Cut your mask using a spray mask vinyl. This material is made so solvents can't get through it or release glue onto your airbrushing. It is also a lower tack than normal vinyl and won't pull up your airbrushing work.

I recommend protecting the artwork before proceeding. Applying a light coat of Dupont's Hot Hues Intercoat Clear.

Apply Gearmess over the entire illustration.

Using the Iwata HP-B Hi-Line, create the hair using black with grey and white for highlights. Add shadows over the gears from the border and illustration.

Airbrush around all the leading edges with black.

Add drop shadows to the gears. You want the black overspray to fade into the silver background between the gears but not kill fill it in. Remove the gears using a weeding tool. They will lift off the illustration with ease.

The Gearmess file I created can be opened in any program that works with eps, cdr or ai files. Move the gears around, resize them or use the componants to create your own gears and unique layout.

Open up a new mask for the gold head piece. Start with a silver base. Go over the silver with the Golden Honey candy. Make shadows of the design in the head piece with Root beer candy. Add shadows and highlights. Repeat the process for the jewels but use a red and green candy.

 Scuff the sign blank with a red scotch-brite pad. Take time in preparing your surface. You don't want to chance pulling up any of the airbrush work. Draw out you design using whatever suits you (i.e. chalk, stabilo or soft lead pencils.) For this illustration I'm going to be cutting several masks using Transfer Tape.

Use a new razor blade and gently cut the transfer tape to open up the first area to be painted. For this piece I used Dupont's Hot Hues system. Here I started with all the metal pieces by using a cosmic silver base. Then create all the definition in the cyborg headpiece by using a charcoal candy and rootbeer candy. Finish by adding white highlights.


Remove all the masking to create the eyes and mouth. With the nozzle cap removed (Be careful when painting with the nozzle cap off, you can destroy a needle real fast by bumping it into something.). Add shadows and highlights to the overall illustration.

Use masking tape to make a picture frame around the outside edge of the sign blank or canvas. Repeat Step #2

Add some Golden Honey Candy to enhance the refection of light off the metal tubing.

Begin the face by laying down a flesh tone. Use Transparent Yellow Oxide to build the facial features.

With the nozzle cap off my Iwata HP-B Hi-Line, I begin to create definition and shadows with Transparent Red Oxide.

To finish creating the facial features add a rose tint to the cheek area. Use a violet candy to define all the shadow areas. Add over-reduced white for the highlights.

This illustration was clearcoated three times (4 coats each times.) I finished it off by colorsanding and buffing to a glass finish.




















Title: Gearmess, Vinyl masking programs
from Steven Craig of SKC Customz. Part 1

Written By: Steven Craig

I’m not sure who actually came up with the airbrushed gear concept, but I feel I have to give credit to Craig Frasier for popularizing it with his freehand shield. Customers started coming to me asking for gears to be placed in the graphics. Have you ever tried hand cutting a few hundred gears by hand? Not a fun or easy task. I knew that I needed to come up with an easy way to do them if this trend was going to continue. I had been working on developing graphic programs for custom painting to be used with vinyl plotters for some time now. I figured this would be a good starting point. Most serious custom painters use plotters and in the past programs have been made available with simple vector designs. I wanted to make something a little more advanced. I designed Gearmess so an individual can be creative and make their own designs. All the gears can be repositioned; resized, rotated and the components are there so you can create your own gears. Gearmess is a file that can be used with any program that accepts eps, cdr or ai files. Most professional painters now days use plotters to create designs. Gearmess has over 75 different gears that can be used in either positive or negative form. So far, I have used the Gearmess file to create striking designs on projects as small as helmets to large off shore boats. I’ve even had one of my fellow airbrushers use the vinyl masking to add the gears to an airbrushed t-shirt. If you don’t have a vinyl plotter you can still make valuable use of the masking programs. Create your design on your home computer and take a file down to any sign shop. It's inexpensive to have a sign shop cut them for you. They will cut your design for a few dollars. If you don’t want to purchase the program you can order precut stencils directly from my website. I am in the process of designing several more programs that I think Custom Painters are going to love. A few of them are "Broken Glass", "Puzzlemania", Bolt-On’s", "Flame Damage", "Saw-Tooth" and "Chain-Gang". As of now these programs are only available through my website ( )

Remove all the excess material using a weeding tool. This design can be cut in either positive or negative form. You can paint it the way I'm demonstrating here or make a mask with the gears open and airbrush them with detail. Apply the Transfer Tape.
Mask up the illustration with Transfer Tape. Spray the entire background with Cosmic Silver.