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Artool 4 – Craig Fraser Mastering Deb Mahan’s Pin-Up Girlies


Gentlemen, and ladies, rev your airbrushed Deborah Mahan’s Pin-Up Girlies is not only gorgeous, it’s unique in that it is not just one stencil but a 5-stencil system that can be used to create different characters and styles. These styles are also a bit longer than the average Artool stencil to achieve a better fit along the length of a tank. Mahan, an esteemed Airbrush Getaway instructor for a number of years, works with me at Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate.

Step 1:

step 1

The first stencil for the layout is the basic outline of Big Girl on the Girlie Girl A stencil. This is the basic positive outline of the entire image. It has the smaller Little Girl pose on the same sheet. Like any good stencil system, Deb has created multiple uses and designs to be made from the same system.

Step 2:

step 2

The first stencil is used.with a little black kandy basecoat to create the pin-up’s background shadow against the metal.

Step 3:


With the black still in the airbrush, Deb uses 1/8” 3M crepe tape to lay out the grid of the aluminum panels. In this case she even allows the overspray to get beyond the tape to give an additional embossed effect.

Step 4:

step 4

Coming back with the same stencil, Deb use basecoat white in her Iwata Eclipse CS. This white is then sprayed on for the base color of the pin-up. The pin-up is shifted up and over to allow the previously sprayed black to accomplish a shadow effect.

Step 5:

step 5

Digging out one of the original Skullmaster Frontal stencils, Deb sprays in the rivet along the aluminum panels to create “bomber skin.” You can use any circle stencil for this step, but be sure it is solvent-proof, o r you’ll end up with a potato chip for a stencil.

Step 6:

step 6

Going to the second Girlie Girl B stencil,Deb lays in the detail outlines with basecoat black. She also used the martini glass option located on the lower right hand portion of the stencil. There are a number of little goodies that Deb included with these stencils to allow you to individualize any of your pin-up creations.

Step 7:

step 7

Mixing up some opaque red, Deb sprays in the pin-up girlies top using the Hot Rod Girlie stencil. This stencil also has tattoos and a big dice you can lean her against. Deborah also tattoos and a big dice you can lean her against. Deborah also lean your girlie up against a skull if you want to.

Step 8:

step 8

You can see in this step how the image is slowly coming together, and there is little, if any, freehand at this point. Deb concocts some flesh-tone pink to fog over the body. Any overspray in this step will mute the design, which will actually produce an aged look-just like the original bomber art.

Step 9:

step 9

Using the same stencil as the red top, Deb adds in the black shirt. Don’t worry about shopping it at this point, it has to cover for now. She will sculpt out any shades and shadows using white highlights later on.

Step 10:

step 10

Alternating between white and black, Deb creates freehand gray tones that give the skirt a 3-D, realistic look. She also takes the opportunity to use the same gray and highlights to add shade and detail to the body as well.

Step 11:

step 11

A little bit of freehanding can do wonders for your stencilwork! Here, Deb uses white with the stencil in the martini glass to really punch it out form it’s original black outline. A little kandy red in the lips and hair also gives the pin-up a very kewl “Vargas” look.

Step 12:

step 12

Little bit of green for the olive in the martini, and a few final highlights and details, and Deb is pretty much finished with this pin-up.

Step 13:

step 13

Deborah decides me wants to push the nose-art realism so she brings the tape back in and adds the seam line and rivets over the artwork. Using Alsa’s kandy black, the underlying colors are still visible in the rivets, adding to the realism of the worn paint on top. Very kewl.

Step 14:

step 14

The final step is the outline and the lettering. Deb painted in the red outline around the pin-up to give it that old school look, and I lettered the Martini Time logo. It’s amazing what a little red outline and lettering can do to an image.

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