dialog box and apply multiple contours at one time!



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HELKEN ment Album Co This proje out of Cal with all A ments, I st the music. hard core were look


N: Corporal Punish-

This project was commissioned as cover art for a band out of California. As I do with all Album Cover assignments, I started by listening to the music. They play a really hard core thrash metal and were looking for an image that reflected their style. They also wanted to make some sort of political statement, though exactly what, was left up to me. After a few days of thought and listening, I came up with the idea for the soldier character who seeks revenge for those who have been killed by terrorists.

I liked the sketch so much that I did not want the painting to lose anything in the translation from idea, to sketch, to final product. I was very happy with my original sketch. I was able to capture the dynamics and tension in composition that I was aiming for. The power of the design is emphasized by the very strong sense of perspective and the solid, triangular composition. In this particular case, I liked the sketch so much that I did not want the painting to lose anything in the translation from idea, to sketch, to final product. I also wanted to test out a masking idea that had been floating around in my head. This article is the result of the test. I completed the pencil sketch, then inked it with a Sharpie. We scanned the image and then I used CorelTRACE to capture the major shapes and elements in the design. I sent the resulting file to my Roland GX 24 and created a vinyl mask in the Compu-Sition style.


over ect was for a band lifornia. As I do Album Cover assigntarted by listening to . They play a really thrash metal and king for an image that

by Mike Learn






1. Here you can see what the mask looked like. I am working on a 2’ by 2’ piece of sheet metal. This project became kind of an R&D piece to push the limits of this Compu-Sition style masking. I will approach the technical part of the design in much the same way that we are approaching the use of the stencils. I am very pleased with the way the drawing is mapped out. 2. I start with the white (as always) and give the entire area a light ghosting. This will give me the “map” that is the integral part of this process. With the mask in place, I start to add different intensities of white to begin to establish some of the initial focus and light source. As you can tell, the mask was really only used for a very short time, but the process of tracing and cutting was quicker than resketching, so it was an efficient and worthwhile endeavor. 3 & 4. Here you can see the results of the initial white. I removed the mask and degreased the surface. At this time you will also want to use your tack clothe to clear the surface of any loose spray. Once the mask is removed, I begin to go in and develop the “cut out” image working with some of the negative spaces left black by the mask. This is where the creative part of using the masks comes in to play. Remember, the whole idea behind the vinyl layout is to utilize your masked shapes as a “map” to guide you around the rest of the design.


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5 & 6. Here you can start to see some of the details that I am adding. Notice how I am softening things up a bit by not using any shielding in this area. Using the basic techniques of airbrushing I begin to render the detail in the folds and the fabric. Here you can see how where the painting got its name “Corporal Punishment.” Our main character used to be a sergeant, but was demoted at one time for impulsive behavior. You can see that he had a stripe removed.

7. As the image progresses you can see that I have used some loose hand shielding on some of the edges of the weapon to keep it crisp. Also remember that what we are doing right now, is providing the groundwork and structure that we will follow throughout the rest of the painting. I am using the white to develop the shape and the form. Nothing I do from here on out will contradict what I am establishing with the white. You can also see some of the perspective lines that I used for some of the buildings that will be developed later. I added these lines simply. Using a loose hand shield, I ghosted the lines in to help me with some of the dynamics of perspective. 8. Continuing on down into the terrorist I am keeping a strong sense of light coming from directly above as the main light source. Notice how easy it is to come in and completely rid the painting of the original stencil or mask that was used to generate the basic Compusition. Here you can see that I have started some sketching with a white Stabilo adding in some of the elements of the environment that will begin to see some development.





10. I want to create a very strong focus on the muzzle blast coming out of the front side of the terrorist’s body. This is exaggerated even more by the black negative space to the left side of the blast. You can see that now I am also working on some of the foreground elements. As I add in the foreground elements, I am cautious of the scale that these are drawn. I want to use them to help reinforce the sense of perspective.

I use the white to develop the shape and the form, laying the basic groundwork for the painting. NOTHING I do in color will contradict the white. 11. For the gun I used a razor blade and some loose shielding to keep the edges really crisp. You can also see the loose airbrush “sketching” that I laid out to provide composition for the left side of the foreground. 12. Now that I have most of the foreground done, I begin to work on the background.

14. 16.



You may have noticed that I got rid of my ghosted perspective lines. Part of being an artist is having the flexibility to make those kind of changes when you want to. I just blacked them out and moved on. 13. Now I have redrawn my background and I am starting with some of the fire coming off the buildings and ejected casings. Again I am working with perspective as the bullet casings get larger the “closer” they get to you. 14 -15. To establish my focal point I use some blue fine line tape. I will also use tape to set up for the windows in the building. I am also using 3/4” and 1/4” tape to set up a “grid” for some of the architecture in the background. Once the grid is set up, I spray in the reflection in the windows. 16. Here you can see the results after the tape was removed. The rest of the building was created with the negative space left by the tape. The events I am painting are taking place at dusk, so the reflection in the glass would be strong with the amount of fire and burning that is going on all around. I use some loose hand shields to pick up the corners of the buildings and window casings.


9. I am now ready to begin working with the hands. Notice how much larger the hand is in comparison to the rest of his body. It is certainly somewhat exaggerated from a perspective standpoint, but I also wanted to make it painfully obvious that this guy was going for a gun, despite the big hole in his chest. I probably do not need to mention that he also has a very bitter taste left in his mouth from the grenade that has been stuffed down his throat.



17. The image is coming together nicely. Notice that rather than having the fire burn vertically, I wanted the piece to have the appearance of winds blowing the fire across the sky. Since the white base is nearly done, I will spend considerable amount of time right now making sure that I have established all the highlights that I want for the image. I really want to emphasize the importance of fully developing your white. I have said it before, and will say it again many times. Your white is not finished until you have fully developed the shape, lighting and contrast that you want to have in your final work. Do not go into the color applications thinking that you can “fix that later.” Fix it now. Fix it in the white. 18. This image may look like we are jumping ahead, but really, this is not the case. This image shows the color placement of my 3 main color washes. The colors and order they were laid down are:


A. Overall wash with SEM Sundance Kandy. Sundance is the primary color of the background. B. Next the SEM Kandy Tangerine was added to the flames and some additional glowing was added to the casings and some of the main reflections. C. SEM Root Beer Kandy is the primary color of the foreground was added last.

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19. I got my flesh tones for this piece by mixing the Kandy - a little bit of the Tangerine and Root Beer. The bone color is primarily Kandy Sunrise with a bit of Tangerine in some of the darker areas. Now I am going to use Kandy Root Beer and some loose hand shielding and start to chisel out the area around the pistol and the casings and some of the other



elements. Throughout this piece, there is a considerable amount of shielding used in a variety of forms, to show the particular characteristics of the element being worked on, be it shiney, hard, round or otherwise. 20. You can see here that I have started to work on some of the background fire. I have done this with a mixture of oranges and yellow. I will come back in again with the white to emphasize some of these elements later, but this is the first part of laying down the background glow. 21. This image is a detail shot that emphasizes how I have used some of the kandy yellow on some of the lighter highlights in the foreground.


22. You can see that I have added a SEM Mint Green Kandy light wash to the uniform of the corporal. I have also added SEM Kandy Apple Red to the shirt of the terrorist and the blood splatter in front of the blast. Look closely for an aorta. It’s around there somewhere! Ha Ha.

DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY YOUR IMAGINATION! If you have an idea, but are unsure of how to pull it off technically. Don’t worry, just do it.



24. For my detail color that I will use in the foreground, I mixed a combination of Root Beer Kandy, Mint Green Kandy and some black basecoat. I am going to use a combination of loose hand shielding and free hand airbrushing to develop and sculpt the base that was laid out in white. Again, let me emphasize that I am still following the initial guidelines that were set out in the very first white. Notice here how the original mask lines and layout are not even evident.


I am still following the initial guidelines that were set out in the very first white.

23. Now I pretty much have all my washes in. I am going to begin some of the detailing. Notice here the green grenade, the green mask and a strong application of yellow in the highlights on the corporal and also in the brass casings being ejected from his gun. This is the reflection from a very strong secondary lighting source - the burning background.



25. I use the same dark detail color that I mixed for the foreground to develop and render the darker spaces and to create the folds in the uniform of our soldier. Here you can see further development and some emphasis on the contrast in front where the muzzle blast is exiting the chest of the victim. Also notice that I have added shadowing on the edges of the red blood puddle. See how this simple, but basic rule of shading gives depth to the bloody mess. 26. Now that the foreground is nearly wrapped up, I have only to work the background environment before the entire piece is complete. 27. Here is a detail shot of the gun. Notice the notch in the handle. These crisp edges were achieved with loose hand masking. 28. And here is the complete painting. As you can see, I went back in and added highlights to help bring attention and focus to some specific areas. Notice that the contrast in the foreground is considerably higher than in the background. I achieved this by adding a little white to my dark detail color as I moved backwards into the painting.


The use of extreme contrast, perspective and composition all together have created a very unique piece fore my customer that not only satisfied them, but myself as well. The moral of the story for this tutorial is this. Although this piece seems to be very advanced, it is really nothing more than a series of basic lessons, all of which have been covered throughout the years at - and as we always say... YOU CAN DOOOOO IT. DON’T BE INTIMIDATED BY YOUR IMAGINATION! If you have an idea, but are unsure of how to pull it off technically. Don’t worry, just do it. Just try. After all, what is the worst thing that can happen? Mike Learn is a Custom Painter and Airbrush Instructor Mike Learn Airbrush & Design •Tempe, AZ &


The use of extreme contrast, perspective and composition have created a very unique piece.

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with Steve Leahy


Illustration Fine Art

Fine Art Illustration Setting Goals

It may not be too much of an exaggeration to say that we are now in the golden age of airbrushing. Breakthroughs in paint formulations and advances in airbrush manufacturing have made this a very good time to be an airbrush artist. With all of this, I believe the real key to this amazing boom is the exchange of information between artists that has occurred due to the internet in the recent years. Websites like have brought the airbrush community so much When I began airbrushing in 1988, information and educa- closer together by giving artists a place to instantly exchange tion was hard to come by for me. I found that I was scrapinformation and to ping bits and pieces of show their work. Never My contribution to Airbrush Magazine will be the information together before has there been from books and magasame promise that I made in 1988, to pass on what this closeness between zines. Then, by trial I have learned and to help other artists avoid some air brushers from all and error, testing that over the world. information and trying of the pitfalls that I have encountered. My contribution to Airto develop a method brush Magazine will that worked for what I be the same promise needed. During those that I made in 1988, to pass on what I have learned and long and frustrating times I vowed that I would pass on to help other artists avoid some of the pitfalls that I have whatever I was learning so that others could benefit from all encountered. I have always felt that the best way to grow is of my mistakes. Eighteen years later, the mission is still the to create challenges and these future articles will hopefully same but the journey has become so much easier. give you those challenges by offering you new ways to think

a general goal like this is to look at his work specifically against your own and find the aspects of his work that you want to achieve. For example, Vince has tremendous control over extremely fine lines and details. That could be one of your goals to learn that control. Vince’s work seems to glow with color. That could be another specific goal.

So this issue’s assignment for you is an easy one but crucial to improving your skills. Before you take any action, you have to have a plan. This will be your direction to help you overcome the specific challenges that are keeping you from creating the things you want to create. The first step is to write down what you do well with the airbrush and a second column for the areas that you would like to improve on. It is important to be as specific and as brutally honest as possible. Listing “I want to paint like Vince Goodeve.” is a great goal; we all want to have his skill. What you need to do with

This list will become your best friend along the way. It will break down what may seem overwhelming at first into very manageable steps that will get you exactly where you want to go. The best part is, you will always be adding to this list. Spending just a few moments looking through the amazing work in the artist’s gallery at will prove that the education never stops.

Steven Leahy once said about the challenges of airbrushing that “For every problem, there is a solution and an excuse”. The son of a draftsman, Steven was taught early on the importance of accuracy and thoroughness when it came to his work. Accepted to the University of Massachusetts, he received his degree in Fine Arts. Originally, he began honing his craft as a watercolorist before specializing in acrylic painting using the airbrush. He is best known for his painting of photorealistic scenes, created by layering multiple transparent colors. He exhibited his works at the Society of Illustrators in New York, as well as Museum of Naval Aviation in Florida, and won the acclaimed Artist’s Magazine award from the National Acrylic Painters Association.


about airbrushing. The skills are universal for any application, whether you are applying iridescent spots to a wood carved trout, applying a lace pattern to a customer’s fingernails or painting a twenty-five foot wall mural, these future articles will challenge you and make everything that you do with an airbrush better.


by Vince Goodeve The Devil’s Playground project is the first half of Chapter 13 from Vince’s NEW Book, “Professional Airbrush Techniques with Vince Goodeve.” Published by Wolfgang Publications, this book now available at fine airbrush supply stores across the country and abroad. Vince gave AB•MAG exclusive permission to preview his book in the first 2 issues.

equipment and product indigenous to the area became my first task. Next came the sketches and layouts of the complex graphics that would cover Steve’s Big Truck from one end to the other.


The Devil’s Playground – Machines with Heart For this project, I flew to Idaho where my friend and client Steve lives. I left home with nothing more than a pencil, which was promptly confiscated at customs. With no computer, vinyl cutter or other luxuries, I proceeded to embark on an adventure of huntergatherer. Securing

1. Say hello to my little friend. This is how the vehicle came to me, ready to go thanks to Todd and his buds. At first the square footage of the project overwhelmed me but I got over it. I start with the preliminary sketches and layouts, keeping them loose and basic as usual. I start by taping the door jams and fender wells to avoid creeping overspray that could enter the clean black interior. Next I lay down application tape being sure to remove any loose spots of bubbles with a squeegee. Now I sketch myfirst elements on the truck.

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2-3. With a # 11 x acto knife I 2. carefully cut out the areas to be exposed. Don’t hulk out and cut deep. Be sure to use new blades and just cut tape. The sharp blades give you more control. The cut out application tape and masking will give us a nice crisp edge to work off of later.

Using 24” body shop paper I mask the outside edges to avoid overspray. Don’t under estimate the “creeping overspray”.


4. In this step I use bright orange from my mixing bank, It’s opaque and builds color without the need for white under painting. Using a French curve elipse I proceed to create random background texture to give the impression of depth. 5. Next I create a red candy mixture using PPG’s DMX series. It’s a color concentrate that I add to a clear base coat binder. I then reduce it to a spray-able viscosity of about 2:1. Next, I mist a light coat of this red candy on top of my orange shape, using a detail gun, to


6. knock them back in intensity.

6. I repeat the process mentioned earlier with the curve template and orange, looking for dark areas or windows to fill up with the lighter tone for contrast.

7. 8.

7. Using opaque yellow I then add light-energy winding the bright colors into the tunnels I’ve created earlier with my template. 8. Another coat of DMX but this time I use an orange mixture, reduced exactly like the red earlier. 9. Now I remove the masking system. Always be sure to get any adhesive off the black base coat by using PPG’s DX 320 wipe.




10. Using pure white basecoat I then airbrush the outer texture or the stretching sheet metal, bearing in mind a constant light source.


11. A transparent purple wash over the white I’ve just sprayed is a good compliment to the reds and oranges within the tear. The purple wash is just Trans Purple reduced with medium reducer, approximately 2 parts reducer to 1 Part paint sprayed from my 11. airbrush at about 8” away from the surface. I give all the white a nice even mist coat. 12. Using pure black I create the stitching holding the tear together. I seldom use pure black but in this case I wanted extreme contrast against the graphic. Going back in with white I pop a few highlights to the appropriate sides of the ripples in the sheet metal.


13-14. These are detail shots of the tearing heat graphic and the lava flows which ensue. Notice the dripping lava and “stitching” that holds the tear together. The lava flows that run down the quarter panels follow the contours of the vehicle just like liquid would flow naturally. I also run the lava down the door pillars to sort of add some light and color to the top of the truck.




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The “Burnout” Image: For composition sake I want



to shoot or project my original sketch on the side of the truck in order to get a feel for placement and size. When projecting on black, the light is gobbled up and isn’t condusive to clean referece sketch. So I decide to 24” App. Tape to mask the vicinity of my first image. This will allow me to better see the projected image (on the white tape) and control the overspray created by the larger gun and the white basecoat. 15. I then use a large format spray gun and apply a medium dry coat of white to the area I’ve exposed in the application tape mask system. Wear your respirator! Using a light lead pencil (HB) I draw in the major components off of my sketch, leaving the fine detail to be created when I’m actually airbrushing. When doing

work like this be careful not to contaminate the truck with the oil from your hands during the sketching. You can occasionally clean the areas of contact with DX 320 wipe.


16. I start cutting out my malevolent friend with a transparent maroon mix (75% trans red, 20% purple, 5% green). Working off my original design, I begin a the headlight. It seemed like a good place to start to get a feel for the color I chose.



17. Here I am developing the texture of the sinew that holds the fuel tank. The beauty of not having a ton of reference lines is that you can create on the fly, sort of designing as you go.

18. Our demonic 19. daredevil emerges complete with fashionconscious vest. I like the way his high five hand works in front of the other graphic elements. 19. A progression shot carrying on into the legs. I’m constantly flicking my concentration over the other areas I’ve worked making adjustments for balance in the shadow areas.


20. Using white I under-paint the burnout and the cigar smoke. I 22. then give the “bike thing” and the sinewy specter a case of heart burn by adding heat and lava in the key areas. 21-22. A close up of his head, the main thing here is to notice the highlight on the right side of the figure. It helps lose the cut-out look or masked white underpainting. I use the lava to give a little life to the heart of the motor.



This shows a progression into the rest of the image. Just remember, be sure to make up enough of your color to last through the whole project. you can remix, but it’s a lot easier to roll through the entire painting without running out.



23. Slashed tires reveal molten center; just another point of interest that strays from the norm. 24. Using white basecoat I suggest motion in the drive line and rear tire. Dark grey is used to indicate the misshapen tire and chain in motion.



25. I then heat up the burnout using the same principles mentioned earlier. Details are extremely important. Note the little things like the flying frying rubber.



Using darks and lights in silhouette I create all hellish panorama. The strange rock formations contain personal hidden requests by the client. 26. Hang Ten, a close up of the creature’s hand against the torn or ripped graphic. 27. I use a series of loose templates cut out of Bristol board to create the mountains in the background and heat. I also render more lava which forms pools and rivers. By adding darks against lights & lights against darks behind my figure, I lose the pasted look. It’s a lot of real estate to cover with an airbrush.

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We will continue on with the other side next issue!!


This Project and more now available in Vince’s new Book “Professional Airbrush Techniques.” Ten start-to-finish sequences walk the reader through Vince’s airbrush work with both motorcycles and cars. With narration that that explain his choice of color, sense of design, and preference for tools and materials, Vince brings his art to life as you read. Projects include simple graphics as well as complex and intricate designs. Vince Goodeve has something to say to all airbrush artists - whether beginner or advanced. The cover shot of The Demon is the featured artwork for Vince’s new DVD to be realeased late summer.


GOODEVE Studios Owen Sound, ON Canada


Artists of the Future Show Us What They Got!!

6. Here is the stencil cut out and ready to be airbrushed. Colin then makes a new stencil for each of the colors in his design using the same steps. Colin L. creates a custom made airbrushed T-Shirt using an Omni 3000 airbrush, Createx paint and pellon stencils. The Omni 3000 is a double action, siphon feed airbrush. Createx paint is a fabric paint that is made to hold up in the wash and pellon is a felt like sheet that you can get at a fabric store. 1. First Colin finds a line drawing of the character for his t-shirt. Coloring books are a great place to find good pictures to use. With a photocopier, Colin makes the picture the size he wants. From there, he can then trace it onto the pellon with a permanent black marker.

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2. To remind him what colors he will need to airbrush later, Colin loosely colors in the drawing with crayon.


3. Here is the reference drawing all colored. Small dots are placed in the upper left and lower right corners. These dots help to line up all of the stencils later when he is airbrushing. 4. With another piece of pellon over the first piece, Colin traces all the parts of the drawing that will be painted green. He also includes the registration dots. 5. Very carefully, he cuts out what he has just drawn. The knife he is using is extremely sharp, so make sure you have an adults help.

7. Colin then stretches his t-shirt over a piece of foam board and tapes it in place. Small pieces of tape on the shirt let him put his registration dots on the shirt without leaving any permanent marks. 8. Next step is to put spray glue on the backs of all the stencils. This step is done outside where there is plenty of fresh air. 9. Colin places the first stencil on the shirt, lining up his registration dots and begins spraying the green color. 9a. Here is what it looks like after the first color is sprayed and the stencil is removed. 10. Next color is red for the eyes and the tongue.

11. Using the same red color in the airbrush, Colin adds ten drops of black to the red to make it darker for inside of the mouth. 11a. Here is what the dark red looks like all finished. 12. The black stencil is put in place and the antennae are painted. 12a. With most of the colors done, this is what the shirt looks like so far. 13. The last color is a light gray color made up of white and a few drops of black.

HAVE A BUDDING ARTIST IN YOUR HOME? Work with them to write an article! Contact for more. 14. For the next step, Colin uses a hair dryer to heat set the paint. This step is very important because it will help keep the colors in the shirt when it is washed. 15. To make the design look more like the original, Colin uses a permanent laundry marker to outline the whole design.

Colin is a 7th grader and likes skateboarding, playing basketball and video games. He also writes and draws his own comic books. Colin has been airbrushing for just about a year and uses it on all of his school projects. His favorite brush is the Omni 3000 and he uses Createx paints.


16. And here is the completed design ready to go.


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This feature will focus on the Curriculum of Airbrush. Without the young artists of today taking on the art form, where will the future Gigers, Soryamas, and Vargas’s come from? Education is the key to the growth and understanding of any subject matter. AB•Mag hopes to help educators and students alike to understand and expand their knowledge of airbrush as an art form. AB•Mag is fortunate enough to have been allowed inside the Advanced Airbrush Painting program of Bel Air High School. Please follow along and learn. . . as a student. . . or as a teacher.


There are fourteen major components to an airbrush. These components are: 1. Handle: Houses the back end components and counterweights the airbrush. 2. Color Cup: Holds the paint prior to atomization and release through the airbrush. 3. Trigger: The lever that controls air flow. In a dual-action gun, it controls both air and paint flow.

Often times we get so caught up in our art work that time just flies by. Before you know it, the old hunger pangs start and you can’t quite concentrate on the artwork in the manner that you should. Because this happens to me so often, I try to do a little planning ahead before the paint starts to flow. I don’t know if this happens to you or not, but when I open the freezer, meat calls out to me. On this day, a nice London Broil Steak with the “Great for Bar-B-Q” sticker on it jumped into my hands. Fine with me. I went and pulled out my copy of “365 Great Barbecue & Grilling Recipes” to find a marinade. Here is the one I selected: Okay, you have been airbrushing for a couple of hours and now the hungry horrors are totally ruining your concentration. Go start the grill so that the coals are good and ready.

4. Body: The shell which houses most of the internal working components of the airbrush and serves as the gripping point for the artist. 5. Needle: The needle allows for dispersal of the air/paint through the tip of the airbrush. 6. Needle Chuck: Grips the needle in order to permit its motion through the airbrush. 7. Needle Tube: Houses the internal spring which allows the needle and trigger to return to their “home” position.

Nothing goes better with a grilled steak then potatoes. Sticking with the rosemary theme, here is my favorite grilled potato recipe.

8. Head: The internal mixing chamber for air and paint. 9. Auxilary Trigger: Pinches the needle upon command of the trigger and allows for the movement of the needle. 10. Nozzle Cap : Protects the tip of the airbrush and the end of the needle. 11. Tip or Nozzle: Needle protrudes through this to prohibit paint for being expelled until needle is retracted. 12. Needle Bearing: Teflon bearing which lubricates the needle and acts as a positioning guide for the needle. It also prevents backflow of air/paint into the rear section of the airbrush. 13. Air Valve: A needle valve which allows air to enter the airbrush when the trigger is depressed. 14. Head Washer: Seals the head of the airbrush and helps to insure the proper vacuum necessary to pull paint into the head and mix with air.

Place packets on the grill, medium heat, and close cover. Grill for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes put the London Broil on the grill. Grill for three minutes and turn steak. Grill for 7 minutes. Turn steak and grill final 5 minutes. Once London Broil is cooked to your preference, thinly slice on a diagonal. This makes the meat very tender! Get potato packets, open and place on plates with London Broil slices and serve. If you like, add a cool crisp garden salad. It is taste bud nirvana! Airbrush Gourmet secret tip: Rosemary has a very unique flavor. Try substituting basil, oregano, or sage in either recipe. Until next time. . . Manga!


Answer Key: Airbrush Components


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I remember seeing my first Vargas Girl. Man! That was unreal. All I was doing with an airbrush at the time was tipping flame jobs. I remember thinking, “how can something so beautiful and full of contours and colors come out of a spray gun?” Well after 31 years of non-stop practice, I got it. Ha Ha. Sorry! I’m just messing with you. I have been known to do that once and a while. I have been fascinated by the airbrush ever since seeing the Vargas Girl. I paint flames, fire, tribal designs, skulls, clowns and assorted graphics, but I love doing pin-ups. There is something gratifying about seeing a line drawing become art at the tip of your airbrush. Anyway I was cruising the net and looking at other airbrush sites. I stumble into a site called Mike Learn Design,

I should have known with a name like Learn I was going to like it. I visited his site regularly. He was passing along info to anyone that was lucky enough to find his site. I felt real lucky; my airbrush technique started to improve and so did my art. Mike holds classes a few times a year and teaches his method of combining a computer, plotter and airbrush for some truly sweet works of art. With some airbrush knowledge you can take your art farther than you thought possible. That’s the path I took and have been painting for happy customers ever since. This is where the lesson I “LEARN”ed starts: I prepped a sample panel by scuffing, priming and spaying a black base coat. (I know black base sounds weird but stay with me.)

Step 1: This is the line drawing in Corel that I plotted the mask from. For this sample I used Olivia’s Heat Seeker for the pose. I then added the bed and headboard.

Step 2: This is the cut mask of the body. I centered it on the sign blank. (I saved the other parts of the mask on their original backing.) Step 3: Next I sprayed base white onto the background, fading it into bed. I also started to freehanded some detail where the blanket will be.

Step 6: I didn’t like the look of the bed so I added some pillows using the same method in step 5.

Step 7: I placed the masked headboard right over the top of the pin-up mask. Step 8: I than removed the masking to expose the bottom rail (Don’t toss any masking, you may need it later.). Step 8b: I sprayed in some black to cover the tangerine candy, also to lock the candy down for the next coat. Step 8c: I airbrushed white to simulate the light reflecting off the headboard.

Step 4: I then masked off the blanket area sprayed a couple of passes of tangerine and red candy following the white base coat fade. Step 5: Next I airbrushed red candy over the blanket area hitting the darker areas heavier. I then added some cobalt blue to the red to get a deep purple. I airbrushed the deepest folds in the blanket.

Step 9: I repeated step 8 for the top rail.


Step 8d: I sprayed gold candy over the white.


Step 10: I removed the mask from the bars and gave them the same treatment as above. Step 10b: I added white streaks and highlights to the parts being “hit by light”. Step 10c: I shifted my bed mask over and airbrushed some of the purple mixture to create the shadow.

Step 14: Replace the eye mask and then remove the mask from the face and lips. Paint it like you see it. Start with the brightest areas and fade to the shadows. It’s starting to look pretty cool already isn’t it. Step 15: I removed the masking from the hands, arms and shoulders. I airbrushed the white using the same method as in step 14, airbrushing the brightest areas and fading to the shadows. Use a loose mask to maintain hard lines.

Step 11: I added the rail shadow and airbrushed some gold onto the white highlights. Step11b: I sprayed inner coat clear to lock down the background.

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Step 12: I masked the outside of the pin-up. I taped the “joints” to stop over spray from wrecking the background. (I don’t throw away any masking until I’m finished.)


Step 16: Remove the mask from her butt and thighs. (Keep her garter belt, stockings and boots masked.) Her bottom and thighs have more skin showing than the top, so add white to match the top. Caution, don’t over do the white or you will have to go back and brighten the top. Check the shading and add a wash of white to balance everything out. Step back and give it good look. It should look like a pin-up now.

Step 13: This is where Mike’s lessons really kick in. Remove the mask from the eyes and teeth then just peal back the nose. Use white to airbrush the eyes, focus mainly in the center, (it gives the eyes a round appearance) teeth and lightly airbrush the brightest parts of the nose. Build up slow, don’t rush.

Step 17: Unmask the stockings, garter belt and boots. Airbrush white to the highlights and freehand the clips.

Step 18: Ok now this is why the white is so important. I start with a light flesh tone. Airbrush the light skin tone by using the white as your map. Build up slow don’t rush at this point. Loose shield any areas you want to stay light. A wash over the skin will blend it all together.

Step 20: Remove the hair mask. Freehand white in long flowing lines that follow the natural movement of the hair, a dagger stroke at the ends will give it a realistic appearance. You don’t have to do every hair, there should be light and dark for the right look.

You can mix your own skin tone or buy it from Bear Air like I do. (BTW the skin tones Bear Air sells are Mike Learns own mix.) The basic skin tone recipe is made from; 1 part white, 1 part red, and .5-1 part yellow, add a few drops of green or purple to get the shade required.

Step 20b: I airbrushed root beer candy over the hair.

Step 19: I now use the dark skin tone to reinforce the darker areas and any natural bodylines and curves formed by the skeleton and or muscles. This step is as important as the white. Use caution build shading up slowly. You can add shadowing behind overlying body parts; use your loose shield to keep the edges sharp. Step 19b: This is where I use brown to build up the darkest areas. Again I use a loose shield to define edges. Freehand the transitional areas. I have to say it again, build the shading slowly, don’t over do it. Occasionally step back and take a look from a distance, don’t focus on one small area, look at the entire picture. Step 19c: I outlined her eyes and added eye shadow. Step 19d: I sprayed inner coat clear to lock down the body. Now I replace the body and face masks. Use tape to seal all “joints”.

Step 20d: Airbrush in some white for the brightest clusters of hair. Step 20e: A light wash of root beer candy will finish off the hair. Step 21: Remove all masking and wipe the blank down with a cleaner. Airbrush white to all the highlights. Just like step 20 build the highlights slowly, don’t over do it. Step back and take a look from a distance, Step 22: Wipe with the cleaner again, add few coats of clear and some buffing and the piece is finished. My thanks go to Alberto Vargas the reason I used the airbrush for art, Olivia for the beautiful Heat Seeker pose and lastly my teacher and friend Mike Learn who not only taught me his method but the most valuable lesson an artist can LEARN. You can do it. Ed Krup - Back In Black Kustom


Step 18b At this point I colored her eyes, eyebrows and lips and then remasked.

Step 20c: Add a few drops of black to the root beer mix. Airbrush the dark recesses.


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THE BUSINESS CARD is used more than any other promotional item. At the very least a business card conveys conventional information – your company logo, telephone number, and other contact information. But as artists I like to think that we want to move beyond the conventional, bare minimum cards. We are in the business of creating images that are beyond convention, so why shouldn’t your calling card display your work? Most artists photograph their work for their portfolios (online or otherwise), and with today’s technology the majority of us are taking digital photographs. Utilizing a digital camera, PhotoShop, and the digital photo services provided by most retailers via their Canon Image Centers (you know those big yellow machines), you can create business cards that truly represent your work. I like to work on 11x17 panels when I am not working on a client’s project, and I like to use the designs to make business cards. Remember you are not restricted to this, but it is the easiest way to create a card without any background distractions. Step 1: Upload the image onto your computer, and open it using Adobe PhotoShop or any other photo editing software (for the purpose of this article I will be using Adobe PhotoShop on my trusty Mac). I have chosen a panel featuring a ‘McCully style’ skull. Step 2: Using the ‘text’ tool select and add the desired text. I have used the ‘Abaddon’ font, and added the company name and contact information. Because I want painting to be the focal point I keep the information to a minimum. Also be careful in the placement, any photofinishing will crop the image, so if your writing is close to the edges of the image in the computer they may get cut off when the image is printed off. Step 3: Save the file and head off to your local photo lab. Once at the Photo Machine, select the image file that you have created, and then select 2x3 as the image size. You will then be able to print off 4 business cards on a regular size 4x6 photograph.

The nice thing about this process is, that instead of committing to hundreds of business cards that take months or longer to give out, you can update cards with your latest and greatest works and tailor a set of cards for a particular market. Also, you can give your clients cards featuring their artwork. Chances are excellent that he will use those cards to show off his newly custom painted bike, car, helmet, etc. Just make sure you give him enough so he can let people keep the card, and line up another potential client. Until next time keep on spraying. J. “JD” Dirom is and airbrush artist based out of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Step 4: Take the 4x6’s home and use and exacto knife and ruler to cut the cards, and you are ready to go!


There are so many different airbrushes to choose from. It’s overwhelming. Which airbrush should I buy?

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Don’t panic. Airbrushing is a simple, yet complex art form.


If you are a beginner, buy the best airbrush you can afford. It will accelerate your learning curve. When deciding on an airbrush purchase, first look at what you hope to achieve. Are you going to do weathering on a Sherman Tank or murals on a $50,000 Custom Harley? Each art form has its own challenges and needs the appropriate tool. Next, an airbrush is a mechanical tool. It has moving parts that wear out. Purchase a tool that will be easy

to find replacement parts to keep your investment running at top performance. Two of the oldest and most trusted airbrush companies are The Paasche Airbrush Company ( and The Badger Airbrush Company ( These companies have complete lines of single action and dual action airbrushes. These companies offer top value for your dollar and it is very easy to find replacement parts. The internet is also a valuable tool in helping you to make the purchase right for you. Visit forums/.There are many experienced airbrush artists that can answer your questions and help you to make an informed decision. I am a taxidermist and I need to do fine detail on fish. Do I need to buy an expensive airbrush to achieve my fine details? Not necessarily. Fine detail is accomplished by a combination of small nozzle size, correct paint reduction, and the ability to work close to your artwork. Don’t think that

just by installing the smallest nozzle size into your airbrush, or purchasing an expensive 0.2mm airbrush, that fine lines and dots will automatically start appearing. It takes practice. Practice finding the right reduction in your paint. Practice working close to your surface. Practice controlling your airflow. And when you are feeling like you have the whole system working correctly, practice some more. A couple of tips: If you have always used a particular brand of airbrush, stay within the same airbrush family. Don’t make doing fine detail more of a challenge by switching brands and having to master a whole new trigger system. That being said, if you are in a position where you would like to have a dedicated fine detail airbrush check out airbrushes like the RichPen Phoenix 213C or the Mike Learn MOJO, two of the finest detail airbrushes on the market today. My T-shirt airbrush business is growing by leaps and bounds. I want to expand my color palette. What do you think about a quick disconnect system? This is a constant debate among the shirt squirters. Some like the quick connect

Does the Airbrush Industry have an event where artists can share artwork and use some of the great products of today? The Airbrush Industry is highly fragmented. Many companies selling products to very diverse groups of users. It is very hard to coordinate all of these companies and get them into one venue. Mickey Harris had the first airbrush gathering, AIRSTORM, over 10 years ago. Cliff Steiglitz tried to have an industry gathering, AIRBRUSH EXPO, but that only lasted 2 years. The longest running airbrush gathering at this point in time is the BearAir Airbrush Party. The Fourth Annual Party is being held on August 12, 2006 at Stonehill College in Easton Massachusetts. BearAir does a great job of inviting all of the companies in the airbrush industry to attend. Whether they are suppliers to BearAir or not! For more information on the 2006 Airbrush Party visit www.airbrush. com. I bought some vinyl spray mask for my vinyl cutter recently, it’s made by GMI. I used it for a spray mask on a Harley project (some lettering). I used House of Kolor paint. When I went to

peel off the masking, it left a lot of residue. Has anyone had this problem? Is there better paint mask that won’t leave a residue. The mask was only on the bike parts for about 4 hours. I’ve used this for other projects, and it didn’t leave the residue. Could it have been because it was so hot that day (about 85 degrees)? Your issue could have been caused by several things – the heat, an intercoat clear that was too fresh, crappy mask, or a combination of any of those things. We swear by Avery Paint Mask because it has proven to give the least amount of problems. Even Avery will leave residue on fresh clear, however. As far as dealing with the problem you already have, be careful when you clean up your adhesive mess. Try using masking tape first to pull the residue off. If that doesn’t work, you can rub some baking soda on it to release the adhesive. Do everything you can to avoid using a solvent to clean up. Very often solvents will only break the adhesive down a bit, and spread it around making an even bigger mess. I am wondering if anyone can tell me the easiest way to cut letters out of vinyl so that they look shadowed. For example, red letters with a black drop shadow. I am using Illustrator CS, when I drop shadow the letters and then

view the outline it is actually just layering two of the same sets of letters on top of each other. I don’t want to have to lay my red vinyl on top of the black full letters because I don’t want to see the “outline” of the black underneath. I am hoping to be able to just cut the red letters completely and then just the visible “shadow” part of the black. Is this possible? Any help anyone can give me would be much appreciated! Lay out the graphic the way you want it to look, then use your trim tool in the Pathfinder Pallet and you will be left with the items you need to cut. From there you just cut the main lettering out of your red vinyl, and take the drop shadow, which will now be its own shape, and cut that out of black. You will have to ungroup the object after you trim to give you the separate shapes. Have a question? Send it to or post up in the forums. We will publish the most popular questions and answers in each issue of AB•MAG.


system and some don’t. Tom Davison has a wonderful set up that is NOT quick disconnect. But he has the discipline and experience to maintain his color rack and not tangle all the hoses. Terry Hill has a wonderful quick disconnect system. It is used by many airbrush artists. The bottom line. . . use a system that is most efficient for you because time is money.


How would you like to start making some money with your airbrush skills even as you are learning?

by Tom Davison OK, you have been practicing with the airbrush as a hobby for a while now. How would you like to start making some money with it, even as you are learning? The key is to acquire lettering skills, because words are 99% of all t-shirt airbrushing done for the public.

Although you may not be convinced that | AB•MAG | Summer 2006

you are good


enough to sell your work, try it!

Although lettering may seem to be more difficult than the painting of images, it is simpler than you might think to master the basics. With practice, you will be able to turn a $2 t-shirt into $20 in five minutes time with the simple, yet effective designs we will show here. That’s an $18 gross profit, $3.60 per minute, or $216 per hour. By contrast, even if you are very good doing portraits of people or autos, you will be hard pressed to make more than $50 an hour doing detailed artwork, because the market for $50-100 shirts is very limited, whereas, the market for the $20 shirts with lettering and a simple design is virtually unlimited if you are in the right spot at the right time. After a quick tour of the basics, we will explore how you can find the right location in order for you to paint in front of the public. Personalized shirts are an impulse purchase, so you will proceed to locate in a high foot-traffic area and then watch the crowd throw money your way. Your first step is to perfect all of the drills you have probably already seen elsewhere as a pre-requisite for learning to airbrush. If you have not performed these basic drills yet, I will go over them here. The most inexpensive practice material onto which to paint your drills would be the cheapest paper towels you can find. Fasten each sheet to your vertically mounted drawing board with a light mist of spray adhesive. Stand while practicing in order to be able to move freely.

FIGURE 1: Start with dots of different sizes, which will give you an idea of how to perfect the proper combination of distance-from-surface/trigger-pull-back/handspeed ratio that you will need to do the various sizes. Remember, every stroke you will ever make with a double-action brush will combine these three factors, with a different ratio each time. For instance, in the course of doing just one shirt, my distance-from-surface will vary from 12 or 13” away (broad backgrounds), to 1/32” close (details). In order to spray hair-like lines, your needle-tip must be so close to the shirt that it will snag the shirt a few times until you get the hang of it. Next, practice lines of varying thicknesses, horizontal, vertical and angled. Practice these over and over until line perfection of any size is an automatic reaction. These are preparation for doing the alphabet we will refer to as “stick” letters.

FIGURE 3: When you are comfortable with the progress of your basic stick letters, it’s time for a little fun. Notice how merely adding embellishments such as shown below to your basic strokes will give them such power and character. Note in particular how the stick “B” is used as a basis for the construction of a block letter


FIGURE 2: If you have ever had a course in drafting, you learned how to make stick letters. For a reference, get a first-grade lettering primer, or print out a basic font from your computer to use as a guide on how each letter is actually shaped. The first group below is basic drafting stick. The next one is slanted and is more loosely applied (casual) with the third one little looser still and the bottom row shows it evolving into a slash/brush-stroke style and then into a graffiti style with the addition of an outline. Practice dozens of rows of each letter, in each style. Practice hundreds if necessary, because practice, practice, practice is the name of the game. Do however much it takes for you to produce straight, even, uniform line-thickness work upon command.


FIGURE 4: Now we’ll take the block letter construction a step further to help draw a graffiti-type name.I am using a light blue stick letter as a “guide stroke” which helps me center the word “Amber” on the shirt easily before drawing the outline around it. I don’t even fill it in all the way with the darker blue, but merely blow the paint right across the middle of it.

| AB•MAG | Summer 2006

FIGURE 5: The most common style of t-shirt lettering is script, or cursive. The two most important criteria for attractive script are (1) a uniform degree of slant to the letters and (2) letters that are shaped like they are supposed to look. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but unless you can learn (or re-learn) proper penmanship, your t-shirt script will be sub-par. So the first step is to acquire the equivalent of a third grade handwriting primer as a reference. Practice your penmanship on paper until you can write neatly and properly. Learn how to shape each letter, then how to connect them properly. Now you may begin your cursive airbrush practice. Do basic exercises as shown below for each letter, over and over again, to help you learn rhythm and equal slant. Do line after line of both lower and upper case until you are really sick and tired of it. By the time you finish filling up a 12” stack of paper towels with the practice exercises, you’ll have it down!


FIGURE 6: After mastering the shape of the individual letters, start creating names. You will need to develop a rhythm, slowing, even pausing ever so briefly, as you begin and end strokes, or make connections. If you can learn to do this from the start, this brief pausing will give you the control you need to consistently shape the letters properly. When I teach someone in person, they inevitably try to go too fast. I think it’s because I (and most other pro’s they’ve watched) go very fast and they equate good with fast; However, you must learn good shape first, then gradually speed up after gaining good control. Generally, the pause points are located at the top of many (but not all) letters.

Finally, let’s address the issue of thick and thin strokes for the script, which is what gives it its elegance and style. Even if your letters are not necessarily attractive, the mere act of thickening the downstrokes of mediocre letters will improve them many times over. When doing pen and ink calligraphy, the broad pen nib does this automatically. When using the airbrush, there are two methods, (1) Onestroke and (2) secondary thickening. One-stroke, which is done by actually using your trigger finger to pull back more on the downstroke, then letting up for a thin line on the upstroke. The one-stroke method is very difficult to co-ordinate in the beginning, and I recommend that you not be concerned about this action now. You already have several actions you are doing simultaneously, and the last thing you need is one more variable. The One-stroke technique will develop naturally over time if you develop the pausing action which I suggested earlier. The following photo illustrates the steps taken with the secondary stroke. Once you have the basics down, start looking for a venue in which to set up in public. The most common places are local flea markets. Also consider arts and crafts festivals, tourist areas, county fairs, car shows, a cart at the mall, as a department in another store, on a street corner, really the possibilities are endless. At West Coast Airbrush, we have full time shops in large regional shopping malls. If you would like to log onto, myself and other pros are available to answer your related questions on the site’s forum. That’s the basics and you are limited only by a lack of practice time. Keep in mind that every artist who has ever done this has located in front of the public and begun selling before they were really good enough. I know this sounds weird, but you can literally be making money while practicing. Although you may not be convinced that you are good enough to sell your work, try it, and only when you see the large smile of the customer will you realize that you are most certainly good enough to work for them again and again. You see, the customer is mesmerized when watching an artist work and they never see the flaws that we all make from time to time when “painting without a net”. You are providing for them the means to express themselves on their chest in a very personal way (where else can they go for a one-off shirt?). No artist is ever totally satisfied with their work, but I can guarantee you that your customers will be.


his first issue of AB•MAG is Dedicated, in Loving Memory, to my sister, my best friend and my right hand. For 2 years she fought leukemia with courage, vengeance and dignity. She was overcome with pneumonia and died April 30th, 2006 6:20 am, leukemia-free. I was working on the magazine during the last 2 weeks I spent with my sister. This was to be a dream come true for her as well. Though it took me some time to get my focus back, I think we made her proud. I hope you will take the time to read the inspirational story of her life and fight against cancer at DARLA K PYLES April 20, 1972 - April 30, 2006 God Bless her and comfort her til we all see her again. Darla I Love You!!


by Diana Learn


| AB•MAG | Summer 2006




| AB•MAG | Summer 2006


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