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Old 04-19-2013, 09:08 PM
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TucsonJay TucsonJay is offline
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Every painter will have his own preferences, but here is the method I use to develop flame patterns, and which also happens to be nearly identical on each side.

I cover the area to be flamed with strips 18 inch masking paper. I do this on the driver side, since I am right handed, and want to draw from front to back. Don't overlap the paper much, and tape all butted joints good.

I use a graphite stick. It is a wide flat black stick that you can buy at art stores, that is basically pencil lead. I stick it in the body seams, and run it down there length to show the location. I also run it down the peaks in the body, and around any lights or trim.

After that is all done, I start to sketch the flames lightly. After I get them roughed out, I study them to see if...

...the "flow" is parallel to the body lines (unless I don't want them to be)

...the scale of the flames fits the size of the vehicle, and the flame style I want.

... the thickness of the flame "licks" are uniform

...the "licks" are the length I want, and all about the same.

... and the teardrop shapes inside the flames flow well, and are similar in size.

Anything I want to change is remarked.

Next I sketch over the pattern, but darken it.

I study it for a last time, and then remove the pattern.

Now I lay it on a sheet of cardboard, and if it is hard to see exactly, I may take a marker and carefully draw the pattern exactly.

Your sign supply store can sell you a little tool called a "pounce wheel. Use that to go over your design as exactly as you can.

Wipe all of the excess graphite off of the paper, and tape the pattern back on the car.

Use a piece of an old T-shirt to make a "pounce pad". fill it with either talcum powder, or graphite... then seal it up with a rubber band.

Rub the pounce pad lightly over your whole pattern, then wipe the residue off of the paper. The powder will go through the holes, giving you a fine dotted line to mask against.

Flip the paper over, and hang it on the passenger side... using the seams and holes to line it up the same as the other side.

Repeat the procedure to duplicate the pattern again... but reversed.

MASK YOUR FLAMES! Using good masking technique, you can make them flow even more smoothly!

This method gave me several advantages...

A chance to refine the design easily, without having to pull all of the tape off and start over.

A chance to see it laid out, and be able to make changes quickly... instead of finding I didn't like it, and again would have to start over, or keep changing it using tape.

Nearly identical patterns. You can also do this to make a symetrical pattern on the hood, truck, etc.

As a bonus, keep the paper patterns, just in case you ever need to repair body damage... or his brother wants the same design. :-)

P.S. I use 1/8th inch 3-M green paper tape. It is VERY sticky, and will NOT move and curl on the curves! To get a sharper edge, shoot a coat of clear before the color. Then you have sealed the tape and tape joints, creating a sharper cleaner edge.

You may notice that I like high impact graphics. {:-) I do conservative stuff... but will always show the "flash".
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