The fenders and hood are masked and ready for paint. The first thing that will happen is that Cole will spray the gradient that is going to be the background of the flames. It'll be white at the front, blend into a bright yellow and that bright yellow will blend into a rich orange. Once that paint is on I'll take my trusty airbrush and see if I can lay the real fire/skull stuff I've been practicing on over the gradient. The idea is that the gradient will show, the real fire isn't going to cover it completely. Just give it something more for the eye. I'm crossing my fingers, we're spraying in the morning. Here's a couple shots of the hood and one of the fenders.
I've looked at and read a crap load of information about how to lay out flames. I've never done it before, but being a graphic designer I'm familiar with transferring images from one surface to another and it never seemed like it should be overly complicated. The hard part is getting everything in the right place, ie: both sides of the hood exactly the same, both fenders exactly the same, etc. I decided I had enough of an idea of how to do this and went at it. First, I came up with a layout I liked on the computer, mocked it over images of the hood and fenders to see if I thought it was going to work or not. Second created one for the left side of the hood, the right side of the hood, and each front fender. Then I went to Kinkos with my layouts in digital format on a jump drive and had them print them for me on newsprint, just low quality paper. I brought them home, we figured out where to affix them on the appropriate parts, taped them down, made absolutely sure they were where we wanted them. Then we lifted them off, rubbed chalk all over the back side, laid them back down where they were and traced over the lines and lifted the templates off. Voila! Chalk outlines of our flames on the hood and fenders. At this very moment Cole is masking the flames off. I'll post the next steps as they occur. So here' a photo of the template on the hood, the chalk lines after removing the template, and Cole starting to mask the hood off.
Cole got the paint on the hood and fenders today and they look awesome! He also cleared one of the practice panels of my flame tests and it looks just as awesome! The clear brings out all of the flames and highlights and I couldn't be happier. I think the flames are going to look beautiful on the truck. Another thing I hadn't noticed until today, we looked at how big the skull is that is going in with the flames right on the nose of the hood and it's bigger than I thought it was. It's going to occupy a large spot there, and in fact is going to be a great conversation piece.
So here's Cole, and I know I've said it before, the master hot rod builder, (and I say it because it's absolutely true), getting ready to paint and clear the hood and fenders. Notice he's painting in a tent! He does this quality work in a tent. It's a poor craftsman that blames his tools and Cole is great example of what a craftsman can do with just a little bit of space. When this thing is done it is going to be a definite head turner.
Here's the latest, and last practice panel. Tomorrow we'll get everything set up for painting the hood and front fenders and Friday morning I'll have at it. It's been pretty hot up here and I think the air temp is screwing with the paint and my airbrushes. Two brushes and both of them spitting and coughing. Up till now they've been working great. I mean, not a single complaint. I get up to one day before I'm going to hit the real thing and they start hiccupping all over me. One of them went down for the count today. It needs a tiny, little O ring on the stem of the valve that lets the air through. A miniscule piece of rubber and I'm outta business with that brush for a week. Sheese! The next photos of the flames will be the completed job on the hood and front fenders. We laid out the templates I came up with today and they look pretty good. I think we're going to be okay, if I can just get the airbrushes working right.
I've got two more chances after this to get it right. Here's the thing, The photo looks much better than the actual panel does. That's because I run the photo through photoshop and adjust the filters on it, darken some, lighten others. If I could get the actual airbrush work to look like this I'd be happy. I'm stymied about how to get the dynamic contrast on the flames. I've watched more tutorials than I can count and I'm obviously missing something. I've got three days to figure it out and get it right. Well, the excitement is certainly building over this one, isn't it?