Volume 12, Number 3, September 2010
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Bernie Wrightson’s “I’m Back”
By Wes Hawkins
One of my favorite genres of garage kits is zombies. The best reason is you can’t really go wrong no matter what color scheme you use. In this article, I’ll be discussing Sideshow Productions’ “I’m Back.” an out-of-production piece based on the work of artist Bernie Wrightson.
I based the figure with a light fleshtone using an Iwata HP-CS airbrush. This is my brush of choice for basic cover and base coats, as well as close-up detail. The HP-CS can also get into tight spaces, so for general purpose work I always reach for it.
Here is where the fun starts. I look through my paints and pick out whatever color I think will look neat. (Google can come in handy as well.) Grays, greens, blues, purples—It doesn’t really matter what color you pick. Zombies can be whatever color you want them to be and they’ll still look good.
Here, I’ve added a rust color in a random pattern to break up the fleshtone base. I continue on with random sprayings of the other colors I’ve chosen. I don’t consider going dark to light or vice versa. I just let my imagination take over. Trust me, you really CAN’T mess these types of projects up.
Here you can see the grays and greens I’ve added. I don’t follow any creases or folds in the flesh just yet. All I’m looking to do is break the base color up and add some interesting contrast to the figure.
It’s the small details like shadows and highlights that make all the difference. Here I’ve started adding shadows using a rust color. In order to better control the paint flow, I turn my pressure down to about 2 or 3 PSI and thin the paint to about 10 parts thinner to 1 part paint. The gravity feed makes spraying with this low pressure far easier to do than with using a siphon-fed brush. I’ve used both siphon and gravity feeds, and while siphon has its advantages in holding a lot more paint, gravity is my primary choice.
Here you can see all the shadows, highlights, and colors used on this kit. The highlights were gently sprayed in using the base color fleshtone. I cut the pressure way down and used line control to spray the thinnest lines I could. Again, the HP-CS made this easy. Just remember to keep your brush clean and have patience. The airbrush added its own unique spin on a kit that was, in my opinion, meant to be hand painted.
Finally, I misted the bandages with rust to give them a soiled appearance. I figured they had to have gotten dirty on the way up from the grave!
That’s it! A simple down and dirty way to make those zombies come to life, so to speak! Try using random colors on your next project. You won’t be disappointed!
Artist Gardener - Always Looking
By Janean S. Thompson
I will admit to being a dedicated gardener and try to work art into the scheme of the garden whenever possible. But I also admit that my eyes see things that others (even avid gardeners) do not see. One example is the project I selected for this article. While in the garden today, I was lamenting the fact that insects had attacked a number of my plants. Our climate is fairly severe so insect damage is not the only worry we have: wind, heat, fluctuating rainfall – seemingly oceans and then nothing for weeks. Vigilance is the only way we can have success.
The plants had been fairly hard hit by grasshoppers. Many of the leaves of several of the plants were nearly skeletonized by ravenous chewing creatures. Especially hard hit were the morning glory vines. Nearly every leaf was riddled with perforations. I noticed that some of the leaves looked almost lace-like. That gave me an idea, and that idea is this issue’s project. I will use some of those leaves to create some lacy patterns for guest bedroom linens, pillowcases to be specific.
Gather the materials you will need:
— Linens – I chose a pillowcase.
— Soft tones of acrylic paint.
— Leaves of the perforated plant (but it could be any leaf shape or other found item).
— Particle mask or respirator.
— Cleanup materials.
Begin by pressing the pillowcase. Lay it out flat on your work surface and protect the areas you don’t want to decorate. A fresh, clean leaf is placed on the wide hem of the case. I then apply a soft mist of color to the edge of the pillow case or other linen item. (photo 1) You can choose to add several colors to tie into the décor theme of the room or a single color…you are in control of this decision. (photo 2)
I love the look of organic, natural themes for décor. When you think of leaves in nature, they are almost always overlapped and grouped. My design mimics that type of look. (photo 3) Later I could use the same colors and designs for the hem of the top sheet and maybe other items in the room as well.
For the home decorator with real energy, a complete ensemble can be created to match. Even though this project involves simple pillowcases for the guest room, you could easily expand the theme to include sheets, lamp shades, drapes or valances; low-nap throw rugs, decorative bed pillows; low-pile throws and blankets, wastepaper basket, dresser scarves, etc.
The same type of project can be done for other rooms too. Dens and family rooms are full of opportunities to create personal accessories with a natural theme. Throw pillows with leaf patterns could coordinate with grassy looks on a TV wrap-up blanket. Small accessories like boxes and baskets are perfect for slight modifications and embellishments to match. You have an open palette, so explore the possibilities.
Holidays give us all the opportunity to “jazz up” the place, and your airbrush is a great tool to help create those special looks. Use light adhesive to spray on wrapped gifts and then sprinkle glitter over the surface. Paint pinecones for wreaths. Make original ornaments with stencils and stickers. You can have a blast – anytime of year.
Remember to reach for your airbrush when you are doing everyday or special occasion decorations. It can add color and interest quickly and easily – like this pillowcase. (photo 4)
Framing Up Flames—Turning Pedal Power Into Firepower
By Thomas Adams
Well summer is quickly winding down, but it is never too late to squeeze out a short project for the kids. Painting a bike frame is quick, easy and the kids love it. Imagine yourself twelve years old again, riding on a custom airbrushed chopper. In this installment we will explore the tools and tricks that will make any kid the envy of the neighborhood.
To start, the bike was stripped down and sandblasted by a friend of mine. Then we came along and put a normal flat black base coat on it with some hardware store spray paint. Remember that this is a bike, so don’t go too crazy with pricy paint because this thing will just be abused anyway. After the frame had dried, I blew any leftover sand out of the tubes and cleaned it thoroughly with rubbing alcohol to prep.
The next step in the “flametastic” voyage is to lay down a little tape. I use blue fine-line tape, which is available at most auto parts stores, to lay out the design for the flames. The trick to taping flames or geometric graphics is to pay attention to the negative space. Remember that the tape is not the flame; all the space inside the tape is the flame. Whatever is outside the tape becomes the masked area.
Another pitfall to look out for when taping a project like this bike is to not overexert your tape. This fine-line blue tape is vinyl, so it is very stretchy and that makes for good handling to do graphics with; but when the tape is over stretched it will pop up. This popping of the tape usually happens while you are putting paint on so you can imagine how frustrating it can be.
Once you are happy with the tape job it is time to mask this thing up. There are two ways to mask a job like this, the first being filling the outside of the areas with masking tape (which can be time consuming), but sometimes regular rolls of masking tape are all you have. The other method is the one I prefer, in which a large roll of adhesive paper is laid over the entire design and is trimmed along the middle of the blue tape. This takes less time but does require a steady hand and a sharp razorblade. (Fig. 3)
Now that the lines are cut carefully into the mask, you may start to carefully remove the cutouts. Pay close attention to the parts you are removing; take time to make sure you are picking out the flames and not the outsides. Your finished job should resemble Fig. 4 with different graphics, of course.
With the masking complete, give the frame another once-over to make sure no little spots are uncovered. Also make sure that the tape along your blue lines is secure. Always remember that there is air pressure involved, and that the air coming from your gun can lift tape up. Enough of that though, let’s get to the good part, the airbrushing!
For this project I am going to use a long lost friend, my Iwata HP-Plus, which—if you are lucky enough to own one—looks like this.
This brush is great for these kinds of jobs because it is versatile, easy to use, and it always works great. My advice is buy one of these guys, keep it clean, and you will be able to do anything with it. I will be using an oil-based enamel paint because we want this paint to take some abuse. (You may also use automotive paints or even thinned model paints for a small job like this.) So to start off I mixed up a bit of silver, thinned it out and got to work.
As with most flame jobs there is a fade involved here. My little buddy that owns the bike likes silver and green, so silver and green it shall be. When shooting the silver I feathered the edges by backing up the airbrush and lightening up on the trigger. This is your common blend stroke, and my HP is all about it. This brush is great at doing smooth seamless blends. I just keep the air pressure around 40 psi and keep the gun in motion.
Now the green is pretty much a repeat of the silver, only we are working our way back down the tube. I always turn a job like this 360 degrees to make sure the blend keeps an even stance all around. This keeps with the stylistic look of the classic flames.
When the green and silver flames are all dry it is time to unwrap this masked up mess and see what this little hot rod looks like.
Well this was fun; let’s do it again sometime! Until then, keep paintin’.
Automotive Paints and the Fine Artist
By Donn Shanteau
Sometimes enlightenment comes on the heels of grueling research; other times it is the fruit of some insight that is offered from a mentor. Of course, you never can discount the age old “It fell from the sky and bonked me in the head” method of seeing some kind of light. At the risk of seeming somewhat mundane, I reached my epiphany by misadventure, in the form of marriage.
When I met the love of my life, she had already started to crack the code of becoming a successful artist. After a wonderful education in the arts, she learned that she had to be very flexible in how she applied her talents to earn income. Of course, she could draw and paint up a storm, but the mostly rural locality where she plied her trade was not the best market for “fine art” sales. Yes, she sold drawings and paintings in many venues, but a consistent predictable income was as of yet beyond her reach. She began to diversify her offerings to include, among other things, automotive custom painting. She wasn’t interested in painting cars and motorcycles as much as she just wanted to airbrush cool things on them.
As time went on, custom auto and cycle airbrushing became the core of our business. We became fluent in the ways of automotive paints and what you can and can’t do with them. All the while, my wife still yearned for the freedom of doing art for art’s sake, and the hired gun thing required her to take some direction from the client in most cases. Whenever her schedule allowed, she would usually escape into one of her fantasy paintings. That’s where she could make her own rules.
One of her new rules was, “You don’t have to be normal. Why do things the same way everyone else does?” Instead of using her water-based paints and inks, she started covering her Claybord panels (www.ampersandart.com) with automotive lacquers or some type of automotive acrylic urethane paint. It was explained to me that these paints could be used in the same way that traditional mediums are used. Transparent auto candy paints equate to watercolors. Automotive reducers are the kissing cousin of linseed oils in oil paints. Opaque automotive base colors translate to opaque versions of oils, acrylics and so forth. The cool thing about automotive paints is that there is a myriad of special effect paints that among other qualities can shimmer and change colors as well as any peacock or exotic bird on the planet. Once these paints are applied and clear-coated with shiny urethane paint, they capture and reflect light like no other medium. This “look” makes almost any painting pop out of a crowd of traditional works that have been painted with the standard faire of mediums.
I realize that working in a strange new medium can be intimidating. Automotive paints are generally flammable and not healthy to breathe, most require the user to wear a charcoal respirator when working with the paints. Lacquer paints are soon to be outlawed for the most part, so I would not recommend in investing in them. Single stage enamel paints were used back in the day before two stage paints that require a base color that is covered with a clear-coat protective coating. Single stage paints were used well into the 1960s until they were replaced by Lacquer paints. Lacquers have been supplanted by Urethane paints, which are the most commonly used paints today. On the horizon is the invasion of water-based paints. These pigments have a toe-hold in some OEM production lines and auto body repair businesses. Custom painters have not embraced water borne paints as of yet, but sooner or later, Uncle Sam will dictate use of these paints based on their ecologically safer chemical formula and the reduced health risk for the people who work with them.
Creating a painting with “Car Paint” isn’t as crazy as it sounds. My wife now has the reputation as the “edgy artist” in the fine arts crowd. You may want to try this medium for yourself and create your own edge.
Donn Shanteau is the Co-Author of the Ultimate Airbrush Handbook and Custom Automotive and Motorcycle Airbrushing 101 with his wife Pamela Shanteau. www.pamelashanteau.com
Skate Deck Paint Contest
House of Kolor/Coast Airbrush Paint Contest
All skate decks must be purchased from Coast Airbrush, Anaheim, CA; painted with House of Kolor paint; and include the House of Kolor scarab and House of Kolor text within the artwork. The logo is available for download on the website under the Skate Deck Contest page.
Photos of completed decks along with a list of materials used should be submitted to design@coast airbrush.com. Photos must be taken in high resolution with an 8 mega pixel or higher camera. Photos must be a straight on photo of the entire board. Please make sure to keep reflection out of photo. Include full name and contact information in email. Winners will need to be able to ship their decks to Coast Airbrush by a specified deadline that will be given when winners are announced.
See http://www.coastairbrush.com/skatecontest2010.html for complete contest details.
Prizes: 1st Place - $300 and an Iwata HP-C+ Airbrush
2nd Place - $200 and an Iwata HP-CS Airbrush
3rd Place - $100 and an Iwata HP-CR Airbrush
The winners’ skate decks will be featured in the House of Kolor SEMA Booth 2010, and all entries will receive acknowledgement in Airbrush Action Magazine. Entries must be submitted before October 20, no exceptions!
Airbrush Workshop Opportunity
Basic Airbrush Techniques
Don’t miss this opportunity to learn basic airbrush techniques with instructor Robert Paschal! Learn a new skill that will increase your income potential. Knowing basic airbrush technique will allow you to apply the technique to painting or enhancing decorative murals, nails/makeup, cakes and sugar art, automotive/motorcycle design, temporary tattoos, fine arts work, hobbies/crafts, and much more. The use of all equipment/supplies is included, and seats are limited.
For information, visit www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm or call 845.831.1043
Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in November 2010!