THIS ARTICLE DEMONSTRATES THIRTEEN TECHNIQUES ”including stippling, gold leaf, silver gold, variegated gold, airbrushed tribal flames” using about twenty-five mixed colors. Basic surface preparation is vital for best results and proper adhesion, so I wiped down my metal panel first with 409, a water-based degreaser/cleaner. If you prefer something a little stronger, I recommend House of Kolor’s KC10 pre-cleaner or Bestine’s rubber cement thinner. Bestine dries quickly and won’t remove or damage painted surfaces. When using chemicals of this nature, I recommend the use of latex gloves to protect your skin.
I established the center of my .032 powder-coated metal panel, dotted the spot, and drew a horizontal and vertical line through that point to form a cross. Using a ruler and Stabilo pencil, I gridded the entire panel. The grid helps keep the artwork centered and symmetrical.
Your mobile cart should include a compressed air source (air compressor, C02, etc), airbrush, striping and lettering brushes, paint, reducers, paper towels, and other essentials pertinent to a project. I usually stock enough supplies for 50 to 60 projects in the field or at shows. For more information on setting up a cart, you may contact me at email@example.com.
After sketching the design with a white Stabillo water-soluble grease pencil, I applied 3M 1 /8-inch blue fine-line tape over the lines. I prefer the blue fine-line tape (there are green and beige paper versions) because it’s plastic, extremely pliable, and it will cut clean sharp lines with limited color bleeding. The design originated from the center line. There’s no set scheme here, so wing your own.
After completing the fine-line layout, I applied a small strip of clear application paper for use in finishing the center design. Using clear versus white mask enables me to see the grid and cut more accurately. I removed the center section with an X-Acto knife and #11 blade.
3M 1 /2-inch tape was used to line up additional line work. A ruler can achieve the same outcome.
With the center design laid out, I masked off the surrounding areas to avoid any overspray or stippling onto the image.
Step 7A, B and C:
On a regular sheet of paper I poured separate “puddles” of House of Kolor scarlet red, orange, and bright yellow, and prepared small cups of white and reducer (the reducer helps achieve the consistency needed to create fine stippled dots). Using a fine bristle nylon toothbrush, I dipped into red, and, aiming at the board, flicked my fingers across the bristles of the brush in an upward motion. I covered the entire design with the red. The thicker the paint, the smaller the dots; the thinner the paint, the larger the dots.
Note: you may also use a gravity feed spray-gun or airbrush for this process by simply turning down the air pressure while holding the trigger back until you reach the desired dot size.)
Next, I dipped the still red brush into the orange to slowly graduate the red to orange. A little reducer was added here.
Step 9A and B:
I continued this process with the bright yellow, stippling in an upward motion starting from the bottom, slowly evolving the lighter colors. The key is to keep the majority of the color at the bottom, and blend it toward the center of the panel.
Step 10A and B:
If you apply too much color, or a load larger than intended, simply pat it with your hand to remove some of the excess. To prevent runs, give it time to cure before adding more color.
Step 11A, B and C:
I dipped a clean toothbrush into a mix of white and a little yellow, and again flicked from the bottom up. I wiped the brush frequently to maintain the finest white dots. You don’t want the white to over-power the design.
Step 12A, B and C:
With white only, I repeated the steps. Typically, I hold the toothbrush a few inches away from the board. You’ll see the impact once you remove the mask.
If you don’t attain this effect, add color to your satisfaction.
I added color to some random areas at the top of the artwork. In old school sign parlance, this is also known as “holidays,” a reference to gold leafing where you have to replace missing gold spots.
Here’s the first completed graphic.
Step 16A and B:
Boom! With the mask removed, notice how the brilliant colors jump off the black background. In 16B I added outline stripes (cool stripes and more graphics are coming). OOPS!: This section of the panel was not properly covered before paint was applied. You don’t want this mistake to happen on a customer’s job.
Using the grid as an aid, I added more to the design with the white Stabilo pencil.
Using a Norris Trickster #0 Mack striping brush (developed by Jim Norris, and by far one of my favorite brushes), I painted dagger strokes to dress up and expand the design.