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Product News & Spotlight From the Editor ABU 2006 - Review Tips & Tricks of the Trade Scott MacKay’s Bree Under the Sea

Publisher: Editor: Art Director:

Steve Angers Diana Learn Diana Learn

Contributing Writers:

John Bartevian John Cardinalli Ron Fleenor Vince Goodeve Steven Leahy Mike Learn Randy Long Scott MacKay Shane McConnell Joe McGowan Robert McNamee Anthony Sesack Don Swartz 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 Subscriptions may be purchased online via or at One year $19.99 SUBMISSIONS 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.

Flea’s Famous Wood Grain The Right Tool With Steve Leahy Old School Smoke Classic Soot Effect HELMET HEAD With Indocil’s Ryan Young Digital Dick Add More Space to Your HD A Tale of Scales by Don Swartz FEATURE: V for Vector and Control Your Stencils!! Kid’s Corner: Casey “Kidskillz” Long For the Educator Art and Muscle: Product Spotlight All That Glitters Gold Leafing Instruction Yule Tide Yams When Everything Goes Wrong Making Repairs Product Review and Testing PrecisionAire / ROLAND Q&A The Devil’s Playground Pt II by Vince Goodeve The Airbrush Gourmet Holiday Edition Laugh Now, Cry Later T-Shirt Technique


AB•Mag - October 2006 Volume 1, Number 2

No Fate but What We Make Commentary by Mike Learn


ATTENTION: HELMET PAINTERS! Hard to find replacement parts to assist helmet painters can now be found on the new and improved Indocil Art website! Now helmet painters have a centralized location to purchase helmet rubber, replacement D-Ring hardware, replacement shield hardware, and the correct glue for proper reattachment of helmet rubber. All Indocil helmet products meet Indocil’s strict guidelines for proper fit and quality and the shield hardware kits contain factory replacement parts. Check out the full product line at www.

PAINT LEATHER, VINYL and PLASTIC with SEM’s FLEXIBLE SURE-COAT SURE-COAT is a water borne coating system offering excellent flexibility and outstanding adhesion for a variety of interior and exterior automotive, marine, aerospace and commercial applications. SURE-COAT lets you change or enhance the current color while maintaining the texture and look of leather, vinyl and plastic. It will not get brittle with age nor soften or crack within normal temperature ranges. SURE-COAT is available as a mixing system containing 9 toners and 3 clears that can be mixed to match almost any color. SURE-COAT dries quickly and may be brushed or sprayed. For more information ask your local SEM distributor or visit

HOW TO AIRBRUSH TATTOOS from Show Offs Body Art This versatile 90-minute DVD by Donna Nowak is jam-packed with instruction on equipment, stencils, materials, application, cheap tricks and so much more. You will be inspired by Donna’s witty approach as she guides you step-by-step through this increasingly popular art craze. This 90 minute DVD is an absolute ‘must-have’ for the novice and experienced alike! Available at airbrush supply stores or at

Mike Learn’s WORK SMARTER Volume 2 DVD The NEW Work Smarter Not Harder Volume 2 DVD will be available for purchase before December 1! Following on the heels of the hot selling Volume 1, this DVD kicks WS #1 up a notch focussing on how to design and execute tribal graphic artwork. Segments include how to create artwork from Sharpie, to scan to Computer, quick computer manipulation tricks, how to lay vinyl on a curved surface and many different finishing effects. As a bonus, new segments on pin striping, gold leafing, taping off graphics and how and when to use spray mask have been included.

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This DVD is PACKED full of information, techniques and of course, some fun as well. Available at fine airbrush supply stores or at


AB-MAG PRODUCT NEWS WORKS!! Got a Product You Would Like to Promote? Send a Description and Image to


HOUSE OF KOLOR AIRBRUSH PAINTS House of Kolor is thrilled to offer their most popular colors in new smaller packaging specifically with the airbrush artist in mind. These sizes make your artwork, small projects, and color panels more cost effective. Available in 29 Shimrin’ Base Coats (4 oz.) and 10 Kandy Koncentrates (2 oz.) these airbrush size bottles ensure fresh quality paint that hasn’t sat in mixing banks waiting to be pored off into small sizes. All of these products have been packaged into solvent safe bottles and are foil sealed to prevent seepage. Bottles come with flip top cap to make pouring into an airbrush easy. All HOK Airbrush Paints are full strength and need to be reduced with or mixed with SG-100 for maximum performance. For more information visit

RICHPEN PHOENIX 213C PREMIUM AIRBRUSH Phoenix airbrushes are the choice of professionals. Using “Micron Technology”, Phoenix models of RichPen airbrushes feature the most delicate spray for detail and precise work with a soft touch of the finger. Comfortable and well balanced, Phoenix airbrushes will fast become your favorite tool in the arsenal. Bring your creativity to its potential with the Phoenix 213C airbrush.

For the first time the work of legendary painter Jon Kosmoski has been translated into Spanish for the growing Spanish-speaking market. Advanced Custom Painting Techniques has over 350 photos by well-known photographer Tim Remus, bringing to life Jon’s explanations of panel preparation, gun control, kandy application, use of color-change materials, new metallic basecoats, and how to design and tape-out complex layouts. Whether your painting projects ride on two wheels or four, this how-to book from Jon Kosmoski is sure to answer your questions. Four startto-finish sequences over 144 pages take you into Jon’s shop and illustrate each step in the process.

GIVE YOUR AIRBRUSH A SAC! The NEW Strategic Air Control valve gives you finger tip air pressure control right at the airbrush. This simple add on gives new dimension and control to your artwork with any airbrush. The SAC is swappable, allowing you to move it from airbrush to airbrush giving each tool in your arsenal precision air control. Works with any PEAK, RichPen, Grex, Sparmax, PrecisionAire, or Iwata airbrush. Available at www.

RichPen Airbrushes - Precision without the Price. Available at fine retailers near you or on the web at



Filling a void for professional refinish shops and automotive restoration enthusiasts looking for a high quality flat black paint that doesn’t cost a small fortune, Kirker Automotive Finishes has introduced a new activated acrylic urethane topcoat with a beautiful smooth satin sheen. Hot Rod Black (UA-70388) combines the superior exterior durability and exceptional flexibility of a two-part single-stage urethane topcoat, with the super- low gloss typically associated with flat black primer. Unlike undercoats however, this coating won’t scratch or mar, nor will it turn chalky or fade when exposed to UV and other harmful weathering. Users also will find Kirker’s Hot Rod Black to be far more chemical and stone-chip resistant than flat black primers.

This exciting innovation is now available for purchase anywhere products from Kirker Automotive Finishes are sold. Additional information about Kirker’s refinish systems may be found on the Web, at


While other automotive refinish manufacturers have introduced similar products recently, research shows most of those materials dry with a semi gloss sheen that – along with the price – is just too high for most users’ liking.


“AB•Mag aspires to be a source of inspiration, information and expression, bringing articles and ideas to enrich not only your artistic needs, but your social and emotional needs as well.” with 26 eager Scandinavians hungry for knowledge. Maybe that is why the trip was so rewarding. Sharing knowledge is extremely fulfilling.


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itting in a Boeing 757 that has just reached its cruising altitude, the captain tells us we can now use our portable electronic equipment. I have been waiting for this announcement because I have so much I want to write while it is still fresh in my mind. I am feeling so many emotions at this time as the whirlwind week has come to a close and I have a whole new whirlwind awaiting me when we land. If I could actually stretch my legs out in front of me, I could almost consider the 16 hours of travel ahead of me relaxing. With my iPod buds in my ears and my shoes off I settle down to think, and write.


Mike and I have just finished our first International Seminar in Skien, Norway. What an experience. I have been to Europe many times, but this was my first time in Scandinavia and I have to say, I may be in love with the area, the people and the mindset. The opportunity to do this seminar presented itself quickly, and we grabbed it. Within 6 weeks we were set up in a school

We have been doing a lot more seminars lately. Mike and I have really put ourselves out there as educators. The feeling of satisfaction you get when a student who really wants to learn, is grabbing on to a new concept is really unlike anything else we have done with our business. It is addictive. That is why this magazine is so important to us. The purpose of AB•Mag is not to create yet another sales vehicle, or to force feed artists with the same regurgitated content over and over. AB•Mag aspires to be a source of inspiration, information and expression. As we grow and expand and add more of you to our stable of contributors, I hope that our content becomes increasingly more diverse, bringing articles and ideas to enrich not only your artistic lives, but to meet your social and emotional needs as well. We seek to bring not only the How Tos, but the Why Tos. We hope to motivate and cultivate artists and share in the success that they achieve. I would like to thank everyone for the phenomenal feedback and the heartfelt support that we have received in the wake of the first issue of AB•Mag. We are very proud to present this second issue. We give it to you with respect and with an agenda of nothing more than to provide an agent to spread the Gospel of Airbrushing.



ABU BABY!! The 2nd annual Airbrush University (ABU) was held in August at Stone Hill College in South Easton, MA and all we can say is WOW!! Rather than write up a review, we thought we would just post some of the letters that came in after class was over. ENJOY!! It all started out with a desire to learn more about airbrushing. I had been toying with the idea of attending one of the many airbrush courses offered across the country. When there in my mailbox was the Premiere issue of AB Magazine. I read the magazine from cover to cover in a matter of hours. When I got to the back inside cover I saw the ad for ABU. After seeing the great content inside the magazine I was pretty much sold. The following day I called Bear Air and spoke with Steve Angers about ABU. I asked a bunch of questions and then I asked the one deciding question. “What do I get for my money?” Steve said, “you get room and board for four days and three nights. You get instruction from an industry leader. You also get all your supplies and airbrush. I asked then what do I get to take home., he said I get to take home the leftover supplies, the projects I worked on and also the airbrush I used to work on them with. At that point I was sold, I mean I actually get to bring more than just a panel with paint on it home, that’s just too cool. Oh and I didn’t have to buy any food for 8 meals and a party too. I arrived at Stonehill College Thursday morning. First order of business is to sign in and receive my room keys. Next I drove over to the dorm area where I would be staying. There at the dorm were boxes of pillows for each student and fresh linens. The dorms were really nice, the buildings couldn’t have been but a few years old and very clean.

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Next we met at the dining hall for orientation. There Steve took us for a tour of the student center/dining hall and explained the hours for breakfast lunch and dinner. Then he took us downstairs to show us the lounge we will be utilizing Friday night for the party. Then we went for a walk across the parking lot to the


classrooms. Steve began by handing out a box of supplies to each student. The supplies boxes were loaded with all kinds of items geared towards the students specific course. We then walked inside the building and saw each classroom we would be using for ABU. All the students were introduced to the instructors and then broke off to their respective classrooms to begin the classes. I attended Mike Learns class, the first thing we did in the class, starting with Mike was to introduce ourselves and tell a little about what we do and what we expect to gain from the class. Classes were small which made things very comfortable and great for 1 on 1 assistance as well as allowing the students to get to know each other. After a few words from Mike we were handed our first project. A lesson on primary and secondary lighting and how it affects the way we would do our painting. We each got a 12” x 18” black panel and had to scuff them with a scotch-brite pad to help with paint adhesion. Mike led us in understanding how everything has a primary and a reflective or secondary light source. The first day was extremely informative and I felt that we were really warmed up for the next projects. After class we walked together to the dining hall where we had a good dinner. Then we walked over to our dorm building where the real fun began, lots of interaction between the students and the instructors and a few bats (the kind that fly) we confirmed that bats don’t like hats or pizza. Friday morning we had breakfast which was pretty darn good, definitely not bad for college food anyway. We then met at the classrooms and were handed our next project, a new part of Mike Learns Belly Guns collection. A new pose by

the model Bree Andre. Mike told us some stories about Bree and how they work together, it all sounds like a lot of fun. We began with white again painting the face, then we moved ahead towards the torso and arms and legs. Once completed the body had a very nice monochromatic look of Bree. We began to add color to the face using some of the specially mixed flesh tone colors from our kits. Mike explained where to use each color and how to work with them to achieve the best tonal values, he also explained not to try and get to the color you need in one pass, that you need to work slowly and build up the color. Once we completed the flesh tones we had to do highlights on the face and body, then we highlighted the boots and other clothing, to show depth and reflected light. Mike then set us free on what to use for our backgrounds. Each student did something different and it made for quite a display of ideas and methods. Once our panels were done Mike did a quick demo on the real flames method using paints from our kit. After all the classes had finished Mike and Diana Learn did an on-screen demo of how to vectorize images so you can cut vinyl masks on a plotter for painting. Mike also showed us photos of some of his motorcycle and vehicle work he has done, then he showed some of the album cover art and guitars he painted for Jackson Guitars. After dinner we met at the student lounge where we found musical instruments. We began by setting up the refreshments and then the musical instruments. Doing sound checks and tuning up. Mike is not only an airbrush artist but an accomplished guitarist. The band consisted of Mike Learn on guitar, NUB on bass and keyboards, Steve Leahy on drums and assorted other students filling in on drums guitars, bass and even singing. Mike did a great rendition of “The Airbrush Blues.” Saturday morning we woke up tired but anxious to see what the folks at Bear Air had in store for us. They had a barbecue with hot dogs, hamburgers, beverages and other edibles. Under the tent Bear Air employees had setup displays of items they sell as well as pretty much every airbrush they sell to allow customers to try them out. Also Scott MacKay, NUB, Keith Hanson and Mike Learn did some artwork on a truck hood that they had there. After lunch the students began saying their goodbyes and headed for home. I cant wait to attend ABU next year. I learned a bunch and feel I got a lot of bang for my buck. I also got to meet some really nice and interesting people. I just wish they could do ABU more than once a year.

I look forward to A.B.U. because of its one of a kind set up, its unlike any other seminars I’ve seen. As an instructor it’s great to instruct a small group of students so I can give plenty of one on one instruction. Also the open classrooms give all the students a chance to see other artist in action so they can decide on future classes they may want to take or pick up some other techniques. Plus staying on campus with all the other instructors and students really gives us all a chance to exchange ideas and have some fun. A.B.U. is something I will look forward to year after year weather I’m an instructor or a student. ~Scott MacKay a.k.a. GraFx




I was fortunate enough to be voted as the winner of the 2006 Amateur Division Paint Off among three other outstanding finalists. I decided to take it a step further and chose to take the ABU instructor of your choice winners package over a selection of airbrushes, and I was off to South Easton, MA! At the college, we were all welcomed with open minds and arms, and what I took from my first ABU experience was a deeper understanding and appreciation for what airbrushing is all about. Being a year into airbrushing and then being able to surround myself with very talented artists and professional instructors, it has advanced not only my mind-set and technique, but my passion and skills by far. The ABU teaching and attention to students details was a rarity. It was truly everything I hoped it would be and then some! The class room was comfortable and intimate, the guidelines were very flexible, and being welcome to get an eye full of other instructors’ classrooms and their students projects was a major plus! The atmosphere and scenery of the college campus really put me in a secure and creative state of mind, because we were all gathered together to achieve a common goal. To learn, airbrush, have fun, and meet other like-minded individuals such as ourselves. And over the coarse of three airbrush packed days, you’d be surprised just how hard it can start to be to say good bye to people that you just met. It was like camp and I look forward to seein’ my camp buddies again! The cafeteria food wasn’t that much of a nightmare either! There were a lot of really unexpected turn of events which kept the evenings interesting and exciting. Even though most of us got bummed when class time was over, we still found comfort in knowing that the excitement was far from over for the day. From the first night, we all clicked almost effortlessly and the next thing you know, we’re all hootin’ and hollerin’ like we’ve known each other for a long time. I was blown away that the instructors were so lax and down to earth that during the evenings it wasn’t hard to forget that they were our admired mentors, they were more like extended family and friends. You can tell that all of the organizers put their heart and soul into ensuring that we all have a greatly unique experience, and when the instructors threw a jam session including student participation. You just knew that there wasn’t any length that they weren’t willing to go for ours and their amusement. Summing up this whole experience just can’t be done by me and my words, but I can say that I would go again in a heartbeat, and oh, I will. . . 2007 bebe’! Just like a great anticipated thrill ride at an amusement park, only with ABU, you get so much more out of the ride, like knowledge, confidence, tools, connections, friends, insight, meeting the likes of Steve Angers, the Learns, Steve Leahy, Nubs, Scott MacKay, Keith Hanson, and the list goes on. Very cool! Thank you again and ABU for helping a regular guy get in touch with his inner airbrush artist!

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ABU was the greatest!! After taking the class there I was able to start airbrushing anything. The classes were small so it gave a lot of one on one time with the teacher. After finishing the class I started painting every thing I could get my hands on, working on my newly acquired skills. I soon got started painting T-shirts and the kids in my school wanted me to paint the their own T-shirts. The environment there was very positive and everyone was willing to help me out being new to airbrushing. It was well worth the cost to go because the knowledge that you gain from it surpasses the cost over and over. ~Zac Cobb - 16 yrs old

Outside of class was also great. You could learn from the general conversations from people with years of experience just by listening. Which brings up something I’ve heard. I have heard that at other Ab’ing seminars that the Instructors separate themselves in a kind of (Class Structure) this is far from the case at ABU. My daughter still raves about talking to Nub for half an hour about abandoned dogs and having a picture with a TV star. And last of all I learned through observation, that bats do not like pizza. LOL. Oh and the jam session put the whole weekend over the top!!! Can’t wait till next year. ~Mike St.George - Mikesmoke

ABU Through the Eyes of a Newbie: When I saw the advertisement for ABU I had only been airbrushing for about three weeks. I had almost no working knowledge of the airbrush or techniques. First I decided to do a little research on the teachers to decide which class to take. After checking out all the websites of the artists that would be teaching, I was really leaning towards Mike Learn’s class. On the pro side mike seemed to provide a solid support community through his instructional DVDs, endorsed products, and his website, which provides tutorials and message boards for asking lots of questions. Also it had been my plan from the start to purchase a plotter for vinyl work and I was very enticed by Mike’s Work Smarter philosophy and the use of vinyl masking as an airbrushing aide. On the con side, however, this was an advanced class. My dilemma was this: do I spend the money and go to ABU not knowing if I’d be able to comprehend any of it? Or, do I sit around for a year trying to teach myself and quite possibly be in the same boat when ABU rolled around next year. Needless to say I took the risk and I truly believe it was the smartest decision I’ve ever made. All of the instructors and the Bear Air team were really into teaching, actually a lot more than I had expected. Teachers of other classes would even take time out to answer questions and explain things for me, even after class on their own time. As a teacher Mike Learn was great. Even though I was on a much lower skill level then most of the other students, Mike and Diana were con-

stantly circling the room spending 1-on-1 time with each of us making sure we got the advise we needed in relation to our individual skill levels. Also other students were very helpful to me as well taking time out from their own projects to help me with mine. On a social level ABU was even more amazing. Much to my surprise the instructors were staying in the same housing as the students and hung out with us every night socializing and having good times. Last but not least I must mention the Bear Air party and the merchandise specials. The party was great and we had photo ops with all the teachers and just an all around great time with product demos and airbrush demonstrations. The merchandise deals were out of this world. By buying some things at ABU that I planned on purchasing anyway I saved about five hundred dollars. If you think about it there’s half the money back that I paid to attend ABU. So all in all I must say ABU was the time of my life and when I returned home I could see a definitive improvement in my work. The things I learned and the friends I made at ABU are priceless. More than once when I have felt stuck 2 of the other teachers from ABU who are close to where I live have invited me to their shops to observe and see if they could help me figure out what I’m doing wrong. On a scale of 1-10, I rate ABU a 20 and encourage every one to attend no matter what your skill level. I’ll see you all there next year! ~Mike Reed I think the first thing that comes to mind a bout the classes at ABU is how comfortable the instructors make you feel, regardless of ability or experience level. One of the best features of this particular type learning environment is how open it is. You are encouraged to ask question all the time, and no question is too simple. I am sure that they have been asked some of the same questions a million times, but they always seemed to treat as if it was the first time they had heard it. The learning didn’t stop when class was over either. To be able to spend that much time picking the brains of some great artists on a one on one basis is an amazing experience. I came away from ABU with new sense of confidence in my abilities, and confidence is definitely an ally! There is no single thing I learned at ABU that stands out, because the whole experience is learning from beginning to end. ~Don


I would love to write some words on my favorite yearly vacation - ABU. This year I took Nub’s class, and learned quite a few tips on the use of Auto Air Paints. I also learned a few new taping techniques, one being spray on mask. Class is also a great place to see how different people interpret the same project. One thing that I noticed this year was the age range of the students 15 to 60 I believe. That is an awesome cross section of people on one subject.


CLEVER DISGUISE! Here is a great way to disguise and utilize your noisy compressor. My better half built a Styrofoam insulated box, made from plywood and 2x4’s. It has 4 sides and a top. A door in the front lifts up on a hinge. The top is made of Plexiglas with a light below. On one side he installed a squirrel cage fan. On the opposite side he added a vent. This is the home for my compressor. It is wired so that the fan comes on every time the compressor starts up. The noise is reduced and it doubles for a light table. ~Airgal

USE THE PROPER SOLVENT!! IMPROVED STENCIL CUTTING I stumbled across something the other day. I was cutting a hand held template from the new Air Essentials DIY Stencil kit, and I noticed a bit of resistance on the blade. I took the blade out of my cutter and put a drop of airbrush oil on the tip that seats inside the blade holder and put the blade back in. It was instant improvement. My plotter now cuts finer and cleaner corners with better detail than ever before. It was amazing the difference that it made. Even when I resize the files for mini-stencils, the cuts are clean and the sturdy material weeds easily. ~Shane Hildebrand

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I CANT SEE THE LINES!! Those of you who work with vinyl mask know how frustrating it can be at times when you cannot really see the cuts on your mask. This can make it very difficult to properly weed out and can cause you to end up with missing pieces of a design.


When I was retouching photographs, using water colors (gouache), I would first clean the photo with denatured alcohol to remove any fingerprints. Alcohol dissolves the oils that make up fingerprints. Using water to clean photographs is not a good idea because water is absorbed by that paper and would destabilize the photographic chemicals. It would do great damage! The point being that alcohol does not wash away water soluable dirt - only water does that, and though water will wash away dirt, it will not wash away oils. That’s why I used alcohol to remove oils. Do you see the difference?

Force your cut lines to stand out with this Quick Tip. Before applying transfer tape, take some black paint and a lint free towel. Rub the towel back and forth across the sheet of vinyl. Let it dry for just a minute or 2. Weed out whatever needs to be at this point and apply your transfer tape. The paint will work its way into the cuts, and voila! You can see them. Another thing that you can do is get some pouncing chalk or colored chalk of any kind and rub over the mask. REMINDER: if you do this after you have applied the mask to your surface, be sure to wipe away any remaining chalk or you will have a mess on your hands!

After I had done the airbrushing of the gouache onto the photograph, I would again use alcohol to remove any trace of frisket adhesive. I could flood the gouache with alcohol without damaging or removing the watercolor in any way. Using water was a definite “no no” because it would have EASILY washed off the gouache.

KEEP YOUR PAINT FRESH While painting a wall mural some time ago I had to mix several special colors in fairly large quantities to ensure that I would have enough paint to complete the job. I used baby food jars for the remaining paint and found that they are excellent for storing paint! The rubber gasket on all baby food jar lids prevents the paint from drying. I’ve used these jars for years with great success. Remember to hit up your friends and family members with infants. It is the most inexpensive and effective way I have found to preserve and store paint. ~Pablo

You see, different solvents are required for different materials. Lacquer thinner, gasoline, mineral spirits, wax and grease remover etc. will not wash dried mud off your arm. Try it! It takes water to do that.

HOW DO YOU HOLD ON TO YOUR HELMET? I use empty gallon reducer cans. Once they are empty I fill them with water, put the cap back on and wrap them with masking paper. Tape them good so you can either just blow them off between jobs or you can remask them as necessary. ~Mike Royall Having a helmet fall off a stand during a paintjob can be catastrophic! I use car jackstands. They are adjustable and extremely stable. ~TallPaul You can buy an upper torso mannequin head, strap the helmet down and away you go. ~T.A.G.

Conversely, anything greasy or oily on your skin requires a solvent to remove it. Plain water will not work. (Granted, adding soap - an emulsifier - changes this picture, but that’s a different lesson for another time. The same is true with what you are trying to clean out of your airbrush. If it’s a water based paint, use a water based cleaner. If it’s an oil or petroleum based paint, then use an oil or petroleum based solvent. In summary: gasoline, lacquer thinner, or mineral spirits have little effect on water based paints, and water has little effect on petroleum based paints. You must use the proper solvent for cleaning. ~Dale

QUICK “EDITABLE” TEXT-BASED VECTOR FILES With the nearly unlimited font resources that we have today, very often you can find a type style that is almost exactly what you are looking for. Want to know how to make that font editable so you can get that extra tweak, add a bevel, etc? It’s easy! Using a vector program like Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW, open a new document, choose your font and type out your word. Make sure you type exactly what you want, once we pass this step you will no longer be dealing with a font, so you will not be able to “type” with it anymore. When the text is correct you can: 1. Illustrator: Type --> Create Outlines (shown), or 2. CorelDRAW: Arrange --> Convert to Curves That’s it!! Now you can use your node editing tools to manipulate the text as if it were an object (because it is one). Add a bevel, make a mask, cut it out on the plotter. The applications are endless! ~Head Roller PRACTICE FOR PROPER PAINT COVERAGE Here is a little tip for those of you having trouble controlling your paint application. Get a piece of glass - I have an old screen door storm window – and paint one side white. Flip it over and use the smooth unpainted side as your canvas. As you are working, pay particular attention to how much paint you are putting down. On glass, if you spray too heavy the paint will run. Using this as a practice surface forces you to slow down and control your application.


Once you are done, take some pictures, get out the razor blade, scrape off your masterpiece and start another project. If you can paint on glass with out running paint then your applying correctly. This surface also provides and excellent pin striping practice panel. ~Rainbow Lungs


When someone comes up to me, inquiring about paint for their bike, my first question is always “What’s the base color of the bike?” There are so many different reasons I ask this question, but the most important ones are:

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1. There are some jobs that will be priced significantly higher depending on the base color you’re working over; 2. Some jobs will need special consideration to achieve the correct look; and 3. No matter what you do, some jobs will be just plain ugly.


The piece I am working on today is, thankfully, not one of those times. It is a mermaid themed mural set over a factory teal basecoat. The existing color of the motorcycle is perfect for the look the customer wants to achieve. I am going to be developing my palette based on how the colors I choose will interact with the rest of the motorcycle, and the teal color will give me the ability to build a beautiful, soft underwater scene. This project is also a great candidate for using the Belly Guns masking system. SKETCH & DESIGN I like to work off of multiple concept sketches, and I make sure to get approval on all designs from the customer prior to beginning work. Once I have settled on a basic design I am happy with I look for a pose that can be integrated into my design as seamlessly as possible. Luckily for me, the exact pose for this design was available already (Belly Guns pose #7). Using a vector editing program, I remove the legs and manually add a classic mermaid fin. I also change the model’s hair to reflect the movement and weightlessness of being underwater. Finally, I change the clothing to match my original concept.

FINS & TAIL Once I have finished all under painting in the face and torso, I progress to the mermaid fin. I begin by defining the dorsal fin clearly, and then use the popular fishnet stocking technique over the main area of the fin. I slightly alter the technique, folding the net strategically, to achieve maximum impact. I stretch the fishnets carefully over my work surface, following the line of her legs and spray over them, leaving behind a complex grid pattern. How the fishnet is manipulated will define the pattern and credibility of my scales, so it is important that I plan ahead so that the fishnet is positioned perfectly. To achieve ultimate effect, it is important to resist the urge to simply spray an even layer of white over the entire masked area; this will leave behind too strong of a pattern to look realistic later. Instead, I once again make the airbrush’s overspray work for the piece and I paint only any naturally highlighted areas, creating an under painting as though the fishnet was not there at all. This results in a sharp, defined scale pattern in the highlighted areas and a soft, almost invisible pattern in areas where the light would not hit as hard. This is exactly the ethereal, fluid look I am going for in an underwater piece.


FACE &TORSO UNDERPAINTING Once the computer editing is complete, I use my plotter to cut a vinyl mask and apply the mask to my surface. For this piece, I am working on a flat surface, so the mask application is simple. After the vinyl mask has been applied, I begin my white under painting, concentrating on the fine details of the face and torso. I have found that the easiest way to paint a piece like this is by following the Belly Guns system. This involves pulling areas of the mask one at a time, starting from the top and working my way down. With this method, any overspray will work for me, rather than against me, softening sharp edges that would have been left behind had I been using more traditional masking techniques. Using the high resolution reference image that is included with every Belly Guns pose, I am able to render the image with very fine detail and consistent lighting.


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After completing the main body of the fin, I use a loose template to very softly define the structure of the large tailfin. The tailfin should appear transparent, almost disappearing into the paint later, so it is very important that I do not overwork the paint in this step. It is always easier to add more paint at the end than it is to subtract.


HAIR & DETAIL By using the Belly Guns System, I have given myself the option of re-masking an area with minimal effort at any point during the painting, something any airbrush artist would love. I use vinyl mask to cover over the face and torso in order to concentrate on the mermaid’s hair. This is great, because I do not have to worry about any overspray and I can achieve a sharp crisp look that I will be able to soften as I choose later. WHAT EXACTLY IS BELLY GUNS™? Belly Guns is a new artists’ tool best described as a unique masking system for painting pin-up style art. With this system in place, you no longer have to spend hours on line or looking through magazines for reference photos. You no longer have to work from a low res web image, or worry about copyright infringements. You no longer have to spend hours tracing and cutting transfer tape or frisket, only to be frustrated by resulting cut marks or mis cuts. The Belly Guns system solves all these problems and has even more to offer. An ever-growing pose gallery offers endless possibilities for composition, and the stencilling has been done for you, saving you even more tedious work. The Belly Guns masking system works because it provides perfect placement and proportion of human features. For more information, visit

Now I’m ready to begin working with color. Using a mix of a mint green candy and opaque black, I add seaweed to the foreground and background

of the composition. I intentionally keep it loose, reminiscent of a picture taken with the soft focus lens of a camera. This will allow the seaweed to shimmer in and out of focus and lend it a sense of movement once I have overlaid the entire piece with candies at the end. To complete the background, I use different combinations of Aruba Teal and Aruba Blue to wash color over the white under painting. It is important in this step to vary the concentrations and combinations of these two colors to maintain a vibrant and dynamic look with a monochromatic palette. At the end of this stage I like to hit any highlights in the background with white, which will really define the angles of my light sources for when I finish the mermaid in the next step. FINISHING UP Because candies get darker as they build, I counter-mask the mermaid in separate pieces, so I can work each section individually. I begin painting in any areas that I want to appear darkest. I start with the fin and slowly build colors in the same way that I did in the background while using the same color palette. From there, I remove the mask in sections until the mermaid is completed. I then highlight any areas that need more dynamic lighting and finish with a super transparent layer of candy to soften any harsh highlights and blend the entire piece into one cohesive unit. In true Mike Learn style, try to “Work Smarter and Not Harder”. Let overspray work for you, and whenever you can, find a way to work with what you have. Remember that things will be much easier if you are not fighting against the existing background. Underwater over blue or green makes a happy painter. Underwater over Fire Engine Red, not so much.

Scott MacKay is Owner and Operator of: Thin Air GraFX Amesbury, MA


BACKGROUND Now that the mermaid’s under painting is complete, I cut a contour mask to exactly cover what I’ve done so far. The base color of this motorcycle was a factory teal, so creating a dynamic underwater scene was a breeze. Using reference pictures, I continue to paint only in white, defining rays of light pushing through the surface of the water above and creating a very basic sea floor texture. Already, the majority of my background is complete. On a piece like this one, I try to keep the background simple so as not to compete with the mermaid for attention.


by Mike Learn

Take responsibility and be accountable for your life and your career. The decisions you made yesterday put you where you are today, and the decisions you make today form your future.


Each of us is met with hundreds of them every day. Most are easy, many require some thought, and some are tough. Some have little consequence, but many of the decisions you face can and do effect your future situation. In this issue of AB-Mag I would like to talk about some of the tougher decisions, the ones that have the most profound impact on your life and your career. Some people believe that life’s circumstances are nothing more than a series of chances, a sort of predetermined destiny, or even set as fate; they believe that what will happen, will happen, regardless. It even seems, at times, that luck is very much a part of the whole scenario of being in the right place at the right time. If you break it down a bit more, however, you may find something a bit more structured behind it all. Things may not be as random as they seem. Some of the choices you make may seem insignificant at the time, but they have the potential to lead you into bigger and better things. Sometimes it is a series of acting on small events that leads you into an opportunity. From my own experience, it has been the simple choices that have made it easier to act on the more difficult ones. A certain amount of education and intuition gives you the confidence to make the tougher decisions. When faced with a life altering choice, ask yourself a couple questions. Is this decision something that will affect me today? Tomorrow? What is the time frame of the results of this choice?

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To choose a career as an artist does require a certain level of skill, however, creating the career opportunities takes educated guessing, risk taking and yeah, maybe a splash of luck. I firmly believe that having made good decisions earlier in my life put me in the right frame of mind and enabled my skill level to progress.


The biggest cross road for me was giving up on my musical career. Music was everything to me. For 10 solid years I dedicated my professional life to the pursuit of becoming a successful musician. I lived at the edge of poverty for all those years, but I had to write music. It cried out to me. I knew I had let some technology slide by me and that I had not been cultivating my art. I was really burned out on the whole music scene and the parties, drugs and alcohol that goes with it. I needed to make a fresh choice for myself and my future. But believe me, it was not an easy choice. Despite all my years as an artist, I knew at that time I could express myself easier in music than I could in art. They are the same creatively, as a form of expression, it was just finding which expression would provide a foundation upon which I could build a successful future. The easiest thing for me would have been to just keep on doing what I had spent the past 10 years of my life doing. The difficult choice was to replace my fraternity party and rock and roll days with a plan of action, a direction that would send me venturing into areas I was completely unsure of.

So, when I was 28 I decided to leave my family and friends that I had known all my life. I decided to move to Arizona and see what I could make of myself. All that I knew of Arizona was that it had a very competitive market in the custom painting field. In some ways the move seemed similar to going to Hollywood or LA to become a musician. I was placing myself in the middle of the action. Positioning myself to create an opportunity. I felt at the time, that the art industry was much less tainted than the music industry which was enjoying the ‘hey day’ of hair bands and Glam Rock, so I took the chance to “seek my fortune.” The reason that choice was so difficult was because I knew I was all alone. I drove a small U-Haul to Tempe, AZ. I had my dog and $80 in my pocket. I was homeless for 3 months, sleeping in the shop that I worked at because I absolutely refused to give up my dog. But, things started working for me right away. I was focused on challenging myself and actively increasing my marketability. I found a place to work and an apartment. I got busy and before I knew it, I had an art career. I made a choice not to abuse drugs and alcohol. I made a choice to find the right people to hang around and to look forward, instead of being drug down by negative things already in the past. I

on the Golden Rule and basic principles of karma. I keep those things in mind when faced with choices. How will my decision affect others around me? Will this decision allow me to maintain my integrity? Does this choice further our plan? I also believe that the biggest rewards come from risk. In order to see what is possible, you have to take risks. And taking risks required courage. Put those things into perspective and it becomes easier. If you take a chance, and bet on yourself, what is the worst thing that can happen? Even if you fail, you have started the process of self-guidance and it will only lay the groundwork for future success. You will never know what you are capable of if you focus on only what MAY happen along the way. Your challenge may be an issue of relocating or making a career change. It may be an issue of putting the money out for education. It may the decision to put aside selfish interests to focus on future goals. These are difficult decisions to make because the outcome is not known. But no one has ever said success is easy. Keep this in mind as well, success is an ongoing condition. It is not something you achieve and then you are done, it has to be maintained. I still

but now I have no doubt that I will conquer them. I have come full circle. Understanding the past gives courage and confidence to meet the challenges and decisions that lie ahead. That cycle has to start somewhere – it starts with you. When I reflect on my life so far I can see a pattern. My 20s were the time to figure out what I wanted to do. My 30s gave me the time to execute my plan. Here in my 40s I see this as a time to refine the plan and focus on those things that have brought me success. I see it as a time to apply the confidence I have built over the last decade to aggressively meet and conquer all the challenges that life brings and I see it as a time to effect the industry in a way that will last. Looking forward to my 50s, I hope to focus on my guitars so that I can leave a combined legacy of art and musicianship. 50, however, is a long way away! Call it luck, call it fate, call it what you like, but at the same time take responsibility and be accountable for your life and your career. Realize that the decisions you made yesterday put you where you are today, and the decisions you make today form your future. I would like to leave you with this. YOU are your own best investment. Go to school, take a class,

Don’t be afraid to fail. Acknowledgement of failure and an understanding of why you failed will set you up to succeed in the future. face choices every day and some of them are still very difficult. As an artist, a father and a husband I have very hard decisions to make on behalf of my family and myself. But, I rest assured that many of the toughest ones have already been made. The choices that got me to this place in my life.

Success is a very subjective concept and it is defined differently by everyone. Different levels of achievement are considered to be success to different people. I have never put a ceiling on what I want from life. For me to be able to create something dynamic will grow with my level of maturity, but that creativity is independent of success.

To be successful as an artist you have to firmly believe in yourself despite what people may think or say. EVERYONE is an art critic. Art is a form of expression, and if you chose to put it out there for everyone, it is a public form of expression. It is like standing up in a crowd and yelling “hey look at me!” But as an artist, it is something you have to do. Decisions should not affect your expression, but the results of your decisions may inhibit your ability to express yourself.

Ironically, however, when dealing with creativity, having a certain sense of comfort or confidence that things will remain somewhat the same allows you to propel yourself creatively into different directions because you are not bogged down by the worries of life. And this takes you back to the simpler decisions – to chose to change those situations which hinder you creatively. People ask me all the time: “What have you done?” “How have you become so successful?” I give them the same information I am now writing about. Fundamentally it comes down to believing in yourself. Everyone has challenges. You will always have them. No matter what level of success you achieve there are other things that get in the way along the path of self-guidance. Have courage and strength knowing that you are solely responsible for your own direction. You are the one who makes the choices for yourself. Given that, you have to open the doorway to the possibilities that lie before you. I am not the most religious person, but I do operate

A lot of my success has come from being in the right place at the right time. But the fact that I am in the right place is a direct result of the decisions I made earlier in my life. The harder I work the more opportunities come my way. It is all within everyone’s means to find that sense of accomplishment in their life. Goals need to be made, achieved and challenged constantly to keep moving forward professionally and personally. As I move into my 40s, I have more difficult decisions to make regarding the future and the prosperity of my family. I take on the challenges in the same fashion that I did in my earlier and more reckless days,

buy a piece of equipment, some software, surround yourself with good people, whatever it takes. Invest in yourself. The time and effort you put into YOU will give you the confidence to make difficult decisions. Take them one at a time. Don’t be afraid to do something other than the norm. Don’t be afraid to fail. Acknowledgement and understanding of why you failed will set you up for success in the future. Don’t be afraid to rock the boat. People do not make and break us. We make and break ourselves.


made the choice to educate myself. I decided to recognize that I stand on this earth at this time and I am going to give it hell! These things are all very fundamental to achieving success. It takes mental fortitude, courage and self-confidence to change, but the rewards for doing so are great.


By Ron Fleenor of SEM Products

SEM Color Horizons Materials and Tech Info: • 02028 Silver Base Concentrate (Mix 4:1 with Mix Clear, reduce 1:1) • 02048 Bright White Base Concentrate (Mix 4:1 with Mix Clear, reduce 1:1) • 02058 Jet Black Base Concentrate (Mix 4:1 with Mix Clear, reduce 1:1) • 03128 California Gold Candy Concentrate (Mix 8:1 with Mix Clear, reduce 1:1) • 03178 Root Beer Candy Concentrate (Mix 8:1 with Mix Clear, reduce 1:1) • MC011 Mix Clear • SR Series Reducer • RC011 Real Clear See your local SEM distributor or for more information on products and availability.

Ron “flEa” Fleenor of SEM Products was recently featured on an Episode of Speed Channel’s “Unique Whips”. The project vehicle was a Cadillac Hearse tricked out for NASCAR’s Tony Stewart. Ron and Mike Learn worked together to create a masterpiece of design and artistry. The wood grain effect that Ron airbrushed on the side panels created quite a buzz. AB-Mag asked Ron for a How To on

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the popular effect, and here it is!!


Mix Silver Base as instructed and spray your entire prepped panel. Mask the edge of the panel with 2” tape to create an area for riveted edges. Mix Bright White Base and tint it with California Gold Candy until a desirable tan color is reached. Try to get the color to match a wooden mixing stick. Spray the entire panel with the tinted mixture.

Mix California Gold Candy per instructions. We will use this for the grain effect. Start off marking where wood knots will be to determine the pattern of the wood grain. Do this by spraying “spots”. Once this step is completed and dry, apply any decals or masks that you will be using.

Begin the grain pattern by spraying back and forth and around the wood knots. TRICK: Overlap your spray strokes with each pass you make with the California Gold Candy. This will begin to create the grain effect with dark and light lines. Mask off half the panel. Apply several coats of the California Gold Candy to create a darker grain. Remove the masking and switch to the other side of the panel.

Mix Root Beer Candy as instructed. This color will produce the darker wood grain effect. Spray the Root Beer Candy over the opposite side of the panel using the same stroke patterns. Once your grain effect is complete, add a few drops of Jet Black Base to the Root Beer Candy and spray some shading around the edges of the design to add depth. TIP: Never use straight black for shading. Always tint the colors you are using a shade or 2 darker for a natural flow.

To create the wood knots, use the California Gold straight out of the can. Do not mix or reduce. With the concentrated candy, start in the center of your pre-marked knots and apply until it starts to “puddle.” Work your airbrush back and forth spreading the puddle out using full air flow. Then turn the flow of the candy off and use air from the airbrush to “lift” the candy off the base. The candy will lift up to show the underlying base. This is what creates a realistic looking knot. At this point you will slowly back the air flow down and turn the flow of candy back on, filling in the knot with color.

Un-tape the edges of the panel to create riveted metal edges. Mask off the wood grain area to protect from overspray when painting the riveted edges. Starting in the corners, use Jet Black Base mixed per instructions and tape to create a #D corner and use a circle template to create rivets. A bit of bright white should be added at the end to highlight the bottom of the rivets. To finish off, apply 3-4 coats of Real Clear to fill the texture of the knots. You may need to sand flat and reclear to eliminate the high spots in the knots.


Using the shadow color, spray around any decal or mask you have used to create depth. Carefully remove the masking to reveal your original tan base. Using the California Gold Candy apply “grain” to the decal area. You may want to reduce the paint another 25% to give it a lighter look.



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ou have had the last few months to work out the things that you now expect from your airbrushing. Some artists have identified it as a casual hobby. Something to help them unwind, express their creativity and share their talent with loved ones. Others have decided to engage their airbrushing to earn some extra money and finally there are the artists that have decided that this passion is going to support their entire life. Even though these goals are vastly different, they all have one common thread. In each instance the desire of the artist is to get the most out of their skills and tools. The goal is to make the best art possible.


You don’t have to go very far these days to be subjected to the skewed beliefs that an artist’s success derives from the paint or airbrush that is used. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If you put a mediocre golf club in Tiger Woods hands, he will still hit the ball like Tiger Woods. If you put a mediocre airbrush in the hands of Fitto, he will still find a way to paint like Fitto. Of course the quality of the products make a difference in the outcome, but it may not play as big a role as you have been led to believe. So many times the question from brand new airbrushers is- “What is the best airbrush and paint?” and there are dozens of manufacturers that have created

product after product to answer that blanket question. All of these products designed to out perform the last model, to be far superior to their competitors. All in all taking the focus away from where the artist should be concentrating on. This focus should be on your own education and skills. I can’t stress enough how valuable it will be to you to have mastery of those few fundamental airbrush strokes rather than to own the most expensive airbrush in the art store window. For instance, mastering the rudimentary airbrush strokes will cause your freehand airbrush control to skyrocket. You will have the ability to compensate for adversities in the tools, paint or substrate. You won’t ever be at the mercy of your supplies.

So many times the question from brand new airbrushers is“What is the best airbrush and paint?” There are three areas where any artist can focus on to increase the quality of their work. First are your skills over the airbrush itself, this is your knowledge and proficiency of the fundamental strokes. The dot, the dagger stroke and the fade stroke. There are countless airbrushing books, videos and magazines that will give you great drills to get those to become second nature. It takes working with the fundimentals so that your muscles remember the actions more than your mind remembering them.

Second area is your understanding of what makes your airbrush and paint work or product mechanics. Nothing will stop a project faster than jumping into a job without knowing how your tools work. While airbrushes have become more refined over their first hundred years, their basic function is still exactly the same. As an airbrush artist, knowing the basics about how things work will help you pick the right model for your application

and troubleshoot problems when they do pop up. Finally, that last area is understanding the basics of creating art itself. It won’t take you years of burying your head in giant dusty art books to learn the fundamentals of color theory, composition and perspective yet the payoff in your work will be enormous. Becoming comfortable with these three areas will move you away from the notion that it is your airbrush or paint that determine the outcome of your work.

defies the laws of physics and will breathe magic through you brush. Believe it if you want to be frustrated. Master your own skills and take control of your airbrushing so that any brush and paint will sing in your hand. Here is a test sheet that illustrates this point. These lines were all done using a .3mm gravity feed brush. Each of these paints are designed for a specific use and a specific brush. By having an understanding about how the brush and paints work, all of them can be coaxed into producing exactly the same results.

Master your own skills and take control of your airbrushing. So now pull out your goals list and look to see where each of those goals fit into the three areas we’ve looked at in this article. For instance, “I want to paint fine lines like Goodeve” (Airbrush skills) “I want my paintings to glow” (Art skills – color theory) “I want to paint t-shirts faster (Airbrush skills) “I don’t want to constantly deal with my airbrush clogging” (Product mechanics). From there, start working on the area that has the most of your goals in it and you will begin to see your airbrush work come together very quickly.

The perfect example of this is getting a hairline from your airbrush. This type of control is considered by many to be the holy grail of airbrushing. Some will tell you that only with a certain mystical combination of highly specific airbrush and paint can this be achieved. Even some manufacturers will claim that their paint

“It is absolutely true that we are all a sum of our experiences. As I look at the events in my life, I can see that so clearly. From my high school art instructor who gave me direction, to the four years at the University of Massachusetts, to the clients that followed. All these interactions have contributed to who I am as an artist. Then of course there are the people in my life that inspire and support me. They have often seen more in me than I have seen in myself.” ~ Steve Leahy

LEFT: A newspaper clipping from 1983 that was sent in to AB-MAG. Steve won an art contest at his high school and is being presented with a first place award from the prinicpal.


To see more of Steve’s work, visit his web site at


Looking for something different? Go “Retro” with this Classic Soot Effect. Giving your candy paint job a unique looking smokestyle background is one of the tricks of the Old School Custom Painters. Here’s how it’s done!

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By John “Hotch” Cardinalli


After the artwork is complete, clean the surface as if you are going to paint it. You will not be able to clean it after the soot is applied. Now tape out your design. Be sure your hands are clean and free of oil. If you’re able to tape with gloves on, better still. Finish taping off everything that you don’t want soot on. Be careful to avoid touching the surface that you are going to tape over, because you won’t be able to clean this area again. Once all the tape is on, go over the exposed surface with a de-greaser and tack rag to make sure it’s clean.

Use an acetylene torch to apply the soot. DO NOT turn on the oxygen. You only need acetylene to generate the smoke. Adjust the flame until you have heavy smoke, but “ribbons” of soot are not being produced. Do this step away from your painting area. The soot will float in the air and be almost impossible to remove from an enclosed environment. Apply the soot by quickly moving the torch over the surface. Practice on a test panel until you are happy with the results you are getting. It’s OK to have very black areas, they will still show nice color shifts under the candy paint.

Once you’re happy with the effect, CAREFULLY remove the tape. The soot will rub off even if lightly brushed by some loose tape. You don’t want to screw up now, so take your time and make sure you don’t touch the soot!

Do you have an idea for an article? Do you have some news to report? Is there something you would like to read about? TELL US! AB-Mag is a magazine FOR artists, written BY artists. Help us give you the content you WANT and the information you DESERVE. Email with your ideas!


Now apply your candy paint as soon as you can. You can LIGHTLY blow off any dust, but a hard stream of air will wreck your work.


How do I get my point across like I need to about something as important as the proper way to prep a helmet for paint? This is the most boring and most important part of painting helmets and deserves a complete article on this subject. There is more to prep than ‘Scuff with a Red Scotch-Brite. The best way to get this across the way I want it to is to tell you the true story of Neil. After high school I had a small studio apartment that soon became the late-night hangout on the south part of town. After a night of parting and hitting the clubs my friends and I ended up crashing at my place. With furniture at a minimum there were young men scattered all over the floor in various levels of dress, sleep and sobriety. Some were passed out completely clothed and some were in their boxer underwear laying anywhere they could find a clean spot. As we all began to fall asleep we heard a knock at the door. To all of our delight it wasn’t the cops but some of our female friends from school! Hottie Girls from school! I invited the ladies in and offered them a seat on the couch where Jamie was sleeping minutes before. As I sat on the couch with Tiffany Mandy and Jamie I could see the room quickly coming back to Life. It is funny how fast a group of guys will wake from the dead when a car full of girls show up. This is when the problem arose you could say. As we sat on the couch listening to the girls talk Neil stood up from the floor in his silk boxers and started to stretch so he could show off his body to the ladies. There was no problem until his . . . manhood . . . became exposed. To my amazement no one noticed but me! Neil was a nice guy but very shy of girls and something like this would devastate him.

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I tried everything I could think of to let him know. I tried to hint to him his problem so he could save face and keep some dignity. Neil grab me a drink from the fridge. “I aint your whipping boy” replied Neil. He stood in front of me with this “you aren’t going to get rid of me” smirk on his face. Then put a shirt on dude. He stood there with his hands on his hips. “ why, are you jealous of this good looking bod” was all I got for trying to be a good friend and trying to help. I was winking like I had a bottle of sand in my eye when I heard Jaime yell out “NEIL! DUDE YOUR WAD IS HANGING OUT!!!!! The girls let out a yell and started to giggle like embarrassed girls will do as the room exploded with laughter. Neil went into shock! To my amazement he froze for the first few seconds as he looked down. He was crushed! You could see a tear in the boys eye and the expression of complete devastation wash over his face.


Everyone has read a million times how important proper prep is to any job but still rush through this step. When I first started I did like everyone has that gets excited about a job. I rushed through the prep process to start the fun exciting part , airbrushing my ideas and vision on a helmet or motorcycle tank. I would have this great piece of artwork in front of me with countless hours of work only to see it be destroyed during the un-taping process. The best part of a job comes when you can un-tape your work to see how the finished part will look completed and it is quite devastating to see it mess up due to your sloppy prep work. I would spend almost as much time fixing the messed up area as I did on the whole part. Most of the time it would have only meant 30 or so minutes more preparation to save hours of repair.. I work in layers on my helmets and there is a lot of taping over airbrushed graphics on my work, and there is always a possibility of tape lifting. I am now meticulous when it comes to prep to save myself the self-inflicted aggravation. I am not hinting around how important proper prep is I am telling you “YOUR WAD IS HANGING OUT!!!!!

Some painters do not remove the rubber molding but here at Indocil we insist on removing all moldings from any area that will be seen after the helmet is put back together. This usually means just the bottom molding because the eye port molding will be covered by the shield or the foam seal around the eye port. The rubber is removed by rolling it from the back or front. There is always a loose area and after you find it the molding will usually release with little effort. Do not worry about tearing or damaging your molding on a helmet that has molding securely glued. The availability of replacement molding is readily available from Simpson, Bell, and our replacement parts section of the Indocil website. You want the helmet to look as if it has been painted by the manufacturer and proper molding work helps complete a professional

The dreaded D-Ring! The D-Ring is used to help support the head for drivers that race circle track. A strap is connected from the drivers suit to the helmet giving the neck added support in the turns. New seats and head and neck restraint systems have made the D-ring seldom used in today’s racing but are still used in Karting and a few other forms of racing. Some helmets do not come equipped with D-Rings now. We remove all D-Rings with a 90 degree grinder and not a drill. This rivet is a super hard rivet and not the type of rivet used in a hand rivet tool. A drill will not drill the hardened metal without heating the helmet to a dangerous level and no matter how careful it will not drill on center. We use a 80 grit roll lock in the grinder and lightly grind the head from the rivet. Great care should be taken not to grind past the rivet to the D-Ring itself because it will rust where the chrome has been removed. You will end up with a stud in the helmet that can be tapped out with a center punch and removed from the interior. The D-Ring is seldom used now so ask your customer if they will need to keep this feature. If he or she doesn’t you can simply install a shallow aluminum rivet to fix the hole. If your customer races Oval Kart or needs the D-Ring do not use a standard rivet. You need to reinstall it with a grade 8 button head bolt from the inside with a lock nut on the outside. This is the same nut and bolt that some head and neck restraints use to secure there hardware to the helmet.

helmet paint job. If your helmet has the foam seal around the eye port this is the proper time to remove it. It is not reusable and can be purchased if the driver needs it. Not all helmets will have this feature. We begin taping the helmet by taping the eye port first so we can use our hand on the inside to help seal off all of the tape. Nothing makes a helmet job look bad like overspray on the interior. YOU Cannot use A solvent cleaner on the interior to clean overspray! Solvent-based chemicals such as lacquer thinner will destroy the interior foam and damage may not be visible without a total disassembly and inspection from the helmet manufacturer. This is safety equipment and you could be playing with a driver’s life when you do a crappy job. Take the time to tape your interior like someone life depended on it because it does. We then Tape the bottom of the helmet. The same care should be taken on the bottom of the helmet as needs to be taken on the eye port. We put tape around the bottom perimeter of the helmet trying to tuck it in between the shell and the interior We then put a row of tape horizontal and vertical to keep the tape from tearing when we install and remove it from our stands throughout the job. We then cut a 3 inch line on the bottom so we can slide the helmet on one of our stands.


There are several different helmet combinations you may run across when a customer brings you a helmet. For this installment we will cover automotive complete helmets and automotive bare shells for racing. There are also motorcycle, polycarbonate plastic, previously painted, and factory applied graphic helmets but due to our limited space we will concentrate on the two more common helmet types we get here at Indocil Art and Design. This is what suppliers refer to as a Complete helmet and is what you will get as an over the counter helmet. The first step is to remove the shield with the appropriate tools and remove all decals. Do not worry about SNELL or DOT decals on the outside of the helmet. Racing organizations will inspect the SNELL or DOT badging inside the helmet. The outer decals are easily faked and never use to verify the rating in any tech inspection.


Here ya go its make it or break it time. Surface prep is so important and no employee has ever gotten it right the first time I put them on Scotch-Briting a helmet. You can get it to look flat but if you look super, super close you can see specs of gloss about the size of pepper flakes. Sanding harder doesn’t help get the job done quicker it only makes the scratches deeper. Repetition is the key. Under magnification sand Paper and Scotch-Brite have little points that contact the helmet surface and it takes a great amount of repetition to properly contact the surface of the helmet 100 percent with the points on the sand paper or Scotch-Brite material.

REPETITION! REPETITION IS THE KEY! If you think you are done spend a few more minutes just to make sure!

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We use red Scotch-Brite or 600 grit sandpaper to prep our helmets spending close to 30 minuets per helmet to get the job done properly. You may also fold your Scotch-Brite material over a squeegee or bondo spreader to get in the corners of the eye port. REPETITION! REPETITION IS THE KEY! If you think you are done spend a few more minutes just to make sure. Remember you won’t know your sanding was sufficient until it is too late.


Last step for the helmet is proper cleaning. I may catch a lot of flack over this but I promise this is what we do and what we use at Indocil Art and Design. We do not use pre-cleaning chemicals other than an aerosol glass cleaner that has ammonia. Spray the helmet with a healthy dose of foam and wipe clean with a paper towel. We also use this inbetween taping and directly on base. The ammonia will break down the organic oils transferred from your hands with no damage to the base. Have you ever tried to wipe a drop of blood with lacquer thinner and have it not budge to only wipe it clean with water without effort. This uses the same principle and we have no problems with orange peel or contaminants and have no fear of damaging applied artwork or base. Now your helmet is ready for the taping and layout process.

Now bare shells are cake! Some racers and painters can get bare shells from the manufacturers that will be sent back to the factory to be put together after paint. This is defiantly the way to go but you need to keep in mind the manufacturer is not responsible for any damages. We have seen small imperfections but have never needed to complain. They will at times come pre-sanded but for the ABMag helmet they sent a un-sanded primed shell. Sand with 600 and go! Make sure you look for the next Issue to watch the AB-Mag’s Bell Dominator get closer to being a completed project.

All NEW!!



Step 2) Determine what type of hard drive your computer accepts. There are 3 styles of internal interfaces: -PATA (Ultra ATA 100 or Ultra ATA 133) PATA -SATA (1.5 and 3Gb/s) -SCSI - I will not be covering installation of SCSI drives. Besides, if you have a SCSI drive you more than likely know what you are doing, or you have a support person. SATA Step 3) Go buy a new hard drive that matches the interface your computer uses. If you don’t have Windows XP w/service pack 2, you will have to take additional steps to use a hard drive over 137GB (additional drivers or a registry edit). This information can be found for free on the Microsoft Website.

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Hard drives are getting larger in capacity and cheaper by the day. Their performance is increasing and the ease of their installation is child’s play. You can now find hard drives at almost any store that carries some form of electronics. I have not seen hard drives for sale yet at the supermarket, but I won’t be that surprised if I ever do. Even if you may not need the storage space, a second hard drive makes for the perfect partner in setting up a backup solution for your precious data (look for that article in the next AB Mag issue). So what are you waiting for! Hop to it! Here’s how.


Step 1) Determine if your PC has space for another hard drive. Several ways to do this are: - Look in your PC’s manufactures manual - Contact your manufacturer (phone, web site) - Open the case** and look - you are looking for a place to mount it, an open connector on the ribbon the current hard drive is connected to and a open power connector. If your system is more current and uses SATA, is there a free SATA plug on the motherboard and a power connector? - Ask a buddy who knows what he is doing - Make sure your buddy knows what he is doing by checking his references ;-) **This is at your own risk, dangerous voltages exist in here. Make sure it’s unplugged and do not touch any exposed circuitry. Be careful not to void your manufacturer’s warranty by cracking the case. If they have sealed the case with one of those little warranty stickers you should contact them to find out how to upgrade your system with out voiding the warranty.

Step 4) This step is for those who have already verified that they are in fact NOT voiding their warranties by opening the case. Power the system down. UNPLUG THE POWER FROM THE BACK OF THE COMPUTER. Open the case up. Step 5) For users with a PATA drive (SATA users go to Step 6) - Determine by your computer manufacturer’s specifications if you need to set the hard drive to Cable Select or Slave (you should be installing on the same ribbon as the existing hard drive—which is set to Cable Select or master/single). On the back of the hard drive is a little square area that has some jumpers. Somewhere in the area of the jumpers is a key that states what jumper setting is what.

Step 6) Find your open slot to mount the hard drive. This can be a fun puzzle sometimes in figuring out how to actually access it. ( I have seen hinges, slots, screws and hook mechanisms). Mount the hard drive using the screws provided

you something was added and require a key stroke to continue, or it may just go. But try to watch for the newly added device while its booting (to confirm you did everything right). Step 10) If everything is proper on your system (no viruses, corruption or malware) and you plugged it in correctly, Windows should show you a pop up balloon saying its detected a new device, hard drive, disk, whatever. Step 11) Before you can use your new hard drive, you have to format it! Some drives may come pre-formatted, but you still might have to follow these steps. You need to get to the Windows disk management utility. There are several ways to get there, my favorite is to right click on “My Computer,” select “Manage” then select “Disk Management.” Now after getting this far Windows might ask you to initialize a new volume after opening the disk manager, if it does, initialize. Now look for the new device. It may be labeled Disk 1. Whatever it is called, it should be the disk with a bunch of “Unallocated” space or has no Volume letter assigned. Right click in the new disks bar (that has a colored stripe on it) and select “New Partition.”

Step 7) Plug that sucker in! Find your open power cable and data connection. Notice how both plugs are keyed. You can’t put them in wrong, unless you do some serious meat head style forcing.

You will now be prompted with a “New Partition Wizard.” I suggest you leave the two steps dealing with the partition information as default! Setting separate drive partitions on a single physical disk is worthless in my opinion! 1. Choose a letter to assign to the drive. 2. Choose the File System (In Windows XP you can only select “NTFS” for the file system.) 3. Name your volume (Volume label). Name it something cool like “Piedmont” or “The safe.” 4. Last thing to do would be to throw a check mark in the “Perform a quick format” box, unless you feel like sitting there for hours.

Step 8) Seal everything up and plug the power in. Step 9) Boot up. Different computers act differently to new components during boot. It may tell

Now let the format run! It will say that you have a healthy drive after the formatting is complete. After all this you should see the new volume appear in “My Computer.” Plan ahead and set up a little bit of a folder structure for your self. I like to make folders for “Backup”“Music”“Basket weaving” you get the gist. Next issue I show you how to really take advantage of all this new space!


SATA users, use only ONE power source!! Your hard drive may have the old style Molex power connector and a new style SATA power connector. If you hook up both and power on, you will see smoke come out. All electric components run on magic smoke, if you let the smoke out they stop working.

5. It is up to you if you would like to take advantage of file and folder compression (which is another check box). You can fit more on the drive, but the performance is much slower. (Besides, do you really have 300GB worth of art files and music??)


by: Don R. Swartz Jr.

Once upon a time in a land not so far away I was approached by a customer who wanted to know if I could paint him a rattlesnake. I said “I think we can be of service to you.” It was not until that moment that I fully realized the “Scale” of his request. He wanted the rattler painted down both sides of a brand new Dodge Ram 2500 crew cab. Each snake would measure nearly 10 feet long, and stretch from the front fender almost to the rear wheel. A person of greater forethought might have turned this job away realizing what lay ahead. Me not being that person said “When do you want to start?”

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Three weeks later the truck was in my shop, and my adventure was soon to begin! Let me now take you a journey of self discovery, and by that I mean, discovering just how long I can airbrush the same thing without going mad!


We begin by disassembling the truck and then thoroughly de-greasing it. Then we sanded the entire surface to be painted with 600 grit sandpaper, finishing with gray scuff pads and a blend prep paste. After a thorough wash and dry of the vehicle, we are ready to get going! Once the truck was taped up and ready, I created and cut the vinyl mask using CorelDRAW and my trusty Stika. I carefully applied the mask to the sides (applying a mask of this length can be tricky). I also ran 18” paper around the outside to help prevent over spray in unwanted areas.

Here I have removed the body section of the mask, leaving the head in place. Remember to save the pieces you remove. You may need them again! I have also begun to lay down the snakeskin texture. To create the snakeskin I went the hardware store and bought a furnace filter with a screen mesh on both sides. I separated the screen from the rest of the filter and ran some tape around its edges. Now I just hold the screen against the surface and spray white through it. I went down the entire length of the body this way. The resulting pattern is now the guide for my scales. Notice that I did not just blast white through the screen. As I sprayed the white I began to render values, establish my light source and shadowing to develop the volume and shape of the snake. Once the basics were established for the body, I began with the head. First I unmasked the eyes and tongue, sprayed in black and then replaced the mask. Back with white, I start on the large scales in the front of the head. Since I want the head to look closer I want the scales there to be a bit crisper than on the body, using the rules of light and contrast to develop perspective. I unmask the larger scales one at a time and begin to airbrush them. Using the vinyl mask allows me to achieve the crisp edges I want easily. Once I have the large scales done, I sketch the smaller ones on the top of the head and the lower jaw on with soft #2 pencil. Then I go back and use the airbrush. I am sure you can see a pattern forming here. I then move on to the mouth and build my white, establishing the tongue, fangs and other details. I have printed the reference photo that I used to create the mask and I refer to it to maintain consistent light source and realistic features. After the white in the mouth is done I re-mask it to protect it from my first color.


Now with the head close to done it’s onto the body, which is where the fun begins! Each scale on the 10 foot snake has to be detailed. Using my Spies perfect White and my MOJO airbrush, I go to work. . . for a long time. I think I have individually airbrushed 4.5 million scales. I didn’t count them, but I am pretty sure that is close. My doctor says with intense therapy and prescription medication the dreams should stop. . . eventually.


For the large color applications I pull out the SATA MiniJet and my Iwata Eclipse H-PBCS. I start by coating all the white with a transparent beige. I made a bit of a boo-boo here and got a little heavy with the beige. Not a huge mistake. I will just have to spend a bit more time with my darker color later. Now I mix up a transparent dark brown and go in and start pulling out my detail. I start in the head, all along preparing myself to once again hit the scales. After the head is complete I move onto the body, giving each scale some definition and shape. Working on a project of this size, you can’t cheat the snakeskin with a simple texture or it will look just that, cheated. After a few hours of detailing the body with some shape and definition it really starts looking like a snake. The darker brown in the top of the head and the diamond pattern on the body was accomplished by layering the transparent brown until the desired color was achieved. After the body is complete, I remask the area around the mouth and begin work on that. Now after all the detail with my brown is done, I come back in with a well reduced white and begin to highlight the entire piece. It is important NOT to go overboard with the highlights. Too many can have an adverse affect on the overall look of your project. After the highlights are complete, I look over the whole thing touching up any areas I am not happy with. This could go on for awhile. You have to know when to say when because the last thing you want to do is overwork the art.

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Satisfied, I pull the rest of my mask off and check the area for any adhesive and/or mistapes. Now the entire vehicle is cleaned again with a water-based cleaner. I use Spies Hecker’s 7090. Be careful! Regular degreasers can take your artwork with them. Always test your degreaser before spraying your entire project. Time for the final clear coat. This one got 3 coats of Spies Hecker 8000 clear. Then we final sand, polish and reassemble.


Here is the finished product all nice and shhhhhhiny! I am sure that many of you have a final question in your head. “Just how long did he spend on the scales?” The actual time spent on the scales is hard to calculate. I was on and off the job so much because I was working on other stuff at the same time and I had to break from the monotony of the scales often. If I had to make a guess, it would be in the 16 hour range, give or take a few hours. I would, however take on a job like this again, because although it was tedious at times I was happy (as happy as any artist can be) with the finished project and think it is some of my best work.




s an airbrush artist, whether you are an amateur, hobbyist, or pro, stencils, masks and/or shields are undoubtedly a part of your arsenal of tools. As we grow, develop and mature as a human race, inevitably advancements are made in every aspect of life. Technology has improved our quality of life by leaps and bounds and there is no end in sight. As cell phones are in the pocket of nearly every person over the age of 13, right next to the iPod that docks to the personal computer on a wireless family network, we see evidence of modern improvements all around us each and every day. Why then, should the same growth not become a part of your workflow as a modern day artist?

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Most artists agree, there is a time and a place for stenciled designs. They are great efficiency tools, they provide a great basis for repeated designs, and templates also help enlarge the custom paint of-


ferings of detailing establishments and shops too small to support a full time artist. But, how many times have you used a popular stencil on a project, and then flipped through a magazine, gone to a show or just out to dinner and seen custom paint with the same design? Though the proliferation of stencil designs and templates has been around for many years, there has been and still is one major issue with pre cut templates, if you want to use them, THEY have control over your design and composition, not you. That no longer needs to be the case!! Think about it. A template, is nothing more than a design that has been digitized, programmed into a machine, laser cut, packaged and sold. When you purchase a pre cut stencil you are paying for a bit of material and labor, but the biggest part of what you are paying for is the design. What if you could just buy the design, that you liked, but were able to have control over the size, shape and composition of the template? What if you could reduce the physical inventory of a boxful of the same “custom� templates that they have down the street, to a folder on your hard drive and an envelope of designs YOU customized, sized and cut AS NEEDED? Sound good? Well now you can. Anyone who has a computer with a vector drawing program and a plotter or even just a printer can take control of his/her own design! Today cutting edge retailers have everything you need to make your own stencils; design CDs, sturdy material with a backing made for plotters, low tack vinyl mask, vinyl cutters, transfer tape and even tech support. And, since AB-Mag and its affiliates are dedicated to bringing the artist the best, newest, and most progressive AB-Mag is very proud to introduce a new and ongoing series of articles dedicated to helping airbrush artists take advantage of all technology has to offer. Control Your Stencils and V for Vector. Any time you see either of these headlines, you know that the article(s) to follow are geared towards the

The first thing you will want to do is launch your vector program. I will bounce back and forth between Illustrator and CorelDRAW. Once you become familiar with the tools of your program, following along, no matter which vector editing tool you are using, should be quite simple. You can perform a significant amount of edits and customizations with just the most basic tools available. The shape tool, and the selection tools.

Open your design file. Some versions of CorelDRAW will require that you File-->Import an eps file. If this design works for what you need, you can send it directly to your cutter, and have a stencil in a matter of minutes. Let’s suppose, however, that I need to make a skull that is quite a bit larger than the original. If that is the case, all I need to do is grab the part of the design that want to manipulate, and drag it to a “clean” area of the clipboard. Note: Due to the vast number of programs and versions, there are slight variations in the way a program interprets the design files. Very often you will first need to ungroup the elements of a file. Sometimes you will even need to use the Divide tool in the Pathfinders Pallet before you ungroup (CDR: Arrange -> Break Apart).

CONTROL YOUR STENCILS (part 1) Once the element that you wish to resize is isolated, simply use the main selection tool to drag the bounding box of the design to the correct size. Hint: Hold the Shift key down while you resize to maintain the proportion of the original. If you have a specific size that you need, utilize the rulers that are available. Command + R will make them visible if they are currently disabled. You can also enlarge or reduce the files using a specific scale percentage with the Object ->Transform -> Scale command (CDR: Arrange > Transformations -> Scale).


To demonstrate how you can start taking charge of your templates, I have chosen a couple of the Air Essentials DIY Stencil designs. When you order a DIY Stencil kit, you get a CD with the vector file for a standard 8” x 10” template. CDs contains the artwork in .AI, .cdr and .eps formats, so you can choose whatever file you are most familiar with. For this example we will use Field of Screams I. This file is designed specifically to be cut from sturdy material and used as a hand held shield or template (but dont let that stop you from using the file for vinyl or other design work!). If you look closely at the design you will see that there are no “floating” components. Designing hand held templates, especially detailed pieces, is a little tricky. We will discuss that in a future article. Let’s get started!


Ok, so now lets suppose that you would like to take an element from the design, let’s say the arrow, and warp it so that it has a curve or a bow. First separate the element from the design. Next, create a rectangle around the design. The rectangle will become the “envelope” for the warped design. Make sure that the rectangle is “on top” of the design in the layer order of the document. If it is not the top most element, this maneuver will not work. To check it, select the rectangle and go to Object -> Arrange -> Bring to Front. Now select both your element and your “envelope” and go to Object -> Envelope Distort >Make with Top Object (CDR: Simply select the object and hit the Interactive Envelope Tool). Now, using your Direct Selection tool (CDR: Node Editor) you can manipulate the element any way you see fit. Once the element is in the shape that you are looking for, go back to your Object -> Envelope Distort menu and hit Expand. The design is now ready to send to the plotter! You can manipulate the design even further by adding or subtracting nodes to the envelope, add curves to create a waving effect or to

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match the body lines of a project that you are working on.


With a little practice, the right tools, and some well designed vector art, you can really have a great time creating time saving, but unique pieces. Manipulation and warping does not have to stop at the obvious. You can combine elements, cut, trim and blend. You can make vinyl masks, cut sturdy mylar for hand held shields and make a made a banner if you want to. The possibilities are truly endless. Now that you know, Dont Let Your Stencils Control Your Design. CONTROL YOUR STENCILS!!

Air Essentials DIY Stencil Kits

Are available at fine Airbrush Supply Stores. For more information on the DIY or Direct Delivery Stencil Files, visit

You Asked for It, And YOU Got It! We received many requests from our readers to include detailed, pertinent and useful tutorials on How To Learn and Utilize Vector Drawing Programs. V for Vector will be a permanent column in AB-Mag.

Lesson One:

By Diana Learn


The key to drawing with vector program is being able to look at an item and see it as a series of basic shapes. A common mistake that I see over and over during our classes and in our online discussion forums, is the natural instinct most people have to want to draw an object in CorelDRAW or Illustrator like you draw with a pencil. An outline shape and then added detail. Most of the time, that is not the most efficient or cleanest way to about drawing. Let’s tackle a few simple projects to demonstrate how to break down a complex object into a simple one. Once you are able to see things this way, and attack your projects as a series of small and simple steps, drawing will become much easier.


programs can be very intimidating. I purchased my first copy of Adobe Illustrator in 1996. I was so afraid of it, that I used it for text only for probably 2 years. Of course, the more involved in the graphics art industry I became, the more I realized that I could not make it by PhotoShop alone. And so I decided to face my fear, and conquer the world of vector graphics. As airbrush artists, becoming proficient in vector based drawing is paramount to mastering raster based programs. Having the skill and ability to create masks, shields and stencils quickly, cleanly and efficiently will boost not only your creativity, but your efficiency and therefore your ability to make more money.


Let’s start with something familiar and useful, Iron Cross. What we are going to do here is draw the cross, using only geometric shapes, NOT point to point line drawing. This technique is important because it offers you more precise geometric shape control, rather than trying to control line and node placement. We chose the Iron Cross because it is so popular. This technique can be used on endless shapes and designs and it is also a great basis for creating tribal design work.

Now that you have your vertical bar, let’s make the horizontal one. To do this, select the object, open the rotate dialog box by double clicking the rotate tool or through Object -> Transform -> Rotate (CorelDRAW: Arrange -> Transformation -> Rotate). Enter 90º for the angle and then hit the copy button to place a rotated copy onto the document.

In a new document, create a basic rectangle (square draw tool) the approximate height that you want your cross to be. Next, create an oval (ellipse drawing tool) that is approximately the same height as the rectangle. Duplicate the oval and align the shapes as shown. Pull down some guides from your document rulers to help with proper alignment. You can also use your “align and distribute” pallet to ensure the ovals are on the same plane.

You should have something that looks like the screen shot above. Here comes the magic. Select both trimmed rectangles, any order, and hit the Add to Shape and then Expand button in the Pathfinder (CorelDRAW: hit Weld from the main menu). BAM!!! Now you have an Iron Cross! Now you can get fancy and apply the Bevel trick from last issue (Illustrator - Offset Path or use the Interactive Contour tool in CorelDRAW), cut a mask and get busy painting!

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I have filled the shapes to make them easier to see. Once you have the shapes in line, select them all, making them active, open your Pathfinder Palette, and hit Trim (CorelDRAW use Trim from the contextual toolbar or find it under the Arrange Menu).


Once you have hit the trim button, simply un-group the objects and delete the 2 ovals. This process works EXACTLY the same in CorelDRAW, with the exception that trimmed objects are not automatically grouped, so they can be moved or deleted immediately. You should now have something that looks similar to what you see on the left.

This technique is a “must master” skill that everyone needs in their toolbox. Once you get used to it, you will start seeing designs and shapes differently. Whenever you want to draw something, try to see it in its basic geometric form, and you may be able to execute the idea more precisely, and more efficiently than using just lines, curves and nodes.

Ok, now that you are warmed up, let’s try something a little more challenging. Let’s draw a gear. Take a minute and look at the thumbnail of the finished produce on the left. How would you execute this? Can you look at it and see a series of simple shapes?

CorelDRAW: Create your shape, click the shape with the pick tool and you will see the rotation arrows appear around the object. You can drag it around the default axis, or just like illustrator, drag the center to a new position and rotate. The Transformation Dialog box will allow you to set the angle manually and then you can hit the apply and duplicate button as many times as you need to create the illustration. You should now have 24 circles in around your center axis. Select them and group.

As you should have probably guessed, we are going to start this project with a single circle. Use the ellipse tool, holding down the shift key as you click and drag to maintain perfect circle proportions. You want the circle to be fairly small.

Because we are creating something rather precise, a little more control over placement is necessary. You can further control your drawing by using the Info window. By setting the rotation at specific angles you can ensure the number of objects that will repeat evenly around a circle. (Divide 360 by the number of objects you want). Here I Option Clicked (option duplicates) the object and I drag the star until the Info palette shows 15ยบ. This will give me 24 evenly distributed stars around the circle. You can also hold the Option Key down while setting your rotation point to pull up a dialog box where you can set the angle of rotation around the new origin (shown left). Hit the copy button to place a copy the set measurement away. Which ever way you choose to set the angle, the next step is to Duplicate (Command D) the action until you have a full series of little circles.

Now create another perfect circle (hold the shift key as you click and drag) that is almost the size of the grouped circles. You should be able to see where we are going with this, so eyeball the size of the circle. Now use your align dialog box and center the circle and the group on both axes. With the objects perfectly centered hit the subtract from shape button in the pathfinder (CorelDRAW: front minus back).

Ungroup and delete the outer ring, and you have created the basic shape for the gear! Now we can have some fun. Using the cross that we created in the warm up, place it in the center of the gear.


From here we want to duplicate the circle to create a series in a circular pattern. To do this, activate the circle with the Rotate tool, grab the axis point that is by default in the center of the object and move it to wherever you would like the new center of rotation to be. At this point you can either drag the object and pull it around the circle, or option drag to duplicate and rotate (alt drag for PC).


can slide it around. Flip it over, do whatever, just by grabbing different handles and moving them around. Experiment a little.

Looking at what we have here, the ends of the cross would look better if they were rounded like the gear. No problem! All you need to do is add a node point in the center of the line segment, as shown. If you click and pull the add node tool, you will see that you will get your “handles” to create the arc. If you just click and add a node, you will need to use the convert to curve tool (looks like a “V”) to select and drag the handles from the node. Add your arc to all 4 sides and you have a pretty nice looking gear. If you would like to cut it, lose the fills (if you used them) and send it to the plotter! Are you building confidence yet? Want another one? Here is a technique you will use CONSTANTLY. Typing on a path and quick type warping.

For even more fun, open the Type -> Type on Path -> Type on Path Options and experiment with all the different settings. When typing on a path in CorelDRAW, you will see a contextual menu at the top that has all the same options you see in the Illustrator dialog box. I recommend spending some time learning what all the different settings do and play around a bit. Text manipulation will always be very important and extremely useful for any graphics application. Being able to design and create lettering is also an extra talent to market to keep the cash flow running through your shop. ;)

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Illustrator and CorelDRAW use nearly identical processes for typing on a path. Create a shape or a path. In Illustrator choose the Type on Path tool (CorelDRAW just hold the type tool over the path until it turns into and “I” beam), click the path and simply type your text.


Since we are having fun with text, we may as well hit on another area where you can spend some time experimenting. Using the regular type tool, type out a word. Use a nice bold font like Impact or Compacta. Now with the type selected, open the Object -> Envelope Distort -> Make with Warp (CorelDRAW: Effects -> Envelope). This will bring up a dialog box that has dozens of fun and useful settings. You can do a lot of basic and useful manipulations with this simple tool and all of its sliders and settings.

Using the Text pallet you can control the font, size, spacing and alignment. You will also note “handles” at the top and bottom of the group. Use these handles to change the position of the text on the path. You

This is another area I recommend spending some time learning. Chances are there will be some presets in there that create effects that you have seen or have wanted to try.

Are you up for one more effect? I will switch to CorelDRAW for this one just to mix it up a bit. Waving flags are always a big hit. This process and resulting files are extremely useful. You can use them in numerous applications as a mask, a part of a computer composite, a T shirt, it is endless really.

I start out by pulling a couple guides across the document. Using the square shape tool, Shift Click to create a perfect square approximately 1” x 1”. Copy and Paste the square 3 times, line them up against your guides and open the align and distribute dialog box. You want the squares to be perfectly aligned and distributed to create the best checkered flag effect.

Once you have finished creating the flag that you are after, make sure the whole thing is combined. Select your flag and hit the Interactive Envelope tool from the main menu.

The Interactive envelope tool allows you to manipulate the “flag” as a whole. You can add nodes, pull and stretch the object and create a very realistic waving pattern. I do recommend creating a copy of the original flag so if you get crazy on the warping and it gets out of hand, you can always go back to a “flat” flag and start over. Once you have completed the manipulation, you can use your file as a mask or as part of a graphic, or any number of applications. You could also trim your flag to another shape to add texture or movement to another design. I think that about wraps up this V for Vector column. I think we have given you some solid tools and understanding to get you going down the path of taking control of your designs and your business. Once you get past the initial anxiety of taking on the challenge of learning a new program or a new technique, I am confident that you will have fun creating vector art for masking, templates and lettering. If you can dedicate a bit of time to experimenting with files, and becoming familiar with the basic tools and the basic manipulation pallets that are available, in no time you will be a vector-makin’ fool!

Once original 4 squares are aligned, group them and duplicate the group. Align the group as shown. Then group the 8, duplicate and align until the checkerboard is the size you are looking for. This technique is not limited to checkered flags by any means! You can do with stripes, stars or anything else just as easily. At this stage you can really create any kind of flag that you like.

I have one last thought. As you are reading this and learning, do not get too hung up on which program we are using or you are using. CorelDRAW, Illustrator, FreeHand, Flexi. . . They all do the same thing and with just a bit of effort you will be able to apply the techniques, tricks and tips to whatever you are using. Until next issue. . . Have fun! !

If you would like additional help or instruction on this or any other graphics program, check out is an online source rich in information pertinent to any form of art. In addition, provides FREE online classes at “Learn Academy LIVE!” Several time each month. Classes cover Airbrush Technique, Illustrator/CorelDRAW, PhotoShop and Using a Plotter. Don’t miss the LIVE Web Cam available to the public 24/7.


As you have probably noticed I like to fill objects as I am working with them because it is easier for me to keep track of what i am doing. It is very easy at the end to get rid of all the fills before sending a file to the plotter.


Paintwork by Casey “Kidskillz” Long • Written by Randy “Madskillz” Long


aking into consideration that the mailbox is plastic I want to start by wiping the whole mailbox down with a de-greaser. In this case I am using KC-20 post sanding cleaner by House of Kolor. Letting it dry out I begin to use a DA sander with 400 grit sandpaper and making sure that I get into the tightest places I use a red scotch brite pad to get into the areas that the DA may not get into. Taking the KC-20 again I wipe the whole mailbox clean again. I then take a tack rag and wipe off the excess dust. Ensuring the whole mailbox is clean and free of dust before the base black is sprayed. Spray two good coats of bulldog adhesion promoter to ensure a good bond between the plastic and paint. I then have my father spray the black base coat so that I can apply my artwork. While the base black (HOK BC-25) is being sprayed I get into my fathers’ computer and designs and pick out what type of style I am looking for. I use three major design programs to achieve the look I am going for, Corel, Illustrator and Flexisign pro. After looking at many vector files (I mean a lot of files) I find what I want. I copy all my designs and put it into Roland Cutstudio and send it to the plotter. When it is finished cutting I take a chalk bag with black chalk and rub all over the paint mask so that the cut marks will show. This aids when lining up the design before applying it to the mailbox.

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Now the real fun begins. Applying the paint mask to the mailbox can be a little tricky but with some thinking and a couple of ideas (Hey I am only 9) my father tells me a way that has worked for him in the past. Apply transfer tape to the cut paint mask. With a mixture of mild soap, water and rubbing alcohol, spray the mailbox fairly wet and the back of the paint mask. Make sure that you remove the mask from the protective backing you want to spray the mixture on the sticky part of the vinyl mask. Ensure you spray the back really wetting it. Lining up my design and applying it just enough to stick to the mail box I step back and make sure that is the positioning that I want. If not you can simply pull it off and start over. This is where the water mixture is a great idea. You can apply and remove several times as long as it has not been applied with much pressure. After you get it aligned and happy with its placement use your squeegee and squeeze all the water mixture from between the paint mask and the mailbox ensuring a great adhesion. Allow to dry for about 15 minutes before attempting to remove the transfer tape.


Now that I have both of my flame designs on the sides I use masking tape to cover the rest of the mailbox from over spray. I peel the outer layer or the pin-striping mask away and fill in with over reduced cardinal red (U-26) pinstriping paint. I spray this with my MOJO. OK my fathers MOJO. I don’t have one yet. But I want one so if anyone wants to donate to the Kidskillz MOJO fund. Hehehe. I also have changed the design at this time to the front of the mailbox and replaced the pin-striping to the clients’ street number. I also spray this number while the red is in the airbrush.

After allowing it dry for a bit I re-mask the pin-striping off and peel the making from the center, scuff with 400 grit and spray an over thinned Alsa chrome. I am trying to achieve the effect of real raw sanded metal. Over thinning with lacquer thinner works pretty well. It allows the mixture to be transparent enough for the scratch marks to show through. While I still have the Alsa chrome in my MOJO I also spray the Harley-Davidson logo to the front of the mailbox. Rinsing my MOJO out completely I get some very weak black and spray drop shadow. Not to heave just enough to give a better effect of the flames. Moving to the top of the mailbox I have also cut a pinstriping design that I will spray a light misting to so that my father can hand strip for me. He does that.

What is the best part of painting? I love to have fun with it. Did you learn anything important in the painting process? Not to push down on the fresh clear coat while buffing it out or you will mess it up and the dad will yell.(loud) What would you like to improve in yourself to become a better painter? My details. I need to work on them. Did your father pay you for your services? If so what did you spend you money on?

After the striping is finally done I watch him clear it with UC-35. Man that is a process that I need to learn when my hands get big enough to hold the spray gun. Color sanding and buffing the mailbox looks pretty good. I hate to see it go away to the customer but hey I got some money to learn from this so I am not complaining at all. Till next time.

Yes $25, I bought a video game called “Super Smash Bros”

What type of project would you like to do next? A real gas tank to a motorcycle.

When did you start painting? When I was 3 yrs old and I got my 1st set of blow pens.

What do your friends think about your art? They always make me draw them flames and stuff on their folders.

How did you get interested in art? I got interested in art because my dad taught me how to draw flames. What is your favorite part of painting? I like to make cool things. What grade are you in? 4th Do you use your art skills for school projects? I drew some dragon scales for my art teacher. I help other kids draw the flames during fire safety week. What type of art do you like most? Flames, skulls and killing stuff.

What material do you work with? Pencil, Crayon, color pencils and my dads mojo and all his paints. Do you do it all, or are you just the artist? Mostly artist but I do it all from prep to final except the clear coat. I let my dad do that. Do you do your own sketches? Yes, I always doodle during class drawing flames, funny faces, and dragons. The best realistic flames and the most realistic dragon in all the land.

Do you want to be an airbrusher when you get older, or do you just want to do it as a hobby? Do it as a hobby because I am going to be a professional football player.


Q and A with KIDSKILLZ:

I say it’s cheating but he says it is working smarter not harder. Since he is not Von Dutch, Krash or the Wizard he has to have a layout. Hehehe. I tell him (well suggest to him he’s my father I don’t tell him anything I suggest) that I think that it would look sweet both red and white. We’ll see how he does.


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Pick a profession. Any profession. Now imagine that profession without the aide of a computer. In this day and age the personal computer (pc) is as much a part of our lives as using an automobile or television. The pc is continuously evolving into new territories such as digital music, video editing and now airbrushing. Consumers are demanding faster processors, larger hard drives, better video cards and digital audio. Only one custom computer shop provides their customers with all this AND some style. Born from the mind of artist Thomas Volpe, a man with a B.F.A. in illustration from New York’s School of Visual Arts and a love for all things computer related, HyperKore Systems provides customers with high end hardware personalized artistic style. Every HyperKore system is tweaked and tuned for maximum performance with custom modifications to the chassis, wiring, hardware and software, but it does not stop there. HyperKore’s signature mod is the Laser Etched window. HyperKore’s Laser Etched windows grant a powerful machine the beauty of handcrafted artistry. Because the windows are interchangeable, and affordable your machine can change with your mood, the seasons or act as billboard advertising space for your company. HyperKore offers clear etchings with unparalleled detail. They also pioneered the exclusive Blackout Series etchings, a process that allows ANY image to be transferred with stunning photo realistic quality.

Thomas, brother Chris and 3rd partner Adam are now taking this same level of creative customization in another direction with their MobileKore Notebooks, a line of laptops that will have unique features only available at HyperKore. Check out this unique fusion of muscle and art at


Just recently HyperKore introduced what they call the “Hyper Kolor Series” etchings. Hyper Kolor is a proprietary method that allows the introduction of color into the Blackout series. The Hyper Kolor process makes the etchings ‘POP to VIVID life’ in a way that just cannot be achieved with lights. With up to four (4) colors in each Hyper Kolor etching, you would have to be a lighting master to pull off the same effect.


By Joe McGowan

1) Manny Cisneros lays the design for the Gold Leaf with fineline tape.

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with Manuel Cisneros


2) Trim Fine Line Tape with X-Acto Knife, being careful not to scratch the paint surface.

4) Add a drop of white pinstripe enamel into the cup with the strained sizing (the paint adds contrast against your background; white is recommended against black or dark surfaces; red or brown is recommended for use on white or light surfaces).

5) Apply sizing in a light coat, but making sure you cover the entire surface of the area to be gilded.

6) After sizing is applied, remove the fine line tape. Be careful not to touch any of the gilding as you pull the tape up and off.

7) Normally allow sizing to dry for 40-60 minutes – timing may vary depending on room temperature and humidity. Check after 40 minutes for proper tack; check after 20 minutes if you are working in a warm, dry environment. The sizing should squeak when you rub it with your knuckle. If it’s too wet, wait another 10 minutes and check again.

8) Make sure you wear gloves while applying gold leaf to prevent sweat or skin oils from discoloring the gold.


3) Before applying Gold Size, you must strain it. If you are going to clear coat job later I recommend adding about 5% KSE701 Striping Enamel Hardener to the sizing to assure no wrinkling problems occur with final clear coat.


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9) Place gold leaf sheet face down on sizing; gently rub until gold transfers to work surface. Be careful not to let the paper edges touch sizing.

10) After leafing is applied, rub gently with a cotton ball to remove excess leaf and to make sure the entire area is leafed.

11) After excess leafing is removed, use a small piece of velvet to spin the leaf. Manny made his own tool by wrapping a piece of velvet around a wad of cotton and attaching this to a small handle. Rub gently in small circular quarter-turns. The leaf can be turned anytime within eight hours of application.

12) The gold leaf must be sealed with 2 part urethane clear coat to protect the leaf before any pinstriping or other work is done to the gilded surface. This prevents tarnishing, dirt, chipping or flaking of gold leaf. I like to use KC210 Speed Clear with KH211 Fast Hardener.

13) You can begin striping as soon as the clear coat is dry to the touch (about 15 minutes). For the beginner, to allow room for error, allow an hour. I am using Kustom Shop E-Z Flow Striping Enamel #KSE739 Lime Green for the pinstriping.

When I first learned to carve, several years back, I started with a yam and a book on vegetable carving. Learning the different carving techniques and tools to use is fairly simple on a yam because they do carve easily. Yams and other vegetables also provide an inexpensive and readily available material for experimenting and pushing through the learning curve. The tools necessary are VERY cheap. I usually use either an old carving knife, or a favorite exacto-knife, and a set of the cheapest gouges since yams carve so easily. The great thing about yam carving is that you really never know exactly how it will look once it has dried. You learn how to do things to control it somewhat, but I anticipate each carving as it sits in the dehydrator for up to a week! It is also easy on my hands, and it’s fun to get a whole face done in about one half hour.

Michigan’s Bob “ Yam Man” McNamee is a master at the art of Vegetable Carving and Custom Paint. A series of Christmas Santa Yams and Elf Spuds adorn his holiday tree!

If you think you might try this here is a little tip. I recommend giving the yams a spray of ‘Lysol’ every so often as they dry, to keep them from molding, or use a food dehydrator to speed the drying up!


Once the sculpture is completely dry, I bring out the airbrush and finish my 3D art. Here you can see a series of Holiday Tree ornaments and a couple new experiments, a skull with a joker hat and a “MOJO” man.


By John Bartevian

We have all looked through many art magazines, auto graphic magazines and books for the latest trends and techniques in custom painting. What is rarely mentioned is what happens to a custom paint job that becomes damaged. In this series, our goal is to demonstrate how to prepare and complete a blemished custom. The bike pictured was damaged in several places while being shipped to its destination. The area we will be concentrating on is the left down-tube. As we look at the damaged area, we want to see if there are any areas that we can run our clear to without showing a line. In this particular case, there was no endpoint that we could reach with our clear.

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Our first step is to completely isolate every area other than the surface we need to repair. For this type of paint job, with so many colors involved, the painter must remember the position and values of all colors involved. It is worth your while to take several photos for reference. All color matching is done prior to any refinishing steps.


The area is cleaned and then sanded with 220 dry sandpaper. As with any repaired area, we must feather edge out the surface. Once this is accomplished, we proceed as we would with any other repair job in the shop.

Our next step then is to primer. We like to use Dupont A-4220S QuickPrime. It is available in aerosol or non-aerosol. We were able to sand within 20 minutes of our application (see photo #5). We then proceeded to apply colors. We begin with the color that will dominate the area and then narrow it down to the final white wisps. Again, for this type of restoration, when we are using large and small amounts of color, we pull out the workhorse of our shop, which is Precision Aire’s TREO XF.

Once the final colors have been laid out to our satisfaction, a clear coat is applied. Since we are not going out to a fixed edge, we will blend our clear with

Dupont Blender A-19301S. We have had great success with leaving no telltale signs on any of our finished products. After the clear has dried, we color sand with 2000 wet or dry sandpaper to match the original finish. The restoration of this single down-tube being completed without taking the bike completely apart has saved the client thousands of dollars in labor, and restores the bike to its original condition. This provides a win-win situation for everyone.


This gun has specifically been designed for today’s paints. Another great thing about the TREO is that, this gravity-fed gun can be used with 3 different-sized supplied cups, or no cup at all.


PRODUCT REVIEW: PrecisionAire Master Treo XF The new dual-action, gravity fed Treo is the flagship of the PrescisionAire lineup offering several state-of-theart features. A .3mm needle and nozzle is designed to atomize paint with extreme control. In addition to the small nozzle size is the airflow control valve which allows the user exact control of the airflow at the nozzle of the brush. This airbrush also features a combination preset/cut a way handle. This allows you to both limit the amount of paint flow and when wide open, clear paint blockages very quickly. The Treo also offers the user the flexibility of choosing the size of the paint cup by offering three removable, chrome plated paint reservoirs. All the internal seals in this brush are solvent proof. The following tests where done by one of the students during Scott Mac Kay’s intermediate Automotive Airbrush Class in Easton, Massachusetts. The paint used for the test was the PPG EnviroBase paints on both illustration board and aluminum license plate tags. Air pressure was 30psi.

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Image 1: The Treo easily atomized the waterborne paint with great control. The student found the crown cap to be a nice feature in protecting the needle while still offering good airflow. The overall airflow of the brush was easily controlled with the small adjustment knob just below the fluid cup. Lowering the pressure to nearly zero created a very controlled, fine stipple pattern.


The only drawback with the Treo that was noted by the student was that the airbrush was extremely front heavy when using the largest color cup filled with paint. Fortunately, with the Treo, the cups can be easily changed to the smaller size to fit any job. More Info: Treo XF and PrecisionAire Products Scott Mac Kay’s Intermediate Airbrushing class Mike Learn Template series

Images 2 & 3: The Treo processed paint for fine lines and fades. The transparent paints broke down very well through the brush and blends between colors were flawless.

Product: PrecisionAire Master Treo XF Includes: Three interchangeable color cups and Wrench Tip Size: .3mm Air Pressure: 0-45 psi Mediums: Handles all solvent and waterbased mediums. Action: Double action, Internal mix gravity feed

ROLAND’s CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 Desktop Vinyl Cutter In addition to Roland’s legendary reliability, the CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 desktop vinyl cutter offers enhanced productivity and quality. Powered by a digital servomotor, it achieves cutting speeds up to 20 inches per second and maximum accuracy. Vehicle graphics, signs, decals, labels, stencils and even pinstriping always come out looking crisp and clean. 1. Speed & Precision - The CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 uses a digital servomotor to achieve maximum accuracy and cutting speeds up to 20 inches per second. The desktop cutter also features a curve-smoothing function that allows precise cutting even at high speeds. The result is faster production and more professionallooking graphics.

Image 5: Continuing on with the template/freehand exercise, the fine lines and color fades used to finish the skull turn out to be very controlled through the Treo.

3. Cutting Printed Graphics - The CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 includes an optical registration system that automatically recognizes desktop printer crop marks and aligns media to create a powerful and cost-effective print and cut solution. 4. Small & Intricate Designs - Blade offset values can be adjusted manually for optimum results on a wide range of materials. An optional small-lettering blade produces sharp, hi-quality results for small and intricate designs. 5. Easy To Use - A newly designed blue LCD panel is perfectly positioned for easy viewing and navigation. The CAMM-1 Servo GX-24’s control panel has a blade groove on its apron for easy manual cutting. A sheet roller base is included with every CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 to keep media feed straight. An optional stand is also available. 6. CutStudio Software - Every CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 vinyl cutter ships with Roland CutStudio design software. CutStudio lets users enlarge, reduce, re-position, rotate and mirror images. It also cuts enlarged images as crisp as original size and cuts TrueType fonts without outlining. CutStudio supports BMP, JPG, STX, AI, and EPS file formats. It is compatible with Windows 98 SE/ME/2000/XP. The CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 works with all professional sign making software. It includes a Windows 98 SE/ME/2000/XP printer driver, a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator 9/10/CS, a plug-in for CorelDRAW 10/11/12, and a plug-in for Adobe Illustrator 9/10/CS in the Macintosh OS 9/X environment. 7. Roland Reliability Roland cutters have earned worldwide reputation for reliable performance and outstanding results. Today, like all Roland products, they come with an international ISO certification. This signals Roland’s commitment to offering top quality products backed up with first-rate customer service and a wide variety of supplies and accessories. Over the past 17 years, Roland has sold more than quarter million vinyl cutters worldwide. Most of them are still in production today. Modern Image of Huntington Beach, CA still uses a Roland vinyl cutter that it purchased more than a decade ago. “It runs all day, everyday and has never needed a single repair,” said Robert Wilson, Modern Image president. “Today, we have seven Roland’s lined up and cranking out awesome vehicle graphics.”

Roland Vinyl Cutters are available at Fine Airbrush Supply Establishments. Look for special deals and Value added Combo Packs to get you started in the time it takes to get your Roland out of the box!


Image 4: Using the Mike Learn Field of Screams 1 template, a skull is placed at the bottom of the flame. This detail oriented airbrush had no problem atomizing even the heavier white basecoat paint.

2. Materials - From two to 27.5 inches wide, the CAMM-1 Servo GX-24 accepts a wide range of materials. It cuts vinyl, paint mask, reflective vinyls, twill, heat transfer, and sandblast material.


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The process order for most artwork is to do the prep work and then basecoat and clear. You don’t HAVE to work over a cleared surface but it is the SAFEST way to work because if you make any mistakes you can easily wipe the surface clean and start over without messing up the base color. After your surface is cleared, sand it down with 800 then go ahead and do your airbrushing on it. Intermediate clear is used for all kinds of color application, particularly when using candies. It can also be used dilute other basecoat colors to make them more transparent before you add thinner. Intermediate clear is also great to lock down your artwork, especially candy colors that you do not want to blend with one another. It can also be used to extend windows that some paint systems have in regards to basing then clearing a part. There is a lot to learn and some processes will vary with each paint system out there. Much of the information is generic and covers across the board, but you need to talk to a local paint supplier to see what is available and will work for you. I have been hearing the term “control your stencils” from my friends who airbrush. How does one “control their stencils” and why would I want to? Let’s deal with the easier part of your question first. The reason that you want to “control your stencils” is to save time and money. Being able to create a stencil in exactly the size you need for your artwork cuts down on tedious drawing and cutting of custom masks. And once you have created the vector, a computerized stencil, it’s yours to control forever. Now to the complex part of your question. Since 1998, when the first fixed templates were created, they were all the rage. Airbrush artists couldn’t get enough of them and the number of choices has grown exponentially. Literally hundreds of dollars were spent by artists to stay up to date with the newest designs. There was only one problem. Each template was 8” x 10”. If the surface to be painted was small you could only use part of your template. If the surface was larger, you could only have a repetitive pattern. Not very creative. Technology to the rescue. You can now purchase a stencil on CD and load it into your computer. You can slice it. You can dice it. You

can make it as small as your plotter can cut it. You can make it as large as your plotter can cut it. You can use just a portion of it. And you pay for the design just once. If you are proficient with Corel or Illustrator, you can create your own stencil. You can even scan the hard stencil you have purchased and now you can control that stencil as well. We like to say. . . let the Power of the V (vector) work for you! Enjoy Controlling Your Stencils. I am using HOK and I am painting a mural with the sky in white and KK Oriental blue Kandy. I am then going to add some jets over it so I do not have to tape off the jets when doing the sky. If I put SG100 Intercoat clear over the Kandy blue sky, do you think that will prevent it from bleeding into the artwork of the jets? You can certainly do your painting in that order, however you will need to keep a few things in mind. First, be sure not to mix your Kandy too strong, keep the 20% ratio. You will also want to make sure that the SG100 is REALLY dry before you try to tape on it. Do not spray on it until you are 100% sure it is dry. To be certain of no bleeding issues, you could put a coat of catalyzed clear over the kandy, sand and go from there. I am interested in purchasing a RichPen Airbrush, but the market is cluttered with so many Iwata clones. Is a RichPen the right airbrush to purchase? Excellent question! As globalization makes the world marketplace smaller and smaller it seems that there are copies of everything available. As this happens, companies who make their own airbrushes get drawn into the abyss. So to answer your question, yes there are a lot of Iwata clones in the marketplace. They are manufactured in Taiwan and China. Some of the quality is good and some not so good. RichPen is another story. RichPen is not a clone. RichPen is one of the many high quality Japanese manufacture airbrushes. RichPen has been in business for 50 years and they have a very strong reputation in the Far East. RichPen is just starting to get recognized in the North American market. They have a very short supply chain, no middle men, keeping prices low while maintaining quality. We think that you will find RichPen a great alternative when analyzing the purchase of a Japanese airbrush. I have noticed that most of the vector artwork that is available is found in an .eps format. What is .eps? What program do I need to use these files?

EPS (encapsulated post script) is a generic file format that will work with any vector program, Illustrator, CorelDraw, Freehand and any CAD program. Because there are so many different vector drawing programs available, and each has its own native file format (.ai, .cdr etc), art shared across programs, platforms and versions needs to be saved and distributed in a format that everyone can read. To use an .eps file, just open your vector program, and choose FILE --> OPEN from the application menu and navigate to your eps file (for most programs). Some versions of Corel will want you to FILE --> IMPORT. Taxidermy is my chosen profession. A close friend of mine airbrushes bikes. He told me that urethanes paints are going to be outlawed in 2010. Will this include my taxidermy lacquers? I will be lost without them. We took a quick scan of and couldn’t find a clear answer to your question but it appears that quite a few taxidermists are already converting to water based lacquers for their taxidermy work. We like to use Wildlife Colors water based lacquer for our wildlife carvings that we paint. Wildlife Colors dries super fast without the inherent tip dry. The color pallet is phenomenal. The colors match all of the popular wildlife paint schedules. The pigments are specially ground to allow proper atomization through the airbrush. Wildlife Colors is a delight to use. You need not worry about losing your solvent based lacquers. For more information on these unique paints visit


I am new to painting and I am looking for the basic order of steps to take once I have prepped a surface for paint. I know you base and clear, but when do you use intercoat?


Part 2 with Vince Goodeve

The Devil’s Playground project is 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. As promised, here is the second half!

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The Devil’s Playground - Machines with Heart - Part 2


The next sequence reflects the client’s fascination with flying up extremely steep mountains at high velocity on snow machines. Generally speaking the color sequences are similar to the burnout but with a few twists. So I begin by taping off with application tape. Here you can see my original sketch, which I project onto the drivers side of the vehicle. Using the #11 X-acto I cut out the outer edge of my design. Just be cautious not to press too hard and damage the underlying basecoat. Sharp blades are a must.

A medium-light basecoat of white will do the trick. Use a large format gun for this process. Be sure to pay attention to safety by wearing your respirator.

I remove the application tape revealing the silhouette of the image. Notice that I have left the back of the sled dark against a light background. This will really help with the illusion of heat later on in the project. I develop the details in the same manner as the chopper in the previous steps using a mix of 75% red 20% purple and 5% green.

I add some more elements like guts and flesh to the sled as well as heat in the exhaust pipes.

Using the transparent colors and sequences for heat seen in the previous segment, I create a wicked rooster tail to suggest horse power and movement. To emphasize the heat from below I create a secondary light source from above. I choose purple because it is a perfect compliment to the oranges and reds. To do this I spray a trans purple wash to the top side of my design. I simply reduce trans purple basecoat and spray a light mist coat from about 8-12 inches watching for even coverage.


I continue airbrushing in all the details as I go just letting my imagination run wild.


Next I complete the background in the same manner as the other side of the truck with lava flows and strange scenery. I then go in with white in my airbrush and enhance highlight areas throughout the image. Next is the simple matter of adding more eye candy such as lava drips, smoke and all the rest. I’m just kind of rounding everything out.

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This is a great view of the driver’s door. The look of glee is evident on our boney buddy as he hurtles forward from his fiery platform. Even though the figure is made of bone and sinew, you can still capture emotion through body language and position.


A bizarre 4x4 truck seemed to fit the bill. The iron-cage wheels filled with molten lava are a neat touch.

Little details like the crazy laced up motocross boots as well as the torn pants all add points of interest. Here is a close up of our mobile monster showing the action captured as the beast rears out of the lava pool. Streaming liquid and other details help add to this effect.

A custom built motocross bike doing a tail whip is alw ays cool, especially when the frame is made of bones and the wheels are on fire.

Here is a shot of the tailgate prior to clear coat. Some how scantily clad ladies always appear on the list of things to do in a lot of our commissions.

Another part of the painting, a series of mountainous faces, each one dripping with hot lava.

Speaking of which, I try to show some skin but try not to be too revealing. I guess you could say she’s “HOT”. A sort of self portrait as well as thanks to all the folks involved in the project.

Just a little color or striping in the bumpers ties them into the rest of the truck.

GOODEVE Studios Owen Sound, ON Canada


The last thing I do is pinstripe the bumpers so they are not so bald. The rest of the stuff like the hood and the tonneau cover are shipped to my shop to be completed there.

Running the striping brush over the slightly textured bumpers was initially weird, but once I found the groove, a matter of the right speed and consistency, it worked well.



ow that Fall is upon us, we have more time to airbrush without the temptation of the beach, car rallies, or fairs. If you are like me you want to spend the whole day in the studio creating. And one of the best ways to create holiday gifts for friends and family members is to combine airbrushing and cooking. Is there anything more fun than airbrushing cookies? The first step is to prepare our media. Here is a tried and true sugar cookie recipe that will make up to 5 dozen canvases.



ning shorte f o p u ar 2/3 C up Sug 1 1/2 C 2 Eggs Pre heat oven to 325 degrees. Cream the r of Flou s p u C 3 shortening and sugar together. Beat eggs and blend into salt spoon g 1/2 tea in k a the shortening/sugar mixture. In a separate bowl, mix oons B 2 teasp r flour, salt, and baking powder. Then mix dry Powde range o f o d e ingredients into the shortening/sugar mixture. ic rin Grated on Orange Ju o sp Next add the orange rind and orange juice. 1 Table Mix dough until smooth and chill dough until firm. Roll out the dough and cut your canvas into any shape desired. Pumpkins for Halloween. Turkeys for Thanksgiving. A variety of shapes for the December holidays.

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Cook your canvases for 12-15 minutes on a greased cookie tin. Allow to cool


While the canvases are cooling, mix some confectioner’s sugar with a small amount of water to the consistency of jelly. Once the cookies are cool, spread your “gesso” over the cookies. You can then take food coloring and airbrush your canvases. Enjoy your holidays and next time we will have some hot winter repast. Manga!

with Anthony Sesack I was asked to do this issue’s T-Shirt article. I chose this piece because it is a great selling design that can be executed in about 10 minutes. Eye appealing and efficient designs are the key to making T-Shirt painting profitable. I operate a fixed location in an indoor flea market with consistent heavy traffic. I have been airbrushing for 17yrs, professionally for the past 10. I started airbrushing Tees at Arts and Crafts events, Street Fairs and Car Shows. Then I entered into the party scene doing airbrushed party favors. I opened up my shop, East Coast Brush Works, 18 months ago after leaving my 9-5 office job. I use mainly Badger airbrushes (Omni 3000 for Tees, Omni 4000 and 5000 for automotive) with a multi-gun setup of 10 Omni 3000s. I use ETAC paint straight out of the bottle, no reducing is necessary and spray with a psi of 60.

The pellon from Bear Air is a little thicker and stiffer than your standard pellon that other distributors may carry. So using a stencil burner is a little difficult, but I do use it for the “line work” areas to be used as the points-of-reference. I have used an exacto blade to cut this brand of pellon. Otherwise standard pellon or pennant felt can be cut using a stencil burner. To determining the points of reference that should be cut out of a template, the goal is to to remove any guess-work on the placement of major lines. For this design I want to make sure that I mark the cheekbone location, teeth, gumline, etc. The eyes, nose and mouth are the obvious areas. But remember when doing line-work, that you can cut your design apart if you’re not careful. So break up your lines every so often so you don’t remove any portion of the positive stencil that you may need to complete the design. Enough background. Let’s get going on this T-Shirt!


To maintain consistency and efficient production, I create templates for many popular designs using pellon. To do this I will usually sketch the design first, and then darken the lines with a sharpie marker. Then using a light box, I will lay my drawing out and place the pellon over it and redraw it again using the sharpie marker.


Step 1: I had my image already pre-cut using Pellon which you can get from Bear Air. This stuff is great!! It’s thicker than normal pellon and is great for cutting stencils. Using Super 77 Spray Adhesive by 3M, I spray a little on the reverse side of the stencil to stick it to the shirt.

| AB•MAG | Fall 2006

TIP: If you happen to spray too much adhesive and it gets stuck on your shirt, use masking tape to remove it. Place the tape over the glue spot, rub it down good and just yank it right off. It may not remove all of it the first try, but two or three tries should do it.


Step 2: Using my ETAC Opaque Black, I add a light fade circle or what I like to call a “halo” around the stencil. This will frame the design as well as give you an edge to outline after you remove the stencil.  Step 3: Still using my Opaque Black, I add a heavy drop shadow to the left side and the bottom of the design. I will also shadow in the eyes, mouth and add the line work that will help me complete the design after the stencil is removed.

Step 4: With the stencil now removed, you can see my points of reference as to how I can now build on the design. I will now outline the design using the same Opaque Black I started with. Side Note: Throughout this process I will be using black. You can use any color you wish, but I have been doing this design all in black and white and for me it sells quite well.  Step 5: Now that the outlining is complete, I am ready to add some shadows to the skulls to bring definition to the design so it doesn’t look so flat.

Step 6: Here you can see the difference some shading can make to your quick T-shirt design.  Step 7: It is always nice to add a little “bling” when you can. Here I wanted to add bit of color, so I gave the smiling skull a gold tooth, just for fun. Step 8: For the final touch, add some lettering and a couple of star bursts. In this case, the phrase “Laugh Now, Cry Later” in a Script style, which has been a popular one with these masks. You could also do a single name in say an Old English style lettering, however, I would charge more for that. Step 9: Using ETAC Opaque White, I add my highlights to the lettering and on the masks. I finish up by adding some tears to the crying mask. Done!

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Badger Air-Brush Co. has embraced the philosophies of high quality, good value, and superior service since our inception over thirty years ago. From the people we employ to the products we manufacture, Badger’s dedication to excellence and quality is unmatched.


| AB•MAG | Fall 2006




| AB•MAG | Fall 2006


AB-Mag Volume 2  
AB-Mag Volume 2  

Airbrushing tutorials and art enthusiast magazine.