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AB•Mag - Issue #7 Cover Art: Dennis Mathewson Publisher: Editor: Art Director:

Steve Angers Diana Learn Diana Learn

Contributing Writers: Advertising Director:

Jonathan Bailey Dave Baxter Lee & Lisa Berczel Jeff Copeland Don Denison Fitto Margret Howard Annie Lavoie Steven Leahy Mike Learn Dennis Mathewson Jeff & Alex Minnich Curtis Patchin Steve Angers


All Contents are copyright ©2006-2008 AB•Mag, all rights reserved. Nothing may be reprinted, in whole or in part without prior written permission from the publisher.




“ I challenge each and

every one of you to make a conscious effort to stay

informed, educate yourself and those around you and ‘find your stand’ on the issues at hand.”

Phew!! I don’t know about you, but I am simply amazed at the relentless number of pressures that fall on me on a daily basis. It seems that I am constantly forced to re-prioritize, shuffle and rethink how to accomplish the things that I need or want to get done. Pressures from family, work, email, phone, PM, school and any number of other sources bombard me mentally and physically, and some days I simply feel like I cannot take any more. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Since this is my reality, I tend to think it must be reality for a great number of other people. And if that is the case, then most people are fettered with a hectic daily life and are moving in 12 different directions at any one given time. It is no wonder, then, that we do not have the time or energy to worry about things that are not affecting us RIGHT NOW. It is no wonder that it seems like NOTHING MATTERS ANYWAY. I understand, I really do.


I also understand that it is no excuse. Our actions DO matter and our inactions DO bring consequence. We cannot allow important questions of family, government, law or faith to be side-stepped because we are swamped. That is exactly how we have gotten into many of the messes that we are in today. No matter how busy you are in this life, lack of action or lack of stance on matters of society, spirituality and morality effect not only our future, but our children’s future. We cannot rely on someone else to raise the questions, fight the policies and right the wrongs. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to be aware of issues, to educate ourselves and our family, to form an opinion and to act in accordance with our convictions. We cannot change everything, but we can stand for some things.


We want to hear your comments! Send ideas, suggestions and/or questions to:

It is not my intention to “preach.” It is only my intention to use my editorial space this issue to address something that weighs heavy on my mind. It is an election year. Educate yourself and vote. There are issues that affect artists on the legislative floor. Educate yourself and take action. There are movements in the world that can affect change. Find those that represent your ideals and support them in whatever way you can. If you disagree with something, disagree with conviction and intelligent dissent. If you support something, support it with fervor. In other words, allow yourself to be involved in something more than just your hectic circle of existence and give yourself a boosted feeling of purpose.


From the Editor


V for Vector


Product News




Artists’ Advocacy


Tips N Tricks


Economics 101



Vector vs. Raster


Young Talent

with Mike Learn


Easy Mold Making

The Devil Inside:


Fine Art & Illustration

A Gallery


Battledress Body Shop


Inside the Mind of: FITTO - An interview


Back to Basics:

Educators Corner

with Steve Leahy


Product Review Badger Renegades


Mask Magic with Dave Baxter

Field Stripping your Brush



30 Hot Thread


Mustang GT-shirt


Jelly Under the Sea VII


Tribute for A Soldier

with Dennis Mathewson


News and Updates



CROSS THE FINISH LINE WITH NEW STRIPING COLORS FROM SEM Attention all pin stripers!! SEM is pleased to announce the availability of a dynamic new addition to the COLOR HORIZONS family, FINISH LINE URETHANE STRIPING COLORS. The FINISH LINE collection offers single stroke coverage and unsurpassed UV protection for the most intricate creations. Check out the excellent paint flow and the ability to clear coat over faster than any other striping paint, saving time and money! FINISH LINE is available in a bright, rich color palette consisting of 14 colors packaged in ¼ pints, 04006 REDUCER ½ pint and 04016 CATALYST ½ pint. Also available is the 30399 STRIPING KIT, containing one each of all components. FINISH LINE may be catalyzed for extra durability, intermixed for custom colors and sprayed with an airbrush for additional versatility. Take your artwork to the FINISH LINE and notice the difference in your designs! Contact your local jobber today for more information on SEM products and services. Information is also available by calling 1-800831-1122 or visiting us on the web at SEMproducts. com.

INTRODUCING FBS DISTRIBUTION Finding Better Masking, Taping and Spraying Solutions

New, Improved FinishLine® Spray Guns from DeVilbiss® Rugged blue anodized gun bodies, multiple fluid tips, and high grade stainless steel components continue the FinishLine tradition of performance and value. The new FinishLine 3 gravity spray gun value kits are fully waterborne compatible and are available with either 1-Liter aluminum gravity cup or 20 oz Acetal gravity cup. Three models are offered. A solvent borne version features 1.3mm and 1.5mm fluid tips and high output air adjusting valve with gauge [FLG-647]. While a waterborne model includes 1.3mm, 1.5mm and 1.8mm fluid tips and high output air adjusting valve with gauge [FLG-647-WB]. There is also a primer gun with 1.8mm and 2.2mm fluid tips [FLG-648]. Replacement parts are available, and the guns carry a standard one-year limited warranty. For more information about the FinishLine by DeVilbiss, visit and click Products.




FBS distributes some of the finest masking materials on the market today carrying a large line of tapes developed for any application. FLEX MASK provides and extremely thin paint edge. Made from flexible polyolefin foil, it is specially modfied for universal automotive masking applications. K-UTG GOLD TAPE was designed with acrylic adhesive and is extremely thin and flexible. Use this repositionable product on difficult surfaces and with waterborne paints. PT43 PERFORMANCE TAPE is a premium quality crepe fineline tape created to give you a thin, sharp paint edge for exact color separation, work in radius and on uneven surfaces. FBS Distribution Co. Inc. a div. of FBS Investments Ltd. was established in 1987, and has grown to be a major supplier of specialty hand sprayers, tools and masking products for the Auto Refinish Idustry in Canada and parts of the USA. units at once. For more information on its large catalog of quality products, visit or call 604-472-0773

The NEW BearClaw Mini Air Filter is the final defense to deliver clean, dry air to your airbrush. Simply attach to any PEAK, RichPen, Iwata, or other popular airbrush and this innovative filter will suck the moisture right out of your air supply. The secret is in the filter element itself. Miniature in size, the super fine, 5 micron filter element performs like a full size filter separator. No more splats from over heated moist air with the BearClaw Mini Air Filter. Available only at

New! High Efficiency Camair® 3-Stage Filtration System with Two Regulators CamAir’s new 3-stage Air Filtration System is a great choice for shops converting to waterborne base coats. With ultra-low pressure drop, the CamAir 3-Stage is highly efficient, producing clean, oil-free and particulate-free air for paint shops and service outlets alike. Featuring a first stage water trap and dirt filter, a second stage sub-micron oil coalescer, and a third stage charcoal adsorber; the compact design can fit into even the most cramped shops. Meeting Type 1-Grade D breathable air particulate requirements, the system has two self-relieving regulators giving technicians flexibility to use a spray gun and breathable air hood or two venturi dryer units at once. 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. For more information about the Camair 3-Stage Filtration System (Order Number 130526), visit

THE NEW PAASCHE TALON The newest addition to the Paasche Airbrush line is the gravity fed “Talon”. The Talon was designed to be the high-end airbrush and will deliver the highest level of detail and control. The trigger and air valve have been redesigned to allow for a smoother stroke as well as ease of assembly and durability. The Talon is also 100% made in the USA at Paasche’s Chicago plant.

THE AIRBRUSH BIBLE GOES GREEN! This Fall the Airbrush Bible, the worlds largest single airbrush publication is going GREEN! That’s right. BearAir’s Airbrush Bible will be available in an electronic format so that airbrush artists around the world can scroll through the pages at their leisure. No more waiting for the postal service to deliver. No more newsprint on your fingers. You will be able to enlarge pages to any size and print them out as you need them. And you will be helping to protect the environment by using less paper. Go GREEN with BearAir and the Airbrush Bible. To get your online copy or to request a snail mail copy visit and click on catalog request.


The Talon is suitable for any application requiring fine detail control up to patterns of 1-1/2”. Applications include: Graphic Arts, Automotive Graphics, Illustration, Finger Nail, Art, Taxidermy, Etc. The Paasche Talon is available at all fine airbrush dealers.

New from the minds at ShowOffs Body Art is the HOLSTER - The only 6+ Airbrush Gun Holder in town. The HOLSTER holds most airbrush guns, (handle side in) and mounts quickly & easily to any surface. The HOLSTER fastens by clip or permanent table mount. The patented hose guard keeps hoses from tangling and slowing down your airbrushing. The guard also will aid in preventing airbrushes from hitting the floor and damaging expensive needles and nozzles. The light weight makes the HOLSTER portable, great for use at fairs, flea markets, or tournaments. And the HOLSTER gives you an organized and professional experience. For more information visit or any fine airbrush retailer.


FEATURES INCLUDE: • Dual Action Gravity Feed • .38mm Nickel Silver Tip • .4 Ounce (11.8cc) Cup with Cover • Cut-Away Handle with Pre-set Needle Stop • Crown Aircap • New Style Trigger, Piston and Air Valve • Additional Head Sizes to Come in the near future


The Graphic Artists Guild’s Board of Directors voted unanimously Friday to oppose the Senate’s passage of the Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008 that significantly alters copyright protection rights. The Guild says the bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee is incomplete legislation, insufficient protection and indifferent to American workers. The Guild has been advising members of Congress about the “orphan works” issue since 2006 and participated in discussions with the Copyright Office since 2005. The Guild withheld comment about the Senate bill until work was finalized. That position changed when the completed version was announced only hours before the Senate committee vote last Thursday. “This is a disappointment,” Guild President John P. Schmelzer said, “We’re encouraging creative people from all industries to contact their senators to express their disapproval before the full Senate vote later this year.” Orphan works legislation is intended to limit monetary rewards and injunctive relief to stop further infringement of copyrighted works for which the user has been unable to determine the identity of the copyright owner. The Guild and the artist community are concerned that the manner in which the limitations are imposed could produce an incentive for theft in the highly competitive industry that contributes $13 billion a year to the U.S. economy. Guild leadership was pleased that lawmakers agreed with their recommendation to exclude artwork used on “useful items” such as textiles or wallpaper from being subject to the bill, but they say the measure otherwise has a long way to go before sufficiently protecting copyright owners.


The bill is incomplete because three key provisions the Guild sought to protect artists were left out. At the center of the controversy are the “best practices,”“database certification” and “notice of use” clauses.


When artwork is being considered for use but the artist’s identity is unknown, the bill’s provisions state the user is to attempt to locate the artist by following the best practices outlined by the Register of Copyrights. These practices have not yet been drafted however, and the bill will go into effect prior to their adoption.

The bill also references a database that’s supposed to make the search for copyright owners possible, but no such database exists for graphic, pictorial or sculptural work. There are no plans for the Copyright Office to create this database, and Congress cannot mandate one be made by a private company. In this case, no matter what best practices the Copyright Register might determine are appropriate for finding a copyright owner, the capacity to do so is not possible at this time. The Guild proposed a further compromise that the legislation include a publicly accessible “notice of use” filing statement. This provision requires an individual or organization to submit a copy of the visual work believed to be orphaned to the Copyright Office prior to using it. The Copyright Office would then post the filed information on the Internet so copyright owners could review the website and self-identify themselves as the owner. The virtual “lost and found” department would additionally ensure bad actors could not falsely assert they fulfilled the diligent search requirement of the law prior to using copyrighted work. The Guild says copyright law was established to protect the creative community that made America the inventive capital of the world. The bill in its current state does too much to protect the interests of possible infringers and reduces protection for creators. The measure is indifferent to artists because it fails to take into consideration the long-term effect to the income potential for a workforce whose yearly median income is only $39,900 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. People who use artistic works, such as advertising and promotion managers, make a median average of $73,060 per year. Guild Administrative Director Patricia McKiernan says the group will remain engaged to resolve these high priority shortcomings of the legislation. “Copyright protection is an important issue for our membership and the economy they serve,” McKiernan said. “When anyone’s economic rights are reduced, it has enormous implications for the country as a whole. We will remain steadfast for the artist’s interests and this important industry.”

Myths & Facts About Orphan Works * Will my work automatically be “orphaned” by enactment of either the Senate or House version of the bill? Possibly. If a user is able to identify the artist with his or her work, it will not suddenly become orphaned. In fact, for artists who don’t register their work now, the passage of these bills may have almost no effect at all with regard to their rights upon the discovery of its infringed use. Current copyright law allows for statutory damages and attorney fees only if the work was registered prior to the infringement. If the work was not registered, the only remedy allowed now is the artist’s lost profits or the infringer’s net profits. There are no statutory damages or attorney fee reimbursement permitted when the work was not registered beforehand. As a practical matter, the calculation of lost profits or net profits often equates to a reasonable royalty because of overhead deductions. Both versions of Orphan Works (OW) legislation also award reasonable royalties for infringed artwork, so the difference may be negligible. * Will I have to register all of my work with a database? No. The legislation only calls for a study regarding the feasibility of a database. It does not mandate it. However, if the ownership of a work is not readily apparent, such as by the presence of a watermark, it may help to have the work registered in a well-known database. This increases the likelihood of the user finding the owner. * If we

stop this legislation now, that will be the end of it, or at least we’ll be able to get better bill in the future. That’s a nice thought, but neither is necessarily true. OW legislation was initiated by powerful and large constituencies including museums, publishers and others who are likely to be persistent. It’s also exceptionally rare in the lawmaking process for a bill to be completely abandoned after so much time and effort has been expended.

Future versions could potentially be more disadvantageous to artists. The creative constituency is relatively small compared to those in favor of the bill. The Graphics Artist Guild has been part of the process since 2005 to make sure this legislation has the best possible outcome. We participated in the roundtable discussions, hired a lobbyist and pressed our membership into action once the key committee approved the Senate bill. We will continue to take a responsible approach, particularly with regard to the Useful Articles and Notice of Use clauses, but it’s naïve to think the bill will go away or suddenly take a remarkable turn for the better. * Congress will have to listen if we keep sending letters. The Graphics Artists Guild was among the first in the visual arts arena to be involved in affecting this legislation, and we have expressed artists’ concerns to lawmakers through every means possible for years. Legislative personnel prefer to work with people familiar with the details of the legislative process, the current legislation at hand, the history of the bill and the entirety of the political situation and interests involved. Flooding offices with letters from individuals can sometimes backfire by angering key staffers. As a result, most responsible organizations counsel members to work within the established process before resorting to letter-writing campaigns. * Are we supposed to just take a “wait and see” approach? Absolutely not. The Graphics Artist Guild has been working as an active and responsible partner during this process. We successfully lobbied to have useful articles excluded from the Senate bill and now ask members to support our insistence upon the Notice of Use provision. This clause will enable artists to take a proactive approach to protecting their work. As the process moves forward, we will have further recommendations for the creative community, and we urge artists everywhere to get accurate and up-to-date news about the legislation on the Internet from Orphan Works News ( * So, we have nothing to worry about then? That’s an overstatement. The inherent presumption in the provisions of these bills is that artists’ rights will be protected by a visually searchable database that does not exist. Until an image-searchable, comprehensively populated database technology is available that doesn’t impose undue burden on artists, the Graphic Artists Guild insists that Notice of Use Statements be filed and made available for review by copyright owners.

Orphan Works legislation is a very important issue that effects each and every one of us, whether you think so or not. You owe it to yourself, your family and your fellow artists to educate yourself on the bills before Congress and make an informed decision. For more information, search these sites: Orphan Works News: | Graphic Artists Guild: The Senate Bill is already passed the committee and is awaiting a vote. You need to contact your Senator IMMEDIATELY if you are so inclined. Please go to our Capwiz site ( ) to register your opposition with your Senator to the passage of S. 2913, The Shawn Bentley Orphan Works Act of 2008. It’s important to only notify your own Senators in the US Congress, because your state legislators are not dealing with this Federal legislation. You may customize your letter as you wish, but there is limited value in doing so, because Senate staffers generally count letters as being either for or against a measure. The link listed will walk you through the very easy process of contacting your Senator. All articles re-printed with permission from The Graphic Artists Guild


The misinformation deliberately distributed regarding the Orphan Works legislation has divided the graphic arts community at the very time it should unite to achieve the best possible outcome. The Myths & Facts listed below are intended to help dispel the inaccurate accounts so a meaningful and productive dialogue can take place among the millions affected in our industry. (Get Myths & Facts Acrobat File Here).


1978: July 1 - Copyright Act of 1976 becomes law. Formal work registration is no longer required, and infringement is discouraged by statutory damages and attorneys fee provisions for registered works. 2005: January 26 - Copyright Office files notice in Federal Register soliciting written comments about Orphan Works. Begins year-long study with three public roundtables. The Guild files comments along with 721 other comments and 146 reply comments. July ‘05 - Spring ‘06 - Graphic Artists Guild meets with the Copyright Office at roundtable sessions and other occasions to protect artists’ rights. Publishers, museums, libraries and other key stakeholders support less restrictive orphan works legislation. 2006: January 30 - Copyright Office issues report that largely ignores the Guild’s repeated recommendations.

By Jonathan Bailey • Back in January, I wrote a post detailing the reasons why many artists were frustrated with Photobucket and their approach to copyrighted material. Specifically the post highlighted the lack of a “take down, stay down” system, such as the one Myspace, Photobucket’s parent company, uses and the ability for any user to print any image they see on the site. These two factors were also the subject of a petition against Photobucket, which now has some 6,700 signatures.

March 8 - An oversight hearing is held by the House Subcommittee about Orphan Works. The Guild submits a letter on March 14 for inclusion in the record that asks for an additional year to amend the bill.

Photobucket, for their part, did not respond favorably to this and I was unfortunately forced to drop the matter for a while as other projects came up.

April 6 - An oversight hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee goes nowhere due in part to disparate testimony. April ‘06 - August ‘06 The House Intellectual Property Subcommittee has weekly private meetings with only certain invited groups to resolve issues, and the Guild authorizes ASMP to represent the Guild’s interests.

However, after a hiatus on the topic, I’m returning to it, this time with a 9-minute video illustrating one of the issues, namely the problems surrounding the printing system, but this time calling for users of Photobucket (as well as potentially infringed copyright holders) to pay attention to these issues.

September 27 - Markup of H.R. 6052, The Copyright Modernization Act of 2006, which included the Orphan Works Act (H.R. 5439), is cancelled because of concerns unrelated to Orphan Works. Some graphics arts groups claim victory, but this turns out to be illusory. The Guild returns to lobbying Congress. Fall ‘06 - The Guild hires lobbyist and copyright lawyer Megan Gray to pursue artists’ rights with legislators. Ms. Gray meets with offices of the Senate Judiciary Committee at least 20 times, offices of the House IP Subcommittee at least 20 times, three senators and ten other Hill offices. She also meets with at least 11 groups of other associated stakeholders. 2007: Ms. Gray continues to lobby legislators and accumulate friends and allegiances with other artistic interests and stakeholders. She circulates numerous briefing papers including: Summary – “Orphan Works” Legislation, Copyright Legislation and American Textile Competitiveness, The Graphic Art Industry and U.S. Economic Growth, The Kidnapping of Orphans and the Implications for Visual Arts, Deposits of Visual Art at the Copyright Office and Options for Orphan Works Legislation. Ms. Gray also compiles and sends state-specific handouts about the size and importance of visual arts industry to lawmakers. 2008: March 13 - The House IP Subcommittee holds hearing about Orphan Works. April 24 - The House and Senate both introduce similar bills, S. 2913 and H.R. 5889. Ms. Gray continues to contact lawmakers to urge inclusion of Useful Articles and Notice of Use clauses while reinforcing the inadequacy of current database technology to protect artist rights. May 7 - House IP Subcommittee votes to approve H.R. 5889 in voice vote after several changes are made.


May 15 - Senate Judiciary Committee approves S. 2913 without the Notice of Use clause but includes the Useful Articles provision.


May 16 - Guild Board of Directors votes unanimously to oppose Senate bill. Guild members are notified to oppose the bill. May 19 - Guild issues press release calling S. 2913 incomplete, insufficient and indifferent. May 21 - Guild attends a House closed door meeting about Orphan Works. May ‘08 - present - Ms. Gray continues the Guild lobbying effort.

The video, entitled “Commercial Printing with Photobucket” is embedded below and details how easy it is to turn any image on the site into a t-shirt, including personal ones, and how it compares to a similar service, namely Flickr. If you wish to express your displeasure to Photobucket about this matter, you can reach them via their contact form. Also, please consider contacting their partner in this process, Qoop, to let them know you disapprove of Photobucket’s policies. You can do so via their contact form and selecting “Photobucket” as the partner involved (You first have to solve the CAPTCHA to go to the form). If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know. I look forward to your feedback on this video. PS. If you have not read or signed the petition yet, please consider it. You willfind it at

Jonathan Bailey is the Webmaster and writer of Plagiarism Today, which he founded in 2005 as a way to help Webmasters going through content theft problems get accurate information and stay up to date on the rapidly-changing field. He is also a consultant to Webmasters and companies to help them devise practical content protection strategies and develop good copyright policies.



Did you ever wonder what the pros use to make the perfect circle engine turning finish in gold/silver leaf?


“official” tool costs about $30,

Yellow, red, and blue are the basic hues needed to build any color. You will also need black and white to create tints (white added) or shades (black added).

but making one of these tools for yourself is quite

Now, something to remember, a red from

simple. All you need is

one manufacturer may not be the

about 2” of a small wooden dowel (3/8” , or larger for larger

same red as a red from a different manufacturer. The same will hold

“swirls”) with a small cotton ball on

true for all colors, even black and

Then drape a swatch of velvet around

white. Mars black is not the same

the end and attach it with an elastic band. The end of it

as ivory black or lamp black. White

should have a slight dome to it. You are now all set to

also might be “permanent”, “zinc”,

go! When using it use slight pressure and only about

or ivory. Confusing isn’t it!



1/4 turn or you will blow through the leaf. You will see the turning marks but not like your expecting until you

When I buy primaries (which are usually

clear coat it. Make sure the sizing is dry before you do

the only colors I do purchase), I take the cap

it or again you’ll blow through the leaf. You might want

off (whenever possible) and smear a test spot on a

to practice a little before doing your project. It’s a little

white card. When testing red, I wish to discern no graying, or purplish, or orange tint. I want a

tricky to get the hang of it. Good luck.

just plain rich red color regardless of what fancy name the maker has given it.

~Hi Rise All colors get the same scrutiny, even the black and the white. I then try to stay with the same color from the same manufacturer until I’m convinced another is better. “Hooker’s” green

STIPPLING TECHNIQUES While there are dozens of ways to achieve this

means absolutely nothing to me. The next maker might call their’s “elm” green. It’s just a name. My eyes are more reliable than those names. ~ Dalesart

effect, I prefer to use an old toothbrush with some paint on it and use my finger to pull back on the bristles. For me its faster and more predictable (been doing it this way a looong time). To control,


use more paint for bigger droplets, less paint for finer droplets. When I do use my airbrush, I angle

This isn’t one of those ground-breaking revelation posts

a clothespin stick or a shield edge, pull back and

or anything, but I recently purchased a hand cleaner

let the paint pool on the edge of the stick until

for pro painters/body-shop folks that’s finally lived up

the air pressure pushes the paint off.

to its advertising and wanted to share, especially for

~ KathyL

the females among us who need to worry about such things.


Being a chick with long fingernails (albeit 2 of them with pick grooves!), it’s important to me to have clean hands, even under the fingernails, without paint-stained cuticles. Most of the stuff I’ve used that actually removes all the paint also either splits my good nails or dries out my hands. I bought a tube of GOJO last week, and I love it! You can’t even tell I’ve been painting with uros! I paid $2.50 for a 5 oz. tube, & a little bit goes an awfully long way. You can find it here: Just thought it might help someone out a smidge. (Sometimes it’s the little things in life, ya know?) ~Cameron Arts


To achieve a brushed metal look with paint, start with HOK Orion Silver base color (or similar) and then clear the piece. Scuff the clear coat with the desired pattern, and then add a few passes with HOK Ghost Krome. Clearn it again, and this it! You can scuff the base, but the brushed pattern comes out much better if you put the scuffs in the clear. Good Luck! ~ Steve Tuttle


STAYING VERSATILE IN THE CURRENT MARKET I would like to start out this issue by thanking all of you who have taken the time to write, call and comment about my column. It honors me that what I consider almost the ramblings of a crazed artist have touched or helped so many of you, and that my experiences have been something that you can relate to. Normally my discussions are borderline philosophical, but this time I thought I would hit on something a little more concrete; today’s economy and how it is affecting our ability to survive as artists.


If you are a professional artist or if you rely on your part time work to support yourself and your family, you have undoubtably experienced the pinch from the current state of the economy. The fall-out from the housing bubble burst and the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis has created a lot of uncertainty in the marketplace, and this results in consumers keeping a tighter hold on their money. As you can imagine, the first things to go when budgets are cut, is the luxury spending.


A large number of airbrush artists, myself included, have leaned towards the automotive industry for the majority of their work. Four years ago, thanks to Cable Television exposure and home equity loans, there were custom paint shops and custom motorcycle shops popping up all over the country, in the smallest of towns. Work was plentiful. Today, a lot of these same businesses, along with many large and established companies, are struggling to survive or closing their doors altogether. With all these things in mind, it is really difficult to see where our futures are heading. How do we survive? As artists we have the unique ability to make quick change. Our skills, although often honed or developed in a certain direction, are not immobile. We can apply our talent to different media, medium

and subject matter rather easily – relative to people with specific job training. To be able to adjust with the times may mean doing something completely different and marketing yourself in a whole new way. You have to step away from what it is that you are doing currently, and think of ways to apply your talent to different markets; markets that are not so saturated or that are not as affected by the current economic downturn. Watch the local papers for new and exciting venues, trade shows and group gatherings that can help you broaden your artistic horizons. Think about how you could use your skills differently. Maybe it is home and garden, or industrial or interior wall murals and faux finishing. Maybe it is looking into design work for the apparel or holiday industry. The automotive industry has much opportunity outside of custom paint. Think about design work for templates, decals, printed vinyl wraps, printed sunscreens or printed tire covers. Maybe it is working with lighting, sculpting, glass or fine art. It could be body painting, cosmetics or theatrical make-up. It could be anything. The point is that there is a whole broad world of art out there. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your opportunities will only come from what you are doing now.

As a businessperson, you should always keep future growth, expansion or market fluctuation in mind. Waiting around until things bottom out will be nothing short of detrimental to your career as an artist. You need to have some insight and a plan in place. You should never stop looking at different areas of opportunity and continue to try new things consistently. Mike Learn Airbrush & Design Boulder Co., CO and


As far as my own career, Diana and I anticipated the current trend about 3-4 years ago and began at that time diversifying our efforts. We have been able to continue to thrive by working not only in my core market of custom motorcycle painting, but by reaching out to other industries and creating strong relationships with major players, by working extensively with training and educational resources and products and by embracing the fine art world with commissions and prints.




Jake Kobrin

Steve Leahy

Recently Mike and I held a contest at to give away MOJO #666. The contest as called “The Devil Inside” and the assignment was simple: Paint a stylized self portrait using the devil inside theme. We were so blown away by the obvious time and consideration that went into the paintings that we want to “show off ” our Gallery of Entries. Thank you to all who entered. And... for anyone interested... we will be holding a similar contest for MOJO #777 soon! Check out LearnAirbrush. com for details on how to enter and how to WIN!!









Rod Air conan

Steve Tuttle





George C


Tiger Girl





Big B





Heavenly Plague





To see more of Fitto’s amazing work, check out his web site at


Interview by Annie Lavoie


My Interview with Fitto By Annie Lavoie (translated from French) Recently I had the opportunity to do an interview with Fitto, a world-wide known airbrush artist… and what an artist he is! I knew his art like most of you, but I did not know him personally. During this interview I got to meet someone so generous and humble. Even though each and every piece of art he creates is breathtaking, there is always a little detail that he doesn’t like. With time, he managed to create a perfect balance between freehand airbrush and graphics. The mix of the two makes every piece an eye popping work of art. And, when you take time to get closer, you discover with amazement all the details and thought that went into every painting. In every work of art from Fitto, you can read a story… I hope this interview will allow you to discover to what length Fitto is such a fascinating artist as well as I did. 1) When did you first discover the airbrush? FITTO: It was towards the end of my welding class. Previously, I completed a college degree in art and my style was way too wild. People did not want to hire me. So I did a professional degree in welding where I realized that the working conditions were really not what we had been prepared for. So, towards the ending of that class, a guy asked me to airbrush his hood. I told him I did not have the equipment to do it. So he made me an offer: he bought me the airbrush and what I needed to do the job in exchange for painting the hood of his jeep. After that, I painted my own van and my leather jacket. By pure luck, when stopping at Super Rock to warm up, I got a job offer. This was a place where they did airbrush on jackets and T-shirts. They hired me even though I only had 3 airbrush pieces done up to this day. I worked there full time for a while.


It’s around this period of time in the 90s that Fitto made the plunge in the airbrush world to make a career out of it. I got the chance to see some of the work he did at his very beginning and Fitto was already amazing at it.


2) What motivates you and how do you get out of an artistic block when it occurs? FITTO: To get motivated, I do a lot of research. For example, I toured churches to be inspired by the stained glass. To get out of a blockage, I improvise. I develop from an idea or sketch, or from a simple concept.

3) What are your artistic influences. Artistically as well as musically?

One of the things that I find so impressive about Fitto is his ability to get inspiration from artists or things he sees while never, ever copying them. He is working hard to create his own personal style. He is often at the origin of certain movements in the airbrush world. Now he gets a lot of inspiration from the human form, from pictures. His girlfriend and many of his friends often pose as models for Fitto’s compositions. The raw photos are often hilarious but in the end, the results within the finished piece are outstanding.


FITTO: When I was a kid, my biggest influences were Goldorac and science-fiction movies. Later, before I started to airbrush, it was Gieger, Louis Royo and Philippe Douillet. The album covers from Iron Maiden and many of the things I could observe inspired me. I love stylized realism. As much as I admire these artists, I try very hard to get away from their style and use that influence to create my own approach.


4) As a relatively young talent in the airbrush world, your skills seem highly developed. There must be more art background there somewhere. Where did all of this talent come from? FITTO: I have always drawn. When I was a child, where I was living the closest neighbor was at least a mile away. So to have fun, I would draw and I played a lot with Legos. I loved making my own creations with Lego blocks. I never followed the plans. At school, my drawings were a way to meet other kids. I was timid and to show my drawings was a way to make a contact with others. My drawings were also a way to let my frustration out. 5) What is the most challenging aspect of dealing with customers? FITTO: The deadlines! The deadlines and the constraint or an idea that won’t work with the form of the parts you need to paint. On certain projects, even after just a couple hours I’m drained creatively. Some projects are more demanding than others and sometimes it becomes hard to meet the customer’s time expectations. Often, what seems to be the idea of the century for a client will never give the effect they are going for and is practically impossible to do. You have to explain to the client why the idea is not achievable. But generally, I’m good at explaining with the utmost respect why we should take another direction to make the project successful. Having to do it, though, is not fun.


Fitto was telling me about a client who wanted to make a scorpion out of his motorcycle. But when you place things into perspective, it was almost impossible: the tail of a scorpion comes back over the head, the claws are going towards the front on each side and are in front of the head. He had to explain that you can’t make the front fender the head, the claws on the tank and the tail on the rear fender. Once things are well explained, the client realized that it wasn’t such a good idea after all.


6) Are you for or against the school of arts? FITTO: I am all for it as long as the school doesn’t change the essence of the artist; it’s authenticity. The school must not try to fit the student in a mold. 7) What is your preferred “canvas” for your painting? FITTO: I love diversity. I like to paint on different things to break the routine. But among the things I enjoy the most are very fluid choppers. 8) Which techniques do you use the most to paint? FITTO: I work a lot by freehand for all design of an organic nature and with stencils for graphics. But each graphic design is entirely cut by hand. I do not use a vinyl cutter. Fitto is impressive in the sense that he does not use technology as much as you would think. Everything is created by hand, the old fashion way. 9) You have a style that is very unique to you. We recognize it easily. Where does it come from and did it take you a long time to develop it? FITTO: I have had my own signature style since I was very young. It’s in constant evolution. I hang around with very few artists. I am sort of a cave man locked up in my domain where I work alone. This way I am not influenced by others. What I paint truly comes from me. 10) Your airbrush work is so detailed; it is unreal! How do you go from an idea to paint? Do you draw it all out or do you have a rough idea and go from it?


FITTO: I improvise. I start from a very blurry idea. If I do sketches, they are very rough. I don’t have time to sketch. By improvising, it’s a way for me to find new techniques, by accident. Sometimes what I paint doesn’t do exactly what I had envisioned, but something entirely different.


11) What kind of art training or schooling do you have? Or, are you completely self-taught? Did you attend any seminars on automotive paint or the like? FITTO: I am someone who learns a lot by myself. I would say that I am mostly self-taught. I have an art diploma but that’s not where I learned to airbrush. I have had no formal schooling on automotive paint. I have a painter who does all the prep work, basecoat and clear, so I only take care of the airbrush side of things. 12) Have you considered publishing a book or DVD? FITTO: I plan to release a DVD. It will be Airbrush and party! On this DVD you will see me at work while I airbrush and many other cool stuff. 13) I notice some Vikings in your work. What is your inspiration from? The Vikings are one of my primary inspirations. I’ve always been fascinated by them. 14) How much time do you put in a job like the Mitch Bike?


A typical bike like what I do for Mitch Bergeron will take me about a week and a half.


15) What are your favorite airbrushes? FITTO: I use an Iwata HPSP (side feed) and a MOJO. I like the side feed airbrush because it allows me to see over my airbrush easily so I have a better view of what I’m painting. 16) As an artist, what dreams have you achieved and what is the next one to do on your list?

FITTO: The dream I have achieved is to make a living from airbrush; to make a living from my own creations. The next step would be to make canvas art and be able to sell them. Sell them expensively! Hahaha 17) What piece of advice would you give to someone starting out in the airbrush world? FITTO: Find your own strength. Find what sets you apart from others and exploit it to the maximum. It’s important to find your own style. Use the form of what you are painting on to inspire the shapes and colors of your painting. Take a step back from your work to have a general point of view. Don’t work for nothing: What’s given at a discount price is often cheaply appreciated. 18) Who is Fitto? (Can you describe yourself to us).

19) When painting a motorcycle, do you look at the motorcycle shape and from there decide how you will paint it, or do you have a back log of ideas stuck in your brain and you wait for the right project to use them?


FITTO: To know who Fitto is, you have to know where I’m coming from; where it all started. I’m from a very small town in the north of the province of Quebec where every neighbor lived far away. I didn’t have many friends close by to play with so I was always drawing. Since I was very shy, my drawings were a way to break the ice. In high school I created a bible of drawings: The Big Book of the Fittogitte God. It’s a book holding numerous drawings, comic strips and many creations I did over the years. And it’s from this book that I got my nickname Fitto.


FITTO: The shape of the bike is crucial. I start from a concept and I develop around it. I improvise from a basic idea. The shape of the motorcycle inspires me as well as it’s color. There are ideas that I have in my head that I draw inspiration from. To make them stand out, I mix organic style with graphics. 20) What is your schedule like? For example, do you book a year in advance? FITTO: I try to book in advance as much as possible, but it’s not always easy. When a client adds ideas to the job, you get behind on everything else fast. As we were talking, I got to learn stuff you might enjoy: FITTO: One of the things I aim for is to trigger emotions with my paintings. I would love to be able to pass on emotions. In my painting, if it looks violent, it really isn’t. Look closer: I never have anything directed towards a person in particular. It’s never political. And it’s often absurd. There is always a story behind every airbrushed piece.


Thank you so much Fitto for welcoming me into your home, and for your generosity. It has been such a pleasure to have met you and to be able to share with your fans who you really are.


As a fine piece of machinery that you use everyday, the airbrush is bound to have a little performance issue from time to time. But sdon’t despair. Field stripping and cleaning your airbrush is so easy you can do it blind folded. This time we will talk about disassembly. Clear a 3 foot by 3 foot spot on your work area. If you have a schematic of your airbrush set it out on the table to use as a reference guide. If you don’t have the schematic, get your copy of the airbrush bible or visit your manufacturer’s website and printout the schematic.

Good luck. Next edition we will check our parts for wear and tear and ready all the parts for reassembly.


Disassemble by working from the outside to the inside. Remember to lay out each piece on your work area exactly as it is shown in the schematic. When you are finished it should look like this:


A thread started by Cope asked Members to post up his/her “ultimate find, something you have learned or something you have invented” and the thread became a hot spot for tips, tricks, fun and curio. Here are some of the posts: • • •

Spray around a torn paper towel to create a great cloud effect. Use pre-mask R-Tape in your desktop printer to make photo copy mask. Hold your airbrush with both hands and the hose wrapped around your arm. ~Cope

Because I don’t have a plotter but I have CorelDRAW, I’ll draw something, scan it up, and vectorize it (with much improved proportions). Then I’ll take my transfer tape and cut it into 8.5 x 11 sheets stick it onto wax paper and then print my design out onto it. Then I’ll stick the tape onto my panel or what ever I’m working on and cut it out and there you go. It pretty much does the same thing a plotter does. ~Angus • •

An airbrush is like a dart: they both fall needle first. And, if you have the cap off your airbrush, it will stick in the floor. If you want to paint on aluminum panels, and you need something to hold your paper or stencil in place, use magnets on both sides. ~Chromewarrior555

Most people can learn most techniques. The trick is to do it so well that everybody sees and likes the result, without seeing the technique used. ~Marnix • •



The only thing that can’t be taught is practice. You can place the cover back on a jar of paint and know it will sit safely on the table forever, but leave it off one time and it will be knocked over within ten seconds. You can airbrush an old tin budweiser can to look old and rusty and sell it on ebay for about thirty bucks. One time. ~Kosmonot

I use pencil cap erasers to protect the tips of my airbrushes (I like to remove the nozzle protector). This protects the needle and tip without having to waste too much time threading and unthreading the cap. I have a cheap tennis racket for making fast square scales. ~rek •

Before trying to get fine lines with your airbrush, learn how to judge paint reduction. Don’t even think you have a shot at making hairlines until you can mix your paint by eye and feel and get it flowing as good as you think it possibly can.

Just because something doesn’t look right within the first hour of working on it doesn’t mean it’s not going to come out good. The most convincing thing to make things look 3D is make sure you have a full range of light to dark. Light to show dark, dark to show light. ~Cannon00

I use glycerin instead of superlube. Doesn’t discolor the paint, non toxic, no silicone and makes my hands oh so smooth. I also use the same glycerin in my home brew reducer for Autoair. ~SJ • • • •

Onion bags, the net ones make great scales if you spray through them and go back in freehand. Needle point canvas makes nice carbon fiber. Cheesecloth is a great stencil for fabric. Cardboard boxes and poster board cut up make great inexpensive, disposable shields. ~KathyL

This one is credited to Scott McKay...who credits Michael Cacy... who would probably credit someone else.... If you remove the needle cap from your airbrush and then put a small tube like a coffee stirrer or plastic cotton swab spine over the needle then spray through it, you get an spatter spray that is extremely easy to control. Great for all kinds of textures like stone. ~Steve Leahy •

The bottles that come in hair coloring kits make excellent paint bottles. You’d be surprised at how often women color their hair. Rolling a bent needle tip between a tongue depressor and hard, smooth surface does a pretty good job of straightening it. ~Hotch

When spraying basecoat and you notice a fisheye, try this. Let the basecoat dry and turn your nozzle to a round pattern. Turn down the psi and mist that area until the fisheye is gone. Then turn the spray pattern back to fan and re-spray the rest of the project - fisheye gone. This works with single stage and clear as well. To create a spider web effect you can add paint in a spray gun unreduced and turn the pressure low and spray. Keep adjusting the psi until you get the effect you are looking for. The paint has to be good and thick so no reduction will work best. This technique is not to be confused with spidering which is a whole different effect caused by too much pressure and too thin of paint. ~turbotoys

To read more posts like this or to ask questions of your own, check out!



| AB•MAG | ISSUE #6 #7


Living in Hawaii with its natural island beauty and colorful surroundings, constantly inspires me to create and paint. I even lose sleep over a vision of seeing a breathtaking sunset or a scenic beach that I may have seen earlier. One of the curses of being a true artist is that your mind always notices or catches something that a non-artistic minded person may not see. For example, I will sit at a campfire, mesmerized, trying to figure out how to capture the flames in art form. Water is another great example of that. The many hours I have spent scuba diving, swimming or staring at fish tanks all had me wondering just how to capture the lighting, flow, bubbles and the radiant colors that occur in water. Since it is not stable and easily moves, sometimes in one direction or swirling and turning even into itself. What’s so unusual, is when you’re in water you can feel the movement, but you can’t visually see water move, it’s the surroundings or items in the water that show the fluid movement just like wind does with air. I love watching sea life and observing the different speeds and movements of the different species. The jellyfish has always been one of my favorite sea creatures, as an invertebrate, it has no skeleton or hard edges. If removed from the water, it just becomes a gelatinous blob, kind of like my abs since I turned 50. Its sinister side is intimidating with its long and sometimes poisonous tendrils and streamers whose stings have caused great pain to the unsuspecting swimmer. The other cool and wondrous thing about this transparent creature is that it clearly has no eyes, mouth or even a personality, not great pet material, but fascinating to say the least. I once followed one underwater for nearly an hour (yes, I had scuba tanks for breathing) as it attempted to steer itself in one direction but also succumbed to the flow of the current and movement of the water. They also usually travel in groups. Seeing the many different species of jellyfish from around the world, I am amazed in the various colors, sizes and shapes. Recently while in Italy, I spent hours in an aquarium there snapping hundreds of photos for reference and inspiration for use in my underwater paintings. The Italians appropriately call this creature “medusa” and you can understand why. The other factor that plays a large part of showing movement in my underwater paintings are bubbles. They mesmerize me just as fire does with their freestyle upward flowing movement. Here again, size, shape and speed, how to paint them. Mark Chiu, my right hand man at my shop, Cosmic Airbrush stumbled on by accident, a brilliant idea in creating bubble templates. Somehow clear spilled into a puddle of water and as the water evaporated, voila the clear hardened into a natural looking bubblicious template. It must have been a fluke, because I have tried to recreate this perfect template many times and have totally failed. Temperature, airflow and the type of clear can all play factors. It seems that Mark is the only one that has had any luck in creating this bubble template. In his experience, one out of 20 attempts of making a great bubble stencil will work. They also don’t last very long, but will work for a painting or two. What is so cool is the organic pattern it forms. Painting a jellyfish with its streaming tentacles along with the added pop of flowing bubbles really makes a great artwork piece, especially when it is added on a spun aluminum background painted with Alsa Candy Colors and my Hawaiian Hues. Dive in and hold your breath as you follow along with my current work of this Jelly Sea VII painting step-by.

1. Aluminum panel prep – I begin with a 20” x 20” piece of 0.09 aluminum panel, making sure that is scratch and flaw free. Using a right angle grinder with a medium fine grey abrasive pad, I freely move the wheel over the panel while creating an abstract reflective water-like background. After the grinding is complete, it is cleaned with lacquer thinner and a soft cloth then washed with PPG aluminum conditioner DX-501 mixed with water 10:1. It is then wiped dry as I set up to spray two wet coats of Alsa Pla-stick adhesion promoter followed by three coats of Speed Clear mixed with Alsa’s turquoise candy concentrate. While still wet, I frost the edges with Speed Clear mixed with cobalt blue candy and finish up with a final clean coat of Speed Clear. After drying overnight, the surface is wet sanded with 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper. Cleaned and now ready for my artwork. 2. After choosing from my own jellyfish reference photos and selecting which ones that I will use, I then lay transfer tape over the entire surface and draw my artwork directly onto the tape. After the drawing is finished, my lines are cut out with an X-acto blade. I remove the mask one area at a time.


3. I start painting with a Hawaiian Hues light blue base coat called reef blue on the unmasked areas, allowing much of the aluminum to show through for effect. I layer darker richer colors on top with surf blue and indigo blue for details. I over reduce my colors 1:2 for fine detailing.


| AB•MAG | ISSUE #6 #7


4. Moving onto my main jellyfish subject, I again begin with reef blue and slowly add white to lighten the value and add details to the membranes. I slowly add some candy base colors like; fuchsia, true gold and some cobalt mixed into Alsa color blender 3% concentrate to 97% color blender then reduced. I carefully add layer after layer after layer.

5. My next trick is to add some Alsa Prizmacoat to the transparent dome of the jellyfish and allowing much aluminum to show through the artwork. This Prismacoat give a fine metallic magical effect to the dome with lots of color changes. I just spray it directly from the bottle to the surface with no reducer. I finish with white base detailing and more layers of basecoat candy colors.


6. I now remove all of my masking, (adhesion promoter keeps the candy from lifting). I freehand to soften the hard edges. A Mike Learn texture fabric is used on the dome with some white to add realism and texture. Lots of freehand highlighting with white and light blues.


| AB•MAG | ISSUE #6 #7


7. A Mack pinstripe brush and some Alsa striper color is used to brush the jellyfishes’ long streamers. I follow with a #2 liner brush for fine detailed brushed highlights and some outlining.


8. Cosmic Airbrush’s master painter, Mark Chiu made me some bubble templates. These are great to achieve an organic bubble effect. I break them apart and tape them to the surface in a flow pattern where I want the bubbles to be. I then spray white basecoat to the bottom of each bubble and dark blue to the top. I remove the template and repeat if I feel that more is needed.


9. I also use a cut stencil as well as an Artool big shield template to create more bubbles. I freehand white to all of the bubbles, very time consuming, but worth the detailed effect. 10. More fine detailed brushwork is added to every bubble. 11. Mark adds three coats of Alsa Speed Clear to the finished artwork. After drying overnight he then block sands wet with 500 grit and clear coats it again with three more coats of Speed Clear for a flawless finish.


12. The finished original artwork of Jelly Sea VII is then off to be scanned and then joins Dennis Mathewson’s other fine artwork that is displayed in the Diamond Head Gallery on Front St. in Lahaina, Maui.


Known for his vibrant use of color, Dennis has developed his own signature line of solvent-based paints, “Hawaiian Hues” for the Alsa Corp. Owning and operating his busy shop, Cosmic Airbrush in Honolulu, Hawaii since the early 80’s you will find him there when he is not traveling and teaching. In recent years his unique island style fine art has been hugely successful in the galleries of Honolulu, Hawaii as well as Lahaina, Maui. To see more of his work, visit or for his fine artwork.


Dennis Mathewson has been airbrushing for nearly 40 years. He is one of the true pioneers in the airbrushing industry. For more than a decade he has taught classes and conducted seminars globally and has written numerous magazine articles for worldwide publications.




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 Six:

By Diana Learn

How is everyone doing with the Vector Lessons? Are you practicing the techniques? Just like anything else you do, in order to become efficient and proficient at any skill, you need to train. Practicing computer drawing skills can be fun if you let it. Keep your exercises simple, but diverse. Start with a word of text in a fun font and use your new skills to manipulate the word into a unique symbol or design. Download some simple vector files from the LearnAirbrush. com Download library and combine and trim them into stencils for your child’s notebooks. Use the shape tools to create a pattern for some cookies or for a scrapbook. If you can think of uses for the files, your practice can be practical!

Very often when using vector artwork in conjunction with airbrush art, the masks you want to create are something that will act as a clean graphic element, a background pattern or a framing component. We have discussed many drawing tools that can help you create this type of mask, and with this article I would like to introduce you to yet another shape-based technique that can be used to create unlimited designs.


Moving on. . . in the last issue we discussed several different ways to apply the lessons that I have written in the past to real-life situations. So this issue I thought we would continue on with another tool/technique based article.


LET’S BLEND!! A Vectorial The blend tool in both Illustrator and CorelDRAW are an extremely versatile, useful and easy way to produce a variety of effects.

1. To demonstrate I have started with 2 circles of 2 different sizes on opposite ends of my Illustrator document.

3. By default the blend settings will be whatever you used last. It is very easy to make changes. To bring up the Blend Options dialog box, simply double click on the tool in the toolbox. You will see the spacing options and can set it to a number of steps, as here, or to a particular measurement. I want a little more space, so I am taking the spacing down to 10. If the preview box is selected, you can experiment to see what kind of spacing you want for your desired effect. You can also choose orientation. With circles, that is not applicable here. We will take a look at that later.


2. To use the Blend tool, with both items (in this case my 2 circles) selected, choose the blend tool from the toolbox and click in the center of one shape, then in the center of the other. The result will be something similar to what you see above.


4. One of the very cool things about Adobe effects, is that they are “LIVE” until you set them. This means I have plenty of time to manipulate my effect. I can move it or stretch it and the blend will follow.

5. Once you have your blend set the way you want it, go to Object -> Blend -> Expand to turn the shapes into separate pieces. At this point you can trim them and have a file ready for the plotter. But there is so much more. Above I duplicated the blend before expanding it.

8. This is one of my favorite options in Illustrator (I have not figured a similar option in CorelDRAW yet). If you draw a new line segment or shape in your document, you can actually snap the blend to the new path. Here I have created a large circle. Then with both the circle and the blend selected, I go to Object -> Blend -> Replace Spine.

7. Here I added 2 random anchor points and moved them with my direct selection tool to make a zig zag blend. The sky is the limit with this effect. You can do anything to the spline that you can do with any other vector path.

9. Isn’t that cool! Again, the blend is still completely malleable. You can change the size of the circles, stretch and manipulate the group.


6. Using the add anchor point and direct selection tool, I can manipulate the blended items along the spline.



10. Let’s try a Spiral Spine!


11. This effect may look cooler with more dots, but you get the point. Don’t forget, once you are done with the manipulation, you need to EXPAND your blend.

12. Here are just a few more examples of things you can do. You can blend different shapes for a morphing effect. You can also blend colors.The green to yellow blend demonstrates the Orientation Option I told you about earlier. You can choose to orient your shapes to the page, like the first set of shapes, or orient them to the path for a smooth transition like the second example.

13. The CorelDRAW Interactive Blend tool is just about identical. Select your 2 objects to be blended, click and drag, and you have the same thing.

16. You can see that the effect follows the spine. Also, the pink arrows you see can be slid back and forth along the spline to change the positions of the blended shapes.

14. With CorelDRAW you will have a contextual blend menu at the top as you work with this tool. You can set the blend to number of steps or use a preset. CorelDRAW offers and “accelerate” and “decelerate” option for spacing to create the illusion of movement.

15. I took the number of steps way down to continue the demo. If you want to manipulate the spline, you can choose Split from the contextual menu and then hit the spline in the area where you would like a bend.

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.


17. Here you can take a peek at the blend preset menu. I find it easiest to start with one of the basic presets and then play with the number of steps in the menu.


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FORCE: this setting adjusts the amount of pressure that is applied to the blade. Different materials require different force settings for proper cutting. As a guide, paint mask will use a force (generally) between 80 and 120, vinyl takes a much lower pressure, usually between 50-70, while stiffer materials like mylar and polyester can vary from 190-240. Always use the least amount of force needed to create a successful test cut. Scoring or cuts that are not all the way through the material indicate the need to up the pressure, while cuts visible on the backing mean that you need to take the pressure down.


SPEED: this setting adjusts the speed of the cut and the feed of the material. The default speed is 20, and works well for most items, however you will want to slow down the speed when cutting more complex designs or when using thicker material. Indications that you may need to slow your speed are perforated lines, jagged areas on complex cuts or motor errors caused by the material roll jerking or hitting the back of the machine.


OFFSET: this setting adjusts the cut to match the angle of the blade being used. The default setting of .25mm is correct for Roland brand 45º blades. Roland brand 60º blades require an offset of .50mm. Check the packaging on your blades to ensure that you have the correct offset. Indications of improper offset values are curved corners or corners that do not “meet”.

Here are the instructions for changing the most common settings on your GX-24: 1. Press the menu button until you see UNSETUP. 2. Hit the Down Arrow once. You will see CONDITION. 3. Hit the Right Arrow once. You will see FORCE • Hit the right arrow to adjust the force. When done, hit enter. OR 4. Hit the Down Arrow once. You will see SPEED • Hit the right arrow to adjust the speed. When done, hit enter. OR 5. Hit the Down Arrow once. You will see OFFSET • Hit the right arrow to adjust the offset. When done, hit enter. There are many other settings, but these are the most common.

DID YOU KNOW?!? You can save up to 4 of your favorite groups of settings for quick recall in the GX-24 Memory! Here is how: First, enter the settings that you want to save. When you are done, press the menu button until you see UNSETUP. Hit the up arrow and you will see MEMORY. Hit the Right Arrow, the Down Arrow, then the Right Arrow again. From here choose the Up or Down Arrows to choose which “USER” you want to save your setting under. Once you choose, hit ENTER to save the settings. To recall your settings press the menu button until you see UNSETUP. Hit the Up Arrow, then the Right Arrow TWICE. From here use the Up and Down Arrows to choose the USER that you wish to load. Hit ENTER to load the settings.

Vector Graphics typically are generated using drawing or illustration programs (e.g., Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW) and are composed of mathematically-defined geometric shapes— lines, objects and fills. Since vectors entail both magnitude and direction, vector elements thus are comprised of line segments whose length represents magnitude and whose orientation in space represents direction.

Raster Images are produced by digital image capture devices: digital scanners or digital cameras, or by pixel editing programs (e.g., Adobe Photoshop). Raster images are composed of a matrix (grid) or bitmap of digital picture elements (pixels). Pixels are squares or rectangles described as black, white, gray or color. Raster images typically are saved as TIFF or JPG format, but can be saved as EPS as well.

Vector graphics usually are easily modified within the creating application and generally are not affected detrimentally by scaling (enlarging or reducing their size). Because vector elements are mathematically-defined, scaling simply requires modification of their mathematical locations. However, vector files do not support photographic imagery well and often can be problematic for cross-platform exchange. Vector graphics typically are saved as EPS, AI or CDR format.

Whereas conversion from vector to raster is easily accomplished, raster conversion to vector is much more difficult (and often is not possible). Raster images typically are easily shared across various platforms, but can be more difficult than vector graphics to modify. As well, raster graphics can be impacted significantly by scaling.

Common uses for vector image formats

Common uses for raster image formats

• • •

Logos which are generally a few solid colors and need to be shown at a variety of sizes Creating specialized text effects 3D and CAD programs Creating cut files for plotters

Vector image formats advantages • • •

Resolution independent Smooth curves Small file sizes

• • •

Continuous tone images like photographs Layered files for packaging and advertising Used on the web where there are no vector formats currently supported

Raster image formats advantages •

Only format that will show smooth gradients and subtle detail necessary in photographic images Allow for color correction much easier than vector images



AB-Mag would like to take this opportunity to applaud the efforts of a young artist. These images and sketches were sent in by Jeff Minnich and feature the artwork of his young son. Akex has just recently turned 12 and has been sketching for years. Inspired by the talent and interest of his son, Jeff recently dusted 10 years worth of dust off his airbrush and has enjoyed spending quality “dad” time teaching Alex how to airbrush.


Alex obviously has an artistic eye and emerging talent. Keep it up Alex, and you will achieve your dream of becoming an artist!!


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Feeling washed out


How many times have you ever looked at your work and feel like it’s just not done? The color looks washed out or incomplete? For me, it was one of my earliest obstacles to overcome as an artist. I saw others who seemed to get such saturation in their colors, there was depth and weight that I couldn’t seem to get in my paintings. It was extremely frustrating. In the beginning, I thought that the airbrush would be the answer for me. The airbrush illustration work that I was looking at from other artists at the time represented where I wanted my work to go. What I didn’t realize at the time was that it wasn’t the tool but rather the method of painting that produced the feel I was looking for. It took an oil painting class in college to help me see that. In this class, many of the paintings were started on colored ground. The ground is traditionally known as a layer of material that is applies to a surface in order to allow it to accept paint. Artists gesso it a very good example of this. Standard artists gesso is white but any color can be added to it in order to create a tint.

Something to build on Artists have been using underpainting and colored grounds for ages to give their work a solid foundation. The thought behind an underpainting is that large general areas of value and form can be applied to the surface and then tightened up with subsequent refined layers. The advantage is that by the time the artist gets to the point where the details need to be added, all the concentration can be placed on putting just those details rather than trying to balance the tone, form and value. Working on a colored ground on the other hand, gives you a head start on develop the overall tone and value. Since you are not using this color to define any form, it is simply used as a foundation for the overall color.

Putting it all to use Lets take a look at an example. This painting is a going to be a realistic still life of some old worn and rusted gears. In looking at the reference photo, it’s obvious that this painting will be mostly a variation of one main color or a monochromatic painting. Since I would have to build this color up everywhere on the painting from white, it makes sense here to start with a colored ground first. The next question is what color to choose for the ground. I like to come to that decision by looking a two parts. I look at color and value. The color is determined in this case already. The way I choose the value, which is how light or dark the color is, is by looking at a scale. If the darkest tone in the reference photo is considered 1 and the lightest value is 10, then I generally choose a value around 6, which in this case is PPG Envirobase T436 Red Oxide. By using a value in the middle of the scale, I can add lights or darks to the paining and have them stand out.

Once the ground color is applied to the canvas, I can project the image and begin painting. The drawing for this work was done with a White Stabillo pencil. Stabillo pencil works great on a painted surface as it is easily seen and can be directly painted over without any problem.


The other paints I will be using for this first installment are also PPG Envirobase, they are T408 Black and T400 White.




Now for the paint. I generally work from light to dark so for the first color, I have mixed up a slightly darker version of the ground color by adding black. This is color 5 on the scale. This darker tone will act as my underpainting and allow me to start locking in general shapes and forms without having to worry about getting too dark. This picture shows about half of the painting completed with this color. The contrast

is easily seen. The second photo shows the painting with the #5 color completed. It’s important to understand that each layer requires less paint than the layer before in order to impact the work. By the time I begin using color 10, I will be applying a very small amount of paint yet the impact will be large.

From there, I just work my way down the scale. Value 3 is next and it is applied in the same manner as color 5. Here is a picture of the color applied halfway to show the contrast between colors 5 and 3 and finally here is the painting with color 3 completely in place.

If the painting was going to be purely monochromatic, I would continue on with the next darker color. However, in this instance, there are other colors that I want to introduce to make this painting more interesting and realistic but I will save that for the next installment in AB-Mag where we can finish this up.

THE BADGER RENEGADE SERIES The new Renegade Series of airbrushes marks the first new airbrush line in five years for the Badger Airbrush Company. Designed for use in extremely tight, detail oriented custom auto graphic applications, we at AB-Mag got to put the Velocity through it paces. The Velocity is the gravity fed model out of the trio of new Renegade airbrushes. Features of this new brush include a completely redesigned trigger stability control system, .21 mm paint tip, a 6 degree needle point linear flow angle, “Pointperfect” carbide polished needle, “smartcenter nozzle assemblies” and a smoke black anodized finish. The Renegade airbrushes also include some extras as well. Hard sided storage case, Japanese hose adaptor and guardless nozzle cap are all included as well at a manufactures suggested retail price of $154 USD.

Overall the Renegade proved to be a good value for the money. It easily out performed the other .35 mm nozzled airbrushes in the same price range and has new technology that has been based on proven and reliable existing manufacturing processes.


Our review of the new Renegade started with the basics. Using reduced PPG Envirobase paint we started with the basic fade and line strokes. The trigger on the Renegade has a large fingerpad which adds to the airbrushes control and stability. Fade and line strokes were very smooth. Following the basic stroke test was the small mural test. Using the Mike Learn Field of Screams 1 template the Renegade was used to create this multi-colored skull. One drawback we found was that since the inside of the color cup is also anodized black, it was difficult to see if all the paint was clean from the cup during color changes, especially darker colors like black. However, cleaning the nozzle of the Renegade was very easy thanks to the “Smartcenter guide and hold” nozzle system. The nozzle can be removed, cleaned and reassembled extremely quickly.


About the Artist: Dave Baxter graduated from the Alberta College of Arts (ACAD) and has been professionally airbrushing and creating art for the last 16 years. Most recently he has been focusing on the automotive industry. He has re-established his company MoneyShine after working at CrossEyed for the past couple of years. Wall murals is another of Dave’s interests.

By Dave Baxter

with Curtis Patchin (Wild Guns)


The City of Calgary , Alberta (Canada) has a population of just over a million people and because we are a cold climate area, that translates into over 12,000 minor hockey players, hundreds of adult women’s and men’s teams, numerous junior teams, one WHL team (Western Hockey League) and one NHL team. That’s a lot of potential customers looking to get their goalie mask custom painted! I usually have one or two of these unique canvases on the go at any one time. This particular client wanted to have his mask done with an evil motif and engulfed in toxic green fire!!


#1) I quickly sketched out an evil skull and cut out the dark areas, this will be used as a stencil mapping system. #2) This helmet was prepped by removing all hardware and since we had a good surface, free of dents, scratches and no visible damage I used a red scotch brite pad to knock down the shine and give some texture resulting in a good tooth for the paint to adhere to. I then base coated with Auto Air Base Coat Sealer Dark, which has very good adhesion qualities and can be dry sanded for a smoother surface to start your project, Then I darkened with Auto Air Deep Black. I thinned these two paints with a water / Fantastik mix. The purpose of thinning is to get rid of the pebbled surface that is often found in un-thinned prep jobs. Finally, I covered the surface with a few coats of Auto Air Transparent Base. I used a heat gun to heat set the paint between every coat. Now I lightly spray around the hand held paper mask to give the basic outlines of the skull. #3) The paint used for the mapping step was Auto Air Transparent White thinned down with the water/Fantastik mixture. Approximately a 50/50 mix or even 60% reducer so the spray is very smooth, has minimum tip dry and is not grainy. Be careful as this mixture can get loose and cause spider or spray out problems. #4) The remainder of this project will all be free hand, no more stencil unless I need to re-establish some areas. Using the same thinned paint mixture, spraying in very light passes, I slowly build up the bright value and create a 3D effect. I like to think of this as sculpting with paint #5) Here is a close up of the progress. Notice the teeth have not been started yet and the darks will have to be re-established. The airbrush I am using is an Iwata HP-C stripped down.


#6) Time to add in the cross-bone and do some detailing with a dark color. The paint I mixed to achieve the darks was 5 drops of AA Trans Root Beer, 2 drops of AA Trans Black and 1 drop of AA Trans Blue and a few drops of the water/Fantastik mixture.


#7) Now, time to add in some color on the skull. My mixture for this was 5 drops of trans root beer, 3 drops of trans sun gold and one drop of trans black , reduced by approx 20% so again be careful as this is a very thin mix. I use this sparingly as I want to build color slowly. You can hardly notice the color that has been added it is very subtle. #8) Back to the thinned white mixture and time to start some toxic fire!! As I lay out the flames I amm always working on keeping the inside curve the hot spot and using a free hand shield to create form.


#9) Working my way around the helmet I focus on keeping true to the flicks of fire. I am also trying to get my whitest areas as bright as possible.


#10) Time to add some toxins! Using the AA Fluorescent Hot Yellow I start working the color all around the fire with the overspray being my friend. The amazing thing about this color on top of black is that it starts to lean toward the green side of things - remember color theory - yellow mixed with black makes a greenish color. The AA fluorescent colors are not totally transparent so use the overspray to create mist of fire where there is no white.

#11) As I work my around the helmet, I am being careful not to spray onto the skull. We will put a slight green glow on him later. This step is repeated a few times to deepen the flames. #12) The next step in creating depth is to add some AA transparent Brite Green, shooting this mainly into the hollows and dark areas with the overspray transferring onto the main body of the fire. #13) Mixing the AA Transparent Brite Green with a couple of drops of AA Transparent Blue to create a very dark green. I start shooting into the hollows of the fire and do a little misting as well. This process is all to create more depth. Adding a little of the Transparent Brite Green on the edges of the skull gives the illusion of a toxic glow. Switching back to transparent black I spray slightly into some areas to get rid of a little overspray and deepen the hollows, Do this step very sparingly. Then go back over the black with the dark green mixture to soften the transition from black.


#14) Sign it and this mask is ready for clear and reassembly. Then get ready for the next one as hockey runs all year round here in Calgary!!


I’ve got a lazy susan to paint. It’s homemade and the client used Minwax stain on it. I have decided to paint just the center potion so that the nice oak is still visible. My paint area is about 12 inches in diameter. I’m going to use HOK for graphics and uro clear to finish. I plan on re-sanding the tops and sides because they are not as smooth as I would like them to be. Next, I will apply a clear primer and proceed to base and graphics and on to clear coat. My client wants the whole thing finished off in the uro clear because this will be a functional piece of art. So the final clear will be all over the top piece not just on the art work. - Marty Minwax Oil Stain is not compatible with automotive urethanes. You can’t seal the Minwax with polyurethane because there will be solvent pop when you apply the HOK. If you can find a furniture grade lacquer then you will be able to use HOK for this project. Since it appears that you are going to need to purchase paint for this project, may I recommend AutoAir. It will adhere to any clear polyurethane that you apply to seal the wood. After the polyurethane has cured, use a little 600 sandpaper to give the poly some tooth and then you can AutoAir away and automotive clear it after (the artwork only) or you can use MinWax Waterborne Poly to finish coat the entire piece. All easier and safer than using HOK. When using Createx paints, how much should it be thinned and what air pressure ranges are best. The problem I am having is build-up in the cap and tip. Appreciate the help. - bj


Tip dry is the bane of the airbrush artist’s existence. But don’t let that discourage you. Whether you are airbrushing shirts at 40-60 psi or redi tags at 20 psi, you will experience tip dry.


The best way to tackle tip dry is to keep a bottle of airbrush cleaner close by and run cleaner through your airbrush with each color change. This removes any dried paint that is beginning to build up on the needle cap or underneath the nozzle cap. Many new to the art form miss the dried paint underneath the nozzle cap. Be wise and keep a set of cleaning brushes handy so that you can clear even the small amounts of dried paint that rob your airbrush of performance. Another little trick of the trade is to mix small amounts of Transparent Base to any of the Createx paints to increase flow and slow tip dry. While there is always the temptation to “just add water” this can

be very risky as once the saturation point is reached the pigment will drop out of suspension and all that remains is colored water and sludge at the bottom of your paint bottle. For more information on Createx Paints, visit Hello everyone, I’ve done a few things. I mostly paint motorcycles and I had a problem on a bike last night. When I taped it off for my design the paint came off a little. I wet sanded the primer with 400 grit after it dried, then cleaned and shot the base. I was wondering, should I just do my design over the clear and then just re clear the design? Its only on one panel. I’ve seen some people do that, I just haven’t tried it. I already fixed the panel and cleared it. Thanks for any advice. Well there is certainly a lot going on with this project. I hope that I can answer it correctly. Yes, you can redo your artwork over a repair as long as the base has remained stable. The one precaution is to not have too many layers of paint and clear build up on the tank. A couple of other thoughts. Make sure that you prep the entire tank before you get ready to apply the finish clear since you will have missed the window to do so. Remember that clear adds depth to the artwork so while you may have repaired the lifting, paint is relatively flat. The repair can rear its ugly head again once the finish clear is applied. Even though I am new to the Forum, I was hoping I could impose upon the membership to help my son out again. I posted the other day about his HP-BCS that will not spray. All it does is blow air into the paint bottle, out the vent and when you release the air button, it makes a great squirt gun for a second or two. I would also like to thank the people who responded with helpful tips. Moving on, I need to replace this spray gun for now. The magic question - for somebody that likes the double action, feed from the bottom, what is a good gun? I also realize that you get what you pay for. My son is very artistic and since I indulge myself with Snap-On tools, I don’t want to hold back his talent with a unit that is frustrating to use. Any help would be appreciated. – truck33 Well truck33 this is a great time in the airbrush industry for you to get your son started airbrushing and to still have a few dollars left over for paint. Over the last five years the IWATA airbrushes have increased in price in excess of 20 percent! So I can feel your pain. But there are many other siphon feed airbrushes that will work with the same air hose and bottles as the HP-BCS and perform admirably.

Just a few of the new airbrushes on the market include the Precisionaire APD, the PEAK X-3, and the HV-BDS. If you want to go American made there is the Paasche Millenium or the VEGA 2000. Whichever one you choose the parts are affordable and the performance excellent for you to get your son airbrushing professionally in very short order. I have recently started airbrushing and find it very soothing. I really enjoy doing it in my spare time. Mostly I have been practicing on paper towels and have done a couple shirts for each of my 2 boys. My problem is that every shirt that I have done so far has only lasted until my wife washes them for the first time. After coming out of the washer they are totally faded. I am using Createx paint , is there something I need to do to make my art last? Please Help. This one is easy to answer but a little more complex to handle. First, a couple of truths. One, no matter what type of shirt you purchase and no matter what the design; Paint, transfer, embroidery, the very first time they are washed the fading process begins. This is due to our infatuation with laundry soaps that get out stains. The other truth is that when we airbrush we are laying paint on top of the cotton fibers and cotton fibers release constantly from the day you purchase the shirt. Now that we have the basic understanding, let’s answer your question. You need to take two steps to give your shirt longevity, or at least more longevity than one wash cycle. The first step is to spray your shirts at 40-60 psi. This drives the pain into the cotton fibers. Next, you need to apply heat so that the acrylic bonds, or melts, into the fibers. A heat press does the job best, next would be an iron with a Teflon sheet to cover the artwork and last choice would be a hair dryer or heat gun. Now that the paint is molded to the cotton fibers we need to protect the paint from the laundry soap. Make sure that any airbrushed T-shirt is washed inside out to protect the art from direct contact with the laundry soap. Also, wash in cold water. No sense in reheating the paint and loosening them from the shirt fibers. Following these steps will put you on the way to having airbrushed shirts that will last a reasonable amount of time. This white on black stuff is WAYYYY harder than I had imagined. I’m finally making a little bit of headway. For now, I am doing a pounce type stencil. Initial results are at least making me less likely to throw my airbrush through the window. I’m having problems with the pounce lines. I used my white (ETAC) to make the lines/dots, and now they won’t disappear. What other substance should I use that

Sounds like an awesome project! But doing the pounce thing with paint is an awful lot of work with minimal benefit. Go to your local art supply store and purchase a pounce wheel and some ounce powder. This will give you the guidelines you desire while removing any of the conflicts you could have down the road with the paints you are using and the pounce paint outlines. I am learning the lingo as far as paints go. I just spent the last couple days painting some interior plastic in my truck and learned gobs just from experience. I used Duplicolor filler primer, Spies Hecker base coat and then cleared with Duplicolor Clear Lacquer. I am Do you have a question? Post up on the boards at or and you will get an answer and you may find your post here in a future issue!

kind of scared of Enamel paints because of the insane dry and re-coat times, but I am interested in possibly messing with Urethanes as well as the other types of airbrush paints. Welcome to the world of custom painting! Sounds like you are having fun so far. I agree with you about throwing enamels into the mix at this point. It is always safer to stay within the same paint families to avoid conflict. Do I sound like Dr. Phil? As long as the combination you have used is staying stable in the environment that you have it in, lets stick with the urethanes. Mike Learn has great success using Spies Base coats and then custom painting with SEM candies for his mural work. SEM candies shoot like silk and have open windows (some more lingo for you - a window is how long you have to spray another color before you have to re-prep the paint surface). You can get small amounts of airbrush ready SEM at resellers like or As always, try a small test area first to ensure compatibility before you go full bore with your custom painting project.

I Have been airbrushing for only about 1 1/2 years and am wanting to airbrush a gun stock for myself. I have airbrushed a few before - fiber glass and wood - no problem. But my new rifle is a Remington .308 sps tactical ( for those who shoot ) which has rubber over mould stock. I thought of using auto-air water based paint so as no to damage the rubber with solvent based paint, but was wondering what clear to use as the stock is hard rubber and can be ‘squished’ and moves. Any advice will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nick. You will need to clean the rubber really well with a final wash (de-greaser before paint but a soft one) and then sand the rubber with a grey Scotch Brite or a 1500 grit wet sand paper. Next, apply an adhesion promoter (very light mist - do not wet the surface). Wait 10 minutes for it to dry, then start with your paint. When you are ready to clear, you will need to add a flex agent to it. I know you said it’s a hard rubber but you will be handling it a lot so better be on the safe side. To paint, I would use solvent base paint. They won’t hurt the rubber. You can even add a hardener or catalyst to the paint. It gives it a lot more adhesion.


can stand up to some abuse but still disappear? I remember reading people used some kind of chalk application. How was that used? Right now I’m practicing on black poster board. I will be doing a black T-shirt for the Batman movie coming out with that half lit Joker face on the front.



by Jeff Copeland

STEP 1. First, I trace the image onto the shirt using a Artograph opaque projector, and a lead pencil. It’s not necessary to trace every detail, just the outline and major shapes. STEP 2. I begin by painting the base color, shadows, and reflections using different shades of pure blue. There are no real ‘tricks’ here, I’m simply using my freehand skills to match the colors and shades from the reference picture.

TECHNICAL STATS Compressor: Jun Air silent compressor Airbrush: Iwata eclipse hp-bcs Materials: Tracing paper, 3M Super 77 spray glue, X-acto knife, lead pencil, white cotton t-shirt Paints: Aqua Flow opaque white, silk black, pure blue, Hawaiian green. Createx confederate gray, Caribbean blue. Projector: Artograph prism opaque projector


This essay is (hopefully) to help t-shirt artists become faster at painting car portraits by using more of their freehand skills. I’ve used very few colors, and very little masking on this shirt, but I’ve been able to achieve a fairly high level of detail... in only 45 minutes!


STEP 3. The color matching process continues with the addition of Caribbean blue to the hood, top, and side of the car. The whole idea here is to brighten the lighter blue areas, essentially giving the car a more realistic look. STEP 4. Now the car really becomes non-linear when I add highlights using opaque white. It is important to to follow the the reference picture very close when adding white. Too much will ruin the artwork, and not enough will make the car appear to have no depth. STEP 5. Here I used navy blue to shade the inside of the car, seen through the front windshield. Switching to gray, I paint the side view mirror, as well as some shapes on the side window. Silk black is then used to finish the shading, and with opaque white I create highlights on the front wind shield, and side mirror.


STEP 6. Gray is the main color used to create the front headlights, fog lights, and bumper. Caribbean blue and Hawaiian green are then added, as these colors are reflections of the sky and grass. To finish the bumper I add silk black to enhance the reflection, and opaque white for highlights.


STEP 7. As with the bumper, gray is the main color used for the wheels. All of the details are first painted gray, then green and blue are added to create reflections. Contrast is increased on the wheels by introducing black, and finally opaque white highlights. The tires can be painted using only shades of black. I’m not trying to achieve photo realism here, just a few details will do.

STEP 8. Switching to Hawaiian green, I paint the grass. I use small fuzzy dagger strokes, all of different shades to create the grass. The use of fuzzy strokes, as opposed to sharp clean strokes, is important here because I don’t want to take away from the sharp lines of the car. STEP 9. Here I glued tracing paper over the car using 3M super 77 spray glue. Then, using a sharp new blade, I cut around the car with a X-acto knife. This is going to protect the car from over-spray when I paint the sky, as well as give the edges a sharp ‘clean’ look. This process only takes about five minutes once you get the hang of it. STEP 10. The major part of the sky is Caribbean blue, with a little pure blue. For the clouds, I use opaque white then Caribbean blue to shadow the bottom.

Jeff Copeland has been airbrushing since 1992 and currently lives and works in Louisville Kentucky. He specializes in textile airbrushing, but enjoys doing canvas and automotive painting as well. Jeff has completed an instructional DVD & design portfolio on how to airbrush baseball helmets. It is available at You can reach Jeff at


STEP 11. The Mustang is complete! Remove the tracing paper, and sign the artwork.


By Margret Howard

For me, art has always been about people. Some of my greatest joys have come from the people I have met to discuss commissioned art. I can honestly say that each piece of custom artwork that I have done accounts for a person, and each person has a story.

“We do what we do so it never happens again on our soil, at least, not on our watch!” Before a recent trip to New York, General Hines encouraged me to visit Ground Zero. I took his advice. The spot was very quiet compared to the rest of the city. The air was very, very still; there was hardly a breeze. I also went to the Ground Zero Museum. It is a small museum, but contains extremely powerful images. I was deeply moved. I will always remember and never forget.


When I was given the opportunity to do a painting for Brigadier General Stephen J. Hines, I felt honored to have been chosen. One of General Hines’ units within the 42nd Infantry Division was the first to respond to the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City. He also lost some friends and associates that worked at the Pentagon, which was attacked on that same day. During our visit, he told me that when it was his Cavalry Squadron’s turn to assume security operations at the George Washington Bridge, and the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, he took his Squadron Officer Corps downtown to the visit the solemn Here are the Harley saddlebags General Hines scene of the twin towers disaster. The scene had painted for his motorcycle: was so intense, that from that moment on, the Squadron found a renewed sense of urgency in their daily training regiment. Each and every member of the Squadron was affected and reminded of his/her very important duty:


Step One: It Is integral that you clean and de-grease the pieces to painted. Once dry, scuff the surface with 1000 or 1500 grit sandpaper to provide “tooth� for the paint you will apply. Step Two: I created an oval mask with the soldier silhouette using a vinyl cutter. I removed the background piece of the mask and airbrushed inside the oval with white, then basecoat blue. Next, I used HOK Kandy Koncentrates (properly reduced) for the darker blue areas to fade into the sky. When that was finished I airbrushed in the soldier with black to knock it back into the base color of the bike and create a realistic silhouette. Step Three: I created the text with my vinyl cutter and applied the mask within the oval. I then used the HOK white to paint it in. I finished this bag by airbrushing around the oval with black to complete the look. Step Four: After the bag was prepped sketched the flag and pole on transfer tape. I carefully cut out the sketch (you do not want to cut the surface!), then painted with HOK white basecoat. I replaced the mask for the star. I then added in the red.

Step Six: The text was cut from a plotter and positioned on the bag. After placing his name underneath, I am now ready for the clear. Step Seven: Here they are after they have been all clear coated and are ready for delivery.

Margret Howard His Painter Airbrush


Step Five: I airbrushed in the shaded parts of the flag and placed subtle highlights on to the flag. The flagpole was done in HOK platinum paint and white paint. Then I removed the mask for the star.




AB-Mag Issue #7  

The 7th and FINAL issue published. A magazine filled with airbrush art, how tos, tips, tricks and general inspiration.