Tag Archive: paint


In case you missed it, you can read True Fire™ Basics Part 1, “Know Your Fire,” on our website by clicking here.

For True Fire™ Basics Part 2, “What You Throw Down,” on our website, click here.

The information here is intended to help painters and artists get the best results they can when painting realistic fire on their own projects. For detailed instructions on painting realistic fire, we recommend that you watch The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 1 DVD.

True Fire Custom Paint by Mike Lavallee of Killer Paint

When painting realistic fire, it is important to be able to balance the amount of airbrushing you do freehand, versus the amount done with a template or shield. To achieve believable looking flames, it is necessary to mix it up.


AngelHairFire01

You don’t want flames that look like this. Change it up and give your flames some movement and body

Give Fire Its Shape

If one tries to paint flames entirely freehand and without any templates whatsoever, the results tend to look less crisp, and lacking in fullness and excitement.

At worst, you can end up with what we sometimes call “angel hair” fire- which can look long and stringy, and have very little of the energy that gives fire its distinct character. Using a freehand shield helps add some definition and variation to your artwork.

Some people avoid using templates or freehand shields due to the cost, but investing in the right tools for the job can really make a difference in the final artwork you create. You may be surprised at the improvement.


Too Much of a Good Thing

Tribal Flames on Motorcycle Tank

Solid flames are okay… just when you are doing a “tribal” design.

On the other hand, if one relies entirely on templates to build their fire, they are likely to have problems of a different sort.

Too much template usage can have the opposite effect- it gives the flames too much structure, and creating good fire in artwork requires striking a balance.

Overbuilt flames start to look abstracted or stylized, often looking more like layers of tribal blade designs than True Fire™. At the extreme, you can get what we often refer to as “Swiss cheese” fire- appearing like large blocks of fiery colors punctuated with many overly-defined holes in them.


Have a Target- Practice Hitting It

The key to solving both of these problems (and more) starts with something we’ve discussed before- Making sure you Know Your Fire.

True Fire™ Mailbox by Mike Lavallee of Killer Paint™Arm yourself with good reference photos and a studied knowledge of flames that look like the kind you would like to paint (remember, fire has a broad range of appearances.) Then you will be better able to strike a balance in your painting technique.

If necessary, practice on scrap panels, or smaller items like mailboxes, bicycle helmets, bowling pins or metal folding chairs, until you feel you have your technique down. Then you can move on to larger projects like motorcycles or cars.

You really don’t want to be working out the kinks in your airbrushing process on something expensive!  It’s just a recipe for disaster… Especially if you mess up on something that doesn’t belong to you.


Your Own Twist

Mother's Wax PT Cruiser by Mike Lavalle of Killer Paint

It should be noted that this all assumes that you are trying to paint truly realistic fire.

Sometimes stylizing your flames might be desired, depending on the circumstances. Make sure that is your goal from the beginning though, not the result of poor technique.

Some people have their own “brand” of fire, their personal style. If it works for them, more power to them. But if you are doing a job for a customer, make quite sure that they understand exactly what they should expect from you when you use the term “fire.”

We hope you found this information useful. We may have posts about airbrush art and painting True Fire™ in the future, so stay tuned! Thanks for visiting!


Click the corresponding link if you are interested in purchasing The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 1and/or The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 2

Artool’s True Fire™ Freehand Templates, used in painting realistic fire, can be purchased from Coast Airbrush here, and the “2nd Degree Burn” templates are here.

ShinyDimemsionalSpadeSkull

Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about reference materials for painting realistic fire, or share with us your favorite ways to gather images for inspiration in creating your artwork.

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your project, visit our website, or contact us at info@killerpaint.com


Related Links:

True Fire™ Basics Part 1, “Know Your Fire”: https://www.killerpaint.com/true-firetrade-basics/category/basics-part-1

True Fire™ Basics Part 2, “What You Throw Down”: https://www.killerpaint.com/true-firetrade-basics/category/basics-part-2

True Fire™ Basics Part 4, “Square Pegs in Round Holes” https://www.killerpaint.com/true-firetrade-basics/category/basics-part-4

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-Original-KILLER-PAINT-INC/297040465604

The Killer Paint Website: www.killerpaint.com

True Fire™ Instructional DVDs:
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 1
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 2

True Fire™ Freehand Templates: Artool Freehand Airbrush Templates, True Fire Template Set

House of Kolor Official Website: http://www.houseofkolor.com/

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Back in 2009, a customer came to Killer Paint with a request to do a refrigerator for their home theater. Being fans of the Hellboy films, they wanted an over-the-top theme based on the then recently released Hellboy 2: The Golden Army.

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army Custom Painted Refrigerator by Mike Lavalle of Killer Paint


Late model GE refrigeratorMany of the Killer Paint Custom refrigerators start off with a vintage unit. Models from past eras like the 1940’s 50’s and 60’s were built with an aesthetic that makes them very well suited to these kinds of projects.

Their style was more akin to the lines and curves that a car might have, unlike most modern appliances, which tend toward the flat and blocky.

They also tend to be much smaller than most modern full-sized refrigerators, so they fit much more easily into many non-kitchen areas of the home, such as game rooms, man caves, or home theaters.

In this case, the Hellboy fridge started out its life as an older model GE fridge. It was still in reasonably good shape and quite functional, but it had quite a few changes in store.

This refrigerator project was going to be much more than just a exterior face lift and a repaint.


Picture 650BNormally, when a refrigerator gets painted here at the shop, just the outside surface gets the makeover.

On previous custom fridge projects, painting or making any color changes to the inside of previous projects had been avoided, due to concerns about the potential durability and adhesion of the paint once the fridge is in daily by the customer, and can be troublesome to do correctly.

Mike knew that for this theme, opening the door to a sterile white interior just wouldn’t do. So for the first time at Killer Paint, the refrigerator was going to get painted inside and out.

The interior surfaces were prepared and treated in such a way this time that would allow the paint to stand up better to wear and tear. Of course, red was the logical color choice for the inside on this piece.

We’ll take a closer look at how the interior turned out a bit later.


IMG_2012BHellboy Fist of Doom Detail

On the front door, a very large portrait of Hellboy himself (as portrayed by Ron Perlman) dominates the majority of the area. Mike wanted to do it large enough that he could put far more detail into the image, including fine wrinkles and skin texture. Fridge Front Door Hellboy Portrait Close Up


While Hellboy himself dominates the front door, each side of the fridge displays its own sets of characters…

IMG_2001B Picture 515B

The left-hand side features the film’s aquatic protagonist Abe Sapien, as well as the primary elvish characters appearing in the film- Nuada, Nuala, and King Balor.

A few other entities from the story, like the Angel of Death and one of the Golden Army constructs, are woven in to create a continuous tapestry of images (click to enlarge)

Picture 571B

The other side features the other members of the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) who work alongside Hellboy in the film:

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The fire-wielding Liz Sherman (portrayed by Selma Blair) and containment-suited Johann Kraus (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) (click to enlarge)


Guillermo del Toro, the director of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, is well known for using fantastical imagery in his films, like the highly innovative Pan’s Labyrinth, whose influence is felt strongly in many of the elements of the Hellboy sequel.

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As such, there was a wide variety of subject matter available. The film is chock-full of visually spectacular scenes, as well as amazing characters and wonderful (or terrible) creatures. It’s almost too much to choose from, as far as deciding what to paint on this refrigerator.


Now let’s get back to all of the work that went into the inside of this refrigerator…

Inside door of Hellboy custom refrigerator by Mike Lavallee of Killer Paint

The inside panel of the door was also painted red to go with the interior. a faux-beveled border was painted on, and a large Hellboy logo, including the B.P.R.D emblem was painted prominently on the door.

The rest of the panel is filled with an arrangement of spiral glyphs, similar to those etched in Hellboy’s skin in the film. Cracks were then painted in to give the impression that the panel is made of a rock-like material.

Hellboy Custom Fridge inside door panel by Mike Lavallee of Killer PaintPicture 255B

For the small square door to the icebox, Mike sculpted another B.P.R.D. emblem along with scratches, cracks and other texture, then painted-weathered the panel to appear as though it were carved out of some kind of stone.


With a brand new bright red interior, and faux stone doors, there was no way that the original wire shelves and drawers that the refrigerator came with would look good if they were placed back inside. Since the fridge was going to be for a home theater, and not storing meat of vegetables for meals, it was decided that the drawers would be left out entirely, to increase the amount of storage space available for beverages and snacks.

Picture 297B IMG_1450B

As for the shelves, Mike had something in mind to replace them. Using screen captures from the film, artwork was generated to use in order to etch the images on the underside of brand new, 1/4″ thick glass shelves. Three large shelves, plus one smaller shelf for the space adjacent to the icebox were made, and set on the pegs used for the original metal shelves.


A few months ago, one of the photos of the refrigerator showed up on a certain Facebook page…

Ron Perlman Facebook post of Hellboy Refrigerator by Mike Lavalle of Killer PaintRon Perlman himself saw and reposted a picture of the Hellboy fridge!

We hope you enjoyed taking a look back at this project. Let us know if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future!


ShinyDimemsionalSpadeSkull

Maybe this project gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own refrigerator, car, truck, motorcycle, etc.

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at info@killerpaint.com


Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-Original-KILLER-PAINT-INC/297040465604

The Official Killer Paint Website: www.killerpaint.com

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” info page on imdb.com: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0411477/

Purchase “Hellboy 2: The Golden Army” on Amazon:

Purchase the original “Hellboy” movie, also on Amazon:

Ron Perlman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perlmutations

Ron Perlman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/perlmutations

Our customer Yanee brought in her Can-Am Spyder a while back to get the Killer Paint treatment. So Mike laid some sick shreds and True Fire on it, and she was crazy happy with the result. So much so, that she came back to us to get her accompanying trailer done up to match.

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Here is the result:  Plenty of shreds to look like the original paint is being torn away, and rich, hot orange True Fire underneath, matching the existing paint job on her Spyder.  And of course, a flaming skull on the front end.

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Mike added a little something extra on the top too- A Seattle Seahawks tribute on the top for her. She is a big time “12th Man.” She loves her ‘Hawks, and loves to show it, too.

FullSizeRender-11BIMG_1654B

We hope you enjoyed seeing how this project turned out. Let us know if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future!


ShinyDimemsionalSpadeSkull

Maybe this project gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own car, truck, motorcycle, refrigerator, etc?

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at info@killerpaint.com


Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-Original-KILLER-PAINT-INC/297040465604

The Official Killer Paint Website: www.killerpaint.com

Killer Paint’s “True Fire™ Basics” Blog Series: https://www.killerpaint.com/true-firetrade-basics

Killer Grunge FX™ Spray at Coast Airbrush: https://www.coastairbrush.com/products.asp?cat=789

True Fire™ Instructional DVDs:
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 1
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 2

Masking for Shreds Tutorial on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zE1P3pYJ78

Killer Paint on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/killerpaint1033/

This project originally aired Oct. 27, 2003 on “Monster Garage” (Season 2, Episode 7)

In this episode, Jesse James and his team revisited a previously failed challenge. The goal was to make a backhoe/hearse “gravedigger” vehicle. The last time they tried to put a backhoe in a hearse (Season 1, Episode 6 “Grim Ripper”), things didn’t quite work out. This time, they had better luck.

Gravedigger Hearse Front View

Mike got called in on the project to add his unique touch to the build:

The hearse got artwork from bumper to bumper. A gigantic Grim Reaper dominates each side of the vehicle, and since it was missing a headlight, Mike candied the other headlight a sinister red to match the ‘Reaper’s eyes…

Gravedigger Hearse Side View

Grim Reaper Mural Closeup

…and with a little more paint, the hydraulic digging arm was transformed into a giant skeletal arm and claw, as if the Grim Reaper itself was reaching out to dig graves.

Gravedigger Hearse Skeletal Backhoe Arm

Fittingly, the morbidly-themed episode aired just in time for Halloween. Mike recalls that the car gave him the creeps because the interior still smelled of embalming fluids.

Gravedigger Hearse Front View

Gravedigger Hearse Back View

Jesse James and the Gravedigger Hearse

You can get Monster Garage – Season Two

Do you remember watching this episode? What was most memorable to you about this build?

We hope you enjoyed taking a look back at this project. Let us know if there is anything you would like to see us post here in the future!


ShinyDimemsionalSpadeSkull

Maybe this project gave you some ideas, or you already have an idea in mind for your own car, truck, motorcycle, refrigerator, etc?

If you would like to contact Killer Paint about working on your own project, visit our website, or contact us at info@killerpaint.com


Related Links:

The Original Killer Paint Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/THE-Original-KILLER-PAINT-INC/297040465604

The Official Killer Paint Website: www.killerpaint.com

Killer Paint’s “True Fire™ Basics” Blog Series: https://www.killerpaint.com/true-firetrade-basics

Killer Grunge FX™ Spray at Coast Airbrush: https://www.coastairbrush.com/products.asp?cat=789

True Fire™ Instructional DVDs:
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 1
The Secrets of Airbrushing True Fire™ – Part 2

Killer Paint on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/killerpaint1033/

This is tough time for my fellow artists for sure.  I’ve just about seen it all from my humble beginning in my parents’ tiny basement, to owning my own shop and having employees.

I got my start in the sign business painting MDO signs, and lettering trucks. I even did a little pinstriping on the side. After a couple of years, I had a customer tell me “you need to paint motorcycles in Laconia.” The Laconia, NH motorcycle rally is one of the oldest in the country. I knew nothing about working out on the road, but it sounded like fun so i agreed to check it out.  I found out what I needed to work the rally: I needed a license from the state- Check, needed supplies- Check, needed a place to work… uh? Ok… where do the pinstripers work?   Now I needed to do some recon for a good place to set up!  So I headed up to where the rally took place, and drove around, asked questions, and finally found a place to work.  I made a deal with the owner of a motel and was to set up in his parking lot for the rally.

Now at the time, I had never worked outdoors, and didn’t realize that I’d need a tent to work out of… DUH!   So I had to set up with a card table my paint and brush box little banner and photo album… minus a tent. In the sun. In the wind….with no TENT!  AND did I mention I was on a budget, and I had to sleep there in the parking lot in my 72 Nova?  talk about working in the trenches!  But it all worked out!  I made more that weekend than I had the previous month painting signs!  I liked this!   Now I had to buy a tent!  Welcome to road doggin’!  When I was there painting and getting one hell of a sunburn, (because I  HAD NO TENT!) I was invited to attend other rallies around New England.  There are several all over the the country, all summer, but I had to learn to pick and choose which ones where worth going to, and which ones would cost you more to attend than I’d make.

It was hard work, and the traveling sucked till you got there, and then you had to drive all the way back.  But it was fun, you got to see the country and meet all kinds of people, the good the bad and the …strange! Hahaha!  I have met some life long friends out on the road.  It was working on the rally circuit where I learned to work fast!  Time was money out there, and the faster you could get this job done well and get paid for it, the sooner the next customer could come in.  My tent was like a McDonald’s drive thru!

After working on the road for several years, I left the circuit to pursue a career in airbrushing! So I folded up the tent and got a shop. It was nice to not be working out in the heat, rain, wind, and drunks! Lol!

I have to tell you, I love working in my own shop surrounded by some really cool artwork! I have television, food, music, a paint booth, comfortable couches and more.  It really feels like I’m working at home here.  I love what I do so much, that it doesn’t feel like a job, and I wouldn’t want to trade it for anything.  I sometimes miss being a road dog, traveling to tourist locations, and seeing new sights, but I get over it soon enough.

I learned a lot about work, gained speed, and learned a lot about people in general.  It was hard work, good money, and was full of adventure.  And I wouldn’t go back if you asked me to!  But I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.