As with any of my stories, this one will likely be long. No detail spared. My last post mentioned an airbrush job that i was working on that required re-doing because the frisket mask i used had left adhesive residue on, around and under the freshly applied paints. Removing the residue effectively meant starting over; which thankfully was ok with the customer. I started by doing a ridiculously thorough cleaning job on the airbrush, and starting fresh with all new materials. New frisket, new paints, new exactos, new stabillos, and new stencil material. It's quite difficult to find opaque frisket... which would have been really helpful since the base color of the fender i was working on is black. I did not find any and i made a lot of trips to look. What i ended up using was a matte clear frisket. The idea of using an opaque masking material is so that you can transfer the design easily to the mask, then transfer the mask to the painted surface. Like drawing on paper, then using that drawing as your mask. The black just just made it challenging- not impossible. So instead, i taped the drawing i did onto a table, then taped a piece of wax paper over top that (since it's fairly transparent), then took a sheet of frisket off it's backing and applied it to the wax paper. This way i could see the drawing thru everything. Next step is to trace out the millions of lines... and the more accurate, the better. The best thing to use for this is either a white/red Stabillo Pencil, or a white/red Sharpie Mark All Pencil. I used red because the contrast was easier to read then the white (found this out by testing it several times). Also i misted a light coat of rattle can fixative to the frisket so that the lines would not smear. Next step was to position the mask where it would stay for the remainder of the process. It's low tack, so repositioning it is simple enough. What was difficult was getting the mask to conform to as many of the contours as the fender had. It didn't really conform, but i decided that since i was only working on one section at a time, i could address each area or re mask each area as needed. All this work and i haven't even got to mixing color yet! Once the mask is layed out, each piece can be cut from it individually. I try to work top - down, or in pairs (no pun intended). For example, i did the gloves together, the arm and leg together, the wings together... this ensures that the tonality will come out close to the other. Especially difficult when pieces are done individually, but it works. Working from dark to light is also a little different, but i like it better since it allows you to build up color slowly. I started by shading from black up to gray (using opaque gray) in areas that were going to be lighter, then switched to white and followed the gray as a guide. Using gray also helps transition from dark to light rather then relying on the transparency of the white since it white itself will quickly and accidentally become to strong. Later the shadowed areas would be hit with a transparent black. Many many parts and pieces make up just the knight guy... the shoe alone is made up of about 30 stenciled sections. Once he was done, i got started on the snakey dude. First i lightly dusted the entire thing with gray so that i could come back in with a pencil and draw out all the scales. Although faint, i used them as a guide to color all the scales first with gray then highlighting the necessary ones with white. Once that was all done, that side of the design was covered and the lady part cut out. I also cut out a set of acetate stencils for the lady part since i didn't want to shade her like i had with the knight guy. The acetate stencils served as free hand stencils as opposed to masked out pieces. This would allow for a softer transition from part to part instead of trying to paint her like a robot. I'm still new to a lot of this so don't judge too harshly... i understand that with practice i will hopefully be better at doing people, faces, and portraits, but this is what I'm capable of at this moment. I'm not saying it's the best, but i don't think it's bad either. The theme was 'fantasy', so i think that gave me a little more space to practice without having to be photo exact. Making form and skin out of shades of gray is a little challenging as well... i can already see where i would do some things different in the future. And that's how we learn, right? By doing. Once the lady was all shaded up, next i did the details of the face. Mind you that the face is the size of a nickel. I don't find it entirely necessary to do everything with an airbrush- so the eyes, lips and hair were all done using a paint brush. This certainly adds to sharpness (a little too much sometimes) but makes the application of small things a whole lot easier. Each strand of hair was done individually with a paint brush... first with gray, then white, then shaded with a little transparent black, then white again in a few spots (using an airbrush to offset clarity). The original concept called for her to have blonde hair, but after everything was applied i thought that that would be the thing that would divide this picture. Keeping everything in the black-gray-white realm really holds the fantasy feel, i think. Especially since the effect of transparent white over black gives you a slight blue hue. Once the entire thing was unmasked, i went back and added highlights to some of the metal surfaces as well as softening the feathers in the wings. Since my deadline was this morning and i was just finishing up, i didn't want to get too carried away... but i think i could have worked on this piece another full day and really gotten more out of it. I really like the way it came out tho eventually we have to stop and go 'ok, were good'. Last but not least is the signature under the snake and then bam, it's done. It was a 3 day bam tho. With little sleep. Ohhhh sooo mush typing... and it's not over. I would also like to mention that i used a different kind of paint for this piece and i highly recommend it. I have found that with automotive basecoats when you go back in to do another layer of shading on a previously worked area and you mask it off you will pull the most recent layer off the previous one. Scuffing in between layers is out of the question since your barely putting any paint down anyways.... adhesion promoters work, but will help build the edge on your graphic. I found both these to be problems on the 1st attempt at doing this piece. The 2nd time around i bought Golden brand Fluid Acrylics along with the same brand Airbrush Medium and Transparent Extender. This stuff works great- very sprayable, the colors are great, and they are very permanent. Acrylics are usually water based, but when dry they cannot be reversed with water (like basecoat with reducer). Acrylics dry with a shell to them rendering them quite durable for masking and remasking. They also adhere very very well to themselves in multiple layers even after dry for a few days with NO unmasking problems at all. The tendency to use water to dilute acrylics is where you run into problems. The paint is designed with color and adhesion in mind... like anything else when you add water to it, you dilute its' properties thus effecting it's adhesion and vibrance. I spent a lot of time researching the product before i committed to it and in that found that using the Medium and Extender allowed for proper sprayability and adhesion without any sacrafices. This stuff works great and the line of colors are excellent. I will definitly be using them again.
Well that's enough blah blah blah for one day!
Now ask me why a knight has wings, is killing an anacanda and is staring at a naked chick next to him... where did her cloths go anyways?
Pics: The first 2 are finished pics before clear, the 3rd is part way thru the knight, the 4th is part way thru the first time around (so you can see the mess of stencils and tape), the 5th is the drawing i did to work from.