AT THE AGE OF 13,
JOHN HANNUKAINE DISCOVERED THE PINSTRIPING ART OF JACK PUDLINER WHILE vacationing with his aunt and uncle in Redding. At about the same time he saw Ed Roth’s airbrushed shirt work in an issue of Car Craft magazine, and instantly became infatuated with the weirdo designs he saw. He bought a single-action Paasche airbrush, rigged it up to an old refrigerator compressor, and started painting like crazy.
Soon he discovered that people would actually pay for his striping and airbrush work. When he was old enough to drive, Hannukaine started working part time in a few different sign shops, managing to put himself through the University of Washington in the process. After graduating with an art education degree, Hannukaine served a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy as an illustrator/draftsman. (Just one of the things he and his friend Don King have in common.)
For the past 32 years, Hannukaine has operated a commercial sign and vehicle graphics business in Tumwater, Washington. He gives full credit to Bonnie, his wife of 37 years, who manages the books and raised their three children, Rachel, Adam and Alison.
Hannukaine, 60, has painted commercially for 46 years, and enjoys his craft today as much as he did in his youth, if not more. When asked about retirement, he answers, “I plan to paint as long as my creator blesses me with the ability to do so. After all, I hear tales of some people who retire to do what I’ve been able to do most of my life.”
This tutorial demonstrates how to achieve a blended effect in a short time using lettering enamels, a flat synthetic pictorial brush, and a small script detail brush.
I started with a standard carbon paper to transfer the drawing to the panel’s surface.
For illustration work like this, I pour the colors right onto the palette. Michael Lavallee’s pictorial brushes by Mack, and a No. 1 American painter 4050 script brush are the best tools for this job. The 1-Shot lettering enamel is thinned with mineral spirits.
A circular shape in the background was painted with small crosshatch strokes blended from purple at the top to black on the bottom.
Starting with brilliant blue, I blended and transitioned the colors in the flag to process blue. All the strokes were down strokes.
This is the most important part of the project: blending from dark to light. Starting with pure brilliant blue, I painted a few strokes on the flag. Then, I went to the palette and added a little process blue to create a slightly lighter color. Painting a few strokes with this color, I continued by adding process blue, mixing and painting, and finished with pure process blue.
The same steps were repeated for the red and white sections of the flag. Note the blended colors of the flag. Don’t try to blend too perfectly or you’ll lose the hand-painted look.
Working from dark to light again, I applied the feathers to the head, using quick strokes with the brush held sideways.
Here the feathers were painted from the darkest value to about the middle value. No waiting time was required between color changes, and everything was applied wet on wet.
The lightest strokes were applied here. Again, the brush was held on its side but this time in a flat position.
From dark to light, I painted in the beak and tongue, using small random and crosshatch strokes.
After the eye and brush were painted in, I detailed everything with a medium brown.
After adding paint and drips to the brush using Kansas City teal, I outlined everything with orange.
Building from dark to light, I highlighted the paint and drips with a lightened mixture of the teal.
The stars were painted with a slightly blue-tinted white, so they wouldn’t overpower the blue.
The final shading was done with restoration clear mixed with a drop of black, and Smoothie brand fish-eye eliminator (approximately one drop per ounce). I used a soft brown quill to minimize the brush strokes.
The scroll striping here was done with a No. 3 4901 eclipse outliner from Dick Blick — the border stripe was done with a 00 Grumbacher striping brush.
THE FINISHED PIECE:
This project took about 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete.
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