PAINTIST: Advice column by Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate KK/AS
By Craig Fraser
Known mostly for my advice columns in other magazines,
let me introduce you to our first online advice column, "The
Paintist" . “The Paintist”
is a Question, and Answer forum for the professional kustom painter,
and garage warrior alike. No matter what the question, or problem,
we are prepared to answer it, or at least distract your attention
with humorous metaphors. But all seriousness aside: To answer your
most important paint problems, we have assembled a crack team of
answermen, painters, artists, bodymen, or anybody that happens to
be wondering around Kal Koncepts during the print deadline. So if
you are stuck in the middle of a job, and need an answer immediately,
don’t worry. Just drop us an email, and we will respond in
the timely manner afforded by how often we check our email.. At
“The Paintist” we feel there is no question too difficult,
that we cannot answer with the same amount of complexity. This is
your advice column, and we need your questions and letters to keep
it running. Please send in any paint questions, nightmares, or design
tragedies, (Success stories are for the main articles in the mag,
we deal with reality here!) to “The Paintist” care of:
Of course let us know if you want us to use your name
or not. We reserve the right to give you an interesting nickname,
and make fun of you if you are abusive. After all, kustom painting
is not politically correct, and neither are my columns.
Just remember: There are no stupid questions……Just stupid
Peace, Luv, and Isocyanates.
I want to add some metalflake graphics to my paintjob. I already
have a single set of flames, and was hoping to add another set in
the future, possibly a coarse metal flake. I have never used flake
before, is it difficult? I know you add it to clear to spray it,
but this is about as far as I go on the expert thing. Let me know
your opinion, and suggestions.
The eternal question,....to flake, or not to flake!?!?!? The only
down side I can see you haveing is mill thickness. You see, for
the big flake, (Golf-Ball, Bass-Boat,..Pimp-Daddy,....it goes by
many names,..heheheh) The flake requires quite a bit of clearcoat
to bury. You are correct in how it is applied though, you do add
it to clear, but I think if many first time painters actually realized
how much clear is required they would often times thing twice. Flake
is usually such a drastic graphic in thickness, that it is normally
applied early on in a paintjob, so that the natural subsequent layers
of graphics, and masking can eventually catch up with the edge.
If you already have quite a bit of clear over your initial flame
job, you might find yourself putting a lot more on then you would
like before you get it leveled out. (Nobody likes graphics that
you can cut your finger on!! heheehh) My suggestion in the future
is to make the flake the first of your graphics, then by the time
you add a few more, along with the final clear you will be working
on a single plane. Now there are alternatives to using the humongous
flake, and that is either the mini flake, microsequins such as prismatique,
or even use ice pearl to give that sparkly flake appearance. All
of these are smaller particle flakes that give a very high luster
finish with little build, or necessity to layer multiple clears
on top to smooth out. If you still have your heart set on flake,
fine then, but here are a couple of suggestions to make your life
a little easier. I mentioned this in the first installment of Paintime,..but
since flake is a big technique lately,...I think it is kewl to review
a little. First off: You are gonna want to spray down a nice wet
coat of clear without flake on the area. This will act as your glue
coat. As soon as it gets tacky, you then mix in your flake, and
spray lite even coats of flaked clear over the area. This glue coat
will allow the the flake to stick, and not float around. It will
also prevent the flake from standing on end, but force it to lay
flat. This can save you a number of clearcoats,..not to mention
mill thickness in the end graphic. I personally like to use Silver
metalflake for all my flake work. As soon as I get the flake and
clear leveled, I then will spray whichever kandy I want the flake
to be. Works out pretty good, and actually has better depth then
colored flake. (Plus urethane kandy does not fade as fast as many
anodized mylar flakes out there today. Hope this helps you out.
Keep on Flakin'!
Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate
Should a paint job be judged on wether or not you can feel the edge
of the graphics? I am so sick of watching people at shows that run
their hand over a paint job to see if they can feel the graphics,
before they even get a chance to look at the artwork. Am I making
a fuss about nothing, or is this a common complaint in the custom
paint business. I am relatively new to it, and already wanna wring
As you can see, I actually group my questions by category. The edge
question caught my eye while I was answering the one on flake. The
question of graphics with edge will be one argued till the end of
time. You can argue it both ways. On one side of the arguement you
can say that a layer of clear should not be the determining factor
as to how a paintjob, or design is judged. On the other hand you
could also say, that if the clearcoat is so easy, then why doesn't
the master artist throw one more on, so as not to be judged that
way. It goes back and forth forever. Put it this way. People are
always going to have stupid ways to belittle, or judge something
by the wrong merits. It's human nature. Heck,.look at movie critics,...when
did one of these guys actually do anything to increase the quality
of any movie out there. The world is full of critics. On this instance,
I don't really have a problem with them griping about the edge thing,...as
long as it's not taken to the extreme. At Kal Koncepts we try and
not price our paintjobs out of anybodys range. Does this mean on
occasion you can feel our graphics,...Sure. Heck, sometimes I have
even pinstriped on top of the clear, when doing decorative striping!
Gee, I guess according to the critics I am going straight to hell
for that one. Point being: if leaving an edge in your graphics was
a crime, there would be no painters left. If our clients want the
graphics buried, they pay for it, just like if they want extra colors.
The line you draw in the sand depends on where you wanna be in the
mix. Do you want to be known for graphics that draw blood? If not,
you may want to opt to add a little more clear. For instance, if
we have a major job going to SEMA, we will try and make it our best
attempt. Same thing goes for any high dollar job. If somebody can
only afford a $1000 flame job on his car,..he will feel the flames.
They won't cut him,..but they will be there. If a client is spending
$10,000 for a graphic job. I don't care how many colors you are
putting on that sucker, you better bury the graphics, or you are
gonna be burying your career. (Unless it is painting Braille graphics
for the blind)
Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate
Which is better for masking designs in graphics, or mural work:
Mylar, tape, fineline, or frisket? I have seen you use a number
of different techniques, and was wondering which is the best, or
at least gives the most consistant results. All of the above products
are available at my local hobby store. Just didn't want to make
any bad investments.
Good question, it is one that is commonly asked. But it is a trick
question too. Kind of like me asking a mechanic which is the most
important tool in his toolbox, and then telling him to throw out
all the rest. You see, in custom painting: techniques, tricks, and
applications are our tools. To pick one out as the best is kind
of self-defeating. The best painter will experiment with all available
techniques, and constantly try and come up with, copy, or synthesize
new ones. Of the four you mentioned, the only one that I have issue
with for automotive painting is the Frisket. Standard airbrush frisket
that is found at hobby stores is excellent for airbrushing illustrations,
and other water based artwork, but it not a good idea for solvent
based paint. It seems that the solvents like to eat into the plastic
based friskets, and do all sorts of nasty things, such as melting,
flashing, and bleeding. If you are use to the cut and remove style
of frisket work, I would recommend using Coast Airbrush's new transfer
tape, "Automask" They have a paper, as well as polypropelene
based masking system that is available in different sizes. Stuff
is pretty cheap, cuts great, and does not bleed, or adversely mess
with the paint. Tape, and fineline are great for masking out graphics,
but are sometimes too difficult to cut though. I don't mean they
are hard to cut, but anything that gives up too much resistance
when cutting, will leave score marks underneath on the artwork.
As for mylar, it is a precut stencil system. Because of it's transparency,
you can see well enough to trace the design, or score it with you
knife. Then you literally snap along the score marks to remove the
unwanted area of your stencil. Mylar is a great tool for reproduction
of details, and designs, since it is removable, and very durable.
Because it is a freehand shield, you can also move it while spraying,
for certain effects, or tape it down for tight clean line work.
Best of all you can wipe it down, and use it again, or store it
for later. This is the primary material that the stencils I sell
under the Artool name are made of. Are there other masking systems
out there? Sure, there are tons. There is computer cut vinyl, liquid
latex, magnetic, silk screened,...etc,..etc,..... Really it is up
to you as the painter as to how many tools you have. How many tricks
you want to have up your sleeve.
Good luck, and keep on experimenting.
Kal Koncepts/Air Syndicate
Well that’s it for this month, see you in the next issue.
Keep those questions coming, and we’ll keep on answering them.
Just remember what we have always said at Kal Koncepts concerning
“If we don’t know the answer,…..you’re
asking stupid questions."
"The Paintist" is
written by Craig Fraser of Air Syndicate. Craig is the in house
airbrusher for Kal Koncepts, and has been working with his partner
in crime, Dion Giuliano, owner of Kal Koncepts for over a decade.
Some of their clients include Colorado Custom Wheels, Trenz, Dodge/Viper
Special Projects, West Coast Choppers, and House of Kolor. Craig
is also a freelance journalist, and writes paint/advice columns
for Streetrucks, and other automotive publications. Craig is also
the author of “Automotive Cheap Tricks, and Special FX, and
a number of kustom paint videos.
Check out his work, or submit Paintist questions at his website.