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Custom paint step by step

Some step by step and how to’s of airbrush art we do.

This piece is for a BMW Z4 we lightly customized for a client. She said she wanted dragons, smoke and skulls. I took a little influence from Fitto and his great contrast of black and white with color.

This is the digital design. Using photoshop, I start with an image of the part and build the whole piece digitaly for three reasons. One is to show the client to make sure it is what they want. Two is to know what I am going to do in the beginning, not as I go, and I can estimate price. Three is COMPOSITION. Detail is important but does not mean near as much without good composition. Good composition can be seen from across the room, detail can not.

With the part prepped, primed and a basecoated using Matrix System Paint I also sprayed a layer of MPB 500 blending clear on it to protect the base. I masked out the areas using 3M 3/4 tape and avery transfer tape that I want to stay silver.  My intention is to leave the silver border and have it look beveled. I really want a ton of depth in this piece.

I scaled the dragon image to the correct size, printed it and cut it out to use as a guide.  After placing it per the design I shade just a little color around the outside to use as a preliminary guide.

Step by step I choose a defining shape of the image and cut it apart. Choosing to use each part as a guide to the most contrasting areas of the image I place it and airbrush some guide color to the shadow side.

OK, so here is the fun part. By using a print of the image I am reproducing, I very tediously begin to line and shadow just like the image I started with. I did choose with this piece to adjust it slightly. I want to head to be closer so I lightened it and darkened the body.

Everything here is control. My airbrush is very clean with fresh rebuild. For this piece I am using my Iwata HP-B plus.If you notice the scribbles on the bottom right of the image, that is testing paint viscosity, making sure it is shooting properly before I touch the actual piece. I have found that achieving very fine lines is a delicate balance of paint viscosity and air pressure. Other than that it is years of practice. TEN THOUSAND DAGGER STROKES!

Although a little blurry, this image is after i shot in some smoke like forms in the background. An important step is that the dragon has been back masked with frisket.

Now for the purple candy. I used Matrix System MPB 500 blending clear with a small amount of MT-24 violet purple toner to get this super rich purple candy.


Now that I have peeled all the masking off to reveal the over all image it was time to do the drop shadows and bevel shadows. I utilize a combination of tape and hand shields to get this done. I find it important to have an occasional soft edge here and there. Keeps it real.

OFF TO CLEAR. I hope this tidbit was informational. Cheers. JB