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Snail Mail: AB-Mag Editorial • 300 Center Dr • Ste G-316 • Superior, CO 80027

Hello! I just received a free complimentary issue of AB-MAG from Bear Air. I have to say that this is one of the best magazines that I have ever seen! Everything from the number of how-to articles to the quality of the content is First-Class all of the way. I was totally 100% sold on this magazine once I started reading the article that Mike Learn wrote entitled “No fate but what we make.” I am very happy that there is a magazine, especially in this industry, that is not afraid to publish an article like this. I have a couple of business ventures that I am involved with and the principles that he listed off are so true, not for just this industry, but for everything we do in life. Without going into a big story, I am just going to say that I am very proud of this magazine and will now be a life long subscriber. YOU GUYS ROCK!! Matt Stark Creative Concepts To all of you at AB-MAG. WOW!!! NEVER have I been so impressed with the articles, lay out and technical support that your offering has supplied. I have been collecting airbrush magazines (of various publications) since I took interest in 1993, and I have never found so much information from ANY of them. I found the article that Mike Learn presented so inspirational that I just HAD to share it with all who I can!!! I’ll look forward to more fantastic publications in the future.... hell who knows... you might just publish an offering of mine in the future. (Well... I can dream can’t I ? LOL) There are so many things that I could add at this time, but more than anything.... keep up with the AWESOME work. Big atta’ crew to all who make your publication so amazing/ inspirational/ technical/ FANTASTIC!!!

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Sincerely, a friend you haven’t met yet, Mitch Peacock co owner of JUS CUZ CUSTOMS


First off, I would like to say I enjoy your magazine so far. As for a suggestion, I have a few. I’m always looking for a learning tool. Meaning I want an airbrush magazine that teaches, not just shows other artist’s work. I noticed that you guys did a small piece on motorcycle Helmets. Could you keep doing that? Also, how about batting helmets? I want to see an airbrush magazine that covers every inch of airbrush art. From T-shirts to sneakers, to car tags and caps. Every time I get my other subscription in the mail, it always cover auto airbrushing. I think this is great, but there is a lot more to airbrushing than auto murals. So, please take the request of a (hopefully) loyal subscriber. Oh, yeah! For the very new (like my wife) airbrusher could you maybe do a piece on how to take apart and care for your airbrush? Thank you for giving me another place to turn for airbrushing tips. Thanks a bunch

Hello AB-Mag, I am really enjoying your new publication. There is a sincerity underlying each edition that is refreshing. I know that all/most people that put magazines together are really into what they are writing about, but AB-Mag has a “grass roots” feel that lends it some authenticity. Below are some thoughts/comments I have about the mag and some possible topics for discussion. Just to give you an idea of my skill level, I am a TOTAL novice with the airbrush coming to the tool at 40+ years old. I work in multimedia, so I have lots of familiarity with computer graphics applications, but am yearning to do work that is more “analog”/hands-on. At a local art store I have taken a oncea-week class that was six weeks long, but I haven’t done much since because I am unaware of how I can safely work at home to practice. Some things I think are great: 1. Your vector art articles - you can’t throw a stick without hitting a computer, might as well put it to use for art/creative. I do have familiarity with Illustrator, and I find that your articles are easy to follow. 2. I like the philosophical discussions about art, decisions, etc. It is part of that sincerity that is appealing. 3. I also am digging the t-shirt articles. I didn’t really ever think about doing t-shirt stuff, but the articles make sense, offer a great way of practicing strokes, and I could turn the ideas into gifts, if not a way to make some money. 4. I like the young artist section. Great motivation for young kids to get their stuff out there and done. What an accomplishment to have their work chosen. Some things I’d like to see discussed: 1. How can I work in my basement? I would love a discussion about safely working in a home environment (eg. Can I do painting with water-based paints and a cheap face mask?) and/or how to create/DIY a “spray booth.” Anything that would allow me to do SOMEthing at home. I know I can’t do solvent-based or clear coating, but what CAN I do at home? I see ML using SEM on DVDs, but also know that that facility has a full-blown air system. How can I get close to this at home, if at all? 2. Airbrushing guitars; this is really the reason I picked up an airbrush, to paint some guitars. I know that ML does a lot of that. I’d love to see some how-to’s, even a multi-part series, that goes over this topic like doing a car mural. Actually, I think a guitar painting article is more “needed” as there are plenty of videos to support a car painter, but none, that I have seen, for painting guitars. (Could this be a good video/DVD topic for Mike Learn’s next instructional video?) Personally, I’d need a good resource about prepping properly. This could be followed by any graphic technique as a topic. Thanks in advance for the time and the forum to throw out these thoughts. I’m really looking forward to the next issue of the magazine. Thank you all for your important feedback! Without hearing from you, we do not know if you are getting what you want and need from ABMag. I am humbled and extremely proud of all the positive comments. Thank you so much for taking the time. The suggestions are even more important and I promise you that they have been noted. Sever al of them were already happening. The complete guide to Guitar Painting was already underway. You will see an article in one of the next 2 issues and a DVD soon after that! ;) Diana



651 Michael Wylie Dr. Charlotte, NC 28217-1546 800-831-1122

SEM Products, Inc.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


AB•Mag - 3rd QTR 2007 • Volume 2, Number 3 Cover Art: Luca Pagan Publisher: Editor: Art Director:

Steve Angers Diana Learn Diana Learn

Contributing Writers:

Lee & Lisa Berczel Doug Cox Ron Fleanor Erich Fritz Keith Hanson Steven Leahy Emily L Mike Learn NUB Luca Pagan Brenden Stubblefield Don Swartz Ryan Young

Advertising Director:

Steve Angers


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.


“Our promise remains the same as it was when we began. As the readership grows, the content will grow with it.”

It is officially Year 2 of AB-Mag! For those of you who have been with us from the start - Thanks! And I hope that we have met and exceeded your expectations. For those of you just joining us - Welcome! I am sure you will enjoy your subscription. As with any new venture, we here at AB-Mag have experienced a roller coaster ride of emotions dealing with the day to day operations of running a magazine. I am happy to report, however, that the bulk of the sentiments have been positive ones. :)

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

There is really no doubt that y’all like the book. The feedback we have received has been excellent and inspirational. Now we need to focus on getting this resource into the hands of more art enthusiasts like yourself! And here is where you can help. Give the gift of art (what a great stocking stuffer)! Pass the magazine along. Recommend it to a friend. If you frequent an art store, let them know we are out here! Our promise remains the same as it was when we began. As the readershipo grows, the content will grow with it.


I would like to THANK all of our Advertisers, Industry Supporters and ESPECIALLY our Subscribers for making this magazine possible. Please let us know what you like, what you want more of and what we can improve on. Together we can make the Second Year of AB-MAG even better than the First.

Before we head into the “meat” of this issue, I would like to take this opportunity to give a very, very heartfelt THANK YOU to all the contributors to this, and all issues of AB-MAG past and future. Without you guys and gals, we would not be able to provide the rich and pertinent content that we have come to be known for. You guys are reason we can produce the magazine, and the reason that readers are buying it. Thanks.

Bellissimo: Luca Pagan’s TULIPS - Page 24

WHAT’S INSIDE!?! Check out the fun and instruction at ABU 2007























V for Vector












THE PURIST PATH with Illustrator and Fine Artist Steve Leahy

HELMET HEAD The Helmets of Indy and Web Search Guide

Read Feedback on AB-Mag Happy Anniversary!

Thoughts and Ramblings with Mike Learn SEM’s Sure-Coat is perfect for leather

EFBE Artis 2

Grisaille - Painting Color with Value Your Worst Shop Accident Fine Art with Erich Fritz

Vector Lessons for the Airbrush Artist Keith Hanson

Holiday Fingernails with Emily

Project Llama

From Brenden Stubblefield




ITW Launches new TEKNA™ spray gun brand in North America The ITW Finishing Systems Group has begun North American sales of an all new line of automotive refinishing spray guns. TEKNA branded guns are manufactured at the ITW facility in Bournemouth, England. ITW Automotive Refinishing in Maumee, Ohio will be the exclusive marketer in the United States and Canada.

Attention all customers! COLOR HORIZONS products are now more user friendly than ever before! As a complete line of dynamic bases, candies, fluorescent concentrates, primers, clears, glass flakes and pearls, COLOR HORIZONS offers an awesome start to finish system and is easier to use than any other custom finish offering!

Designed primarily in Europe, TEKNA spray guns feature lightweight, chrome plated aluminum bodies with low pull force triggers. Available in basecoat and clear coat versions, all TEKNA spray guns are waterborne compatible when used with plastic or disposable cup systems. For more information about the TEKNA spray guns and accessories, visit

COLOR HORIZONS BASE COLORS and HYPERBASE COLORS are now packaged in convenient, ready to reduce round quart cans. Create a lasting foundation with 14 intense BASE COLORS that can be intermixed to form a wide array of colors for your custom projects. The 15 HYPERBASE COLORS have been reformulated to be easier to use and provide maximum UV protection! Offering the same great colors and added versatility in a new ½ pint can, COLOR HORIZONS CANDY CONCENTRATES add flexibility to a painter’s abilities while reducing waste. Check out how easy it is to use by contacting your local jobber for details! With the phenomenal color offerings available through COLOR HORIZONS, flexibility and the striking new packaging, there is no stopping you from unleashing your creative powers. Use COLOR HORIZONS from start to finish for the ultimate custom project.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Log onto our website at or call 1-800-831-1122 for more information on these products. We look forward to showing you why SEM is “The Right Choice.”


The Precisionaire Master Treo Airbrush Is Versatility Personified From the minds of Precisionaire comes the most versatile airbrush on the planet. The Precisionaire Master Treo is actually three airbrushes in one. The three interchangeable cups allow the artist to use the size that applies to their application minimizing waste paint and making cleaning easier. Each Master Treo includes the three cups and the larger cups include lids that eliminate spilling. The Master Treo also has the mini air control valve at the head of the airbrush to allow the artist finger tip control of the air pressure. For more information, ask you local airbrush supply house or visit

Silentaire’s New Compressor Delivers More Power! Silentaire has added a new compressor to their legendary line up. The Silentaire 30A Compressor is a highly portable power house that is affordably priced. The Silentaire 30A works off the tried and tested Silentaire 20A chassis with the upgraded air pump from the Silentaire 30TC. This combines power and looks that are sure to be a long time addition to the world famous Silentaire line of oiled airbrush compressors. For more information visit or contact your local Silentaire Dealer.

NEW Template Designs from Mike Learn’s AIR ESSENTIALS The Mike Learn Air Essentials Template Library continues to grow with 2 new additions to an already wildly popular set of 8 stencils. Each of these 10 templates puts the cutting edge and dynamic style Mike has become known for directly in your hands. Extremely versatile design allows for many different dynamic compositions without getting stale. Available at and many airbrush/art supply stores.

FOSSIL & Morphism

Chop Culture, Bone Daddy, Dogs of War, Field of Screams 1 2 & 3, Taboo & Tattoo You

RichPen USA Announces New Models for 2008 RichPen USA has announced two new models of airbrush for the 2008 model year. The Apollo 113DCA and the Spectra 033DCA airbrushes have an exclusive Double Cut A Way Handle that makes cleaning and maintenance a breeze. No longer will the artist need to remove the back of the airbrush to clean tip dry or to remove the handle for access to the needle or needle chuck for fast needle removal. The DCA will also be available as an aftermarket part and will fit many of the popular Asian manufactured airbrushes. For more information visit RichPenUSA. com or contact your local art supply store.

NEW!! HOT ROD BLACK MATTE FINISH SEM is pleased to announce the availability of HR010 HOT ROD BLACK sold in a convenient all in one kit. A “hot” new addition to the COLOR HORIZONS family, HOT ROD BLACK will help take your custom project to the next level! HR010 is a matte finish, 2K, single stage topcoat system that provides outstanding color retention, excellent sprayability and superior mar resistance. HR010 has superior chalk and fade resistance and is 3.5 VOC compliant! Create the best, satin finish custom look when painting accent stripes, hoods or entire vehicles with HOT ROD BLACK! Log onto our website at or call 1-800-831-1122 for more information on this product. We look forward to showing you why SEM is “The Right Choice.”

Camair® by DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing

CamAir’s new 2-stage Air Drying System is a great choice for shops lacking wall space. Featuring a first stage water trap and dirt filter along with a second stage sub-micron oil coalescer, the compact design can fit into even the most cramped shops. With ultra-low pressure drop, the CamAir 2-Stage is highly efficient, producing clean, dry air for paint shops and service outlets alike. A self-relieving regulator with an ergonomically designed control knob allows technicians to adjust air pressure with minimum effort. Quick-change bowls and inlet air valve accommodate rapid, trouble-free maintenance without shutting off main shop air. Reliable manual drains mean smooth operation with minimal technician attention. CAMAIR® products are distributed throughout the United States and Canada by a wide variety of refinishing and tool distributors. For more information about the CAMAIR® 2-Stage Filter/Regulator unit, visit AutoRefinishDeVilbiss. com and click Products.


New Camair® Compact 2-Stage Drying System is Compact and Efficient


CLEAN THOSE MASKS! Here is my story. . . I was going to clearcoat an item, so I put new filters in an old respirator. I did the seal check. . . huff. . . blow. . . seal was good. I did the work; all seemed well. Four hours pass, and I am beginning to have a hard time breathing. So I think to myself, “Was it the mask? Did I not put new filter in? What’s up? Did I breathe the Isocyanates?” So I go to check to see if maybe I had not locked a filter down tightly, or there was a leak somehow. As I was checking, I pulled the lower edge down. MOLD! A ring of black fungus. Not a lot, and it was out of casual view. An hour later, I was in the ER, gasping for each breath. I was able to tell the doctor about possible isocyanate inhalation and about the mold. The diagnosis: mold poisoning. It is called Farmers Lung. After an updraft, steroids, IV, etc. I was finally able to breathe again. But even after several days I was still coughing up green lung juice. I read that it could be permanent in some cases. So there you have it. The moral of the of the story? Check and clean your mask. There are sneaky places inside that the filter won’t save you from. ~Raafim

SMALL STENCIL HOLDERS Ok, you have spent the evening making some cool stencils. You want to keep them handy but not get them all stuck together. It is a problem we have all run into at one time or another. Recently I made 6 or 7 skulls and was cleaning up and came across an idea. I put each stencil (positives & negative) into a paper CD sleeve. They fit great and the little window conveniently showed which stencil was inside. By doing this, you can stack up the small ones and keep them organized. ~John

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007



This is a very cheap, often even free way to practice new techniques. Simply find some old panes of glass or glass shelving and paint the backs black or white. When dry, you can paint or pinstripe on the other side. Practice strokes, work out designs or get that striping brush warmed up. When you are done, simply remove the paint with a razor blade. Works great and saves money. Good luck!! ~ theMoonshinekid

WHEN MISTAKES ARE YOUR FRIENDS I wanted to share this with those of you newer airbrushers who may find yourselves frustrated at mistakes you make while working on a project. Don’t be discouraged! You can use your errors to your advantage, in a way, and you’re definitely not alone. We all make mistakes. Here’s how I turned a big one around just recently. I had finished painting the skull background for a 20” x 24” panel I was working on & only needed to do some touching up when I decided to take a break & come in from my garage to get on the computer for a bit. When I went back, my panel had fallen off its little tabletop easel & was laying face down in a small plate of white paint! I had forgotten to tape it down for security. I wound up having to clean off the paint as best I could, but it was a big mess. I decided to just start over by covering up all my background work with black. (The original background had a white base.) Long story short, it was the best thing that could’ve happened to my panel. I’m posting this because I often see beginners post a pic of their work, stating that they screwed it up here or there but what do we think anyway. Because they have invested so much time or energy into what they’ve already got, they don’t feel like starting over is a realistic option. I just want to say that if you do start over, the result will almost always be way better than your original, because you’ve already “practiced” what you’re doing once! The pain & disappointment of a ruined project is reclaimed in a better piece of artwork the second time around. Even experienced painters/artists make mistakes & can improve on their work the second time around. So I’ve attached a photo that proves what I mean. I was lucky enough to be taking in-progress pics for a future how-to, so I’ve got a “before” & an “after” of what happened. The first set of skulls was done using Mike’s “Field of Screams” II & III with a bit of Fraser’s Skullmaster Series thrown in. The redo was done using all 3 “Field of Screams” & no Skullmaster at all. Maybe this will encourage some of you on a future project & help you to produce a piece you can be even more proud of. ~Cameron Arts

Ideally, you should never have to strain paints, but the reality is that it is often needed. Some paints need it a whole lot more than others, but when in doubt, strain the paint. A small solid or chunk of paint or pigment can ruin a whole lot of work in very little time. Paints like AutoAir, or paints that contain high solids, pearls, metal flakes, etc. are prone to clog. The better you have them mixed, thinned and strained, the less likely you are to have problems when you go to spray. Panty hose works fine for most paints. Make sure your paint is properly thinned/reduced, and completely mixed before you go to strain it. I use a wide mouth glass jar with a section of panty hose or a strainer over it. I like the glass jar because it can take any of the paints and solvents and still be cleaned and reused. It doesn’t get etched like some of the plastics can with the harsher solvents. I take a section of the panty hose and stretch it over the top of the jar, then put a rubber band around the panty hose and top of the jar, this holds the hose in place. If I am using a paint filter, then I just put the pointed end into the jar. Next, pour the paint through the strainer, don’t go to fast, it may take a bit of time to get paint through the strainer. I choose the bottle by the amount of paint I am going to need. I don’t use huge bottles for tiny amounts of paint, and the same going the other way, I don’t want to have to repeat the process a bunch of times just to fill an HVLP or large cup on an airbrush. For large jars, I use a couple of large glass jars from tomato sauce or peanut butter. For the small ones, I use baby food jars. If you are going to store paint in the jars, put a piece of tape with the paint mixture written on it around the jar, This helps if you are mixing several batches of paint that need to be strained. Another habit to start, keep a box of index cards with the formula or recipe for each color you mix up, be very specific in the colors, the brands, the types of paint, the reducer, the airbrush or spray gun, the amounts of paints used, and the pressure you used. The more info you can record, the easier it is to repeat the recipe. Spray a small section of the card with the paint. Store the cards in an enclosed or lightproof box. This lets you build a cookbook for colors. You may find that what was a mistake color for one job will be a magic elixir for another. Record all the mistake colors, and do separate color cards for each new version of the colors. For instance, if I use Golden Airbrush Colors, 3 drops of Raw Sienna, 6 drops of Rhodamine Red, 4 drops or Cadmium Yellow, one drop of Shading Gray, and 30 drops of Transparent extender, and I don’t get quite the color I thought I was going to get, I decide that it needs more yellow and extender. Before I add the additional colors, I make my color card with the original formula, do my sample spray, then make up a new card, with the next adaptation of the color recipe. I add the new paint, and spray a sample again. If this one works, great, but if it doesn’t, I keep working my formula, and making new cards for each new recipe. While you may not need those other versions now, you will probably find uses for them in the future, and by recording your “Mistakes” now, you save your time, paint and labor in the future because you have already got your recipe. You may find that numbering your colors will make it easier to record what you used for a particular project. ~Fontgeek

TIPS FOR A DUST FREE BOOTH I read an article a while back that stated 80% of dust contamination comes off the painter. Static plays a big part of it too. Sometimes when you use de-greasers and wipe them off you will create a static charge making your surface a giant dust magnet. If that is an issue you could try a water based de-greaser. Another thing to do is try to find all of the areas where air is coming into your paint booth and use some sort of caulking in the seams or if the joint is big you can use expandable spray foam. If you paint in your garage it is best to blow everything down, including the ceiling, then wait till the next day. Sweep. Wait a few hours, then drench the floors and paint away. Be sure to use a tack cloth. That is what has worked for me the best. Wearing a paint suit is a good thing and will help you out a lot. Another thing to think about is if you are painting something small, try to keep it as far off the floor as possible Don’t put it on a 5 gal can on the floor. Try to keep it up high so when you are spraying, the pressure from the spray gun won’t cause turbulence near the ground and stir up dust particles. ~TurboToys

REMOVING BODY PAINT Taking off alcohol based bodypaint can SEEM to take as long as painting it on - at least for the model. Rubbing alcohol or baby oil had been the options until Lee got to thinking. Now we coat the paint with Kerry skin lotion (suppose any heavy duty skin lotion would work). Let it sit for a minute or two, then wipe with rubbing alcohol. The 91% isopropyl alcohol is more expensive but works better. This trick has cut our clean up time to a fraction and the models are MUCH happier. ~LadyPainter




road of an artistic career unless you get to the point where your ego overrides your ability to challenge yourself.

wi th


ke Le ar n

If your ego cannot allow you to challenge yourself because you need to sit on top of whatever it is you do best, you really will not go any further. In fact, you will begin to slowly descend and some one will pass you up because they are hungrier than you are and they will have more of an edge and more of a desire to put themselves out on the threshold of discomfort.

As a professional artist, it can become easy to do what you do best, over and over and over because it may be what has brought you some form of success and is relatively undemanding to sustain. Continuing to operate in that fashion however, can end up being detrimental to your growth as an artist. If you want push your talents and see what you really can do, you must continue to put yourself in a “discomfort zone”; someplace you have never really gone before; someplace where you have always felt somewhat awkward, and struggle through it.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

No matter what point in your airbrush career you are currently, you need to challenge yourself. It is the only way to excel or exceed where you are today. There is no realistic point in time when the end of your ability will be met. There is no end to the


There is no end to the road of an artistic career unless you get to the point where your ego overrides your ability to challenge yourself. As an airbrush artist there are 3 main areas, excluding financial difficulties, where you can be challenged: mechanically, technically and creatively. If you are challenged mechanically – meaning that your airbrush is not performing what you are capable of doing – then invest in better equipment. If you are challenged technically, then you need to do more technical pieces. You need to be more involved in masking and shielding or even just tightening up your freehand skills alone. I think all of us are challenged creatively, but you need to continue to push that creativity. Start by challenging yourself to NOT copy other people’s work and style. Challenge yourself to NOT just be inspired by what is the most popular thing to do or see. Challenge yourself to try to do something different. Put yourself on the edge of uncertainly all the time. I have written about failure before, but it is a very important

For myself, I am not very technically challenged. I am always looking and working to improve, but at this point in my career, this is the slowest growing area of my abilities. I find myself now, pushing to constantly challenge myself creatively. I push to exceed my own expectations for a composition or design, particularly when it comes to album cover art or fine art pieces. I want to always to go beyond where I have been. I am always striving for excellence. I don’t ever really allow myself in any comfort zone.

I needed to take the job despite how awkward and dysfunctional it made me feel. I looked at the project as a way to meet a challenge. And what got me to this point? I think the project that broke a big barrier for me was the Megadeth “The System Has Failed” painting in 2004. At the time I was at the top of my game in the motorcycle industry and was swamped painting bikes for big names all over the world. I was starting to get a little bit too comfortable in that position and the opportunity to do the artwork for the upcoming Megadeth album presented itself.

I had 2 weeks to create this piece of art – from research, to conceptual rendering, to paint, to final photography. I had to meet the expectations of the artist, the record label, the management company and ultimately the fans. This type of pressure opened the door for me to say to myself “maybe I am capable of doing more than I am already doing.” This project took me COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond what I ever thought I could do. I cannot describe to you how awkward it was to have to meet all the expectations in the ridiculous timeframe. If I had known all the circumstances that would co-exist with this project – the schmoozing, the pious management company, the conflicting opinions – I probably would have been a bit more hesitant to accept the job, but in the end I knew it was the direction I needed to go. I needed to take the job despite how awkward and dysfunctional it made me feel – no matter that onlookers thought it was a big ego stroke. I looked at the project as a way to meet a challenge. Fine art was something that I always dreamed of doing. I never knew what the circumstance would be to bring me the opportunity, but when it presented itself I recognized it and attacked it. Since then I have been enjoying doing a lot more of this type of work. Although it is very difficult to find any airbrushed art accepted in the “fine art world” I am challenging myself now in that direction to find a media or venue where someone may respect my airbrush work enough to appreciate it and call it fine art. I still own the 72” x 36” Megadeth painting. It hangs in my house or in my trailer for display. I am proud of it, but it is not my greatest accomplishment. That is yet to come.


topic, and it is crucial to realize that failure is nothing more than an acknowledgement of what you need to do differently. Don’t think that you challenged yourself and did not meet the challenge. What you met was an opportunity to recognize a weakness and from there you can move forward. NOONE meets their own expectations all the time. EVERYONE struggles through things. Don’t let your ego get the best of you.


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


Photorealism with Steve Leahy

MacKay’s Found ations in Airbrus h

rn Work Smarter with Mike Lea

ss! ub’s Cla Fun In N

d Skills Builder” project Concentrating on Learn’s “Freehan

Laying The foundation for Be lly Guns Project


photography by Don Swartz

Pinstriping with Keith Hanson

NUB’s Automotive G raphics


photography by Don Swartz

Using the computer as a tool e Learn Break-Out Session with Mik

ABU Alumni displaying his new MOJO!

ction Lots of 1 on 1 instru

key! fun projects are the Small class sizes and

Learning classic flames and pinstriping

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Never too young to l earn!!


e gives on of many Students crowd around as Mik ls. “Mini lectures” on fundamenta

Working with tribal designs in Keith’s class

Look at the co ncentration!

A Class Hard at work!

NUB studies his project

torealism Learning the finer points of pho

ing up!! cts are shap Class proje

Legend Dave Perewi tz stopped by

Friday night LIVE!! AB-Palooza

One mean harp John! Adam with the bass beat

instrucdents and ose of u t s d n u o Pub f m. Th ht at the ate, romptu ja Friday nig putting on an imp d played pool, e e tors alik o musically inclin s us NOT socialized!! d n a drank


photography by Don Swartz

Steve s ingin’ th e ABU Blues


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

photography by Don Swartz




by Ron Fleanor



| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Product Description SURE-COAT is a water borne coating system offering excellent flexibility and outstanding adhesion for a variety of interior and exterior automotive, marine, aerospace and commercial applications.


SURE-COAT allows the user to change or enhance the current color while maintaining the texture and look of leather, vinyl and plastic. It will not get brittle with age nor soften or crack within normal temperature ranges. Available as a mixing system, SURE-COAT contains 9 toners and 3 clears that can be mixed to match almost any color and dries quickly when brushed or sprayed.

1. Prep leather surface with 39362 SEM SOAP and a scotchbrite scuff pad 2. Prep leather surface with 38353 PLASTIC/LEATHER PREP

3. Mask off area you do not want to get paint on 4. Masking cont’d

7. Cont’d-Alternate 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK &16548 SURE-COAT WHITE on a business card to create speckled effect. 8. Using air from airbrush, flick paint onto leather surface in random speckles


5. Mix 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK &16548 SURE-COAT WHITE to get desired gray tint; spray mixture using light, even coats 6. Alternate 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK &16548 SURE-COAT WHITE spray off the edge of a business card to create speckled effect.


9. Cont’d-Using air from airbrush, flick paint onto leather surface in random speckles 10. Highlight creases and seams using airbrush and 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK 11. Cont’d-Highlight creases and seams using airbrush and 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

12. Add random lines and cracks to achieve desired “rock/ cement” design using 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK 13. Cont’d-Add random lines and cracks to achieves desired “rock/cement” design using 16018 SURE-COAT BLACK


14. Mix 16508 SURE-COAT RED OXIDE & 16598 SURE-COAT YELLOW OXIDE to highlight creases and seams for illusion of depth and weathering 15. Close up of cement design


1st place Unlimited Chopper Metzler Show - Sturgis 2006 Top 5 Finish Rat Hole Custom Bike Show - Daytona 2006 Designer/Fabricator: CJ Lowery Designs Paint: Mike Learn Photo: Dino Petrocelli

“Wicked Sensation”

Contact your jobber or visit for more details.

satisfaction through this first class training program.

Learn new techniques, boost efficiency and improve customer

painters the opportunity to earn points that apply to the I-CAR ® Gold Class Professionals and Platinum Individual™ programs.

now have an I-CAR Industry Training AllianceSM class that will give



Paint: Dennis Price

“Fired Up”

651 Michael Wylie Dr. Charlotte, NC 28217-1546 800-831-1122

SEM Products, Inc.

Paint: Ron Fleenor

“Woody Jr.”

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


1. This is a “nude” aluminium panel on which I will do my artwork. Its size is 2 m x 1 m (78 x 39 inches). 2. I start by spraying epoxy primer on the back of the panel to protect it. 3. After the back dries, I spray epoxy on the front of the panel. 4. Over the epoxy I spray a light coat of “wet on wet” primer. 5. And finally many coats of white to provide a smooth bright canvas.


6. Now I dry all the coats with infrared arc. When this step is finished, I am ready to start with the project.


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

For project. h of the tc e k s s. make a ed tulip color I range/r a light o h 3 it e b W . I 7. will ground ce there e back is th it r this pie o s fo s black r shield y a dark se of masks o ra p s eu rt to 8. I sta ithout th work w d. to r e fe re n p ha with th tely free to work in g e comple b I place round in e backg th h it 9. W ground the fore using. tween e e b b l il th w p te de color I to crea orange d I work lightest re lot to e create a orang e back. m light ortant to otice the o th p fr in g im ’s is in v at lip. It ult. N 10. Mo cond th of the tu ach a good res round d the se the top re e backg n o th to tulip an p t d n n ro a a d w r p li u te o t. a tu y le I work w details here if n of the side the drop 11. Now in reflectio of


13. Moving on to red, I finish up this tulip. I use soft lines an d add black to ove the flower shadow. This deep into the background. 14. This is the finished projec t without clear . 15. Now I mov e back into the booth and spra y clear coats, a lot of coats! 16. To finish up , I dry the clear with infrared ar c. The project is now finished! allows me to m

Hi to all! I’m Luca Pagan from Italy. I am 32 years old and I have used the airbrush since 1995. It was my hobby but in 2001 it became my total and only source of income. During these years I have developed my work enabling me to take on a range painting projects, from helmets to motorbikes, from walls to canvases and working at a lot of the local bodypainting shows. Now the airbrush world is a part of me and I am moving towards more fine art paintings on canvas or aluminium panels. Each year I have one personal exhibition in my city and every year there are about 700-800 visitors in ten days! That’s good for me. You can find more pictures of my artwork at


12. With th e tulips on the left near complete, I ly choose a lig ht green an begin working d on the second tulip in the background.


Battledress Body Shop All the World is a Stage

... or How To get through your first Live Event Body Paint.


k, somewhere along the line someone has the bright idea to paint “hot chicks” in front of a crowd. Everyone thinks this is a GREAT IDEA.You’ve got some body paint experience and this sounds like FUN..! Think again. You can pierce nipples at a tattoo convention, but you can’t always paint them. This How-To is meant as a primer, a cautionary tale, and heads-up on how Events can work out great, but when they turn sour, things can get ugly fast.

A window on the ups and downs of Event Performance: 1. The Promoter 4. The Security 2. The Venue 5. The Stage 3. The Law 6. The Model

Equipment List aIrbrushes Gravity fed for detail, Siphon fed for medium coverage, .05 and above tip recommended. Touch-up style stray gun for big coverage. regulated aIr source A good, constant pressure air source from compressor or CO2. Adjustable psi is a must with a regulator that clearly displays and easily sets a pressure in the range of 5-25+ psi.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


Is not your frIend. Would rather ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. Does not like to put things in writing. Prone to selective amnesia. Does not like to give away too many tickets or vendor passes. May or may not be directly in charge of running such things as alcohol sales, catering or security. Cares about keeping his sponsors happy. Is happiest when he doesn’t have to deal with you. Has to be kept happy.

The Venue own, operate and rent the property Promoter rents the venue. May or may not be hired to provide such things as alcohol sales, catering, parking or security. Does not always trust the promoter. Has their own rules of photos by Adam Chilson conduct for the property - which may be in conflict with what you and the promoter discuss in regards to body paint. Cares about keeping the law happy. Is happiest when it doesn’t have to deal with you. Has to be kept happy.

The Law Glam Ball Runway

Hollywood, CA KIt Make a list. An artist who can’t paint because of a forgotten hose connector is not a happy person. Pack smart. Everything you have to haul in you have to haul out. To start: wardrobe (pasties, thongs, bikini, dressing robe), body paint, airbrushes, hoses, regulator, spare airbrush needles, tools (screwdriver, pliers, teflon tape) stencils, medical tape, paper towels, cotton swabs, eye wash kit, breath mints... go through ALL your stuff and decide what you can’t live without.

collapsIble Ice chest Smart snacks and drinks for you and the crew (water, soda, string cheese, peanuts, fruit). Everyone stay hydrated! Avoid alcohol. booth or stage Will there be power or do you need to bring a generator? Shade? Chairs? Table? Music? Have an attractive adjustable height stool for the model.

The Promoter

Coffin Case Show Hollywood, CA photos courtesy Coffin Case

presentatIon Look professional; stand out or blend in - it doesn’t matter as long as you don’t look like a street person. Sample books. Hanging art. Business cards and fliers. Banner.

trumps the promoter and Venue Events require permits. Lots of them. Expect to see the Fire Marshal, Medical, Police and possibly Vice constantly walking the Event. The promoter cares more about their alcohol sales than any problem that may arise between you and “the law”. One person of authority that has an issue with what they see (alcohol sales, runway contest, booth bunny wardrobe, body paint) can and will execute to the most minute letter of the law and shut you down - regardless of prior promoter/venue/authority discussions, agreements, and permits issued. All public nudity laws are not created equal. What you can “see on a public beach” may not be legal at an event. Some events have “no paint in lieu of clothing” policies. Adhesive backed attire (pasties or stick on bras) can be deemed bandaids and therefore unacceptable. Some say fabric is required over the nipple. Fabric backed with adhesive might not be seen as clothing (see band-aid). Best to know the local ordinances before hand. But this information can be vague and puzzlingly difficult to obtain - and therefore up to the Law’s interpretation at that moment. Once the Promoter draws the ire of the Law for any reason, expect a huge

spotlight to immediately be drawn to body paint and every other exhibit of a “questionable nature”. (Biggest reason to not “kick back with a brew”.) Yelling, screaming and jumping up and down does not improve your situation. The Law does not care about Artistic Expression or your Constitutional Rights. The Law cares about public safety. Is happiest when it doesn’t have to deal with you. Has to be kept happy.

Ink & Iron 2007 Queen Mary, Long Beach, CA photos by Rick Garcia Photography

The Security needs to be your best frIend In the whole wIde world Promoter or Venue provided, always show respect and patience - no matter what is hitting the fan. Ask to meet with the Supervisor as soon as you start to set up. Double check and clarify your "rules of engagement". Because you body paint, expect and welcome a constant security presence. Know the guard’s name. Offer soda or water only. Tell him you're glad he's there to watch out for the girl's safety. Let him deal with attendees who pose a problem. Cares about keeping his job. Is happiest when he gets to secure you instead of the parking lot. Has to be kept happy.

Back to the crowd

White Base Coat Done

The Stage paInt for the audIence They’re not standing around to watch you paint, but to watch the girl get painted. Don't take forever, but take long enough - your work still has to be good. Classy, not trashy - tailor your paint designs to the event and its attendees, but keep it professional (unless you only want to work in strip clubs). No matter the pre-determined wardrobe, don't show a girl's front to the crowd until their is paint on it!

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics The Makeup Show, NYC photos by Battledress

You’re actions and choices set the attitude and "vibe" for the performance. Engage the crowd and answer questions. Either stage or booth, try to have music. Warning: music choice will feed the attitude and behavior of the crowd. Hole's "Oh make Me Over" is a much better selection than strip-tease music when played to rude drunks.

The Model

Is your responsIbIlIty It is up to you to see that she is well treated and cared for in a professional manner. However: her behavior is your responsibility, so choose talent wisely (see The Law). If “the Law” takes issue with you, your work, the promoter, an attendee who decides to flash her chest, a model who is drunk, whatever, your model is the first and most vulnerable target. She can be subject to arrest for “indecent exposure”. If she acquires an altered state of consciousness, don’t let her work the event and don’t work with her again. Seek out models that have Event experience. Expect the Promoter to have someone they want you to paint. Never, never, never let a painted model walk around unescorted! When she “makes the circuit”, give her a soda or energy drink to hold. She’ll be offered drinks, this way she already has one.

Second Color

Quick Details

Happy Event Photographer

Yes, it takes 4 policemen to deliver the news that Vice shut us down.

Happy Attendee

People will want to give her things, like business cards.The best response EVER: “She doesn’t have pockets, I’ll take it for her”. People should not touch the pretty lady. The pretty lady can have pictures taken with eager fans - at HER discretion. Have a quiet place for her to retreat to. Feed her.

The Deal the Vendor communIty Network, network, network. Vendors know the score. They talk to each other. They know the “good venues”, the “good promoters” and the “good events” and where the “good crowds” are. Make friends; learn about their business offerings. Help them whenever you can. Chances are you’ll see the same face pop up again an again as you build your travel circuit. the eVent A trade show will be very different from a tattoo

Varga Calendar Release Party & Car Show Eightball Rods & Choppers, Placentia, CA

convention fair. A music festival is very different from a county fair. Many a formerly "adult" event is moving towards "family friendly", so knowing who the event is being marketed to is very important. The ClienT If you are hired to work an event, coordinate tightly with the client. Have designs approved. Ask the smart questions about what can be painted and how. The SeTup & Teardown Set Don’t worry. He’s an escort... photos by up as early as you can.This gives Adam Chilson you time to make security and venue contacts. Know the event hours. Know the teardown time.You have to be gone by the witching hour. For multiple day events - know what the security arrangements are. Leave only what you don't want to replace. Promoter and Venue will not be responsible for lost or stolen property.

photo by Roy Varga photo by Manrique

photo by Jon Arthur photo by Rick Garcia

The end. Have Fun. Seriously. You'll make a name for yourself - and that name will reflect how you handle the curve balls thrown your way. The most important thing to remember is that the crowd and paint need equal attention from you. Event work is a juggling act that can be a real thrill ride, with spectacular results.n

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Good things happened when photographer Rick Garcia threw a Pool Party...


photos by Battledress

The phoTographerS Expect flash bulbs! Events hire their own photographers. Magazine and video crews may be walking the event. The crowd will be a sea of camera cell phones. You’re painting in the public eye, so don’t expect rights to the images. Try to learn and contact the professional photographers so you can get picture credits.

Photographer contacts: Jon Arthur web site coming Adam Chilson Coffin Case Manrique Rick Garcia Roy Varga Model contacts: Belfast Crystal Miss Pixie Nikki Vega

These are the gals we know... the remaining can be contacted through their photopgraphers...

Next Time: Stencils, Layering & Found Objects

During the first year of Educator’s Corner, we covered the basics of airbrush operation and gave you several practice pages to master your airbrush control. All lessons that you passed. Great Job! During year two of Educator’s Corner we will be focused on Airbrush Maintenance. Once you have invested in the precision equipment called the airbrush, you want to keep the airbrush performing at its optimum level. Over the next several issues we will review proper cleaning and maintenance techniques that will help you to achieve this goal. Before one can think about cleaning and maintaining an airbrush, there is a minimal amount of items that one should purchase and start the “Tool and Cleaning Kit”. The items to purchase for a “Tool Kit” should include: • • • • • •

Small Adjustable Wrench Needle Nose Pliers Soft jaws Pliers Slotted screwdriver Jewelers Screwdriver Nozzle Spanner Wrench (for fixed nozzle airbrushes)

These tools will aid you in disassembly of the airbrush. Remember an airbrush is a precision instrument. Do not over tighten or apply pressure when reassembling the airbrush. The items needed for a “Cleaning Kit” should include: • • • • • • • •

8 oz Squirt bottle 4 inch Double Ended Black Bristle Brush 3 inch Double Ended White Bristle Brush 5 Assorted Mini Sized Black Bristle Brushes 12 Metal Tip Pick Set Small Swirl Brush 8 inch Black Bristle Brush Dental Pick

You can’t have enough different sizes of cleaning brushes. Especially if you have multiple brands of airbrushes.

• • • • •

Appropriate cleaning fluid for your paint Rubbing compound Q-tips or cotton swabs Clear glass or plastic bowls in various sizes Bees Wax for sealing threads

We show you a representative cleaning kit. Pick up your supplies for the “Tool and Cleaning Kit” and next time we will start with the elements of cleaning your airbrush. Remember, cleanliness is the single most important part of owning an airbrush!


Some other items to have on hand include:


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


In this issue we look at the German built Artis 2 made by Efbe. Efbe Airbrush company has been producing high quality airbrushes since 1919. They rely on direct feedback from their customers to help develop new products as well as to help update current models. The side fed, Artis 2 is the result of that feedback. The Artis 2 is a double action airbrush that has a drop in, .3mm nozzle. Paint is fed into the airbrush via a gravity feed or siphon feed cup. Both cups are included with the purchase of the airbrush. Also included is a male quick-connect adapter. The Artis 2 has a thin body style yet due to it’s construction is very solid, weighing in at 3.6oz (102g). The drop-in, self centering .3mm nozzle is held in place by a ported air cap / needle cap to assist in airflow during detail spraying. Each airbrush is individually adjusted and tested before receiving a serial number and five year warranty. The Artis 2 offered excellent fine to mid range control. By using the gravity fed cup, the airbrush required less air pressure thus allowing fine control for a .3mm airbrush. With the siphon fed cup, a thicker viscosity of paint was used without any problem. The air valve on the Artis is extremely well constructed and allowed unsurpassed control of the volume of air through the brush. Trigger control was further enhanced by the stable, knurled trigger pad. Paint passages inside the brush allowed good paint flow and fast flush outs. With German craftsmanship being where it is, it is no surprise that this brush would be very well made. This versatile airbrush nicely fills the void in the Efbe line between the super detail A model airbrush and the bigger C2 brushes.

Artis 2 Specs: • Retail price: $290 • Double action • .3mm seated nozzle • Optional gravity fed or siphon fed cup included


• Deluxe lined wooden storage case


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


When starting a new project, we are faced with the same fantastic decisions. Not only do we have to decide what will be the best image in regards to mood, composition and color, but also what will be the best method in which to create that image. It is up to us to figure out what needs to be done to make our idea a reality. There is a balance between challenging ourselves with difficult artistic situations and seeking out the artistic method that will give us the fastest, most efficient method of reaching our goal.

If our goal were to be a custom painter or a T-Shirt artist, a situation where time and efficiency yields us the greatest return on our efforts, then limiting our options would also limit our ability to reach our goals. Your job is to identify the challenges that will both make you a better artist and also help you to efficiently reach your goals. Your decisions may lead you on the path of the type of artist that can take a tremendous amount of time creating the original artwork. This will allow you to reproduce that work in print form. That path will give you the options of making completely different artistic choices than the artist that relies on the maximum amount of work created per hour. The success is knowing where you stand. Think carefully as you look on the paths and achievements of your fellow air brushers. Other artist’s paths only show you your options – they do not define your artistic path.


Knowing the advantages and differences between the two paths can be a gigantic asset to our artistic lives. For instance, often times working without the use of shields or masks can be one of the most challenging artistic endeavors. Artists like Alberto Ponno and Luca Pagan have elevated this pure form of airbrushing to a high art. The technical skill involved is staggering. The work produced is breathtaking. Is it the best solution for every situation? Of course not. There are countless multi-media techniques that we can use to help us reach our own artistic vision. The advantages of taking this purist path have great personal artistic advantages. By limiting our options and forcing ourselves to push the boundaries of what we can do with an airbrush, we naturally become better air brushers. What we want to do is understand the correct time to commit to that challenge.



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Grisaille is a term for painting executed entirely in monochrome, in various shades of grey, particularly used in decoration to represent objects in relief. A Grisaille could not only be executed for its own sake as a decoration, it may also be the first stage in building up an oil painting, or it could be used as a model for an engraver to work from. Learning to see and reproduce colors in terms of values is a very important skill used both in drawing and painting. Art students learn to see, judge and draw colors as shades of gray that are relative to a graduated scale from white to black. The value levels of colors are important because dark and light contrasts are fundamental to good composition. Problems with contrast will almost always result in problems with your composition.


For more articles like this, along with specialized, in-depth How Tos, discussions, movies, theories and downloads, check out Registration and loads of info is FREE. Consider a Membership to unlock EVEN MORE.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Early masters used the Grisaille method of painting with values as an underpainting for oils. Once the entire painting was complete using values of gray, the artist would go back in with his color, mixing each hue with the corresponding value of the Grisaille underpainting. The Grisaille method was also used as a painted reference for sculptors or fresco artists to work from. Those of you who have been involved in or have followed Mike’s work for any length of time, know that he follows this classic style of “Grisaille” painting for nearly all of his work. While he works most often with kandy colors, this process of painting is not limited to kandies at all. Any paint is transparent to the point of how much you put down on the medium. Kandies, however, allow more brilliance. Mike uses underpainting in his process because he likes to see the full story of his image in white. Color should never matter to the composition, because the composition itself is defined in contrast and value. The entire piece should be set out - or mapped out - in values of light and dark before ANY color is applied. The image will define itself in the contrast of values. “There are so many ways to paint,” says Mike, “my style has always been to develop the idea and image with light. I love to bring an image alive from the dark and then use the darker tones to establish and emphasize the contrast. The only time I would not do an original piece of art like this is if I were painting on white. And, even then I may add a neutral gray wash so I could come back in and do it this way. Working with the white as an underpainting gives you the flexibility to establish all this important stuff without letting it get cluttered with color.”

Here is the completed underpainting for “Welcome” a large fine art piece that Mike painted last year. Notice all the values from black to bright 100% white. The color makes no difference at this point. What is important is the composition, balance, perspective and contrast. A painting should have all those items established completely and correctly before going in to color. You cannot correct a problem in the underpainting with color - you will only make the problem worse.

The Three Attributes of Color = Hue + Value + Intensity Painting in this style, with an underpainting and transparent colors mitigates the need for a lot of color mixing. By simply doing color washes of your hue over the underpainting that has established your value, and varying your intensity by the amount of paint put down, you will have completed your color (less the detail) and should have successfully avoid the dreaded “Pigment Panic.”


Recently at, a thread was started asking people to post their “Worst Shop Accident Ever.” Since these things have happened to us all, it is hard to think of them as anything but funny. . . NOW. Here are some of the posts. ENJOY!! My first time spraying clear I was reaching back for my gun after moving in close to see if I had even sprayed anything (since it’s clear and all) and when I grabbed my gun the clear splashed out and right into my hair. To make a long story short, I stripped naked on my way up to the shower, wasted about a quart of reducer on my head, and ended up getting most of it out. ~malelanct It was the first time I ever tried to do some type of fiberglass work. After mixing in the hardener and all, I took a good amount to some new corvette engine covers and spread away. Within seconds, the fiberglass got hard and it would not spread anymore. I ended up with mountains of it on the covers. I had to get the heat gun out and even then, it was stubborn. I was almost in tears. I ended up getting it off, but there were deep scratches everywhere! After hours of sanding and a lot of money for sandpaper I learned a very valuable lesson. ~mikiebcp Picture a warm sunny Friday afternoon. Just locking up the tool box to head out. Your co-worker who is standing outside awaiting his wife to pick him up is asked to move a new Lincoln Towncar into the paint department for warranty repairs (peeling paint on front bumper). He opens the bay door. Gets back into the full load land yacht, when suddenly the car takes off INSIDE the shop like a rocket!! Buddy missed tagging me by 1 1/2 ft and was doing about 45 mph on his way by! He continues to dodge cars until he runs into the concrete wall at the far end of the shop!! This shortens the Lincoln by about 2 Ft. I got to witness a live airbag deployment: That’s gonna leave a mark !! I pulled Buddy from the wreck and dragged him far enough away from the now arcing electrical box that was spewing fluids. He says to me. “ Well, I know what I ‘m startin’ come Monday !!” ~juscuzcustoms I run the paint department in a cabinet shop. I was about to load one of our pressure pots and when I grabbed the gun off the rack and got sprayed right in the eye at about 20 psi (some idiot left the line with pressure in it). I was lucky because the line only had thinner in it. I still had to go to the hospital and wear an eye patch for a month. The funny part of it all was I did the same thing when I was taking a painting course at the collage and the subject that week was safety. ~kanadiankustom I mark (paint/locate) where underground utilities are. A while back I was painting this fiber optic cable (really expensive phone line) thru the desert, working my way back to the work truck. I got along side my truck when I noticed the orange stripe on the ground move. I jumped, squeezed the trigger and painted a huge orange stripe on my white truck. If your hiking in Pima County AZ, watch out for an ORANGE RATTLE SNAKE! ~padre I was spraying true fire on a 47 foot boat. After mixing/reducing my colors, I went back and started blowing on my orange mix free hand. I moved my arm up and to the right and all the sudden noticed my right boob was all orange. I was wearing a new yellow Tshirt and not only was it right smack in the center of my boob but all the way down my arm, on my hand, splashed in my hair, on my glasses, face and neck (it missed my eye thank God!) Yep idiot me forget to pop the lid on my gun (full size gravity feed). So all day I walked around like this in a shop full of guys that are all saying hey Kat, nice boob! ~KathyL I was spraying some Kandy Red on a sand car. I tilted the gun back and the vent hole was plugged. The gun had built up some pressure in it and blew the lid off. I just happened to look as the lid came of, in slow motion of course. I was able to move enough for it not to hit me in the face, but it got all over my mask, a little in my hair, and half a cup of kandy red all over my chest and shirt. I came out of the booth looking like I had just been shot in the chest. Lacquer thinner burns the nipples by the way. LOL ~BiggMike

Well about 20 years ago when everyone had an airbrushed t-shirt, I started airbrushing for fun and soon had a parttime job at a t-shirt shop. I was not that good but the owner thought I had potential. I had my one and only paasche VL. I was set up and doing practice shirts in the store window. I was Mr. Cool. Well the A/B clogged, so I put my finger over tip and back blasted the trash out of the gun. Not realizing that I had just pressurized the paint bottle - you guessed it. I took the bottle off, and like a cut artery, Red paint spewed (in slow motion) all over everything. The rack of shirts, and other practice stuff I had done. And yes there was an audience. I was so dumb founded, I really did not know what just happened. I felt like a complete idiot. The store owned was not mad at all. He kinda just laughed and said “I guess you got a whole bunch of practice shirts now.” That was where I got started ~Cope


Mine is kinda embarrassing. This was many years ago when I was working in a production shop. We were getting all these display parts ready for SEMA so we pretty much made an assembly line. One person unwraps parts another person sands the parts and so forth. I was the painter so I was the lucky guy that had to put the parts in the paint booth and prep-sol everything down. I had a bunch of rags full of prep-sol. I kept setting them down everywhere and one just happened to land on the chair I was using. I sat down, and within seconds I noticed my butt was wet. I got up and and soon realized what i did. I thought “that was stupid,” and as soon as I said that to myself I started feeling this burning, yep right on my butt. It just kept getting worse and worse. It hurt to even touch it. I couldn’t walk it hurt so bad. To get right to the point, I had an extremely bad chemical burn on my butt for a few weeks. I looked like the monkeys you see at the zoo around mating time. LOL ~turbotoys



By Erich Fritz


I have been airbrushing seriously for the last five years. I am mainly self-taught, aside from the few videos I do own. I love to read AB-Mag to learn new skills and techniques. At this year’s ABU, I got a chance to show off some of my work to several people who said I should write an article on how to paint a horse. As an artist, I have always tried to portray a feeling or emotion through my work. I have always loved horses and so I make them my main focus. When I paint or draw a horse, I want the viewer to see, hear and feel everything going on in the picture. I want you to know what the horses are thinking. Using photo realism, I try to put you right there with the animals. I like to work mainly with transparent colors, because they give the painting so much depth. You have to build up the colors very slowly with light layers, if you go to fast the paint runs. This article is just an example of how I portray my horses. I hope you enjoy it. Photo 1 and 2 I like to paint on 1/4” Masonite, because it’s very easy to come by and it takes the paint so well with a nice smooth finish. It also won’t warp like 1/8” will. Once I have decided on a size, I cut the board and apply two coats of latex primer, allowing three or four hours drying time between coats. After the second coat, I allow at least 12 hours drying time before adding any other paint. Once completely dry, I paint the board tan to give the whole piece a tan undertone with regular latex based house paint. I then sketch out the horse. It’s really hard to see, but it is there. If you look closely on the right side of photo 1 is the picture of the horse I am painting. I need to take the girl out and do something with the rest of the horse’s body.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Photo 3 and 4 Using my Mike Learn Mojo, I have begun building up and fleshing out the horse. I am using Createx transparent dark brown paint for this step. The horse is black, but if you have ever seen a black horse you know that there is always an undertone of brown or grey. In this case, it was brown. I paint everything with the brown so it all has continuity. I try to leave all the lighter spots with a light dusting of color. At this point I’m still not sure what the background will look like. As a general rule I like to keep things fluid. The pieces usually grow as I work on them.


Photo 5 Here I am still working on developing the under painting of the horse. I really like to paint as much detail with the transparent dark brown as I can. This is the most time consuming part of the whole painting. Photo 6 Here you can see a close-up of the nostril being fleshed out. I don’t usually use shields. I prefer the look of freehand painting. It just looks more natural to me. Photo 7 Still using my Mike Learn Mojo, I am now deepening the darks with Createx transparent Grey. I dust over the entire face and body with the grey, and then build up the darker areas. I am still trying to leave the lightest spots very light.

Photo 9 Using my Richpen Apollo 112B, I start spraying in the highlights. I like this airbrush for this because of the very small color cup. Using a mixture of transparent dark brown, transparent ultramarine blue and white for the highlight color, the horse starts to come to life. I thin down my paint with transparent base so the white doesn’t stick to the needle as much.


Photo 8 With mane and ears darkened, the grey is set aside for the next step.


Photo 10 Here you can see the horse’s face with the highlights complete. Photo 11 Here again using my Apollo, I have added the white markings on the horses face. The really bright highlights in the mane will be dulled way down at the end. I don’t want to tint them yet because the mane will break out into the background and I will add more before they all get tinted. Photo 12 Having completed the horse, I mask it off with frisket film. With my Mike Learn Mojo in hand and using my highlight color, I spray in the white vinyl fence. I make sure I cover the entire area completely. I am not worried about overspray at this point. Photo 13 Using my transparent grey again, I flesh out the fence. I pay very close attention to how the fence bends and curves. With vinyl fencing there are no hard edges, so keeping everything soft is very important. When the shadows are complete, I spray a very light coat of the dark brown over the whole fence to give it the feel of reflected light from the outdoor surroundings. Finally I take the highlight color and spray the top and bottom edge of the fence.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Photo 14 With the fence complete, I mask it off with frisket film.


Photo 15 Having all my main objects frisketed, I mix up my base coat with some transparent base and spray out all my overspray. At this point I’m still not really sure what the background will look like, but with transparent colors any overspray will show through. Photo 16 When I took this job, the client had given me several pictures of the horse. There was one with this great out of focus background that I decided to use. So, using my Peak C-5 I started to build it up. I first use transparent tropical green and dust the entire background. I then start building up the darker areas.

Photo 18 Having the background complete, I start unmasking the horse, but something doesn’t look right to me in the way the horse is standing. I decide to go back in and add the wither (shoulder) and back on the left side and below the fence. I also go in and darken up shadows and even the tone out throughout the whole piece. Happy with it, I sign and clear coat it using Minwax Satin finish Polycrylic Clear. I roll it on with a foam roller, making sure to get out all the bubbles. I then wait at least three hours and add another coat. If you apply a second coat too soon, you will get little air bubbles that ruin your finish. Twelve hours later the piece is put in a frame and delivered to the client. Erich Fritz is the owner operator of: Erich Fritz Fine art Cambridge, MN


Photo 17 Using transparent brite green, I build more definition into the background. I then use transparent grey to really darken the shadow areas, and finally some transparent dark brown is added to keep everything grounded and natural.


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


V for Vector is a permanent and exclusive AB-Mag Column dedicated to giving pertinent, timely and down-to-earth instruction on how to use technology to your advantage as an artist. Lesson Four:

By Diana Learn As we continue our adventure into the land of Vector Graphics, I keep an eye on the art forums out there and try to come up with lessons, tips and ideas that are timely and useful to those of you who are interested in the subject. This installment, like the last, is focused on giving you some basic instruction in drawing shapes and design elements that are extremely popular in today’s art market. Please feel free to send your feedback, and your instruction requests to me directly at I hope to continue to bring the

Let’s get started:

If you would like additional help or personalized instruction on Illustrator, CorelDRAW or any other graphics program, check out is an online resource 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.


type of coaching that is meeting the needs of our readers.


LET’S DRAW FLAMES!! 1. For this lesson, in Illustrator we will be utilizing the Pencil, Smooth and Direct Selection tools.

2. Using the pencil tool, quickly sketch out the basic shape of your flames. You want to draw in a quick fluid motion, and not try to get too precise. If you spend too much time with the original outline, you will end up with a lot more nodes and a more jagged line. The beauty of this process is in the editing of your original shape.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

3. The pencil is a great tool. Once you have your basic shape, you can go back in and make edits by simply redrawing a section from one point on a line to another.


4. Now you can go back through the “sketch” and edit the shape of the licks of flames. NOTE: If you try to edit a large portion of the design with your pencil, it can make a DRASTIC change. Have your Undo keys ready to go! HA HA. Keep the edits to small sections at a time. You can see to the left how I have made a few small changes that made a pretty big difference in the shape and flow of the flames. This was all done with the pencil. 5. Once you get the shape the way you want it, it is time to switch to the smooth tool. With this tool you can just swipe it along the paths and it will automatically remove nodes and smooth out the line.

6. Because we want as few nodes as possible, I go through most of the sweeping curve areas with the smoother, and get a flowing line.

7. Now that it is nice and smooth, I grab the Direct Selection tool to go in an make just a few more, very specific edits, primarily at the tips of the flame.

8. The Direct Selection tool allows you to edit a single node. This will allow you very precise editing in a concentrated area. The Direct Selection tool is used by selecting a single node and then either moving the node or adjusting the “arc handles� that in turn adjust the line in its area.

CorelDRAW NOTE: To complete this lesson with CorelDRAW you will utilize the Freehand and Shape Tool and follow the steps nearly the same. You will notice with the Freehand tool in CorelDRAW, that it automatically does a lot of smoothing for you. Actually a little bit too much for my taste. Also, you cannot edit your line with the Freehand tool, like you can with the pencil in Illustrator. So, in CorelDRAW, you would use the Freehand tool for your basic layout (sketch and double click at areas you want to be corners or tips), and then you would edit the line and nodes with the Shape Tool. Either way you go, you will have a lovely set of flames!


9. And here it is! A little set of flames. The whole thing took just a couple minutes, and with practice you will be able to whip out flame designs in no time!


CorelDRAW’s POWERFUL POLYGON TOOL This is a simple exercise designed to demonstrate how to create little elements of design based off a CorelDRAW exclusive, the polygon tool. This tool is great for tribal stars and oriental throwing weapons or that type of image or object.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

You will find the polygon tool in the main toolbox in your CorelDRAW program. If you do not see it immediately, check the fly-out menus. The polygon tool shares a spot with the graph tool and the spiral. Once you have acti-


Just like with any shape you edit with the shape tool, you can double click and add a node, and it will add the node to all sides. Similarly, you can delete points as well. As you can imagine, to add perfectly placed nodes and move them symmetrically, one at a time, would be nearly impossible.

vated the tool, you will see a contextual menu on the top of your workspace. Here you can choose the number of sides and if you would like your polygon displayed as an open shape (shown on left), or as a star (shown on right).

Here you can see by adding and moving points you can create some very cool objects quickly. Being able to achieve this type of radial symmetry so easily is a very, very useful feature.

By activating your new polygon and then selecting the shape tool (node editor), you will see that CorelDRAW puts a control point between the corners of the object. Now comes the fun part. Using the shape tool, you can drag any one of the corners or mid-points and it will affect each of the corresponding points on all sides.

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS FEATURE ONLY WORKS IF YOU CREATE THE ORIGINAL SHAPE USING THE POLYGON TOOL! If you draw your shape with any of the basic tools or with the pen, you will not be able to edit the object in this fashion.

and down arrows in the “number of sides” dialog.

Creating the original shape with the star option gives you even more manipulation flexibility to develop unique and intricate objects.

The possibilities for this tool are nearly endless. Another really neat thing that you can do is add sides to, or subtract sides from the object, no matter how much editing you have already completed. Again, this only works with shapes created with the polygon tool. All you do is activate the object, and you can hit the up

In addition, you can reshape the object as a whole and still continue to edit the object as a polygon. Notice that I have flattened out the design on the right, and yet I can still add or subtract sides, move nodes, and add or delete nodes.

Once you are finished with your fancy radial creation, you can hit the “convert object to curves” button on the top left. This will allow you to further manipulate the object one point at a time, like any regular vector shape.

At this point you can also use the weld and trim options to clean up any overlapping paths, add contours for beveled cutting, duplicate the shape or any other normal drawing activities that you can think of to finish off your new design!


As you may have guessed, you can convert single points to curves and pull arcs from your shape as well.


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007



Keith started his career through his love of pinstriping. This led to his work laying out graphics, lettering and striping Funny cars. From there, it was motorcycles that would ultimately become the bulk of his work. Keith doesn’t draw his inspiration for his amazing designs from current custom painting trends, instead, his inspiration come from just about everywhere else, fashion, art and his surroundings. This ability to draw inspiration from so many different sources has given Keith’s work a unique quality that few have matched. June 2008 will see Keith Hanson returning to ABU to share his talent and insight on all aspects of custom airbrushing, pinstriping and gold leaf.


From his shop in Southeast Massachusetts Keith Hanson has been turning out some of the most noted custom paint jobs anywhere. His work has been seen in countless magazines and books as well as lending his amazing airbrush skills to Dave Perewitz’ winning motorcycle on the Discovery Channel’s biker Build Off this past fall.


do we become good helmet painters or good painters in general? One of the first things someone should do no matter what their skill level, is to see what others in your particular area of interest are doing. I have spent countless hours searching the internet, flipping through magazines and going to races to see what others are doing in the area of custom helmet paint. I don’t look at others’ work to copy - but to find inspiration, to keep up on the trends, and sometimes to see what not to do. You really need to love what you paint, because if you want to be a good custom painter it will take sacrifice and a huge amount of studying your particular subject of interest. If you love what you paint the hours and hours of research will seem less like work and more like a form of entertainment. Hell, that’s why we do this. Isn’t it? I don’t love flipping burgers, so I’m not a fry cook, if you know what I mean. Finding good examples of quality helmet paint can be harder than it may seem. It takes a lot of internet searching and hours at the local newsstand trying to get a glimpse of that killer design that you caught two seconds of on TV. No matter how hard you look, you just can’t get a good detailed shot of the paint to figure out how it is done. Racing today hasn’t made it any easier either. Today’s safety improvements with roll cages and seat construction make it almost impossible to get a good shot of a racers helmet. I know it isn’t hard to get a picture of a motorcycle helmet but keep in mind that all forms of racing have an acceptable helmet paint style. You need to be educated on what is considered cool for different types of racing. Ninety percent of the time you will want to go wild with

drag racers and dirt track helmets, whereas you need to be very conservative with road racing helmets. Open wheel drivers very rarely want anything but strait symmetrical stripes as opposed to a bike guy likes a lot of airbrushing. You need to know who you are dealing with and have a good understanding of the trends and styles in their style of racing. Helmet painters don’t have the luxury that other forms of custom paint have. Think about the awesome advantages that car and bike painters have. Motorcycle painters go to bike shows and custom car painters go to car shows but we as helmet painters don’t have helmet shows where we can get up close and personal to our competitions’ work. Good painters don’t look at other painters’ work to copy, but to see the quality that is available and the popular trends in the current industry. You need to take the information from viewing others work and try to put your spin on a particular effect and try to predict upcoming trends and styles. You will only hurt yourself copying someone’s work completely but you need to be able to look at large groups of work and pull small parts from a few to come up with something new and unique to you and your style. If you are going to be a good painter this never changes and you will always need to do this to stay fresh and up on your game. No matter how good you get there is always going to be that new guy that will knock you on your ass with that different approach or technique that you didn’t think about. Remember though, that is also one of the things that make this profession so great and it is heathy to embrace its competitive nature.



53 We have customers that call requesting the “Lucky Style” I don’t know now where it came from first but Lucky does it very well.

The internet is now one of the helmets painters best friends. You can literally spend hours and hours looking a helmet paint work on the web. It is sometimes difficult to find some of the guys I consider the best in the business as most of them have gotten where they are now by word of mouth and not from being number one on anyone’s search engine. I have compiled a list of 10 helmet painters that I consider to be some of the worlds best and always on the cutting edge of helmet paint. This is just a list to help you begin your search for what is out there and if I missed someone you think deserves a spot on my list I apologize in advance. Considered by a lot of people as the daddy of custom painted helmets. I owe a lot to an article I read about Troy in 1993. Thanks for keeping me from punching that 9 to 5 time clock. Nice guy and super work from Sweden. More awesome work from over the big pond. One of my all time favorite helmet painters but beware looking at this site as it can make you feel very inferior. Wood’s layouts are unbelievable! It is impossible to watch a weekend of racing and not see Jason Beam’s tag plastered on helmets. Visit his site and see why. Michael Savage’s use of color and design is some of the best. It is always a pleasure to see what he is up to. Awesome artist! Cursed me out on the phone one day though. I will just have to leave it at that. Paints more than just helmet but its very cool to see helmet paint from Japan. Great helmet painter located in Indianapolis. Super clean work and a good guy to boot. Michael also has the best hair in the business!

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007 It’s an old site but none the less the paint is timeless.


Recently we at

Indocil Art were invited

to hang out in the pits for practice

and qualifying for the Indy 500. What else

is there to do in May so I jumped at the chance

to get in the trenches so to speak. I took the oppor-

tunity to photograph some of the worlds best driver’s

helmets and bring them up close for the dedicated helmet

head readers. It would be helpful to you if you could take

some time to study the helmet examples. When I started I

tried to figure out the order of colors, materials used or try to picture up on paint tricks using items such as fabric masks or materials like rubber cement. Studying others work will make you a better helmet painter and it should inspire you to try different effects on your next helmet. Don’t try to copy a helmet exactly but try to use parts of the design in a way not seen yet. You may have the next big trick in your head and don’t know it yet.


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Concepts That Excel

• Custom Paint and Graphics • Automotive Art • Street Rods • Motorcycle Art • Truck Lettering • Sport Helmets • Sign Lettering • Air Brushing

Emily L. shows how to airbrush fingernails using stencils and masking material using a simple two color scheme. List: brush Supply feed air sor kin gravity -5 C ompres d Pump c k a n wers 2 Pe orice an le pisto ic g S-18 Flo L : E in rs N s x lo ts o a C o C t l a in Sparma ir Pa 1 Anim Nail Fla ils NES-1 Badger e stenc s a e il a N ack Createx xture p arn’s te e L sh. e ik o M Nail P li p Coat Clear To Swabs Cotton Cleaner irbrush A x te a Cre

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rushes he airb color. S e s wipe a n b a r she c ge as a m n E te t la ra s o e ir s f F e: becau coat o Step on careful t, even . s a ligh stick to not too e ’s h to e s r h e e ru s y b t la rs bu ily air es of th er finge ond Em the edg h c s e n e S o p : o y ta pra Emily Step tw id overs herself, y to avo lace by p . in y carefull a il c w il and a rst sten e stenc a paint eath th ld the fi any extr o rn h e d to n order nger u p her fi ree: In now sli Step th . n le a c b y ta to the ce, Emil stencil il in pla e stenc th h exture it ur: W Learn T r. Step fo e Mike rn. e th ce colo tt ri a m tencil. o s p o ic r fr e L e like th ted tige netting e f le c apply th o p la e p m c o e it in s a pie is the c choose d to tap e: Here n, Emily sn’t nee ig Step fiv e s o e d d e t sh e nex hold so er. : For th easier to Step six to anoth is e g g sh d in e tt e e n n o e h m in airbru T Pack. ded fro ern. dipped fa tt b a is a p r t w s lo e co leted n cotton Licorice uses a e comp , Emily ere is th d H e li : p n p e v r is a rtwork. Step se the colo ct the a ll te a ro r p e ft d . al an ht: A rspray ed to se any ove Step eig now us is lean off c t a o to c r e of top clean d layer A secon ails. : e in n leted n Step e comp th re a n: Here Step te hes a ily brus


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Every issue we provide in depth answers to questions that are asked by members of the and Forums. Here are some of the more thought provoking questions we have reviewed.


My silent compressor tipped over in the back of my truck this evening on my way home. I bought it used, and it doesn’t have any brand name on it, but it looks very similar to the Silentaire Super Silent 50 TC. It was on its side for probably about 10 minutes. A minimal amount of oil leaked out, but my concern is whether or not oil got into places it shouldn’t have. Is it OK, or if I start it up, am I going to get a ton of oil in my airlines? Would it do any good to change the oil? What should I do? This has been a great little compressor for me, perfect for everything I need it for. I’d hate to have to spend big money on a new one. Thanks in advance for your help. ~Dave

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007



No worries Dave. As long as nothing was smashed or broken you will be able to survive this minor mishap. We would recommend you take the following steps: 1. Stand the compressor back upright overnight to allow the oil to drain back where it belongs. 2. In the morning, check the site glass and fill the motor with oil up to the manufacturers recommended level. Silentaire compressors recommend filling to half way up the site glass. 3. Open the airvalve on the air tank and close the pressure regulator. Turn on the compressor and let all of the oil and water get blown out by the air pump. When no more liquid is seen exiting the tank shut down the compressor and close the petcock. 4. Open the pressure regulator to full open position. Turn on the compressor and again run until no moisture is exiting the regulator. If you see water and/or oil accumulating in the moisture trap bowl you may open the bottom and let moisture vent from there as well. 5. You have now voided as much of the oil and moisture as possible. Keep an eye on the moisture trap bowl. If you see oil

accumulating there then you will need to repeat the procedure. The good news is that you do not need to go out and purchase a brand new compressor. Take those funds and treat yourself to a new airbrush!


I am always looking for more education on things, and my airbrushing is no exception. I searched Ebay for a DVD on airbrushing and found that there are a lot of them now. Can someone point me toward a video that really helped them. I am leaning toward portraits, caricatures and/or shadowing. I have seen some DVDs that involve those styles, but I didn’t really get anything out of them. That is why I would like some of you veterans to lead me in the right direction.


This is the Golden Age of Airbrush Information through the use of technology. DVD’s are high quality and can be played again and again, slow motion and stop action. The leader in airbrush video education is Airbrush Action. They have the largest amount of titles with the largest number of artists. Low cost video cameras and DVD duplicating equipment has lead to an explosion of independently produced DVD’s at very reasonable prices. Many internet outlets sell these titles and they are very well produced and very informational. Technology is leading the way in educating the future airbrush artists of the world. There are podcasts and YouTube clips that provide instant information. Most of the information is detailed and short making it easy to comprehend. Search the internet and you will be amazed at all of the low cost and FREE information that is available. Buying used DVD’s on Ebay is a highly risky proposition. Many of the Ebay’ers are selling illegal copies and you are the one who can be trapped in the web of liability. Why take the chance?

The artists who have gone to the expense of creating a first class instructional tool deserve to be reimbursed for their efforts. . . Don’t you agree?


I’m in a high school airbrushing class and we just started into dagger strokes. As many of my classmates, I’ve been having trouble creating good dagger strokes in a row. I’ll have a good dagger stroke here and there, but I can’t keep the process going. So my question is, are there any tips anyone can give me so I can learn to create better dagger strokes?


YES! Although it is probably not the answer you want to hear, practice and running drills is the only way. Try one thousand strokes starting from the left and one thousand starting from the right. Then when you get those done, do one thousand starting from the top, then, you guessed it, one thousand starting from the bottom. Then do a few thousand more diagonally from each direction. You should be able to do a thousand in 15 minutes or so. You will eventually be able to do it under 10 when you get it down. It sounds redundant, but it is absolutely necessary to train hand/eye coordination and to work until the muscle groups needed get smooth.


Hello. I am totally new to airbrushing. As a matter of fact I just picked up one today. It’s a dual action. So this is going to be interesting. I’m used to a one color spray can. I think I’m going to try some old school flames on the side of my PC case. I’m too green for the true fire stuff I’ve seen here. I was wondering about what kinds of paint to use and I’ve heard of cutting the paint to make it flow better. What do you use to cut it with and is there a ratio to follow? Any pointers on control and whatever I may need to know would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


Welcome to the world of airbrush. You are about to embark on an journey that will be with you for a lifetime. You did the right thing in purchasing a dual action airbrush. Since the

Dual action allows you to control both airflow and paint flow. Start with a strong foundation. Get a copy of “Begin Airbrushing” by Mark Rush. You will be shown the basic strokes of airbrushing. Practice the strokes. Then practice them some more. Then practice them again until you can’t stand it anymore. At that point you will have learned the basic strokes and have the airbrush control necessary to turn out airbrush work to make you proud. Looking forward to seeing you post your creations on the Forum.


Some of have seen my glass art on my myspace. What paint do you guys think I should use to paint them? The glass art gets handled a lot and sometimes needs to be cleaned. Is there paint out there that can take being cleaned with rubbing alcohol? These are things I need to know before I buy my airbrush. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Glass does present an interesting challenge to the airbrush artist. I can say that One Shot is the number one choice for airbrushing on glass. We have our logo painted on the glass entry door that faces West and gets pounded every afternoon. After six years it looks almost like the day it was painted. This logo is painted on the exterior of the door so not only does it get handled, it gets rained on, snowed on, and survives quick temperature changes. The only downside to airbrushing One Shot is that the paint is solvent based and must be applied using the correct masks and ventilation in your painting area. Perhaps you will submit a How-to for inclusion in a future issue of the magazine.


I have heard a lot about ALSA paints. Can you tell me, are ALSA products water based or solvent based?


ALSA paints are solvent based paints. They should be used with correct ventilation and the correct respiratory equipment. They are a new paint to the automotive and airbrush industries and they are being very well received by painters new and old. Check the article by Dennis Matthewson. Dennis has pioneered quite a few colors for ALSA and he can create magic with the ALSA colors. Amazing! If you are looking to breakout from the same old, same old of HOK, give ALSA a try. We think you will be impressed.


I have been airbrushing for 30 years now. I have done just about anything on anything. At this point I am really struggling with wanting to do more. I think this is BURN OUT. I used to want to airbrush everyday. I ate, drank and slept airbrushing. Now I just want to sit in front of the TV and do nothing. To top it off I now have to have surgery ( I think I am going to postpone as long as possible) and will put me down for a few weeks maybe months. I have come to a mental block for new designs and ideas to paint. Has anyone been at this point and what do you do?


Ah the old artists block. I feel your pain. You should try writing for a magazine. LOL. All kidding aside, no matter what profession one partakes one hits the wall. You are no different. Hopefully you have something that you enjoy doing other than airbrush. My particular outlet is fly fishing. It allows me to take in all of natures wonder with out the pressure of deadlines and creativity needed to produce a magazine. In fact, I will be going fly fishing once this issue is in the mail. On another note, don’t mess with your

health. It’s all you have and without it you are nothing. While in this day and age of sky high healthcare costs, budget wisely and have your surgery. Once you have recuperated you will feel much better toward your artwork and your life. Good Luck!


I always have trouble photographing the illustrations I do. I always get a glare or a reflection I don’t want. What is the best way to set a panel to photograph? Do you recommend a time of day or a specific lighting? For example the new FATA project you did is a black panel and your photograph is perfect. Any tips would be great.


First of all, you have to be in a lighting condition where you don’t need the flash. It always reflects in the clearcoat and ruins the picture. If you can, photograph your pieces outside. The best light is when it’s cloudy. Direct sunlight isn’t good. If it’s a sunny day, avoid taking pictures at noon because the light is too strong. Before 11am and after 2pm is best. And never have the sun in front of you or it will make your picture dark. If you want to take picture inside or in low light, have a tripod so the camera is fixed. This way, the picture can have longer exposition time without the picture blurry. Since you don’t want the flash, you need longer exposure time to compensate for low light. If you don’t have a tripod, the slightest movement will blur the picture. Here are a few other tricks. In fact, this is the trick we used for the FATA mock-up image. Suspend or have someone hold the item at a very slight angle - forward - so that none of the overhead lighting is reflected. Also, photographing in the booth works well at times because of the bright white walls and side lighting. Experiment with positioning angles and use white cardboard to block reflections that you cannot block out otherwise. I use these tricks for the bulk of our images. When it comes to final, complete, with clear photos, or photography that will be used for something like an album cover, I wait for the clouds to cover outside and set up the tripod.


dual action provides the most versatility of the two major airbrush styles.


I Think the biggest thing that I learned while watching Doug complete this project was that a little airbrushing on a taxidermy project produces an amazing difference in the look and presentation of the animal!

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

A 60

fter the game head has been mounted and dry, nails, pins and staples are removed. These holes are pinched shut and smoothed over with a modeling tool. Clean the eyes with alcohol and cotton.

Douglas Cox Studios are located in beautiful Lafayette, CO Doug is a taxidermist, wildlife sculptor and certified DuraCoat firearm finisher You can reach Doug at:

With a heat lamp, soften molding wax so it is soft enough to mold and push down in the tiny cracks between the glass eyes and skin with your modeling tool. Smooth the inside of the nose with wax if needed and remove any excess wax. Smooth the wax with a #3 white bristle flat brush and paint thinner. Paint thinner softens the wax and smooths it nicely.

I use flat latex house paint, thinned so it will go through my airbrush. The colors to use are brown and dark brown. I never use black. Black I too harsh and does not look natural when finished. Spray inside the ears with the lighter brown. The darker brown is then sprayed down deep inside the ear. Spray the lighter brown around the eyes and nose and let it dry. The darker brown is used to paint the outer edge of the eyelids, and just under the eyes. Now spray dark brown inside the nose and around the outside edge.

A glossy acrylic clear is sprayed over the painted surfaces of the eyes and nose to give a wet look. The final step is removing the acrylic clear from the glass eyes with your paintbrush and rubbing alcohol, being careful not to touch the skin around the eyes and take off the shine. The alcohol will remove the acrylic clear from the glass eyes and make them look more realistic. Wipe the eyes with dry cotton and tweezers to complete the job. The one thing that will make or break a good head finishing, is the accuracy of applying the details. As simple as these processes seem, they go a very long way in making a better looking trophy.


After the paint has dried, take a hard bristled toothbrush and brush all the paint off the hair. It comes off with hair quite easily but stays on the skin. This is why latex paint is used. Clean the glass eyes with your #3 paint brush and water, and then wipe with cotton and tweezers.


den St by Bren

ld ubblefie

There have been quite a few people who ask me what is the absolute best way to display your work. My answer is simple and easy, with displays. Lets face it guys; most of our customers are not artistically inclined. Most

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Brenden owns Stubby’s Hot Rod & Motorsports in Burleson, TX


people are unable to picture what their projects are going to look like. How many times have you had a request from a customer and you were thought “ Boy, that’s going to look like poop!” That’s because most customers have no artist abilities. This is why I feel that it is so necessary that you have something that the customer can feel, touch and see. This will give your customer a better understanding of what they will receive when contracting you to do their paint. Not only that, they may want a job exactly like the sample. I just do not think that photographs do peoples work justice. Lets leave the imagination up to the artists, not the customer!

So, as I set off on my journey to acquire lots of displays, I encountered a problem: Cost. It was just not feasible to buy a bunch of motorcycle tins. The next option that I investigated was plastic display tanks. I found that these tanks ranged anywhere from 30 to 70+ dollars. It was my goal to have about 20 to 30 displays. As you can see this would have been quite an investment. My solution was to make my own. I guesstimate the cost of making your own tanks is about 7 dollars or less. But, I must warn you there is a steep learning curve and be ready for a small investment in mold making materials. A rough estimate for the 3 different molds that I made and enough plastic to make about 10 tanks was about 250 dollars. But once the molds are made, the plastic to make tanks is relatively inexpensive. Here is how it’s done!

The first step for you is to find your model. You can use any tank you desire, but some take more prep than others. So for simplicity I used a preformed plastic tank that I purchased. But, the sky is the limit. You really like that coffin tank you have had forever and you think it would be cool to show your work on it. Go for it. Real tanks are a bit more difficult but the fine people at Smooth-on mold making materials are willing to help. You can get more info, purchase materials, and find your local retailer at Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Its time to apply the mold release. I used Mann 200 that I purchased at Smooth-On. Liberally apply the mold release to the model as well as the sign blank. Then you must brush the release into every nook and cranny. Play close attention to detail. This is one of the most important steps in the whole process! Do not neglect this step or you will waste a lot of time and money. After about 10 to 15 minutes spray the model again before the next step.


Now you need to secure your model to a flat surface. To do this you need a high temp hot glue gun. I elected to attach my model to a sign blank with the plastic still on for ease of removal at the end of the process.


It is now time to apply the first of four coats of rubber to the model. I elected to use Smooth-ons urethane brush on molding material (Brush-On 40). Make sure to read all the directions on how to mix the rubber that comes with each product. Mix both parts very well before pouring equal amounts of each component into disposable cups. The rubber is white in color so in order for me to see where I was applying the rubber and, to make sure I had a uniform coat I used a So-Strong pigment also available at Smooth-on. For application I buy very affordable chip brushes at my local harbor freight. The first coat is very important, because this is what is going to be the mold face. Do not brush on, gently dab the rubber on the all over the model making sure to cover the whole with a thin coat. If the first coat is rushed and too much rubber is applied, the mold might develop pinholes and this creates more bodywork that you will have to do on all your new displays. After the whole model has been covered, paint a ring around the outside of the model to make a flange for the mold. If your rubber hardens before you are finished with the coat don’t panic. Just quickly mix up some more and continue to apply. Then you need to wait for approximately 30 minutes before the next application. There is a way to test to see if the rubber is ready for the next coat. Take a finger with a rubber glove on and lightly touch. If there rubber does not come off on the glove you are ready for the next coat. Now its time fore the second coat. For this batch, leave out the Pigment so the rubber will remain white and you can see to brush on an even coat. This coat along with the rest can be brushed on. Make sure to coat the model as well as the flange. These coats can be a bit thicker, but don’t get carried away. Now wait for the next coat.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Same as step five but add back the pigment.


Whew! This is the last coat. Don’t add any pigment to keep it white. I usually add a bit more rubber around the flange on the last coat. Ok now you are done for the day. I would recommend waiting at least 12 hours before de-molding. So sit back have a beer or you might be out at this point so, go to bed!

Now, it is time to de-mold. Slowly start at one end turning the rubber inside out. Be careful not to remove the model from the sign blank. You will need to replace the mold back on the model after removal. This process is necessary to loosen the rubber mold from the model before applying the mother mold. If the rubber mold is not removed from the model at this point, it is next to impossible to remove the mold after applying the mother mold.

Time to apply mother mold material. I use Plasti-paste available at Smooth-on. It is very easy to apply and is cheaper and more durable than fiberglass. Mix the two parts together per directions and apply the paste with a bondo spreader. I typically put two coats to make the mold very sturdy and strong. Make sure to make the flange particularly strong. After about an hour you are now done with your mold!!!


Now put the rubber mold back on the model and its time to make a mother mold. Just like you did with the model, we now have to apply mold release to the outside of the rubber mold. This is to insure that the mother mold will release from the rubber mold.


Now it is time to take the model out of the mold. First, I usually just peel the plastic off the sign blank at this point. Second, I will slowly remove the model out of the mold. IMPORTANT once you have done this you need to remove the rubber from the mother mold, and then replace it. This will aid you in de-molding your models after casting. This is the whole point of making a rubber mold. It aids in de-molding.

| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007

Now you are ready to cast. IMPORTANT the first thing that you must do before starting to cast is to make sure that you get complete coverage of your mold release. Because if you miss just one little area of coverage you can kiss your mold and all that time goodbye, because the plastic will stick to the rubber and ruin the mold. You apply the mold release just like you have all the previous times. Spray on then brush the mold very thoroughly. Wait 10 minutes and do it one more time.


The product that I use to cast the models is a product called Smooth cast 320. It is an ultra-low viscosity urethane resin for making super fast castings. The flash time on this stuff is around 7 to 10 minutes. It is a great product and offers many advantages over fiberglass and abs plastic. The technique I used to cast the models is called slush casting. This is achieved by slushing the plastic around in the mold until the plastic hardens. This allows you to have a lightweight model and uses less material than most other methods of casting. You do not need a lot of plastic. Use only enough plastic to cover the entire mold surface. Be careful you can waste a lot of plastic in a hurry, due to the flash time. First you need to shake both parts of your plastic. Once the plastics have been mixed and the equal parts mixed together. Slowly pour the plastic in one place then turn the mold in one direction to cover all the surfaces until the plastic hardens. It usually takes one to two coats to make a nice strong model and to cover all the surfaces. Wait until the plastic cools off a little bit before doing your second coat or the plastic will flash off twice as fast. If you don’t get everything covered in the first coat don’t panic, get it on the second or third coat. There is a slight learning curve for this technique, the more you do it the better you become and use less plastic. And, if you have not figured this out by now you want to do this outside. This process makes a big mess, however plastic comes off the concrete pretty easily in most cases.


After the plastic cools a bit and becomes hard: it is time to de-mold. First take the rubber mold loose from the mother mold. Then starting from one end of the model, slowly peel back the rubber being careful not to damage that valuable mold. And there you have it, your finished product. All I do to prep the tank for 2K primer is Sand it down wit some 80-grit paper. I even put glaze directly on top of the model after sanding. Try that on an ABS Plastic tank. Although making the mold is a painstaking process the molding is quick and easy. Typically only takes me 30 minutes to make a Model. So you can have your collection of Models ready to show your customers in no time! Until next Time!


| AB•MAG | 3rd QTR 2007


AB-Mag Issue #5  

An artists resource and inspiration! Airbrushing how tos, tips, tricks and more.