Airbrush Getaway Workshops:
Learn How To Airbrush!

Visit or Click Here to Register

Learn airbrushing hands-on from the masters at the Airbrush Getaway workshops. Register today: Visit 
or Call 1.800.232.8998

Augies 13 techniques_part 2

For those of you who are just getting started, there’s an amazing amount of reference material available, such as Airbrush Action, for great inspiration. I do suggest that if you’re going to copy designs from a magazine or digital reference, concentrate on creating a clean and uniform piece. There’s a great learning curve to mastering pinstriping, but the pay-off trumps the frustration. Consistency, knowledge, and repetition are key. Practice is the mother of skill.

OK, now I’ll pick up where we left off in Part I. Here are the tools and materials you’ll need for the first and last part of this project:


20: Brushes: 00 and 0 Mack Tricksters, Mack Jenson Swirly Q JS-1, #1, #2, #6 Mack lettering quills, 179 series tack rag, clear and medium tack white application paper, Stabilo pencils, 3M 1/8-inch beige and blue masking tape, 1/16-inch green tape, tape measure, home-made straw fan, Arco compass with ink tip, any assortment of HOK pearls and flakes.



Iwata HPSB airbrush, House of Kolor SG100 mid-coat clear, RU 311 reducer, KK04 Oriental blue kandy Koncentrate, cutting mat, Xacto knife with #11 blades, paper or poster board for a loose mask.



One Shot 4008 fast gold size, and HOK striping colors and reducer.



Patent gold leaf, white gold leaf, and variegated gold leaf (rolls or sheets, it’s your choice). A large blush make-up brush, plastic spreader, cotton balls, and a swatch of velvet.



In Part I, we left off adding some outlines and simple dagger strokes with a 0 Mack Trickster to our stipple-based graphic. Using the grid to stay symmetrical, I used a white Stabilo pencil to set a guide for the next layer of stripes and used light blue to expand out and weave a few lines through the openings down and out. I mixed a drop of white to my blue to lighten it to contrast the dagger strokes.



Taking the panel to the next level, I roughed the tribal and leaf layouts with the Stabilo pencil.



Using a violetmagenta mix with a slow reducer, I rendered the tribal flames with a #6 Mack quill. The slow reducer enables a clean and smooth flow of paint. You could use an airbrush for this part, but for closed quarters you don’t want to have to deal with all the overspray. I’ll use the airbrush for highlights and shadows later.



After the tribal color dried, I wiped and tacked down the panel, and then covered it with clear medium-tack 6-inch Tranferite mask. Using a 4-inch squeegee, I assured good adhesion and removed any air bubbles. Now it’s ready to cut.



Using an X-Acto knife with #11 blades, I removed all the areas to be sized and leafed. Be sure not to apply too much pressure on the blade or you may cut into your substrate.



Gold size application. DO NOT shake the can of size to mix it or it will create a large amount of air bubbles that are difficult to remove during the application. If you accidentally do this, strain the size through multiple layers of fine nylon. Pour slowly. No reduction is necessary.



I recommend using a new brush—free of contamination—to apply gold size. If you must use an “old” brush, clean it repeatedly to assure removal of all old paint, oils, and contaminants.



Mix your size slowly with a hobby stick, and then add a little One Shot Chrome Yellow (one drop to half a cup) to the size to “milk it up” to allow you to see the size when it’s applied to the surface. Clean and tack, and then apply one even coat of size. Then, smooth out the size with your brush and look for any dust or lint to remove with the tip of your brush. Make sure the application looks smooth and slick, and then wait.



To accurately gauge the readiness of the size, add a test swatch of size at the time of your application on a covered area of your project (or a scrap piece of the same material you’re working on) before the gold leaf application. The size is ready when it’s just dry to the touch and squeaks when you run your thumb across it. At 70-degrees and low humidity, the drying time is about 35 minutes to an hour. Gary Jenson’s DVD, Automotive Gold Leafing, is an excellent instruction on gold leaf application.



With the size ready, I moved to the variegated gold leaf. Variegated gold is heavier than standard gold, aluminum, white gold, and silver leaf, so you may have to press on it a little harder for optimum adherence. When applying multiple types of gold at one time (three in this case), you must be very careful not to contaminate the wrong place with the gold scraps. Leaf is extremely delicate so be sure to take your time and plan properly.



Using a half-inch roll of white gold, I worked in the borders around the panel. Stretching out a comfortable length of leaf (which is still attached to the paper) I applied it to my sized areas. Then, I pressed it down using the paper backing until the leaf was firmly applied. I worked from the outside in to avoid dirtying or marking up the drying size.



When the leaf is laid down properly, it should have an even satin shine.



An area that’s missing some leaf is called a “holiday.” You can take some clean scrap of that color and press it in place. Then, use a fine make-up brush to remove the excess and make sure the repair is complete.



The gold leaf application is identical to the white gold. Again, check for holidays.



There are a few different types of gold leaf. The easy one to use is patent gold, which comes on white sheets in a booklet (Photo 22). I used glass gold, which is more difficult to control and is usually applied with a gilding brush.



With our leaf work complete, I slowly removed the mask protecting the stripe work. Be sure to peel the leaf at an angle to help break the edge of the size and not tear the leaf from the project. If you have to, use a knife to help in picking up the mask, and try not to pick at it with your fingers.



Then, use your brush to clean up any loose edges of the leaf by twirling the brush slowly. You can use an air blower with low pressure to help in the clean-up process, but be sure to keep your distance or too much pressure will remove leaf work.



I made a very simple engine turning tool made of a ball of cotton wrapped in a swatch of black velvet to burnish, or twirl, the gold and white gold leaf.



In a very deliberate motion, rotate the ball on the leaf twisting away. If your size dried properly, the only marks you’ll see are a circular machine finish to your leaf. If the size is still wet or soft, you will likely tear off the leaf leaving a circular holiday.



If you don’t like the way a spot looks, wipe the leaf once with a clean finger. This will flatten the leaf for you to make another run with the velvet. If your size is allowed to dry too long, you won’t be able to burnish it. As a remedy, you can try making a few passes with a hair dryer to soften the size under the leaf.



After cleaning off the Stabilo grid lines with 409, I mixed HOK violet intensifier with SG100 (reduced a little more than normal for use in an airbrush) and softened the edges of the tribal flames. Transparent kandies over black cast no overspray of visible color.



I applied a small splash of HOK-reduced striping white for the highlights, and some black to cast a shadow over and under the gold leaf and to add depth to the graphics. I used a paper shield to keep the shadow’s edges crisp.



With a Mack 0 striper, I used red for the tribal, and a mint green to outline the gold leaf.



An old sign painters trick is to cut or trim a quill to create a finer point at the end of the brush to remove some of the chiseled edge and create a rounder and sharper surface tip. With a fresh blade, trim the brush just above the ferrell being careful not to remove too much at time. Cut a little and check the action. Repeat his until you achieve the desired result. Don’t be in a hurry, or you’ll trash a good brush with one slip of the blade.



With a cut #1 Mack quill, I added the mint green to the tight areas.



The next few techniques are not new by any means, but if you take the time to execute them properly, they look great. I very carefully masked off an additional graphic on the panel and avoided making contact with the gold leaf. I made a starter border with 3M 1/8-inch fine-line tape, and added paper to bridge and protect the surrounding areas.



Usually, the marble effect is achieved by applying color to the surface and working it with plastic. In this case, I laid out a panel of pearls of varying colors—violet, blue, spectra flair green, red, white, white ice, and gold—and applied a 50-50 mix of SG 100 and slow reducer to the colors to attain the effect. Caution: wear hand and eye protection at all times to avoid chemical contact with your skin. Latex gloves work well. Using a ball of plastic Saran rap, I swirled the SG100 mix with the pearl. Going directly to the project, I dabbed the ball lightly until I reached the desired effect. Be sure not to let it build up too thick. If you feel it’s drying too quickly, add a little more reducer or retarder to slow it down. This will give you more time to work the marble effect.



I used the Spectra Flair and Ice Pearl as a top-coat for some snap.



I added a quick charcoal outline to clean up the edges and roll to the next technique.



Again, careful masking is important here. I filled a few small areas with a neat, yet simple method. I made a fan of bristles from an old brush (you can buy pre-made fans of all sizes at craft stores), and using HOK Light Blue reduced, I dusted a little color through the fan to the desired effect.



Next, I used a piece of self-adhesive sheetrock tape with transparent black, and dusted it lightly with the airbrush to get the impression of the tape.



With a mix of blue and a little white, I used the fan technique again. Then, I employed HOK burble and oriental blue and darkened the edges to soften them up. Notice my screw up on the variegated gold leaf. It’s an easy fix.



Using an architect’s ink compass loaded with HOK paint, I created perfect circles (make sure that the needle and nib are at even length, and that the needle is set well on the surface before you start to turn the compass). If you’re working on an actual job, protect it by placing a piece of tape underneath the needle to keep it from sliding accidentally and causing damage.



Using multiple colors adds a nice effect and can be used as a starting point for a project as well as an accent.



Using the Mack Swirly Q brush, I mixed a coral color for the last part of the project, and painted a few long dagger strokes down both sides of the panel and rapped them around the side of the gold leaf. Notice the soft shadows I airbrushed with the Iwata HPSB cast by the red and yellow stripes.



The finished panel boasts thirteen techniques and twenty-five colors. This has been a fun project for me and I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any questions, please contact me at

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Airbrush Action Magazine's Latest Issue is now available -- Print and Digital Edition!

AIrbrush Action Diamond Collection: All Issues from 1985-2013

Airbrush Action Magazine

Airbrush Action Magazine