“Don’t let anything poison your individuality. Break away & look in, not outward.”
Photo Copyright: http://grantbrittainphotography.blogspot.com/
This is going to be airbrushed on a 20 in. x 30 in. foam board canvas. (See last week’s post: http://theairbrushschool.com/how-to-make-a-cheap-and-easy-airbrush-canvas/ for instructions on making your own canvas.)
If you understand how to effectively present, promote and deliver the product, and if you’re able to identify, adapt and cater to changing trends, there will always be a market for airbrushed t-shirts and other clothing.
T-shirt airbrushing is one of the best ways to refine your skills and increase your airbrushing speed; the speed at which you’re able to produce/output quality airbrushed work. Maintaining a solid portfolio of quick, excellent t-shirt designs that are periodically reviewed for market relevancy and sales performance, can provide a steady stream of revenue for years and years.
Keeping all of that in mind, may I humbly submit the following:
Sure it’s a great way to get paid doing what I love but airbrushing the same 10-15 minute design over and over again can get extremely monotonous. So what can we do to switch things up and throw a little variety in the mix?
I dunno, let’s first try and identify our major pain points, and then we’ll see what we can do to remedy them.
Pain Point #1: Monotony
We covered this. No question, there are definite advantages to having a strong arsenal of quick and easy airbrush designs – but wth? that can get frickin boring sometimes.
Pain Point #2: Price
A good baseline goal for t-shirt airbrushing is to always aim for a minimum of a dollar per minute. However, like most any other item produced at the hands of a skilled laborer (read: Airbrush Artist), there exists a point of diminishing returns. In other words the monetary return on time invested declines to a point where it no longer makes sense to produce the product. In my experience, unless you’re a specialist in a niche market, the point of diminishing returns for an airbrushed t-shirt is right around $50 bucks.
The bulk of consumers who are in the market for an airbrushed t-shirt will generally pay between $15-$30 without batting an eye. When the price starts treading north of about $50 dollars however, our customer base tends to thin out a bit.
Pain Point #3: T-Shirts are temporary
Just like eggs and bacon, t-shirts are a consumable product albeit with a longer lifespan but consumable none the less. Never mind those that would stretch the life of a shirt 5-or 10 years, the normal average lifespan of a properly heat-set airbrushed t-shirt is gonna be about 2-3 years; maybe 4 if you really baby it. This has a direct influence on the price a person is willing to pay for it.
Get rid of the t-shirt.
Enter the Cheap and Easy Airbrush Canvas. Moving your airbrushed artwork from t-shirt to canvas alleviates pain points by offering several immediate advantages:
So lets effing make one already!
Cut a section of pennant felt large enough to fully cover one side of the foam board. Leaving a bit of excess on all sides will make for an easier fit later when applying it to the foam board.
Iron the pennant felt. I’ve noticed the surface consistency of some pennant felts can really vary. There’s nothing worse than trying to airbrush in fine details and having random fibers poking up catching over spray. Ironing the pennant felt first is going to give you a nice flat, even surface to work with it.
Holding the can about 6-8 inches away from the surface, spray a steady even coat of Super 77 on one side of the foam board with about a 50% overlap on each stroke. This stuff can get everywhere and is a pain to cleanup if you don’t get on it right away. Best to spray it outside on some cardboard.
Give the Super 77 about 2 or 3 minutes to get tacky then grab the foam board with both hands by the edges and fan it up and down a few times to pop any bubbles and dissipate any excessively adhesive areas.
Lay the pennant felt on a clean, flat, even surface and then place the adhesive side of the foam board face down on top of it. Apply even pressure over the entire board then immediately flip it over and peel up one side of the pennant felt to the center of the foam board. Starting from the center of the foam board, use a sweeping motion back and forth across the pennant felt with firm pressure to re-apply it to the foam board. This irons out any bubbles or wrinkles that may have occurred when you initially placed the felt on the board. Repeat this same process on the other side.
Place the foam board felt side down and using the edges of the foam board as a guide, cut away the excess felt with a razor blade.
Boom son; you’re done!
These cheap and easy to make airbrush canvases can be a great addition to your existing airbrush product line up. They offer all the advantages of wood, metal, or traditional canvas substrates without the disadvantages that come with urethane paints. I.e., prep, basecoat, respirator, paint booth etc.
They are extremely lightweight and mobile, which makes them easy to take to carnivals and state fairs; it also makes them very easy to work with and rotate while you’re airbrushing. Because they are easy to hang up, they can add a big visual impact almost anywhere. Perfect for using as wow pieces to draw customers into your shop.
Now, back to the lab!
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Title: Digital Design with Corel Draw
Author: Sid Vicious of sidviciousart.com
Format: Adobe PDF Ebook
Length: 38 Pages
Corel Draw Version: 12
In this book you will learn…
-How to use the Freehand Tool
-How to use the Pick Tool
-How to use the Shape Tool
-Creating and modifying Nodes
-Changing straight lines to Curves
-How to digitally trace a vehicle
-Solid fills with color swatches
-Creating multi-color gradient fills with the fountain fill dialog
-Using “Order” to arrange objects
-Creating a two-tone paint job
-Adding new rims and creating a “tucked” look
-Creating digital graphics that can be used over and over
Sample pages from the book…
Pre-School’s over slackers, Kindergarten has begun and what better way to kick things off then by telling lies. That’s right, 2 truths and a lie. There are really only 2 main styles of airbrushes and 2 main types of airbrushes, can you spot the fakes?
There are three main styles and types of airbrushes. The three main styles are single-action, double-action and extreme-action. These terms refer to how the air and paint flow of an airbrush are controlled. The three main types are siphon-feed, gravity-feed and anti-gravity-feed. These terms refer to how the paint is supplied/delivered to the airbrush. We’re going to explore the nuts and bolts of how each style works, point out the differences between them and consider the advantages/disadvantages of each. Let’s get to it.
A Single-action airbrush is classified as such due to the trigger being able to perform only a single-action; push down on the trigger, air and paint are released, let up on the trigger, air and paint stop, just like an aerosol spray can. On most models, the amount of paint that sprays out can be controlled by twisting a knob, or adjusting a screw located near the tip of the airbrush. The drawback to this is that you have to stop spraying in order to make the adjustment.
Single action airbrushes are useful mostly for area coverage in activities such as hobbies and crafts, stenciling, mural work and even automotive paint touch-ups. In situations where big backgrounds or large areas of flat color are required, the single action airbrush does an adequate job. Mediums like acrylics, ceramic glazes and automotive paints, are commonly sprayed with a single action brush.
Most single action airbrushes are classified as external-mix (more on this below). Meaning they mix the air and the color outside the tip and are therefore less likely to clog if heavier materials are sprayed (such as ceramic glazes). This also means there are fewer moving parts that need cleaning which makes the single-action, an easy airbrush to maintain. However, a single-action airbrush does not have the precise control and “on the fly” paint adjustment offered by a double-action.
There was a time when single-action airbrushes were the norm because that’s all that existed but nowadays the majority of airbrush artists have switched to using double-action airbrushes.
Advantages: Easy to clean and maintain. Simple to use, not a lot of moving parts. Relatively inexpensive. Good for spraying larger areas. Good for spraying thicker paints/materials.
Disadvantages: You have to stop spraying in order to adjust the flow of the paint. Freehand airbrushing and small, fine detail work is much more difficult.
Double-Action Airbrush (Dual Action-Airbrush)
The spring loaded trigger on a double-action airbrush moves in 2 directions. Pressing the trigger down releases air (Just like on a single-action) and pulling the trigger back releases paint. Being able to control “on the fly” the amount of paint being released is the main advantage a double-action has over a single-action.
Pulling back on the trigger while spraying, releases more paint and “letting up” on the trigger releases less paint. As you’ll learn in 5th grade, the best practice for painting with a double-action airbrush is to always press down on the trigger first to release air, then slowly pull back on the trigger to release the desired amount of paint. The double-action airbrush offers greater control which makes it more adept at producing fine lines and thick-to-thin or thin-to-thick strokes like the coveted “dagger stroke”.
Classified as “internal-mix”, a double-action airbrush mixes paint and air inside the nozzle just before spraying it out.
Being able to push down the trigger on a double-action airbrush and getting air only, has many advantages:
First, it’s much easier to avoid unwanted spots and splatters that can occur when you first press the trigger due to small amounts paint being leftover on the tip of the needle or in the mixing chamber of the airbrush.
Second, when there is tip dry, you can scrape it off with the tips of your fingers or fingernail, then give a quick blast of air to remove any lingering paint.
Third, being able to spray “air only” comes in handy sometimes for making paint dry quicker.
Lastly, sometimes when cleaning your airbrush, it’s necessary to backflush; I.e., hold your finger over the cap and then press the trigger down with your other finger to force a backflush through the paint mixing chamber. This is done on occasion to remove paint clogs.
Advantages: Complete and total control over the amount of paint you want to spray.
Disadvantages: All of your single-action friends are going to be way jealous of your new double-action lifestyle.
Note: While the RELEASE of air is controlled by pressing down on the trigger for both single and double action airbrushes, the AMOUNT of air released, is not controlled at the trigger. It’s controlled with an air pressure gauge at the compressor or an inline adjustable valve on the air hose.
NOTE: Internal Mix vs. External Mix
Pretty self explanatory. With an internal mix airbrush, the paint and air are mixed inside, near the tip of the airbrush before being sprayed out the nozzle. This gives you better atomization of the paint which creates smaller paint particles. Smaller paint particles = smoother blending, shading and fades.
With an external mix airbrush, the air and paint are mixed outside the airbrush just after the paint has left the nozzle. You still get a good mix/blend just not quite as good as the pre-mixing that happens in an internal mix airbrush.
Extreme Action Airbrush
Let’s not beat around the bush, this is the coolest and best most awesome airbrush on the planet. It’s what we in the industry call a BAMF Brush (Figure it out). If you thought the single action airbrush was cool…well then you’re kinda lame. If you thought the double action airbrush was cool…well that’s understandable, it is pretty rad. But, as Bachman-Turner Overdrive put it so eloquently: b-b-baby you just ain’t seen nothing yet!
The Extreme Action Airbrush is the latest and greatest/biggest and baddest airbrush to ever hit the market. Features include:
– Fully wireless digital handheld remote control for 100% hands free airbrushing with a max operating range of 23 ft
– Military grade laser sight assist for hairline precision and accuracy
-Military grade SLS-640 night vision scope for those late night airbrush sessions
-Quick disconnect iPod Jack
-Detachable lightweight aluminum alloy energy drink holder
-Optional anti gravity feed paint cup/bottle attachment (Not Pictured)
I think it’s safe to say that the extreme action airbrush is in a class all it’s own. Though the $8000 price tag may be out of reach for many potential buyers, true airbrush artists who can appreciate all the EAA has to offer, will find a way to come up with the cash to make the purchase. (I.e., sell your soul to the devil)
Congratulations, Kindergarten is over. Move onto 1st grade, it’s time to learn about Airbrush Compressors.
Title: 100 Ways to Make Money Airbrushing
Author: Sid Vicious of sidviciousart.com
Format: Adobe PDF Ebook
Length: 71 Pages
In this book you will learn…
Sample pages from the book.
1) We start with a freshly body-worked, primed and wetsanded Nissan Altima courtesy of Juan’s Body Shop. Whether you’re into the sport compact scene or not, you gotta respect a guy that takes his time and does a good job. Seamlessly molded front and rear bumpers, nicely done. The plan is to give it a two tone paint job with a tribal style graphic separating the two colors. Our job is to design and apply the graphic to help transform this regular Altima into a custom painted, head turning, fire breathing, death dealing monster Altima. Or in other words, just another day at Sid Vicious Art & Airbrush.
Normally, I’d start by laying down the graphic color, taping out my graphic, back masking it, then spraying the two colors. But in this case, because my schedule is a bit hectic and the car was ready for basecoat, I stop in and simply run a divider line with some 1/4 in. blue fine line tape. I designed the graphic ahead of time in Corel Draw, so I knew where to run the line…or at least that’s what I’m saying anyways.
2) Would you look at that! I guess I did design it on paper first. CorelDraw can be an awesome tool for doing pre sketch work. Giving your customer a good idea of what the finished product will look like before you begin painting it, is a great way to set expectations and avoid misunderstandings. Making changes in Corel Draw is much easier than making changes in real life.
3) Juan sprayed the basecoats and we’re ready for graphics. There’s a couple different ways to get the design from paper to vehicle. One option is to take some measurements on the car, scale the vector file from Corel Draw to match, send it to the plotter and create a large vinyl stencil for each side of the car. However, when working with this size/style of graphic, I prefer to lay them out by hand with 1/4 & 1/8 in. blue fine line tape. This gives me more control over the design and better versatility to make “on the fly” adjustments for things like body lines and door handles.
4) I start by pulling the longest lines first. Always pull the full length of a line from start to finish. Using my original division line as a reference, I work from the front of the vehicle to the back and proceed to layout the entire graphic. A comfortable chair or stool on wheels really helps here but there are few spots where I know I’m going to have to take off my shirt and lift the car high above my head with one hand so I can layout certain lines just right. Be careful and lift with your legs.
5) Once my graphic is layed out in fine line tape on the drivers side, I trim everywhere the graphic overlaps with a new Xacto knife, then run 16 in. transfer tape across it and cut away the inside. After masking the rest of the car, this side would be ready to spray but if we did spray it, we’d get a nasty line going through our graphic from that original division line for the two tone. I use 400 grit sandpaper to feather the division line between the two colors until there’s no ridge at all. I should have done this before I started taping off the graphic but oh well, you live and learn…and rack up vast amounts of credit card debt.
6) I’ve run 18 in. masking paper down the length of the car over the graphic so I can trace the design in preparation for transferring to the other side.
7) Using a ball point pen at a 45 degree angle to the inside edges of the graphic where the tape is, I trace an outline of the graphic.
8) I lay the traced design on top of some foam padding and use a pounce wheel to trace it. I then tape the design (in reverse) to the passenger side of the car, being sure to line it up exactly as it is on the drivers side and use a pounce pad with blue chalk powder to transfer it to the car. (This technique is outlined in more depth in another tutorial so I won’t repeat it here.)
9) My daughter said it’s probably pixie dust but I’m guessing it’s the metallic flakes in the silver basecoat that you’re seeing flying through the air here. Don’t be a hero, wear a respirator!
10) We skipped a few steps here. After spraying the silver basecoat and letting it dry, I used 1/8 in. blue fine line and masked around the inside edge of the graphic to give it an edge. I then sprayed 3 good coats of HOK Pagan Gold Kandy over the graphic and after it was dry, unmasked everything. Ready for clear coat.
*Sorry for the lack of pics on this one
1) The key to getting a good adhesion on ATV plastics is using the right products and doing a superior prep job. The owner dropped off the original white plastics which he had already done some custom cutting on. He removed pretty much all of the rear fenders and cut some wicked flames into the front fenders. I started by thoroughly washing/sanding the the plastics with a red scotchbrite pad and Bulldog Abrasive Cleaner. Once I’m satisfied with my prep, I rinse the plastics thoroughly with water and dry with an air gun. I’ve now got clean, bare plastics that are ready to be sealed/painted.
Probably overkill but I spray 2 coats of Bulldog Adhesion Promoter and then lay down 2 coats of Dupont Plas-Stick Flexible Adhesion Sealer. I let that dry for about 20 minutes and then spray 2 coats of Dupont red base coat. Once that’s dry (about 15 minutes) I tape off what are going to be my black flames (see pic above), using 1/8 in crepe masking tape and then tape off my red flames (not pictured).
I mask the positive section of my red flames and then spray everything else basecoat black. I let that dry for another 10-15 minutes then unmask everything. Using HOK White striping enamel, I pinstripe the red flames and then switch to my IWATA HP-CS+ airbrush with an over reduced black, and spray a drop shadow on the black flames.
2) I add a YFZ pinstripe style logo to the front of the ATV using a vinyl cut stencil as a mask.
3) Another angle.
4) I used a combination of vinyl cut masks to spray the Yamaha logo with some pinstripe graphics on the rear fenders.
The entire ATV was finished with 4 coats Dupont Clear mixed with a flattening agent to achieve a matte finish.