Tag Archive | paint

Getting Technique-cal

Pencils to pixels

Over the past few months, I’ve been plotting and planning a video tutorial series, and getting that rolling. Wanting to make it as in-depth and as close to real-time as possible, it’s become a monster indeed.

The plan has been simple: Show the workflow, the art, the technique an all of the warts and whatnots that go into creating a rendering or illustration the “Problem Child Kustoms Way.” Suffice to say, it’s been a ton of work thus far, but very rewarding and eye-opening for me, both from a technical standpoint and as an artist. I’ve realized many key things about my work, as well as just how often I let a few f-bombs fly. Crazy how that can go.

how to render in adobe illustrator

I thought that it might be fun to show a few in-the-moment screen grabs from a couple of pieces here, as they represent a lot of what goes into these works. There’s a ton of hidden stuff and work involved in making vector art look like, well, not vector art. Not that the purpose of my technique or approach begins and ends with that in any respect… I enjoy the fact that I can use a program like Adobe Illustrator to continue creating, even after my hands have given out as they have. It’s a mater of holding on to the style I had developed before going digital, and the incredible tools afforded by the software to push it that next step. A melding of man, will and machine… Funny how those can come together so organically, while often being thought of as being so different.

Some pieces like this big rig tend to get very involved. While working on a segment highlighting graphics and paint, this particular illustration spent a ton of time under the microscope, not only for its very involved process, but because I had to make vector paths appear more like candy paint, with all sorts of transparent and translucent qualities, reflecting and refracting light. Fun times…

speedco-csm

…and how it all comes together:

speedco-csm2

I had taken some time as well to show how to create realistic reflections using only the pen tool in Illustrator, which offers a lot of control when altering reality just a bit:

Reflections in Illustrator

And, of course, rendering from paper and pencil all the way through to digital:

tucci-coffemakerL

…covering glass, paint, shading and more using only the pen tool in Illustrator (no gradient meshes, brushes or presets… Just hands-on dirty work).

vector rendering

Look for more soon, and be sure to check out my website at www.problemchildkustoms.com for more tutorials and sneak peeks. Thanks for looking in, and feel free to hit me with any questions, comments, suggestions…

Perhaps We’ll Try the Beige Instead

When it comes to updating a room in the old house, little can compare to the utter rage-inducing past time of painting the walls… and spattering that color all over the flooring, regardless of how careful you were in shoring-up that drop cloth. The choices in hue are endless, as are the finishes. There’s interior semi-gloss, interior satin and eggshell and matte paint. And while it’s certainly fun to do your own painting, it’s even more fun to pass judgement on these people you call your “friends” when you visit THEIR homes.

Now, far be it for me to judge one’s interior decorating skills, but it’s painfully obvious having been there a few times now, that this person’s “paint professional” at Lowes has misunderstood them time and again, and instead of giving them a nice decorator color in a sheen befitting the futon and loads of worthless tchotchkes on the crookedly-hung IKEA shelving, said paint guy has blindly swiped the first can of “interior meh” that he drunkenly stumbled toward on the shelf marked “What In the Holy Fuck Were We Thinking When We Chose THIS Shit-Licking Color?! And How Does That Fucking Midget Dago Cake Boss Warrant a Line of Paint Colors? Seriously… ‘Bada-Bing Blueberry Pie’ SHOULD be called ‘I Would Claw My Eyes Out if There Weren’t Some Chance of My Subconscious Recalling This Color and Forcing Me to Have Dreams of Being Chased Around By a South Jersey Version of Violet Beauregarde Wanting to Give Me Some Sort of Anaphylaxis-Inducing Blowjob… Did I Mention That in This Particular Dream That She Has Teeth Not Unlike Evil Ed From That Fright Night Movie and Some Sort of a Twitch in Her Neck? Well, She Does, and In an Alternate, Ambien-Addled Version of This Dream She Gives Birth to a Fully-Grown, Sentient Cabbage Patch Kid Who Sings The Alphabet Song in German But Replaces the Words to Craft a Song About the Many Uses of Cheese Cloth for the Lactose Intolerant, Even Though Cheese Cloth Contains NO FUCKING DAIRY WHATSOEVER, Being Made of Cotton –Which Wouldn’t Be Unlike Stating That You, as a Man Have an Adam’s Apple, When in All Actuality, the Bible Doesn’t Call Out ANY Fruit in Particular, and as We Cannot Be ENTIRELY CERTAIN of Just Where in the Heck This Garden of Eden Was to Begin With, Our Chances of Correctly Naming a Fruit That May Have Grown There are Greatly Reduced, But We Could Certainly Venture to Guess it to Have Been Like a Fig or Something and Don’t Even Get Me Started on this Rib Nonsense But I Digress –  Non-Stop Until I Shove a Red Plastic Wiffle Ball Bat Down its Throat, But Then I Slip on What Appears to Be the Placenta From This Unholy Birthing Deal, But It’s Made of String and Slime and Old Copies of People Magazine and the Next Thing I Know it Becomes That Weird Falling Dream Dark Blue’ ” discounted return paint section.

But on their walls, it works. It just says “her”, you know? And not simply because she looks like some swollen vampire who just won a pie-eating contest. May her diaphragm always be within arm’s reach, should this actually be the case.

Salsa and Whipped Cream

blue 63 impala

I like looking at things from a decidedly different angle, and am often inspired to seek out the inspiration behind a trend, or a particular style… I’m a fan of mixing and matching themes, styles, whatever…and an even bigger fan of just having fun with whatever I’m doing, and often seek out things that reflect this attitude. Whether in friends, books, movies, or music. Occasionally, this leads me to seek out stuff that’s a bit off the beaten path. Such was the case here in the studio once again.
(Yeah, it’s gonna be another musical jaunt… and it’ll all wrap up nicely, as usual, with cars. Stay with me, I think you’ll dig this little side trip.)

Anyway, I got to thinking, of all things, about Herb Alpert (not Marv Albert. That’d be weird.), and gave a listen to “Whipped Cream and Other Delights”… A far cry from what I was listening to a week ago, to say the least…. and by far much stranger cover art (if not quite risque’, considering its 1965 release date):

album cover

Granted, this album was released before my time (granted, there may be another me in some other dimension, hanging out in a lounge giving this a listen back in an alternate ‘65…), but man… how cool were these cats? If you’re not familiar with the Tijuana Brass, here’s a quick history lesson:

Herb Alpert was a trumpet player who developed a unique sound that was a mix of south-of-the-border, mariachi and distinctly lounge-y sounds, probably best described as Ameriachi (as I learned from a few sources). If you’re really lost here, think of the theme from the TV show The Dating Game, called “Spanish Flea”, which was a Herb Alpert/Tijuana Brass tune, and you’ll have an idea… or their version of “The Lonely Bull”.

Anyway, the ‘Brass cranked out a few albums in the ’60’s (even a cool Christmas album! Find a copy, and mambo your way through a Christmas Wonderland…), until Alpert called it quits, and took his (and business partner Jerry Moss’) record label A&M, and signed some heavy talent, releasing a few albums of his own along the way (out-selling Michael Jackson in the late-’70’s, which says a lot for that era, I suppose), before selling the company to PolyGram in the late 1980’s.

So what’s this got to do with cars? Think traditional lowriders. Bellflower custom style(named after the city in LA county where the look spawned). A mix of the lowrider and custom car, and you’ll see where I’m headed.

Consider Watson’s Caddy:

watson caddy

It is the embodiment of the Bellflower look… the low stance, simple (if often ANY) body mod’s, the bold, yet somehow understated paint technique (much like his T-Bird that came before), and those killer pipes. The East LA style, mixing elements from two cultures (like the Tijuana Brass did!), and coming out the other end with a clean, cool style. It’s all about class, luxury, and style. Just like a lowrider, but with custom roots.

Lowriders embodied Mexican tradition. Crusing in a decked-out ride to impress the ladies, and show off your skills was more than just about the cars. Cruising may be traced back to the “paseo”, where singles would walk around in the central plaza of the village, basically checking one another out. The idea here was to impress. Put these kids in cars, and it sure looks a lot like cruising… Which brings us forward a few years to the end of the second world war. Hot rodding was booming as young men returned from military service, eager to make creative use of their new mechanical skills. On the other end of the spectrum, the Mexican immigrants were making their cars look luxurious. It was style over speed… lowered stance, different hubcaps, an accessories like spotlights, skirts, pipes… many items shared in traditional customizing.

Fast-forward a few more years, and combine this look with the growing custom scene, and well, you got some clean, mild cars that made the most of the new styling coming from the factory… Apply it to a luxury car, and you’re well on your way to a crossover look beyond compare. Imagine in late 1957 (coincidentally, the same year Bellflower was incorporated as a city), a young Larry Watson cruising into the Clock Drive-In in his panel-painted T-Bird…

I have a soft spot for this look… A number of years back, I sketched up a modern take on the look, combining it with the pro-touring look — note pinstripe whitewalls on a 5-spoke as a nod to the classic “Supremes and pinners” look (OK, and a mild chop, extended quarters, relocated and shortened trim…):
blue galaxie rendering

The idea behind the Bellflower look is clean lines, cool, vibrant and rich colors mixed with just enough chrome to keep your eyes happy…Make use of some ‘flake or pearl, some striping… In other words, think mild custom, but dressed a notch higher. It’s a fun style, to be sure, much like Herb’s band of session musicians belting out Ameriachi cover versions.

And speaking of cover versions, consider how just a few fresh chords, or an alternate take on a solo in a cover song can change things up drastically, consider the lowrider style, versus the custom car style. One change can send the car from one camp to another… For instance, this pickup is pure lowrder-feel:

lowrider pickup drawing

Yet, this ’50 has a distinct hot rod/custom feel:

50 pickup rendering

Straddling that line, and walking a bit closer to contemporary style (yet still working-in some retro-style mods) is this unibody Ford:

f100 unibody sketch

Consider the Impala and Rivieras of the early (and even mid-to-late) 1960’s… the kind of cars that walk between street machine, muscle car, custom, lowrider… And never seem to get lost along the way:

lowrider and pinstripe panel

Simply adding or removing an accessory can dramatically change things up (sort of like adding a horn section to your punk band can suddenly change things to sound much more like Ska…) :

63 impala illustration

1963 imapala convertible rendering

Imagine swapping wheels on this beast… it can go from mild to menacing, and be equally at home almost anywhere:

custom riviera illustration

A wheel and tire combo change on any of these could easily change the look and overall feel in a matter of minutes. It’s all in the vibe the vehicle sends… if you pay close attention to that, magical things start to happen, and soon enough, you’re leaving any ‘theme’ behind, and heading into that wild territory of making it your own. Take one thing, and spice it up with another influence, and man, you can’t help but feel the vibe, and nod your head approvingly as you smile.

And that’s how my mind works: From whipped cream to salsa, stopping in between for some quick history, and leaving you to consider mixing up some styles on your project…

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