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Custom Paint Tricks

  • Red Corvette roadsters attract plenty of attention just as they are, but when the front half of the car is covered in bright flames the result is a traffic-stopper. These flames are rather tight and long which works well with the shape of the Corvette. - 0
  • A close-up view of the flamed Corvette illustrates how the colors fade from the nose to the flame tips. Extra bursts of orange were placed at the inner curves for accent. A much darker symmetrical red flame goes down the center of the hood. The main flames overlap this design. This is one of those extra details that might not be noticed from a distance. - 1
  • Long, flowing contemporary style flames were integrated with traditional Z/28 racing stripes on Chris Bondy’s ‘68 Camaro convertible. The stripes are white on the grille header panel and the first few inches of the hood. Then yellow and orange are fogged in. Notice that the stripe borders fade from white to yellow to orange as they parallel the color changes of the flames. - 2
  • Painter, Ken Miller, carried the flames within the racing stripes motif through to the trunk lid. This time the flames are just orange and they start at the front edge of the trunk. The area between the trunk lid and the convertible top was left red. Notice that the ends of the flames appear both on the spoiler and underneath it. - 3
  • Flames can be very effective even when they don’t cover the entire nose of the car. Jon Byers kept the bold flames in a narrow band defined by the stainless trim. The effect helps lengthen the look of Ray Huston’s ’53 Chevy 210 sedan. - 4
  • This close-up of Jon Byers’ handiwork illustrates several techniques: blending or fogging, shadows, and high contrast pinstriping.  Orange was fogged heavily on the curves and edges. A shadow line was placed on the bottom side where flames overlap. Process blue is a favorite pinstriping color because it helps the orange and yellow flames “pop.” - 5
  • The close-up of this wild ’57 Corvette hood illustrates how details can be added to basic flame shapes. Notice that the pinstriping was brought into the flame creating sort of a 3-D look to the inner curves. Black flames start at the black nose and overlap the yellow and orange flames. Green pinstriping separates the black flames from the black body where they overlap. R&J Customs painted the flames. - 6
  • Classic ’56 Chevy Bel Air side trim was airbrushed on the huge slab sides of this late-model Chevy wagon. Even a Bel Air script was included. The results really improve the appearance of this wagon. - 7
  • This super sharp Nova hardtop illustrates a couple tricks. The choice of colors is unusual, but it works. The base gold/bronze color looks restoration-correct, but the bold flames are candy purple. The flames don’t start until the midpoint of the fenders. Purple was expertly fogged to start the flames. Great care is required to make this blend seamless. A single color was used for the flames, but it was applied more heavily around the edges. - 8
  • A surprise feature of the purple flames on the Nova is when the hood is opened. The flames roll right into the engine compartment and continue down the inner fender wells. - 9
  • The hoods of ’65-’66 full-size Chevys are massive, so large scale flames work well on such a large “canvas.” These single color flames display a couple neat tricks. They are symmetrical; they intersect in the middle forming two large teardrops; the six inner curves taper radically to narrow licks forming a scallop-like design; and the two free-floating licks give a tribal look to the flames. - 10
  • Masking tape must have been a major expense during the painting of the multi, multi-colored pearl flames on Gene Andrews’ 1962 Impala. A great deal of patience is required to apply so many overlapping layers of color. Several different pinstriping colors were used to help separate the many flame licks. - 11
  • This neat little trick is on a Chevy pickup tailgate, but the general idea could be applied to cars as well. The checkerboard design inside the script takes on a different appearance depending if it is viewed from a distance or up close. - 12
  • The neat trick on these House of Kolor candy tangerine flames is the yellow ghost flames within the main flames. Jason Rushforth designed the paint scheme and RJ Customs applied the paint. The ghost flames were shot over the main flames and their masking tape, so when the tape was removed the ghost flames would have a random flow. - 13
  • Airbrushed side trim on this ’62 Chevy Biscayne ends in a furled flag design. It adds interest to an otherwise plain rear quarter panel. - 14
  • Candy magenta/purple tribal flames over a screaming yellow base make this Chevy street rod easy to spot in a crowd. The magenta was fogged over the silver undercoat on the front of the car. That makes it appear to be a pale purple. Lime green pinstriping makes the flames stand out even more. - 15
  • A close-up of the tribal flames how crescent shapes were outlined in the inner curves. That gives sort of a 3-D look. A small white airbrushed “hot spot” was placed in the middle of the crescent to enhance the feeling of depth. - 16
  • Flames don’t have to be limited to exterior body panels. These traditional flames were applied to the valve covers of a late-model Corvette engine. Process Blue pinstriping is an excellent choice, especially over black. Notice the many free-floating pinstriped licks. They add interest and a feeling of motion. - 17
  • A neat custom paint detail trick is the airbrushed barbwire woven around the maroon stripe that separates the silver and white primary colors on Doug Pessemier’s 1986 Monte Carlo. Travis Moore was responsible for the paint and intricate airbrush art. - 18
  • Where and how flames start can vary greatly. This ’55 Chevy has pretty solid flames that cover much of the hood, front fenders, and doors. The unusual part is how they start at the midpoint of the turn signals. They then flow up almost to the top of the fender opening, but not quite over. - 19
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by Bruce Caldwell  More from Author

How To Make Your Chevy More Colorful

There are far too many boring, bland cars clogging our nation’s highways. Fortunately, a lot of creative Chevy owners are doing their best to liven up our motoring environment. The following photos and captions showcase some of the brighter ideas we’ve seen recently.

A majority of these examples deal with flames. Flames have always had their admirers, but presently interest in flames is very high. Nothing says hot rod or modified car quite as well as a wild set of flames. A neat thing about flames is that there are an almost endless variety of ways to paint them.

Look closely at the examples, because most great custom painting tricks involve lots of attention to detail. The idea is to have the paint job work on two levels: how it looks from a distance and how it looks up close. Hopefully the tricks shown here will spark your imagination and help make your world more colorful.




Red Corvette roadsters attract plenty of attention just as they are, but when the front half of the car is covered in bright flames the result is a traffic-stopper. These flames are rather tight and long which works well with the shape of the Corvette.



A close-up view of the flamed Corvette illustrates how the colors fade from the nose to the flame tips. Extra bursts of orange were placed at the inner curves for accent. A much darker symmetrical red flame goes down the center of the hood. The main flames overlap this design. This is one of those extra details that might not be noticed from a distance.




Long, flowing contemporary style flames were integrated with traditional Z/28 racing stripes on Chris Bondy’s ‘68 Camaro convertible. The stripes are white on the grille header panel and the first few inches of the hood. Then yellow and orange are fogged in. Notice that the stripe borders fade from white to yellow to orange as they parallel the color changes of the flames.




Painter, Ken Miller, carried the flames within the racing stripes motif through to the trunk lid. This time the flames are just orange and they start at the front edge of the trunk. The area between the trunk lid and the convertible top was left red. Notice that the ends of the flames appear both on the spoiler and underneath it.




Flames can be very effective even when they don’t cover the entire nose of the car. Jon Byers kept the bold flames in a narrow band defined by the stainless trim. The effect helps lengthen the look of Ray Huston’s ’53 Chevy 210 sedan.




This close-up of Jon Byers’ handiwork illustrates several techniques: blending or fogging, shadows, and high contrast pinstriping. Orange was fogged heavily on the curves and edges. A shadow line was placed on the bottom side where flames overlap. Process blue is a favorite pinstriping color because it helps the orange and yellow flames “pop.”




The close-up of this wild ’57 Corvette hood illustrates how details can be added to basic flame shapes. Notice that the pinstriping was brought into the flame creating sort of a 3-D look to the inner curves. Black flames start at the black nose and overlap the yellow and orange flames. Green pinstriping separates the black flames from the black body where they overlap. R&J Customs painted the flames.




Classic ’56 Chevy Bel Air side trim was airbrushed on the huge slab sides of this late-model Chevy wagon. Even a Bel Air script was included. The results really improve the appearance of this wagon.



This super sharp Nova hardtop illustrates a couple tricks. The choice of colors is unusual, but it works. The base gold/bronze color looks restoration-correct, but the bold flames are candy purple. The flames don’t start until the midpoint of the fenders. Purple was expertly fogged to start the flames. Great care is required to make this blend seamless. A single color was used for the flames, but it was applied more heavily around the edges.



A surprise feature of the purple flames on the Nova is when the hood is opened. The flames roll right into the engine compartment and continue down the inner fender wells.




The hoods of ’65-’66 full-size Chevys are massive, so large scale flames work well on such a large “canvas.” These single color flames display a couple neat tricks. They are symmetrical; they intersect in the middle forming two large teardrops; the six inner curves taper radically to narrow licks forming a scallop-like design; and the two free-floating licks give a tribal look to the flames.




Masking tape must have been a major expense during the painting of the multi, multi-colored pearl flames on Gene Andrews’ 1962 Impala. A great deal of patience is required to apply so many overlapping layers of color. Several different pinstriping colors were used to help separate the many flame licks.




This neat little trick is on a Chevy pickup tailgate, but the general idea could be applied to cars as well. The checkerboard design inside the script takes on a different appearance depending if it is viewed from a distance or up close.




The neat trick on these House of Kolor candy tangerine flames is the yellow ghost flames within the main flames. Jason Rushforth designed the paint scheme and RJ Customs applied the paint. The ghost flames were shot over the main flames and their masking tape, so when the tape was removed the ghost flames would have a random flow.




Airbrushed side trim on this ’62 Chevy Biscayne ends in a furled flag design. It adds interest to an otherwise plain rear quarter panel.



Candy magenta/purple tribal flames over a screaming yellow base make this Chevy street rod easy to spot in a crowd. The magenta was fogged over the silver undercoat on the front of the car. That makes it appear to be a pale purple. Lime green pinstriping makes the flames stand out even more.



A close-up of the tribal flames how crescent shapes were outlined in the inner curves. That gives sort of a 3-D look. A small white airbrushed “hot spot” was placed in the middle of the crescent to enhance the feeling of depth.



Flames don’t have to be limited to exterior body panels. These traditional flames were applied to the valve covers of a late-model Corvette engine. Process Blue pinstriping is an excellent choice, especially over black. Notice the many free-floating pinstriped licks. They add interest and a feeling of motion.



A neat custom paint detail trick is the airbrushed barbwire woven around the maroon stripe that separates the silver and white primary colors on Doug Pessemier’s 1986 Monte Carlo. Travis Moore was responsible for the paint and intricate airbrush art.



Where and how flames start can vary greatly. This ’55 Chevy has pretty solid flames that cover much of the hood, front fenders, and doors. The unusual part is how they start at the midpoint of the turn signals. They then flow up almost to the top of the fender opening, but not quite over.

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