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AIRBRUSHING AIRPLANE NOSE ART:
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Houston TX - This past Christmas we were commissioned asked by a client to paint a custom piece of nose art like the ones they used to have in the old war bird planes in the WWII. The commissioned art piece was going to be a Christmas gift for her husband, a world war aviator buff, enthusiast.

The first thing we did was do a little research, and think about how to execute the idea. After gathering a few sample pin-ups for reference, I decided to execute the painting on a 24” X 36” high piece sheet of aluminum and airbrush the piece.

The client had suggested a camouflage, back ground. I then painted lines to indicate the assorted sized sheet metal panels and painted simulated rivets that form the fuselage. For this, it took three steps. First, I cut out ¼ inch circle that would indicate the indentations of the rivets, they were painted dark grey. Then a white 1/8 inch circle in center of that circle simulated the rivet head. Then we cut out a ¼ inch half circle for the high lights in the bottom of the rivet indentation. The result was three dimensional looking rivets. This served as the back ground for painting the pin-up. The above took us around three days – twenty hours.

Next we proceeded with painting the pin-up girl. The client requested that the girl be a luscious, curvaceous, red head. I started this by projecting the basic image to the size that would look best for the size of the painting.

 I started with sizing up the image and then I laid down frisket paper so that I could protect the already painted background. Actually we used what is known in the sign industry as application tape which served as the frisket. (In the airbrushing process, a positive area cut into the fisket film, or acetate film to be painted is called a frisket. There are two types of frisket film, one is transparent and the second is opaque, as in the application tape mentioned above. The transparent is used when working on top of another image so that you can paint on top of the exiting background, i.e.:see the boots, black planes, lettering, because the frisket film protects the existing background.)  Once the tape is down, I drew the girl image on the application tape, cut out the basic shape (frisket), and started painting the girl with a desired flesh tone.

For the flesh tone color, I mixed basic colors, red, yellow, and blue to get a brown color which I then add white and adjust to get the correct, desirable flesh tone. Using the same three colors, I also mix a color for shadowing. I want something transparent and dark with a slight hue of blue, but no black. After a few adjustments I achieve the desired tone for shadowing.

After laying down the flesh tone, and, and using firskets, I paint the clothing, the shoes. During this step I also start shaping the form by adding the shadows to form and shape the girl image. During this time I also start painting the hair and adding the features into the face. Putting in the facial features is tricky because you are working within a small, tight area and you want to mess up as little as possible to eliminate reworking small tight areas. The proper shadowing is what gives the painting its form. During the painting of the girls form I think of myself as a sculptor when I am forming and contouring the body by adding shadowing and highlight and adjusting both to make the painting come alive.  This is the fun part!

After the painting was tightened and detailed we applied a final clear-coat to the overall piece. 

The last thing we did to the painted panel was put a slight bend to the panel to give it the illusion that the art piece had been cut out from the side of an airplane.

The piece now proudly, hangs in the client’s husband’s man cave.

Go to see more of our Pin Up style Art on metal.

Contact us: Ray 281-441-9714, ray@AirbrushMagic.net