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Commissioned Pin up Art

Recently we were hired, commissioned to airbrush paint pin up girl, airplane nose art piece on metal. The piece was a simulated because we curved the metal piece to simulate a curved side of an airplane and the rivets and panels on the plane were also simulated.

The client wanted a special painting for her husband, he had specifically wanted Pin Up girl, nose art like the ones seen in the old WWII war planes. His input was that it be a camouflage paint job with the pin-up juxtaposed the rivets and camo-job. Plus he wanted a notches on it showing enemy planes shot down. The piece was  titled “Ecstatic Essie”, the clients name.

We started with a 24” x 36” aluminum panel. The panel already had already been primed with a white base color. We wet sanded the panel to accept the paint. We started with painting the camouflage paint job base. We then proceeded to put in the simulated panels. We contoured the panel line to make them look as if they were curved to give the painting the feel of the actual planes curvature.

Next we worked on the rivets that hold the panels (in real life). They were a little tricky…our approach was to paint a larger, dark circle almost black…this would simulate indentations where the rivets are set. We then did a white spot on in the middle of the simulated indentations, these indicated the rivet heads. Next we did a half round white area at the bottom of the dark circle to simulate the lower part of the rivets’ indentation bouncing light. All this served to give the rivets depth and make them look semi real.  

The above was considered the background. After that was all done we prepared to paint the red headed pin up. We started that with covering the painted back ground with application tape so that we could lay out/sketch the girl and start painting her without over spraying the background. The layout is done with pencil - then we cut out the frisket for the body.  We start airbrush painting the girl by laying down the flesh tone for her body. Once that is done and I am satisfied with the flesh color tone I start putting in her features. The features are put in with a small brush before I start the airbrushing. The back ground I mentioned before was done using acrylic paints. For the detail I switch over to urethane paints (yes they are compatible)…using red, yellow and blue urethanes I have already mixed a color I will use for shadowing. I never use black for shadowing. I use urethanes for the detail because they spray finer that acrylics, but the acrylics cover faster for the backgrounds. I find the urethane paints are the ultimate paints for airbrush use.

After I have the body painted with the proper flesh tone I cut out another frisket for the bathing suit which I want to make real shear. After I paint the suit on her I come in with some shadowing to make it as if though you can see her body through the shear bathing suit which gives it the desirable, sexy pin-up appeal.

As a freelance, artist we have worked in a variety of mediums. We have have been creating and painting for over twenty years. Airbrush is our specialty, but we get commissioned to create custom art in a variety of mediums including acrylic painting, portraits and art.

You can see the finished piece at We work out of Houston Texas, and can be reached at 281-441-9714. We can be emailed at