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| AB•MAG | Winter 2007


Product News & Spotlight From the Editor Battle Dress Paint & Body Men’s Bikes & Women’s Bodies Tips & Tricks of the Trade Digital Dick R-R-Rip It Up!

Publisher: Editor: Art Director:

Steve Angers Diana Learn Diana Learn

Contributing Writers:

John Bartevian Lee & Lisa Berczel Shawn Cooper Paul Labelle Steven Leahy Mike Learn Scott MacKay Corrado Mallia Shane McConnell Fort C McMurray NUB Leon Redman Pat Reynolds Mike Ross Carolyn Selliken Ryan Young

Advertising Director:

Steve Angers

AB•MAG 20 Hampden Drive #2 S. Easton, MA 02375 888.232.7227 • 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 ©2006-2007 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.

Creating from Within by Mike Learn Taxidermy Painting A Kokanee Salmon HELMET HEAD with Indocil’s Ryan Young Getting Inspired with Steve Leahy V for Vector Celtic Design Work NUB Graphix T-Shirt Portrait with Patrick Reynolds For the Educator Making A Bloody Mess with Shawn Cooper Go LARGE Custom Freight Liner Colossal Canvas by Corrado Mallia Is Gas Your Problem? Repairs with John Bartevian Product Review and Testing Paashe VJR #1 Q&A TStep Speaks Interview by KFX Kid’s Corner Flaming Dice JR. The Airbrush Gourmet Malaysian Pizza Airbrush News & Events Norway and Boston


AB•Mag - February 2007 • Volume 2, Number 1 Cover Art: Steve Leahy

Get Buff with Scott MacKay


New!! Huntington Beach Bodyworks Mini Stencils by Kustom Shop

Simon Murray’s How To Paint Helmets By Auto Air Colors

When even Kustom Shop reduced size stencils are too big, we now offer mini stencils for those small items and tight spaces.

Auto Air Colors is proud to introduce “How to Paint Helmets with Simon Murray” DVD. This is the long awaited instructional DVD by international helmet painting legend Simon Murray. Simon is widely regarded as one of the world’s most prolific helmet painters. He has produced more than nine hundred individually commissioned pieces with clients ranging from the everyday motorcycle enthusiasts to Grand Prix winners and World Champions. Whether you paint for fun or profit this DVD will give you an invaluable insight into the various helmet painting techniques and secrets of the top pros. Running time approximately 95 minutes. Look for this new title at your favorite airbrush supply retailer.

Our SKULL KING MINI stencils come 10 designs to a package. We also offer a single-layer miniature version of our popular layered skull stencils also 10 to a package. Our klowns, animal, and pirate stencils are available in 5stencil sets giving you 35 minis in all! Mini stencils measure approximately 2” by 2”. All of our stencils feature a small tab to make lifting and positioning easier. Visit or call 858-909-2188 to get yours .

SEM Locks Out Competition Charlotte, NC --- We are pleased to announce the introduction of ML011 METALOCK DTM EPOXY PRIMER and MLH14 METALOCK HARDENER. When mixed at 4:1 mixing ratio with MLH14, ML011 is a true direct to metal primer designed for metal, aluminum, SMC and fiberglass. ML011 utilizes the latest epoxy technology to provide superior adhesion, outstanding corrosion protection and exceptional sanding properties, creating a solid and dependable foundation for any project. ML011 does not require an additional reducer or induction period! Allow one hour dry time before sanding, priming or topcoating. Don’t get “locked” out: Grab a can today and see for yourself why SEM is “The Right Choice.” Log onto our website at, or call 1-800-831-1122 for more information on our products.

BELLY GUNS 2: Dirty, Decayed and Distressed

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

By Mike Learn


In this follow up to the Intro to Belly Guns DVD released last fall, Mike demonstrates the virtually endless composition and creative possibilities within the fantastically popular “Belly Guns System”. Using one of our new Action & Fantasy Series Poses, watch as Mike creates a stunning, un-living, BreeThing Creature in a Frazetta-inspired environment. Following his proven system, with a focus on dramatic lighting and water effects, Mike will guide you through the project from beginning to end, giving instruction on techniques that you can apply to any idea you may have. You will also get intense training on a variety of background effects including grinded metal, tattered fabric, rusted/corroded metal, marble, rips and tears, bullet holes, embossed and recessed effects and much much more! Enhance your creativity and boost your efficiency with Belly Guns and the Mike Learn System!! As always, your product is 100% back with unlimited Technical and Creative support at At 82 minutes, this DVD is PACKED full of information, techniques and of course, some fun as well. We are confident this will be a must-have for EVERYONE’s library. Available at www.LearnAirbrushSTORE. com and other fine retailers.

REGDAB Needle Juice Airbrush Lubricant from Badger Keep your painting smooth with REGDAB! REGDAB Needle Juice Airbrush Lubricant maintains smooth trigger action and eliminates needle friction due to dry paint build up. Use wherever lubrication is vital to the performance of your airbrush. Made for use in all brands of airbrushes. For more information visit your local retailer or

DID YOU MISS AN ISSUE? Better hurry! Copies of the first 2 issues of ABMag are going FAST! If you missed one, secure a copy today! You can purchase individual issues or a subscription at

EZ-Flow Striping and Lettering Enamel & Kustom Shop Striping Brushes EZ-Flow is a Modified Alkyd Enamel that has been designed to provide excellent hiding, superior flow, excellent gloss and durability and quicker dry times than traditional lettering enamels. EZ-Flow is also made to be much less sensitive to recoating than traditional Lettering Enamels. KSE701 Hardener is available to add extra gloss and durability. EZ-FLOW was designed with the automotive graphic artist mind with the introduction of many new and vibrant colors that have never been available in traditional striping paints along with some of the best color tones of the past. A total of 36 colors are available, all colors can be intermixed to create an unlimited color pallet. Also now available are 9 colors that are made as a durable Flat (Low Luster) finish that are great over Hot Rod Flatz colors or anytime you need that flat look on a stripe.

SPARMAX Airbrush Cleaning Station Tired of spraying waste paint in the trash? Don’t want to breathe waste paint and cleaner fumes? The SPARMAX Airbrush Cleaning Station comes to the rescue! This self contained unit stores and suppresses airbrush clean out and doubles as an airbrush holder. The glass pot makes airbrush waste clean up a snap. The easy to attach handle makes the Airbrush Cleaning Station easily transportable. The unit stores in its own plastic container when not in use. Filter replacements are available. For more information visit

Along with Striping Enamels, Kustom Shop is pleased to introduce a new lineup of top quality striping brushes designed and constructed to make the art of striping easier. Proudly made in the USA. • Kustom Gold Sword Striping Brush: classic sword brush, available in 4 sizes. • Black Knight Fine-Line Striping Brush: sword with shorter hair length (1-1/2” to 1-3/4”) that allows for greater control, available in 3 sizes. • Kustom Long-Liner Striping Brush: designed with longer hair length (2-1/4”) for laying out long thin lines, available in 3 sizes. • The Black Magik Scrolling Striper Brush: developed to give a very controllable line that responds to your movement and curves without hesitation in the turns. The Black Magik Scrolling Striper gives you a high performance capillary action as it releases your color, available in 3 sizes. Visit or call 858909-2188 for more information or to place an order.

PolarBear Twin Piston Compressors Announce MORE POWER! From the innovating minds at BearAir Express comes the first twin piston compressor with dual power. That’s right DUAL POWER. With a simple flick of the power switch from Level I to Level II your Polar Bear 2100 air compressor can boost it’s output from 80 PSI to 100PSI. This increase in output will have a corresponding increase in you operating PSI. See these innovating compressors at www. or call 1-800-BearAir.

DAIGE Procote 2000 Handwaxer

Mack Expands Its Product Offerings Since 1891 Mack Brush has been the world leader in quality pinstriping and touch up brushes. In recent years they have also branched out into many other allied areas, bring in dozens of useful and related products. To Further enhance the company’s position in the custom paint industry, Mack has decided to team up with Mike Learn and add his product line of Stencils, DVDs and Design CDs to the Mack family. These cutting edge and top quality airbrushing products are a natural compliment to the Mack core product line. Look for these items in your favorite art supply store! For more information about Mack, visit

Daige has developed the answer to messy aerosol adhesives with the Procote 2000 Handwaxer. The Procote 2000 provides a strong but removable bond that never dries out. Items can be mounted and re-mounted at any time, even years later. The harder you rub it down, the stronger the adhesion. Wax is dry to the touch the second you coat the material. The waxing compound is acid free, nontoxic, odor free and will not damage fabric, stencil materials or other substrates. The Procote 2000 handwaxer warms up then rolls on a 3” wide wax coating, twice as wide as other brands. Automatic temperature control ensures wax will not overheat or bleed through. Machine comes complete with 10oz. Prostik wax and holding stand. Visit to learn more about this unique product.




“As we move into 2007, I am excited by the challenge to develop, inspire and improve what it is we do. I am invigorated by a fresh perspective and charged with a passion to forge ahead.”

Hello! I am coming at you LIVE from our new home in the Rockies! Yes, since I last wrote Mike and I have relocated from the Arizona Desert to the beautiful Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Talk about a change! We left sun and green grass to arrive in Colorado during one of the worst winters in recent history. HA! So yeah, the climate has been a bit of a shock, but in reality I welcome the change. Every once in awhile it good to just stir up your whole routine to give yourself a new and fresh look at what it is you are doing every day. Nothing can turn a good thing bad like complacency. We WANT to hear from you!! Do you have an idea, a story, a question? Do you know of an artist, technique or product that deserves recognition ?

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

Is there news, an event or trade show our readers would like to read about?


Have you come across a fraud that needs to be exposed? Do you have a tip, trick or technique to share? If you have answered “yes” to any of these questions, send me an email at editor@ab-mag. com with details!!

As we continue to grow and develop our Business, a part of which is AB-Mag, our goal is to continue to seek out, report and initiate new and innovative ideas, techniques, products and resources. In order to do that, we have to continue to look at our industry, our art and our lives from different perspectives and different points of view. I am really pleased with the diversity of content that we have been able to provide in just 3 issues, and we want to thank those of you who have submitted ideas, articles and recommendations. As we move forward into 2007, I am excited by the challenge to develop, inspire and improve what it is we do. I am invigorated by a fresh perspective and charged with a passion to forge ahead. Oh, and I see there is more snow outside. I’m still trying to get used to that.



| AB•MAG | Winter 2007


Hi ya’ll, we’re back.

This being the second installment of what-thehell-are-they-doing-at-Battledress-today, we investigate the origin and meaning of our catch-phrase, painting womens’ bodies and mens’ bikes. How this interesting line came into being has been shrouded in the fog of time, but, it was either in the throws of genius or haze of alcohol. Depending on what you think of it you can pick the one you feel is most appropriate. Understanding the desires of the readers of this type of publication you are here to either get some good tips on how to do stuff or looking for some cool images. Today we have the cool pictures. In case you’re wondering why we do the girls with the bikes, it is pure promotion. If you could do it, wouldn’t you? There are so many good painters out there - some are reading this now (bastards) - we needed a way to differentiate ourselves from the pack. Since we are old and not particularly photogenic, this seemed the best way to get attention for the business. So far there is an enthusiastic group following our progress. Hopefully this will add to our cache’. Okay I’ll be honest here, these bikes were not originally painted to be backdrops for the people in the images. We adapted the bodypaints to fit the bikes and the situations that presented themselves. That’s not to say these were done without preparation. Each one of these images was planned and several days were required to set the scene and location. Models had to be contacted and prepared, locations scouted, photographers convinced and the bodypaints designed.

Each one of these scenes was created to produce a different feel and emotional content. Going from the 60’s flower child with her scooter to the ’06 biker chick to radical chopper, we tried to not repeat any theme or paint scheme. Each one had its own challenges and complexities. Whether they were done in from of a live audience (60’s flower child), using ambient light (40’s mechanic with my bike) or in a studio (’06 chopper) most took over six hours to perform – before the photography even started. For the sticklers of details, at the end of the article I will identify each of the models with their contact information (if they are so inclined), the photographers (ditto) and the bikes. Megan is one of our favorite models. She shows up and it is usually right on time, okay she’s always on time. This paint was done at the Harleyfest at Irvine Lake in Orange California in June of this year. We set up with our “mobile stage” to paint both Miss Pixie and Megan. The bike is owned by Larry and came to us wanting a different kind of Fireman’s tribute motorcycle. Needless to say, the dragon with a firewoman riding it is one of the most original tribute themed bikes I’ve seen. Larry came to us originally with just the fairing to paint, he liked what Lisa did so well we eventually did the leg fairings, saddle bags and travel pack. I love repeat business.

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

LEFT PAGE: This is my bike. We did it up a few years ago when the ravages of the road had dictated that it needed some work. We decided that if you were going to do this as a vocation your personal ride should be really cool. This is a cool rig. It is a 1999 Kawaski Drifter with sidecar and the paint scheme is based on a WWII P-38 fighter. Pixie is painted as a mechanic of the era and we felt she sold the look very well. We wanted to hit the pinup style for this just cause we liked the idea and it fit.


The bodypaint was based on the girl on the fairing. Larry was rather amused with the “intimacy” that she had developed with the bike. You usually only see this kind of action on Cable.


LEFT: This is the first motorcycle that we painted for Whiskey, owner of Sanitarium Cycles. We did the mural work on the rear fender and the primary belt. The model that we used was infinitely familiar with the workings of this bike shop, she is Whiskey’s girlfriend. Pamela has been around bikes for more than a few weeks so we knew that she had the right attitude for this type of chopper.

ABOVE: Megan posed for us during the Woodstock Festival. Since the era was rampant with the macramé outfits, we went with the knitted top and it went quite well.

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

We did this paint in front of a rather approving audience. Although this was a very PG paint (one of about 8 Lisa did that day), we seemed to keep the watchers cycling through to see how we were doing.


One of the challenging aspects of doing a live paint is to balance the speed at which you paint with the entertainment value of the performance. You got to keep them interested while getting the job done. It ain’t always easy. The bike she is with is a 1953 Garelli Rex. It is a 50cc scooter and that is all I know about it. When it came to the shop, a week before the show, it had been sitting in the photographer’s backyard for more than a couple of years and in another backyard before that. It went from a rusty hulk to the colorful (accurately colorful if I must say) little toy you see. We’re used to working under pressure. Surprisingly this little scooter was one of the most curiosity producing two-wheelers that we have shown. It was just so cute everyone had to come over and comment on it. (What the hell is it, how old is it, does it run, how much do you want for it?)

Models: Megan is on #61165 Michael is on #12217 Miss Pixie is on #3836 Rachel is on #56725 OTHER: Sanitarium Cycles - - That’s Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, not the other guys on TV.

Photographers: Fire Bike, Festivals: Adam Chilson is at www. Gargoyle Bike & Sidecar Fighter: Rick (& Ricky!) Garcia at Rose Bike: Joseph Corsentino is at www.


Here is the last act in our little play. Set the scene, the bike is on the side of the road and a chivalrous, strapping young car mechanic has stopped to render help. No one is around so Michael decides to see what the problem is. Oh, give me a break, it’s our story. After examining the machine for a while he stands perplexed. This is like none he has worked on before. Rachel thinks he’s earned an A for Effort… Curtain up.


HOW TO DRAW ROUNDED RECTANGLES This tip was inspired by a question in our the Computer Drawing forum. I remember when I was just learning to use vector programs that this questions came up a lot in the forums that I visited at the time. . . how to draw a rectangle with rounded corners. ~ Diana Learn CorelDRAW: In CorelDRAW, you draw your rectangle with the shape tool, then simply activate your node editing tool and grab one of the corner nodes and drag it around to the desired shape. The action will be performed on all 4 corners simultaneously.

Adobe Illustrator: Illustrator actually has a rounded rectangle tool. It is located in the fly out menu under the rectangle. You can use it in its default state by just activating the tool and doing a Click-->Drag to draw the rectangle. You can make a rectangle to a specific size, or reset the default settings by activating the tool and then clicking anywhere on your work area.

LIGHT UP YOUR ART Want to add a little flair to your art? Try this. First get some florescent airbrush colors found at most art stores. They come in neon blue, purple, orange, magenta, red, hot pink, green and highlight green. By using these black light compatible colors you can use them as base coats and later hide them with regular colors. For example, if you were working on illustrating an orange (fruit) you’d first fill it in with neon orange then lightly layer it with a regular orange of your desire. Now, keep in mind not to completely cover your neon color so that when you want to see the result you can simply hit the lights in your room or studio and turn on the black light fixture. It may take a few tries to get the desired effect, so have patience. It is worth the effort. The better you get at blending the fluorescent and regular colors together, the more you’ll be able to get never before seen effects that actually can be seen in the dark as well as in regular light. You can get a black light fixture at your nearest Home Depot or similar. Since these colors are a little too explosive for serious works, try to use them lightly mostly using them for highlighting and accenting your art. ~ Mark Quiles

MASK AND STENCIL STORAGE I went to a local pizza shop and offered

the very young “manager” $1.00 each for a

dozen large pizza boxes. At home, I used up

some odds and ends spray can paints to color

code my new flat, stack-able storage containers. I’ll bet that kid pocketed the money. ;)

~Dale Robert Lampman

CONVERTING A ROTARY TOOL I use my rotary tool as a paint mixer. For the paint mixer I cut a small disc out of

an aluminum can and punch a hole in the

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

center. With a pair of snips I make 8 cuts


evenly around the edge of the disc. Twist each

section 45 degrees so it forms a mini propeller.

(Remember how Bill Paxton’s character got the

sensors to fly in “Twister”?) Screw it onto the

cutting disc bit and you are good to go. Just be

careful not to hold it against the inside of plastic paint bottle, you will cut right through it! ~Steve Leahy

SEALING THREADS One of the principal troubles newbies have is the sealing of their airbrush threads so that air cannot leak thru and screw up the vacuum which causes the tools to work. The parts are machined very finely and are of metals (often) which are not especially durable - like brass. Tighten too hard and you strip the threads; too loose and it doesn’t seal. The answer? Use a sealant. There are several. Coarse threads, such as on hoses, can be sealed with teflon tape - a plumber’s material. Many who use waterbased paints, prefer bees’ wax. My principal paints are automotive in nature and wax/oils are not an answer because of solvents and the possibility of contaminating paints. I use non-hardening gasket paste - the stuff used to seal engine gaskets in cars. Put a light amount on threads & before it dries, cinch the bugger together. After sealing, check your handiwork by triggering the airbrush while dribbling water over the threads. Bubbles mean you’ve not done it. No bubbles & you are ready to spray. ~Airhead

TELL US YOUR STENCIL STORIES!! I was looking for a way to create stencils for the lowest cost, and have them still reusable and flexible. The best deal I found is at Wal-Mart, they have cutting mats (in the kitchen section) that are about $3 for 3 of them. They can be cut with an xacto knife and are sturdy and easy to wash. I haven’t seen any solvents do away with them. ~David Carlson ------------------Use GLAD Press ‘n Seal® for a fast light mask. You can remove any tiny residue with PPG cleaner DX 220 (or similar). It works for 90% of any low pressure airbrush applied paint. Not for regular spray guns!! ~Mr. Mick -------------------

HARD TO CLEAN PAINT CLOGS For those really hard to find, and clean, paint clogs try a denture cleaner. The fizzing action of the denture cleaner lifts and loosens dried paint that regular airbrush cleaners can’t handle. Be sure to thoroughly rinse your airbrush after using this method to avoid possible paint contamination when you go to reuse your clean airbrush.

If you are looking for a good cheap stencil material, find a store that sells maps. Look for a map book that is laminated. Most of these books have at least 30 pages to each, so you get plenty of material for your purchase. **but make shure there laminated!** ~Russo ------------------Need stencils? Then head down to your local dollar store and buy some transparent folders. The ones I got are 17” by 11” (folded in half ), and cost 20 cents a piece. They work great with low tack adhesive spray and you can get 40 sheets for around 8 bucks! ~Armored77 ------------------I use stencil material I got from a local community college. I asked a drafting instructor for used mylar drafting project prints from his students. He was more than happy to dispose of them and still supplies me when I call him. He even gave me new sheets! Mylar is an excellent stencil material and cuts like butter with a stencil burner. ~Mike’s Custom Airbrushing ------------------Instead of throwing away all those UV coated cardstock flyer ads you get in the mail - use them for masking. They are FREE and delivered to your door! ~mike

FEATHERS People are always trying to find good ways to make realistic feathers. I’ve heard of people using fan brushes which can be somewhat difficult to master. You can also use flea combs from a pet store. But, what looks more like a feather than, a feather?

Gather up different sizes and species of feathers and see what you can do with them, you may want to trim them or rough them up a bit so they look old and battered. ~mike

SPRAYING FAST CLOUDS – Acrylic When spraying clouds, this trick is slick! Take polyfil stuffing like used in pillows. Take a small amount and pull it apart loosely lay the polyfil over your prepared background and spray white thru it. The dense areas of the poly fill will spray the lightest and vice versa. You can then go back in and use gray in areas or hit hot spots directly. This works with acrylics. I did try this with lacquer and the lacquer and the polyfil react together. ~ Kathy Leib

Find a high gloss magazine image that you would like to transfer. Using 2K lacquer, coat it several times with polyurethane varnish [5 plus coats]. Allow the paper to dry throroughly between coats. When all coats are dry, soak the image in water for an hour or so, then carefully rub all the paper off leaving behind only the varnish on which you will find a transparent image color and all. Apply this to a freshly varnished surface – still wet. Let it all dry flat and re-varnish and PRESTO!! ~Paul




Happy 2007! With the New Year upon us, we look forward to a plethora of new technology Digital Dick is Shane McConnell, CEECS, EnCE. He is a member of the law enforcement community and also is a small business owner. Shane is a computer forensics and data recovery specialist with experience and training originating from local, state and federal entities. To contact Digital Dick for Data Recovery services please visit his website at:

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007 or email him at


to hit the world of personal computing. Some of the items I am looking forward to most on the technology radar are; • • • •

Microsoft’s new 64-Bit operating system, Windows Vista™ Larger-than-ever hard drives; 1 terabyte and above (that’s 1,000 gigabytes) Consumer priced Blueray and HD-DVD drives True Quad-Core Processors (four processors on one chip)

These items mean another gigantic shift on the technology front. Personally, I cannot wait to build a new desktop for myself sporting DUAL quad core AMD processors; yes that’s right, an octo core desktop, eight processors in one PC! In my previous article we learned how to install a second hard drive. In this issue I am going to cover how to start filling up all of that wonderful hard drive space. How To Make a LEGAL, LOSSLESS digital copy of your music CDs. First, to keep things “legal” you must own the music CD which you plan to backup or make available for digital use. When I say available for digital use, I mean YOUR usage and not half the neighborhood and all the guys and gals at work. I do not support music piracy, file sharing and copyright infringement. Only one person should be able to use the music/album/song after it is digitized, at any given moment. Ok, now that we have all of that out of the way, lets get started! For my media management, I prefer to use Windows Media Player. It comes free with Windows and it is very powerful. For our purposes, we will be using Media Player to digitize our music and manage it.

You can usually find Windows Media Player on your Windows Start menu under programs. I am using Media Player version 10. If you have an older version such as 9, you may consider upgrading. Configure Media player for ripping: With Media Player running, right click somewhere on the top frame of the media player, select Tools then Options. Select the tab Rip Music. Choose a location for your music to be ripped to by clicking the “Change” button. For the purposes of this tutorial we are using the extra hard drive we installed in the previous issue, however you can put the music wherever you choose. Make a new folder to collect all of your music on the drive. Now go down to “Rip Settings.” Here we are going to select “Windows Media audio Lossless” from the drop down box. We are selecting a format the music will be digitized as. The other options in this drop down box are compression standards that actually discard small bits of information while compressing and digitizing the music. This is to make the overall file smaller, but it affects the sound quality of the music. By using the Lossless option we are ending up with a bigger file, however the file created is almost 100% accurate in sound quality to the original on the CD. Next click OK.

“Rip” tab. Make sure you have all of your tracks selected and click “Rip Music” The speed and health of you PC will determine the time it takes to complete the rip. Windows Media player will manage the folders for each artist / album automatically under the folder we chose / created as long as you populate the album/track information prior to ripping. That’s it!

Start Ripping: Pick out a CD that you want to rip and put it into your optical drive (CD drive). If your computer is online, your media player will retrieve the song and album information for that CD. If it does not get the album information, is incorrect, or you cannot get online, you can manually enter the album and track information yourself. Click “Find Album Info” and see if the album / track info populates. If the information does not populate or is not correct click “Edit” and make your changes. Click finish. Now hit the

Another thing you can do with some of that extra hard drive space is make a back up of your important data. I am not going to go into detail on this process because there is a Wizard that will guide you once you launch the program. In Windows XP, go to the Start menu, select Programs, Accessories, then System Tools and click on “Backup.” The Wizard will launch, make sure you select your spare drive for the target of the backup file. Ideas or requests for the next Digital Dick topic? Email

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With Scott MacKay

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

Often, it’s the things that you can’t see that makes the biggest difference. In automotive airbrushing, an example of this is the finish. Both students and customers frequently ask the question “How do you get the finish to look so deep?” And often you will hear the clear coat on high end pieces compared to glass. Personally, I really love the way polishing changes the look of a piece - amplifying the fine detail and bringing colors to life. Also, I’ve found that no matter how well your clear is laid, it won’t look its best until it has been wet sanded and polished.


Warning: Use caution whenever using abrasives on your artwork. It’s crucial to always make sure you have a thick enough coat of clear to work over. This is particularly important when you reach the polishing stage, because the combination of heat and abrasives could cause you to “burn through” you protective layers quickly. What is wet sand and polishing? Wet sanding and polishing are two separate processes that work together. The wet sanding step removes imperfections which are left behind after the final round of clear coat, while the polishing refines the finish of the clear coat by smoothing

the outer few layers of clear. No matter how well the clear coat is laid down, there will be some slight imperfections in the surface. Even if these variations in surface texture are nearly impossible to detect, they still affect the overall product by dulling the finish. Trapped particles, small pits, and high spots left behind by taped or pinstriped graphics in the clear coat cause light to reflect differently on the surface of your piece, which can give it the appearance of duller or even wavy artwork. Often, you can save a project that might have some dust embedded in the clear coat, or even get rid of the dreaded RUN. The project I will be working on is one of my specialties, a Darkness Skull painting that is intended for display at shows. This piece is mostly black so the finish needs to display perfectly under the unforgiving florescent lights at bike shows. The polishing system I use is manufactured by Brite Max. This is a multi-stage system designed to enhance the brilliance of a project without overheating the paint, which can risk burning through the surface. That can really ruin your day. The first stage is sanding. This prepares your surface for polish.

STEP 1: I begin by knocking down any orange peel or particles by sanding the whole area smooth using a dry 1500 grit disc with dual-action sander (DA). It’s important to use smooth fluid stokes, hitting all the areas evenly. Every few passes, the piece should be wiped down with a soft cloth or paper towel to prevent particle build up which could grind deeper into the finish. This is the best time to work out any drips or heavy particles from the surface. Alternating 1000 grit sand paper or a cutting stone with the 1500 grit during this step is an effective way to safely remove any severe imperfections. Once the area is complete the surface needs to be wiped down with a post-sanding cleaner to prepare for the next step.

STEP 2: Using 2000 grit wet-sanding paper, I sand the entire panel. Wrapping the paper around a firm foam block keeps the sanding area flat. It’s important to use short even strokes as the sanding block moves across the entire piece. I alternate my sanding direction from horizontal to vertical to achieve maximum results and get the piece nice and flat. This higher grit paper should give the finish an even but still dull look, removing the scratches left behind from the prior step where I used 1500 grit paper.

Now it’s time for the second stage - polishing the piece. Polishing works by combining the friction and heat of the buffing pad moving at a high speed with the mild abrasives contained within the buffing compound. The abrasives become finer with each step and eventually disappear when you reach the final stage. As you work through the steps, you’ll see the finish become smoother and smoother until a perfect gloss is achieved.


STEP 3: Once the piece looks even and any scratches from Step 1 are removed, I move on to a sanding pad that is one step down from polish-grade. A good example of a pad at this level is the 3000 grit Trizac Pad by 3M. The pad must be soaked in water for a few minutes before I attach it to the DA. Moving over the over the surface a few times in multiple directions with the pad while attached to the DA will bring the finish to a very dull polish. Once again, I wipe the surface with a post sanding cleaner. At this point, the finish should almost resemble dried satin or semi-gloss paint.


STEP 4: The products I am working with are from the Brite Max product line, so the steps I am following are geared towards this system. If you are using a different system, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the products and the order in which they should be applied prior to beginning any polishing project.

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First I apply small amount of Perfect Cut onto the surface, step one in this system. I spread the compound evenly over the area with a damp sponge. If the sponge is too wet the water left behind can heat up faster than the compound when buffing causing “burn through.” I buff the surface over the compound with a wool pad and a variable speed buffer. I use a wool pad first, because I find it really aids in getting out any scratches I may have missed when wet sanding. I try not to bear down on the surface, letting the weight of the buffer do the work for me. I recommend starting with a slower speed setting until you get the feel for it.


STEP 6: In the next step I switch to the orange pad which is used with the Resto Max compound. The polishing process is very repetitive and basically the same for each step, but it’s important to remember to complete each step carefully and to not overwork the area with any one step. At this point the piece starts looking really good, so I can move on to the fine polishing stage.

STEP 5: After I do a pass or two with the wool pad I switch over to the Yellow pad that is intended to match the grit of the Perfect Cut compound. You’ll notice that before I switch I spread another layer of the same compound. I will do this again in each of the upcoming steps, but I will change the compound I use based on which step in the process I’m working on. I will also wipe down the surface at the end of each step to prepare for the next.

STEP 7: Now I switch to a soft white pad and use the Perfect Prep. This is both a polish and a swirl remover. I’m buffing at a medium speed.

STEP 8: The Black Max with the black pad is a polishing glaze that polishes to the final glass finish I’m looking for. Just like in previous steps, I spread out some glaze using my sponge then go over the surface with my buffer at a slow to medium speed. As you can see in the picture above, the final finish looks like glass (That’s my shop’s ceiling in the reflection). Polishing is a lot of steps, but after a little practice it’s really quite quick to do. For the best idea of whether or not you are done, wipe the piece down with a micro-fiber cloth and look at your project outside. Nothing is as unforgiving as natural light, and that’s were most people will be viewing your work. The thing I like about this particular system is that the finish that you see right after buffing remains the same even after a wipe down or a day in the rain. Some other systems I’ve used tend to leave a residue behind that makes the piece look nice until you wipe that residue off.

STEP 9: Just before the parts go out for delivery I like to give the piece a couple extra touches. I use the Extreme Elements product, which is pretty much a clear-coat safe wax that acts as a finishing glaze for the piece. I apply an even amount of glaze over the surface with a soft dry applicator in the same manner I would apply wax to a car or bike. After it has dried to a hazy finish, I give it a quick buff using the buffer and an ultra soft blue pad.

STEP 10: I spray a Spray and Shine final detailing spray onto the surface and wipe it off with a micro-fiber cloth. This is also a dust repelle nt so it’s nice to have on hand at shows and it will gently remove things like fingerprints that might get on your work while it’s on display.

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


Look at that nice reflection. Just like looking into a mirror. You can often judge a high quality paint job just by looking it’s the reflection. This one’s a keeper.


By Mike Learn

“Man! Where do you come up with those ideas?” “How did you think of that?” Questions I hear over and over. . .

Growing up as an artist I was motivated by imagery that was obviously fantasy, and inspired by science fiction works such as those created by Frank Frazetta. As a youngster it was often difficult for me to understand how the artists achieved their style of art without using photographic references all the time. It wasn’t long before I started to realize that a person could waste a lot of time trying to find photo references for what they were trying to capture inside the mind’s eye. I spent a good deal of time as a developing artist, duplicating what I saw in order to work on technique. However, the entire time I was using photo references in my art, I was not just looking at them and reproducing by rote. I would look the photo and try to understand what I was looking at. Why did the light reflect like that? Why did that shadow fall there? I studied how shapes interacted with light. Through continued practice, I began to put together a basic understanding of the “rules” of art. From there I began to take my observation a step further and I started to really open my eyes to every day living. I began to catalog observations made while walking, driving, working. Again I was studying the way light and shape all interacted. From these exercises I started to grasp the concepts of how I could begin to create the images from within my mind, much like the artists that I so admired. It was very hard to bust out of the habit of using references. I knew that I had to get the understanding of art under my belt before I could get away from it. Still, when the time came, it was a challenge and a conscious choice to force myself to begin applying my new knowledge and start working on painting without reference.

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Now, don’t get me wrong here. I still use references when needed, especially when doing portraits. There is NOTHING wrong with using reference photos, and you are not shorting yourself, and you are not less of an artist if you use them. The point of this article is, if you are using a photo reference, spend the time to understand what it is you are looking at and why it looks a certain way. This understanding will allow you to create on your own and take your skills to the next level.


Accomplished illustrators and photo-realists like Alberto Ponno and Dru Blair amaze me. Beyond the obvious talent they posses, I admire the patience and the technical accomplishment of understanding and choosing color to that level. That particular style is not what I want to achieve as an artist. I like to portray a more abstract sense of emotion. I love to create things that cannot be seen in real life – the intangibles. I would not have been able to get where I am with this process or where I am going in the future without the fundamental understanding and ability to reproduce what it is that I see both in the real world and in my mind. The magical part of creating an image that does not exist is that it inspires people to look at it and wonder how you did it. Suddenly the viewer is engaged and wants to know what you were thinking when you painted that. And that is the magic that I think guys like Frank Frazetta, Simon Bisley, Boris Vallejo and James Ryman are able to capture. I was, and continue to be, inspired by what I see in their work. Despite the fact that none of these guys is an airbrush artist, I wanted to capture the dynamics that they achieved with their medium, with my airbrush.

To this day the things that intrigue me the most are the things that you cannot photograph to use as a reference. As a kid I loved the Saturday Matinee Horror or Sci Fi show. In some ways I live out that childhood fantasy every day as I create the creatures that exist only in my head. Really, the coolest thing about reaching the point that you can capture the ideas in your head, is that no one can come up to you and say, “Gee, that is not what a 3-headed sniggeldorff looks like.” What they can say, however, is that something is not well rendered, or that something seems “off.” To keep that from happening, you practice applying what you learned from studying images, to your creation. As an artist there is a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from achieving photographic realism. The point I am trying to get across is that you will have gained even more from that experience if you understand why it is that you are painting the image the way you see it. Salvador Dali, another one of my influences, created objects using a somewhat realistic approach, yet he used his solid knowledge of these principles to create the dynamics and morphisms for which he will forever be remembered.

So many times I have seen an artist who can reproduce a photo flawlessly, but when asked to create something new, there is a noticeable drop in quality. In the market today there will always be a need to be creative. Something I have noted, particularly with the album art that I have created with Megadeth, Helken, Fred Green, etc., and my latest project for Tim Alexander of Primus, if my clients did not need creativity from me, they could just use a photograph for their album art. At some point in your career as an artist you are going to be asked to do something that does not exist. You have to be able to take an idea and transform it into a visual object. The understanding you gain from reproducing photographs and duplicating visual references will enable you to cross that bridge.


These are the things that always have and always will enthrall me as an artist. I don’t know why, other than it is just a part of my personality. I do fully appreciate the things that I see. Some people, like Steve Leahy, have the skill and patience to find and paint a photograph that captures a moment, and to have the ability to do it is very respectable. I like to do it myself at times just to give my mind a break from always trying to create from the outer space that exists in my head. It is my opinion that you should strive to master both practices. If you work primarily from photo references, put a check into place somehow with your work, or with a piece of work, so that you can verify that you understand what it is that you have been doing. Take all the information that your mind unscrambles as you reproduce, and do something completely different to ensure that you are “getting it.”


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TAXIDERMY ENTHUSIASTS AND ARTISTS ALIKE After an unexpected amount of letters, questions and requests for articles with a focus on taxidermy, we are very pleased to be able to bring this Fish Painting article to AB-Mag. The previous How To was re-published in AB-Mag courtesy of Breakthrough Magazine and is just the first of several things we have planned for the taxidermy enthusiast.

Mike, Doug and I have put our heads together and will be publishing several new and exciting articles and ideas. The skull you see to the left is a llama. In the next issue we will feature a How To by Doug that will focus on finishing the face of this animal. In the meantime, these skull photos are an excellent source for reference and inspiration. You can find more photos and hi-res downloads of our Reference Series in the Members area of


It just so happens that Mike and I have moved next door to one of Colorado’s busiest Taxidermists, Wildlife Sculptor and certified Duracoat Firearm Finisher - Douglas Cox. Doug was immediately interested in getting involved with AB-Mag.


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There is the year

no and

how-to this issue due we are also trying to

As I write this most major forms of racing are gearing up to begin in just days and everyone at Indocil as been pulling extra hours to keep racing’s best in custom painted lids. Here are pictures of some of the new helmet designs for Evernham Motorsports, Don Prudome Racing, and Joe Gibbs Motorsports to name a few. So I hope this keeps your Helmet Head needs in check and we will try to make it up to you in our next installment on 3 dimensional grid effects. So try to give us a break and go out there and paint something! All NEW!!


Hello Kiddies! Your fearless Helmet Head leader here. to the fact that this is Indocil Art’s busiest time of get a handle on this writing thing.


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I sit here with my high octane cup of coffee finishing up the syllabus for my class at this year’s ABU, I am wishing that time could somehow speed up and that June will get here so that we can get started. The irony is one of the key aspects of the three day workshop is to instruct the value of not rushing things. The goal will be to see the pay off of going the extra mile. I have found that the challenge of boiling down an entire painting process into three days has given me new perspective on the most important aspects of that process. It has also made me realize that taking care of those things will produce some amazing results. In the next few AB-Mag articles, I will be breaking down my own painting process into its basic elements. Often seeing how another artist develops a piece of work will remove barriers that you

have encountered in your own work. Other times, a new perspective will inspire you to try a new method or process. The first step in anything you do is finding inspiration.

Once the artistic block has been broken, I can then spend time pulling together the reference material needed to get the project finished. One of the bonuses of this search for inspiration is that the search itself will often turn up some of your reference by default. Suddenly you will have gone from being behind the eight ball to well on your way. We will pick up on reference material and how to use it in the next issue of AB-Mag!


There is a classic Norman Rockwell painting depicting an artist sitting in front of a blank canvas, scratching his head. I think as artists we have all been in that exact same position. Whether it is a project for a customer or a piece for ourselves, sometimes the idea is just not there. It can be a brutally frustrating experience, especially if there is a deadline looming. Fortunately there are many ways to break this block. For me, it starts with my fellow artists. Creativity always inspires my own creativity. We have a tool that Rockwell never had to make this search easy. That is the internet. Merely spending an hour looking at the artist gallery at is enough to inspire anyone. By looking at the way that other artists have solved composition challenges or the way that they use their colors or even their attention to details can be fuel for our own creative engine. It is important to keep in mind that this is not a search to find an image to copy. It is a search to get you excited and inspired. It is often the most random thing that will jump out and break the creativity block. Sometimes it is a collection of those things so be patient and enjoy your search. This search can also take me beyond the world of art. Often times just a drive or a visit to the local shopping center will spark something. You are looking for anything that will supply you with an abundant amount of visual stimulus. Remember, sometimes the solution to getting through a blocked road is as simple as taking another road.


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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 Two:

By Diana Learn

Thank You

for all the positive feed back and the overwhelming response to the new V for Vector Department in AB-Mag. It looks like

we have a winner here and I look forward to keeping you all engaged and challenged with fun and useful

Last issue we focussed on drawing with geometric shapes and learning to break down each drawing project into its simplest form - a series of basic shapes. This issue I thought I would focus on a few core techniques that are extremely useful in the art industry. We will take a hard look at how to quickly and easily create intertwined graphics - specifically working with the very popular Celtic Knot graphics. I will also hit on a little known, but powerful series of tools. Let’s get started!!




Celtic Knot Basics: Celtic Knots and designs are an extremely popular and versatile style to add to any art project. They are also fun to design, once you get the hang of it. For this edition of V for Vector, I will get you started with some Celtic Design Basics. If you like it, we can move on to some more advanced processes in future issues. This demo is shown in Illustrator, however at the end I will give you some tips for working this in CorelDRAW. For our first knot project, we will start out with some basic shapes. (Remember that from last issue? Always break your drawings down into the basic shapes.) Create a circle and a rounded rectangle running through its vertical center. With the rounded rectangle selected, bring up the rotate dialog box, specify 90º and hit the copy button.

Now comes the fun part! Each of the shape segments created by the divide command is a separate object. The task now is to group the right combination together to create the “over - under” illusions of the Celtic Knots. I always use colors to help keep things straight. Select the pieces of the first shape, fill them with color until the combo is right. When you have all the pieces in a section properly colored, select them all and return to your Pathfinder Pallet. Hold down the Option Key and hit the Add to Shape Area (Combine) button (top left).

Continue this same process on each element of the design - selecting and color filling the pieces to create the woven effect. When you finish a section, be sure to Option - Click and Combine. You have to be systematic about this process, or it can get quite confusing, especially as you delve into more difficult and complex designs.

NOTE: When creating Celtic designs, it is very helpful to use the grid. You can turn the grid on in the View Menu.

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Next, increase the stroke size of your shapes until you get the look you are going for. Obviously, the larger the knot, the larger the stroke size you will need. I have chosen a 12 pt stroke. You may also need to use your align tools to ensure that all your shapes are centered. Once you are pleased with the look of the design, go to Object -> Path -> Outline Stroke.


With the whole design selected, pull up the Pathfinder Pallet and hit the Divide command (first button on the bottom left). The divide command will automatically group the resulting pieces, so you will need to ungroup the knot before we move on.

NOTE: If you use a unique color for each of your sections, not only is it easier to keep track of your “threads” but you can then utilize the Magic Wand Tool to quickly select all the pieces with the same color fill when it is time to combine the segment.

Once you have colored and combined all the pieces, you are done! You can check your work by changing the stroke and fill to black and white or by looking at your design in Outline mode. To avoid double cutting on a plotter, you will have to delete the extra pieces in the center of the knot.

So now that you have some of the basics for knot design down, let’s try a couple other designs with some different characteristics.

Here we will use a triangle.

Your design should look a lot like this:

When you first start messing with Celtic designs, it is a good idea to get some reference pictures to give you ideas of what types of shapes you would like to try. This will be a simple “Star of David” type knot. Using the polygon tool, click and drag. While you are dragging, you can use your up and down arrows to add or delete sides to the polygon.

Again, you should check your work by switching the knot to black and white or by looking at your work in Outline Mode. Like the other design, you will need to delete the extra pieces in the middle of the star to avoid double cutting on a plotter.

Pull up your Stroke Pallet and give the triangle a nice thick stroke. Because we are dealing with corners with this shape, you need to set a miter limit to 4 and choose Round Join. Miter Join and Bevel Join give you sharp corners that are not typical of Celtic design, however you may find them interesting options for future creations.

Let’s try one more variation to give you a solid base on which you can build your Celtic design work. Using the Polygon tool once again, click and drag while hitting the up arrow until you have a 6-sided shape. Your tool will make a perfect hexagon (6 equal sides), so you will have to “squash” it to create a shape similar to what you see here to the left.

You can duplicate the triangle just like we did in the first design. Bring up the Rotate Dialog Box, enter 180º and hit copy. Align the triangles to make a star, then select the whole thing and apply the Object -> Path -> Outline Stroke series of commands. Now you should start to notice the pattern of commands used in creating intertwining graphics. From here you pull up the Pathfinder Pallet, hit Divide then Object -> Ungroup. Use the color coding trick to select and Option - Click - Combine each “thread.”


Duplicating what we did with the triangle, choose an appropriate stroke weight. Since we have corners, you will have to pay attention to the miter and the join method.


Follow the pattern we have established in this article. Select the flattened hexagon, rotate 90Âş and copy. Select again - Object -> Path -> Outline Path. Move to the Pathfinder and Divide, ungroup and recombine in the woven style.

Fun with the Artisic Media Tool! CorelDRAW gets bonus points for this fun tool, however! Although you can do the same thing in Illustrator (I will show at the end), the Artisitic Media tool is probably my favorite CorelDRAW feature.

You will find the Artistic Media tool in the flyout menu that also contains the Freehand, Pen and Bezier tool. The Artistic Media tool basically draws in a stroked path chosen from the drop down pre-set menu. My favorite setting is the one sided taper that allows you to draw some pretty cool hair and other fun looking shapes. This style of knot really lends itself to chaining. Simply duplicate your single knot, place and Divide, ungroup, re-combine.

Once you get an understanding of how to create intertwining designs, you can really have a lot of fun. Not just with Celtic work, but other types of graphics as well. Go through this lesson until you can do the process without having to think about it too much. Once you have the process down you can start expanding your horizons with designs that are increasingly complex and interesting.

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If you use CorelDRAW, instead of Outlining your stroke, you will select your shape and go to Arrange -> Convert Outline to Object. Since CorelDRAW does not have a comparable Divide Command, this project is a bit trickier. You have to intersect and combine the pieces one at a time. Unlike most drawing processes, that are nearly the same in both programs, I found CorelDRAW to be very frustrating for this application.


To use it, simply choose the tool, set the size in the contextual menu along the top of your screen, choose a pre-set brush shape and draw like you would with any of the freehand tools.

The stroke can be easily edited by choosing the Shape Tool and manipulating the nodes located on the managing spline. This tool is particularly helpful when creating a mask for a pin up or something similar. You can get some very nice guidelines for hair. Using the tapered brush, you can create curls, bangs and whispy shapes. In order to create a plot ready file when using this tool, you will have to switch over to wireframe view, select your strokes and Arrange -> Break Artistic Media Group Apart. This will release the spline from the stroke so you can delete it. The spline will cut if you do not.

With the splines deleted, you can simply weld your strokes together and you will have a great mask that would be quite time consuming to create any other way.

Another way you can utilize this tool is to apply its effects to lines or shapes that you have already created. For example. Here I have drawn a series of straight lines, a circle and a spiral. Three different objects using 3 different drawing tools.

Isn’t that cool? You can play around with the pre-set strokes to get a whole series of different effects. Notice that you can apply the tool to both open and closed paths.

You can also play with the size of the stroke to get some additional variations on the same set of shapes. Don’t forget to check your work in wire frame before sending it to the plotter! You have to release and delete the center spline WHENEVER you use this tool. Enjoy the Artistic Media Tool!

Are you an Illustrator user? No problem! You can do this an more. Here’s how: Select the Paint Brush from the tool pallet. You will also want to open the Brush Pallet. The main brush pallet has a rather small selection of brush styles, however if you look at the options menu (flies out from the pallet if you click on the triangle), you will see that there are several different Brush Libraries that you can load. A tapered brush like the one shown in the CorelDRAW demo, can be found in the Artistic Ink Library.

Once you have chosen your brush style, simply draw, or apply the style to something that you have already drawn - exactly like the CorelDRAW demo.


To apply the Artistic Media properties to these items, simply select the shapes, activate the Artistic Media Tool, and then choose one of the pre-set strokes.


Be sure to take a peek at all the brush libraries that are available in your version of Illustrator. You can come up with some really interesting effects. You can apply the same “Expand Appearance” the symbol brushes as well. In addition, there are many online resources where you can download more brush and symbol libraries that can give you endless options. Until next issue. . . It’s All About the “V”! When you are happy with the result, set it in vector by going to Object -> Expand Appearance. Voila! The brush effect is outlined and fully editable.

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Like CorelDRAW, in Illustrator you also need to go to Outline View and remove the spline from your stroke before using the design as a plot file.


If you would like additional help or instruction on these or any other graphics programs, 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 times 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.

WELCOME ABOARD AB-Mag is very proud to welcome NUB on board as a contributor. NUB, most recently known for his association with Orange County Choppers and American Chopper has been painting in Orange County, New York for years. Though his core business is in the motorcycle industry, his full service shop is capable of taking on most any job. NUB will be our resident cartoonist as well as a content contributor. We are also very happy to have NUB as a returning instructor for ABU 2007, teaching the Mastering Motorcycle Graphics course. For more information on his course, see the ad at the back of this issue.

NUB is the Owner and Operator of



Walden, NY


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Patrick J. Reynolds is a native of New Orleans, a town rich in art and culture. Patrick has been destined to be an artist since childhood. Winning various awards along the way Patrick found himself teaching art in seminars throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. “Even though I’ve been involved in art for many years, I still have a very real connection with my collectors. I feel extremely fortunate that God has given me a gift that enables me to touch so many people with both my teaching and my art, for without Him, it would not be possible.” You can see more of Patrick’s work at



you know, control over your airbrush is probably the most important thing that you can learn in the world of airbrush art. In order to achieve this control, I must always emphasize going back to basics. Going over dagger strokes, fades, dots, etc. This and having a quality tool is the only way to get the effects used in portrait painting. The values of color depend largely upon the slight variations of distance and the amount of paint coming out of the brush. I paint using the value system, paying less attention to the color itself, and more attention to the value or intensity of the color at hand.

The piece I am painting here is just that, a value painting. Here I am demonstrating the importance of placement and intensity of a particular color Technique is king here, as you have one chance, only one! To get it right. If you go too far, too dark, too wide, or too anything else, you are finished! So the trick is to apply gently and slowly. I always step back now and then to get a better look at what I am doing. Needless to say, this sort of painting is not for the absolute beginner, but after a short while, these techniques can be mastered and become second nature. I began this piece blocking in her eyes. Dusting in color in order to gesture their placement. Once I had a handle on that, I began to push in closer in order to detail out the shadows under the eyelashes. I love to use dramatic lighting, It gives the painting a more dimensional look, and of course, makes it so much easier to paint.

A word on eyes. Look deeply into someone’s eyes and take notice of the way light travels through the iris and out of the other side. And the way the reflection of the light source itself becomes apparent creating the all so familiar white spot on the eye. The shape of the eye tells everything. Where the wrinkles are, eyelash shape, eyebrow, everything is critical here because people know how eyes should look.


Next, I begin the other eye, paying close attention to placement of the pupil. Remember, the average person has eyes that are one eye apart. Shadows are important here, as the structure of her face will be defined here.


Next I began to define the shape of the face, using very loose dusting, pulling tighter around the nose. These shadows are difficult because they cannot be too hard edged. The smaller the detail the tighter I tend to go with the edges. Such as nostrils.

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As I work my way down the face I further define the outer shape. I get to the nose and angle the brush to get the proper edge. You could get similar results from a masking tool, but I prefer forcing the brush to do the work.


Now for the mouth. The most important thing to remember here is to make the lips melt into the face. Never make the lips appear to be an afterthought. The corners of the lips must be more defined than the rest of the mouth. And try to always align the corners with the pupils. For the most part, I realize that you already know the basic dynamics of painting the face, Such as the relationship of one part to the other. The eyes are always painted across the center of the head to begin with. Then work your way down slowly to keep relationships small. It is much easier to see and judge the distance between the tip of the nose and the upper lip, than from the eye brow to the tip of the chin. OK, now for the scary part. Here I began to fill in the curves of the face, defining the outer edge, and again tilting the airbrush outward to get clean lines and fades.

I rarely try to make pieces like this, “ museum pieces”. I give them a character of a painted t-shirt. This gives me tremendous latitude. I am able to stretch my artistic wings and do things out of the ordinary. Of course, a commissioned piece on canvas, would indeed be a different approach. But that is a different discussion. Remember, you are an artist, not a copy machine, or human camera! Use artistic license when you are able. Such as backgrounds and perimeters. Photo realism may have its place in certain areas, but I

would say by far, stylizing a piece will make a customer far happier that anything else. As long as you have captured the individual, and added your own flair, the piece will scream your name. As you paint more and more, you will develop a more distinctive style that can be recognized. Painting is fun, make it look that way! Give it a smooth non labored look that says “I enjoyed doing this”. Over time you will be able to complete a piece in no time. The one thing I can tell you to do is practice, take a photo of someone, fold it in half, place it on a piece of paper and draw the rest of it. Do things like this over and over. Remember, the average pro golfer shoots five hundred balls a day! You will get very comfortable with the face and the intimidation of painting it will go away. Look forward to painting everyday! Love what you do and it will show. As always, happy airbrushing!


Finally the hair. Probably the most time consuming part of the piece because I tend to apply too much hair at times, so I have to really watch it here. Make sure that you don’t give your subject an egg head! I start with wispy lines crossing repeatedly, and then tightening up with sharper lines on top of them. I always look for general patterns in the hair that I can follow along with. Keep in mind that you have a light source to contend with, lighten up your stokes in this area, because it is very difficult and frustrating to go back and lighten anything.


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This bike was one of several we did for a series of high profile shows over the summer. Ever since seeing the Devil’s Rejects, I have wanted to reproduce the effects from the movie poster on a bike. We wanted this thing to look like it was smack dab in the middle of a scene from the movie. While I was not sure how it was really going to work, we decided to go for it.

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First, to start off this bike was already base coated, cleared, and then wet sanded with 800 grit sandpaper before the artwork was applied.


After the black line stencil style portraits were laid out, we mixed up some SEM Candy Apple Red. No extra reducer just mixed it according to the ratios provided in their tech manual for spraying. Stir, stir, stir… Because this is a sport bike, the plastics had to be assembled together as they would be on the bike to allow for not only the artwork but for the “blood” to be able to drip down the plastics as it would naturally. Taking the same stir stick, we just started flinging. We tried to maintain some sort of order to our chaos. But in the end, decided that the messier the better. We moved around the bike and made sure that the enough candy was spattered to get some good patterns and runs.

Every piece of the bike got the same treatment. Some had to be positioned carefully in order to make sure gravity made it possible for the blood to appear like it was actually running downward. The “bloody mess” had to appear cohesive when the bike was assembled, or the effect would not work. Now for the tank. The tank was a little messier, considering the effect we were shooting for was actually from the movie poster. The poster featured a corpse being dragged thru it’s own blood, so there was only one-way to really capture that effect. We laid out some red candy onto a piece of scrap metal that was laying there, and Dave braved dipping his bare hands into the mess. The vinyl mask for the Devil’s Rejects font had already been laid out. Now this is tricky. You have to get the candy thick and consistent enough, but at the same time, the more paint you allow to sit on top of the vinyl; the more it will start to seep in and want to get underneath your mask. Be careful! You don’t want to over do it. We wanted the “blood” to have a back to front direction, as if being dragged, Dave takes his paint soaked hands, and drags them down the tank. This method was repeated over and over until we felt the tank was bloody enough and had closely mimicked the poster. A few more passes, and we were happy. I dumped about 7 layers of clear over top of this to protect everything. With the abnormal concentration of candy, a solid lock down is mandatory. Also, some areas had a higher build than others so I had to lay it on fairly thick to level it out. That’s it. It was a lot of fun, and the effect really came out exactly how we wanted it. Try it sometime!

Shawn Cooper •


Have fun!


The Fright-liner    By Fort C. McMurray

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This past summer, I had the fortune of watching a masterpiece unfold before my eyes. The canvas; one 1999 FL80 Freightliner hiway tractor. The artists; Shane Baker and Adrian Kaylin from Baker Boyz Designs. I had chanced upon Special FX Auto body, a family run body and paint shop on the south side of Edmonton, Alberta while writing for a Canadian rider’s newspaper. Shane is the main artistic talent and driving force of the 2 companies. The Baker Boyz side of things is the creative end and an airbrush supply company, featuring RichPen brushes and SEM Candy finishes. I’ve seen numerous impressive custom rods and trucks, classic muscle cars and bikes come out of this fine team’s paint booth for the last year and a half with Shane doing his magic with the airbrush. I had written stories about their work before, but the project they would undertake would really take my breath away. Shane has been painting vehicles for 20 years and has been specializing in airbrushing for the last 2. Their web site is at


An Edmonton based bike and exotic auto transport company, BikeSouth wanted their truck to stand out on the regular and charter runs between Edmonton, Red Deer, Ft. Mac, G.P., Lethbridge and Calgary in the north. Daytona, Las Vegas, Laughlin, Phoenix, L.A. and other U.S. stops in the south. Colin Mackie is the owner of BikeSouth Motorcycle & Auto Transport. Their fleet of 22’, 35’, and 48’ enclosed trailers and a 53’ van are ready to load, depending on the number and size of the bikes, up to 25-30 bikes at a time. Personal pick-up/delivery and Fly & Rides packages are just a couple of their more popular services. The approximate price of a round trip is $800cdn., depending on the bike and distance. They also go to all the big bike rallies and runs as well. All their licensed & insured operators are motorcycle enthusiasts, so they treat your baby like their own. They can be found on the net at


Colin had Shane do the paint on his big buck custom Harley Fatboy show bike, so the logical choice for the truck’s paint was the Baker Boyz. The base color was midnight black, day by day, I would stop in to see the white line sketch turn into a true flame and dragon fantasy masterpiece. Over a three week period, Shane and Adrian would add layer upon layer of colors and clears to bring their art to life. With its amazingly life-like dragon gracing the tilt hood to the numerous skulls within the flame job to the dragons and their maidens on either side, the truck is a definite eye-catcher. The original maidens weren’t exactly... politically correct and needed to be dressed to go on tour. And on tour they go, wouldn’t it be cool to be a (dragon)fly on the wall......not on the grill.


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-by Corrado Mallia Corrado R. Mallia is a Toronto

The Process: 1. After designer the concept on Photoshop, and getting the customer’s approval, it was time to get to work. The first step was preparing the wall. The surface is a painted brick, and was already mostly white, and still in great shape. So all that was needed was a good power wash, followed by a solid re-coating of Sherwin Williams exterior Latex Acrylic primer. (I use all SW exterior premium quality paints, even for indoors, just to prevent having 2 sets of the same colors in interior and exterior). I masked off the entire mural area with masking tape, and newspaper. I sprayed a heavy coating of primer with a Wagner power sprayer. (Note: I rarely use the power sprayer, only for when I want a thick coating of primer that I decide NOT to roll).

oice: s of ch spray gun n o p a e ine My W P Turb VL •Fuji H ini_jet M S a t a •S se BC a Eclip er Sprayer t a w I • w ner Po • Wag

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based muralist and illustrator who specializes in a dynamic, realistic style of painting. Having attended and graduated in graphic design at George Brown College of Applied Arts, his background in art is extensive and has been painting professionally for many years.


Here is an outdoor mural I painted for a quaint little Italian sandwich restaurant one summer. There actually was an existing mural already painted which I had done 9 years earlier. But the owners and name had changed, and it was high time for a fresh, new mural now.


2. Next step was to come back at night to project the image onto the wall. I used a carpenters chisel pencil. The brick will make it necessary to re-sharpen it very often. 3. I almost always begin any mural with the background, usually the sky. I sprayed this with my HVLP gun. I used a combination of freehand, handheld shields and limited use of masking tape to get my edges. After a blue fading to soft yellow, I painted the clouds next. Finally the background trees were painted freehand.

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4. For the lettering, I masked the letters all off with masking tape, and left them masked till near the end of the painting.


5. Next step was painting the coliseum. I started with a layer of yellowish brick color, as the coliseum is lit during the evening, it takes on a golden yellow appearance, which I liked. For this I used the HVLP. It’s OK if this stage is a bit spotty, as this will help add a good effect for the aged structure.

6. I then added some black to the yellow mixture, and painted al the detail in freehand with the Eclipse. It’s in the background, so total sharpness is not desired. Plus I prefer to use freehand in most cases. I finish off the coliseum with some touches of transparent red mixed into the yellow for lit areas.

7. Time to paint David! I start with a base color of white with a little yellow, brown, blue, and red to form the marble appearance. (I always work light to dark). 8. Now I use the base mixture with a little gray added for a darker hue to start forming the facial features, and sculpt the hair and arm. 9. Getting tighter with the detail, using a slightly darker mixture, keep going till I get the right level of depth in the David statue. 10. I made the eyes blue to add some interest, and tie in the background, and I also put some subtle yellows and pinks in the face to reflect the ambient lighting from the sunset. I then finished off the sandwich, (then painted one in the picture!)

12. After it has had sufficient time to dry, I sprayed a few coats of SW Sur-clear, exterior water borne clear with UV protectant, using my HVLP gun. I prefer Satin finish for a non-glare effect. This helps from fading and also levels off some shiny spots that inevitably happen when you spray. 13. The last and most important step was to go inside and devour a few more delicious Veal Sandwiches! That’s it!


11. For the letters, I painted a drop shadow around the tape that is still covering them, and painted the green box around the “Italian Bistro” wording. Last was to remove the tape and hope the paint didn’t creep under. It did in a few places because of the rough brick texture, so I touched up the letters with a brush and some white paint.


By John Bartevian

For any artist, the preparation of the substrate is just as important as the final finish. In addition, clients need to be educated on proper care techniques to keep their products fresh for years to come. The most frequent problem with motorcycle gas tanks is lost adhesion between the metal and paint surface on and around the fuel fill and fuel caps, especially with the all-too-popular flush mount caps. Damage will show up as bubbles or soft spots in the finish. This problem occurs as a result of gas vapors creeping between the metal and primer. You must tell shops and individuals – NO full tanks for at least forty five days – to decrease the chances of this occurring. You should also instruct the owners to use extra care when fueling and NEVER allow the fuel nozzle to touch the edge of the paint around the fuel fill. You can give your client some added insurance by sealing the fill with a small bead of epoxy resin between the metal surface and paint.

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This same area is also prime for chips. Some individuals will claim the chip on their


The bike to be repaired today is a custom cellophane or marbleized finish. Our teammate Rene Rodriguez, isolates the two areas to be repaired. The entire bike was wrapped in 3M plastic wrap. The damaged area is cleaned

found this gun able to fulfill all of our needs. It is interesting to note a brush specifically designed for today’s paints.

and prepped. The edges are feather edged with 600 dry. Since the given base was still intact, we brought out our PrecisionAire Treo airbrush system. From repairing chips or full blown illustrations we have

By adjusting the gun’s air value, we can duplicate the same pattern that was used before. Next we mix a small amount of Hot Hues 5400 High Speed Clear. Using our same airbrush we begin to lay out the clear. The super fine atomization reduces dry times and leveling performance. In just a few hours we were able to lightly color sand the area with 2000 wet, then the area was hand rubbed to a final finish. The bike was ready for the owners in a matter of hours.


tank was caused by a nonadhesion problem. You can differentiate between a chip and non-adhesion. A chip will leave some of the substrate intact. Non-adhesion will tend to peel back. Be careful before you give your final estimate. You must peel back the paint so you and the owner can see how much damage has actually occurred.


PAASCHE VJR #1 Dual Action Gravity feed Airbrush Paasche Airbrush Company was established in 1904 with the debut of their Model A, B, and C model airbrushes (forerunners of the current AB Turbo). Since that time they have established themselves as leaders in airbrush industry offering high quality airbrushes and spray equipment to serve every need. This review will look at the Paasche VJR Gravity feed airbrush installed with a .25mm #1 tip and needle. This airbrush is also available with a larger .66mm set up as the VJR#2. Overall construction of the VJR is very clean. Everything from weld joints to overall finish is very good which is typical of Paasche airbrushes. It is a very small brush weighing in at a mere 2 ounces yet the feel of the brush is comfortable. This is partially due to the use of the standard round Paasche finger button. The VJR features a line adjustment just forward of the finger lever that changes the brush from a dual action to a single action brush as well. Trigger action is very smooth and the long, thin taper of the needle produces some very fine and tight details. Cleaning tip dry involved removing the aircap to get at the tip and needle which was time consuming. Cleaning the airbrush was very easy due to the unique design of the VJR’s 1/64th oz color cup. The needle of the airbrush does not pass through the bottom of the color cup as in other gravity feed brushes thus making it very easy to remove any excess paint during color changes. Overall the VJR is a solid, well balanced, high detail airbrush that is both rugged and affordable.

Pros: Moderately priced Very refined control Easy to maintain


Soft needle, easily bent Aircap makes cleaning tip dry difficult Plastic handle is not solvent proof


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Size #1 Light Fluids Spray Pattern: Hairline - 1” (.25mm Tip opening)


Recommended Air Pressure: .5 CFM @ 15 to 35 lbs. Kit includes: VJR#1 or #2 (Select one size) with built-in 1/64 oz. Cup (.5cc), A-34 Hanger, V-62 Wrench, TTALB “22 Airbrush Lessons” Booklet, V-189 Head Protecting Cap, Parts List and Storage Case. Retail Price: $94 US

All of the major airbrush manufacturers use proprietary air line hookups. So if you own a Paasche air hose it will only fit a Paasche airbrush, a Badger Hose on a Badger Airbrush, etc. Fortunately the major manufacturers sell hose adapters so that you can use your Badger Crescendo with your Paasche air hose. The one place where the hose issue varies is with airbrushes made in the Far East. The majority of Japanese and Chinese manufactured airbrushes are all on the same size air hose system. This means that if you already own a RichPen or an Iwata that the hose will fit a Tamiya, Olympos, Sparmax, or PrecisionAire Airbrush. Hope this answers your question and good luck with your Crescendo. It is a very fine airbrush. I am looking for a new compressor to use for painting models. There are so many styles to choose from…………..HELP!!!!!!! Choosing the right compressor to meet your needs is a very challenging, and sometimes frustrating, experience. There are several considerations to take before spending your hard earned money on the life line of your airbrush. The first thing to consider is noise level. If you have a place where you can keep your compressor to muffle the noise or you don’t mind wearing noise suppression devices in your ears, then any of the popular “shop compressors” will work great. Just make sure to have a moisture trap/pressure regulator to keep your air dry as it leaves the compressor tank. “Shop compressors” tend to run hot pumping warm moist air into the reserve tank. The hot air then condenses leaving moisture in the tank. Moisture is not the airbrusher’s friend! The small oil less piston compressors are relatively quiet and work great for the hobbyist and modeler. The right ones can provide you with a consistent flow of air that will make your airbrushing a pleasure. Just be careful not to over pay for a oil less piston compressor that has a lot of useless features. The top of the quality chain are the oiled silent compressors. These compressors provide good supplies of cool, dry air. They are virtually noiseless due to the refrigerator compressors that run them. And while a little on the ex-

pensive side, if you do quite a bit of airbrushing they are a joy to own. In summary, assess your needs, budget wisely, and don’t buy unnecessary add-ons. I just purchased a Vega 2000 Complete airbrush set. The set has three different nozzle and needle combinations. Which one should I use? Each needle/nozzle combination is designed to optimize the performance of your airbrush based upon the viscosity of your coating. The #1, or fine, is used when you are going to be using very thin or highly reduced paints. The #3, or medium, is the general purpose combination. This will handle just about everything that you will spray. The #5, or large, is for very thick mediums and is rarely used. Since you have just purchased the Vega, try out all three combinations with the paint you will be using. Experimentation is the name of the game and it also gets you more familiar with your new equipment. As you experiment you may have more questions. Visit the forum at It’s FREE and there are hundreds of years of experience on the forum that will help you out. I paint T-shirts and my customers keep asking me if I do tattoos. Can I use the same equipment for airbrushing tattoos as I use to airbrush shirts? I am going to take a guess that your customers want temporary tattoos. Leave the ink slinging to the pros! You can use all of your t-shirt equipment for doing temporary tattoos as long as your airbrush will atomize the paint efficiently at a PSI of 15 or less. It is important to spray temporary tattoos at these low air pressures so that you don’t drive the paint into the pores of the customers skin. Now to the paint. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE USE T-SHIRT PAINT for your temporary tattoos. This could lead to severe allergic reactions for your customers and major problems for you. Only use paints specifically designed for body painting and that are made with FDA (Food & Drug Administration) approved ingredients. A proven temporary tattoo paint is TempTu. You can learn more about their products at www.

While there are a few twists and turns to the temporary tattoo end of airbrushing, by taking the necessary steps airbrushing temporary tattoos is fun and profitable. Good Luck! I have used siphon feed airbrushes my entire airbrush career. I notice that quite a few of the pros use gravity feed airbrushes for their detail work. What is a good gravity feed airbrush and what should I expect to pay? Does an answer man ever get an easy question? WOW! Where do I begin on this one? I guess that first I should say that wherever possible, stay within the family of airbrush that you are most comfortable using. If you like Paasche, stay with Paasche; if you like Badger, stay with Badger, etc. Each airbrush manufacturer has gravity feed airbrushes. Paasche has the VSR 90. Badger has the 100 series. PEAK has the C-5. You get the idea. The next thing is to look at your budget and how committed you are to the gravity feed. For less than $100 you can purchase a very good brush. If you stretch you can even afford a low end Iwata like the HP-CS. Frankly, the Paasche VSR90 is as good as the Iwata at a significant savings. If you are totally committed to gravity feed then purchase the best you can afford. Look at a premium airbrush like Mike Learn’s MOJO ( and then gravitate to the price range you can afford. There are some great airbrushes available today so buy the best that you can afford, learn the airbrushes nuances, practice, and have fun with your new tool.


I have a Paasche VL airbrush and I want to try a Badger Crescendo airbrush. Will my Paasche VL air hose work with the Badger Crescendo?


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The “HEARTS” Art Series

By Leon Redman aka KFX As a long time airbrush aficionado, my quest for LEARN-ing has taken me on many travels into my own personal uncharted regions. During my journey, I was pleasantly refreshed to meet a phenomenal artist that you will not be able to find if you rely on such tricks provided by technology & the mystic “google it” button. Do not be alarmed, in this article you will not be reintroduced to the same old names in the same old game. The person I am talking about, is a break from the norm, and one that some will come to appreciate for what he is, One Man’s Personification of the true artist in us all. What we all started out as, yet some have slowly begun to forget. Let me refresh your memory! “TSTEP TALKS” As I began to tackle the task of writing, and coming up with an idea for an article, I thought what better way to celebrate and contribute to a new airbrush literary age than to begin to introduce all new airbrush artist personalities. It seems that our subculture mainstream magazine history so far has been defined and written by those few who are somehow “connected” with the big name products and sponsors, using the same techniques and how-to’s, labelling it all as “cutting edge” and filling the pages on the shelf. Bored of the same ol’ same ol’, I decided to get off my duff and make my own statement. I drew upon a recent life experience to break outside the circle, and share my observations of the world around me. An interesting series of events granted me the opportunity to share with you a “find” that can only be attained through good old-fashioned, tried and true techniques such as word of mouth. If you are lucky enough to be in the same geographic vicinity and have a good eye for art or travel in select circles, only then you may be privy to his urban legend. Sure, he is well-known to the people in “the Know”, however, most of you have probably never heard of him. Finally TSTEP talks! A quiet unassuming man from first appearances, his name is Tom Stephenson of TStep Paints. From your first glance at his work, to your last, you will certainly sit up and take notice. What is even more astounding is to observe the techniques and tools he employs in his craft that enable him to generate such phenomenal art. I set out to capture as much information as possible, and over the course of several days, I observed a true artisan at work. At the end of our time together, we sat down in his cozy home studio and spent about 3 hours talking. We covered a lot of ground, and I got to know the phenom. Here is our conversation: Q. So Tom let everyone know where you are from? A. OK are you recording now??? I’m originally from Phoenix. I am 42 years old and was born January 26, 1964.

Q. Are you being shown anywhere currently? A. Most of my pieces are being shown at the ART ONE GALLERY in Scottsdale. Currently they have approximately 7 of my pieces with theme titles such as “The Sun and Moon”, and also themes such as “Love”,“Lady” and “Man”, all collage style paintings depicting various scenes and capturing a variety of emotions. It’s quite interesting, and I am amazed. Most of my pieces sell out within an hour. Some of my other current work captures Arizona & Phoenix where I grew up. I also enjoy painting women as it captures my attention, but there are also a lot of political subjects in my art now.


Q. Have you ever won any awards for art? A. Yeah Sure; quite a few. One that I am most proud of is the National Endowment for the Art. They have them for different sections of the country. I was in the Western State Area. Basically I was one of ten winners of a fellowship. The piece was the “Lost” Series, relating to Gang related deaths of youth who lost someone. The art was all photo realistic, done with acrylics... and at the end all the respective pieces went back to the families. Another was the Arizona Biennial, which is held every 2 years, from which I received the Arizona Project Grant. But these days I am no longer active in art competitions.


Q. Which Builders/Shops do you work for? A. Well I do work for Gary Crisp, Paul Yaffe, Denny Bloom aka Creative Kolor, Sergical Steeds, Nash, AJ’s Customs, Bug’s, Miguels, Area 5150, The Paint Shop, Chip’s Customs, Wedo. The list goes on and on. Q. What is your formal art education? A. High School - David Nunez my High school Art teacher really encouraged and peaked my interest in my last 2 years. He really sent me in the right direction. I secured a full scholarship to several schools, but chose ASU. I ended up dropping out my second semester; all the math and English papers were a pain. I then moved to Flagstaff with my father who bought me canvas so I could work painting. Q. When did you discover the airbrush? A. I was 15 years old when I got my first airbrush. It was very frustrating, so I put it away in the closet for 2 years. I saw an airbrush artist who inspired me. Jim Burns, a Sci Fi artist who I wanted to mimic. I used a Paashe single and double action early on, but they always clogged and spurted. Ah, the good ol’ days. Q. What was your First job painting? A. In High School I painted a flying cross for my JROTC Teacher. He was a Helicopter Gunner in the Viet Nam War. I painted his medal on a blue sky background on canvas. It was great. Q. What are some of the other interesting projects you have done? A. Well I got to work on the Turbo Album Cover for Judas Priest. I’ve done work for Flotsam and Jetsam, Icon, etc. All cover art! Q. What are you most Proud of? A. I would have to say I am most proud of the “Hearts” series featuring the kids from 10 different Boys and Girls Clubs from the Metro area. I took pictures of the children forming a heart symbol in front of their chests, then sketched the child on a 6 foot canvas. Then the children from the clubs painted the backgrounds as a project. Once they were done, I went back in and painted the actual child. Those pieces were actually funded by a grant from the “Lost” series relating to gang violence. Actually both the “Lost” and “Hearts” series’ are among my favorites because they were pieces that went back into the community. As bikes go, my favorites would have to be some of my recent works for Sturgis, which were collage style murals that covered the entire bikes. Q. You have an interesting family life; you went to Peru for 2 years what’s that like? A. My wife’s family is originally from Peru. After we were married, we decided we wanted to go back. The culture and lifestyle there is so different. Artistically I focused a lot on carving, and I did a lot of painted wood pieces. We even tried to build our own air compressor with components available out there. It was a challenge. I would have to comeback every three months and work for a bit, save up some money and then fly back. I did that like 5 or 6 times. We ended up returning to the states after 2 years.

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Q. What airbrush do you use? A. Pasahe A-B Model Turbine. It was invented 30 years ago and has held its patent since then. It has improved with speed and reliability since then, and I like it because it’s all open - no internal mechanism or chamber to clog and spit. I have about 5 of them. I am always on E-Bay cruising for people’s old ones for parts. Each one is unique and I am still learning about them. It is my workhorse; I use it on everything from 6 x 4 canvas down to minute detail on bikes. I have been painting with a Turbine for 15 years.


Q. Lets talk about your technique, what type of paint do you use? A. I like Liquitex the most, sometimes Createx and Auto Air for metallic. Auto Air’s Detail Jet Black is the blackest black I have found. All the others seem to have a tint to them. Q. How do you think the longevity is with Acrylics under Urethane clears? A. It’s always been one of my biggest concerns when doing automotive, but I have yet to have one single problem with it. In the bike industry most guys repaint there bikes within 5 years anyway so I have had no complaints. I would assume though that the cadmium reds would fade the fastest if overexposed to sunlight over long periods of time. But, I have yet to see one of my paintings fade. You also have to be aware that any chemical de-greaser wont affect the acrylics, but a water base one will wipe all the work right off. I make it a point to not touch the paintings while working so they are super clean.

The “LOST” Art Series

Q. Where do you get your inspiration and ideas? A. I like to use a lot of reference material to try to get what the customer wants, whether its at the library or online or fashion magazines, etc. I take the reference and put them in situations, that is the artistic element. One cannot just put one picture next to another and call it a collage. It just does not work. After going through maybe 500 pictures, I pick maybe 30 I like. I then take a camera with a macro lens and change the angle to distort the perspective and zoom to fade it out in a photograph then use that as my sketch layout and paint it.

Q. I see you have an extensive library, where do you buy most of your reference material? A. Mostly I buy used materials from Amazon and also Borders Books.

Q. What is your opinion of hard vs. soft art work in retro-style art and portrait work, ect? A. I am a big fan of soft lines and textures. I want to be able to jump into painting. I have no patience for masking. I just want to get into it as soon as possible. I don’t mask unless the bike calls for it in the design.

Q. Do you paint anything for yourself or is it all customer driven art? A. My recent works are all my own; very monochromatic, very easy to look at, and pleasant to the eyes. All very interpretive pieces. I have named them “Love”, “Anger” and “Smoke”. They all try to capture emotions on a main character. I tend to get a bit angry that I cannot work on my own art at times. I mean doing bikes pays the bills, but I ask myself, “how am I contributing to the world?” In the back of my head I am very unhappy with the state of current affairs and the government. Kids and peace is big on my mind. What else can I do but show my political statements it in my artwork?

Leon Redman


Q. What are your favorite reference materials? A. I like to use Juxtapoz magazine extensively, it is an art magazine that has a lot of interesting articles, ranging on a vast amount of topics, but the characters and work in the pages inspire me a lot.

Q. Who is your favorite artist? A. It would have to be Jim Burns. I am a huge fan of Science Fiction, but I also like Brom and Frazetta. Gil Elvgren’s are my favorite pinups and also the artist Todd Shure and many others.


By Paul Labelle

Jordan is my son and a 7-year old artist. He has been working with me for about 6 months doing stencils in between tour dates and TV shows. His favorite airbrush is the Iwata Revolution. He likes dice and flames and wanted to put them on a shirt together. He took my dice stencil and went at it. First he started out with the inside of the dice (dice outline). He lightly sprayed it with black then he placed the dice pattern over the outline and colored the dots and lines in. Next he used the stencil to finish the lines on the inside of the dice. He added a touch of blue to the outside of the dice for shading. Time to FLAME! Jordan placed a basic circle stencil over the dice and sprayed a base color of Golden Yellow. Then he touched it up with Createx Orange to add a little more heat to the flames.

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

Jordan’s creativity started flowing and he had an idea that he wanted to try burning the shirt with a heat gun to make the shirt look like the fire burned the shirt. Can’t squash creativity!!


One of the world’s favorite foods is Pizza. Who doesn’t enjoy sitting down to a nice warm slice of pizza pie! There are so many different things one can do with pizza and your humble chef has found just the wildest variation for pizza that you could imagine. Malaysian Chicken Pizza. Being the creative group that we are, how more creative can you get than mixing a little bit of Italy with a little bit of Southeast Asia! Here is your shopping list:

*For the pizza crust, I like to make the dough fresh in a bread machine and hand roll it out into a rustic shape on a pizza stone. Looking for a simpler way, you can purchase fresh or frozen dough, use a Boboli type crust, or even pita bread on a standard or foil pizza pan. Preheat oven to 500°. Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk. Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.) Sprinkle cheeses over prepared crust, leaving a 1/2inch border, and top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes on bottom rack in oven. Sprinkle with green onions. Place pizza on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Now that you have satiated your appetite, turn your creative energy back to your art work. The Airbrush Gourmet will return next month with another easy to create pallet pleaser. Manga! Recipe is courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine May 2002


When he was done with the scorch, added his final little touch ups and the proud artist posed by his new shirt!

3/4 c. rice vinegar 1/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce 3 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper 4 garlic cloves, minced Cooking spray 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed 1/2 c. (2 oz) shredded reduced-fat, lo-sodium Swiss cheese 1/4 c. (1 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese 1 Basic Pizza Crust* 1/4 c. chopped green onions


Taught Norwegians the Airbrush Art

and you’re ready to airbrush. “It is an advantage to be a good drawer, but the patience is the most important thing.”

When you hear the word “airbrush”, many of us stand there like a question mark. But who would have thought that the airbrush art is more than a 140 years old?

Mike Learn’s wife, Diana Learn is the editor of the popular Airbrush Magazine AB-MAG. Mike writes in this magazine as well, and shares his knowledge with the airbrush readers. And in addition to this Learn has designed his own airbrush, which is quite popular. He has also got his own website, On this website he teaches his fans different skills about the airbrush-art. As a matter of fact, Learn has as a huge fan base in Norway. He likes to call them the Norwegian Mojo Army.

Text: Carolyn Selliken (Norwegian Journalism Student) Airbrush is an artform that has become considerably popular, more during the past 10 - 20 years, in the car industries. The increased popularity may come from the fact that there’s TV-programs about airbrushing on different channels like MTV and The Discovery Channel. Mike Learn visited Skien in September, a small town in Norway, in the north of Europe. Learn is a well-known airbrush-artist, and it was his first time outside of North-America. With him, he brought a huge amount of knowledge about the airbrush technique, which he was willing to share with the students who attended the airbrush-course.

Personal style Learn has a lot of knowledge about the airbrush industry, and some might even react to his way of expressing his artform, but Learn doesn’t agree. “My motives (murals) are based on my imagination, and I admit to it being aggressive and controversial. But now I’m going in to a phase, where the art is getting nicer and more personal. And I think that helps me keeping the art alive”, Learn says. Learn likes Norway, and thinks at it’s a great country with friendly people and a beautiful nature. He has become fascinated by the Norwegian history and culture, and would love to come back, some time.

| AB•MAG | Winter 2007

Norwegian Fansite Learn’s students are both advanced and novice, so there was something for all target-groups. But the students’ eagerness was something they all had in common, and Bjørn Olav Sveinson is one of them. Bjørn started a Norwegian fansite, where Norwegians, with an interest for airbrush, could talk together about their hobby.


“This is a once in a lifetime experience, to have the one and only Mike Learn, here in Skien to teach us his secrets about airbrush”, says Sveinson. Back in the old days airbrush was mostly used to fix photos, and spraying medicine into sick peoples eyes and ears. But since then the airbrush-art has changed. The popularity rose at the end of the 1970s. “Back then they used to make motives (murals) mostly on vans”, Learn says. Patience is the secret. “ You don’t have to be a good drawer, to airbrush” Learns says. The computer is a good help, where programs like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop are good drawing programs. After making the drawing, you print it out templates,

Mike & Diana Learn would like to give a special thanks to Kikkan of C. Christoffersen who was a most gracious host to the Norwegian event. Also, a thank you goes to Lars Tiben and Heia Hjallis. The event would not have been possible without their help. And Steve Leahy - thank you for tagging along to help with the large class.



| AB•MAG | Winter 2007




as seen on

SEM Products made breathing new life into this 1984 hearse, owned by NASCAR CHAMPION Tony Stewart, easy for Unique Autosports. Versatile and easy to use, UA turned to COLOR HORIZONS to transform this graveyard dive into one sweet ride. Available in many colors and competitively priced, | AB•MAG | Winter 2007

COLOR HORIZONS is the choice for custom projects.


Imagine what you can do and call your local jobber today!

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AB-Mag Volume 3  

Airbrush tutorials, tips and an art enthusiasts resource.

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