Airbrush on Fencing Mask

This was the fourth fencing mask, a used one the coach let me borrow, I just painted with my airbrush which was supposed to be on display at the recent Middlebury Annual fencing tournament, however there wasn’t time and one of the parts went missing. It turned out I misplaced the crown cap that went missing and had to go to an airbrush forum for help on finding the right part for it. After all, as a completist myself, I like having my airbrush entirely intact and ready for use. Fortunately, a good samaritan quickly responded to a post I made and offered to send me a part by mail which just saved me a lot of time and trouble.

One can see that the Medea part that came in the mail actually fit my classic Iwata HP-C beautifully which has lasted me for over 20 years and still going like a workhorse.

The crown cap. One can see the label showing the model part relating to it.

The crown cap. One can see the label showing the model part relating to it.

The crown cap in close up that fits nicely on my airbrush.

The crown cap in close up that fits nicely on my airbrush.

And then once I was able to figure out how to clear up the fluid nozzle, the needle glided perfectly back and forth without any resistance of dried paint internally. It was like the good old days have returned with restored fine lines during the test run. From that point on, I started to use the black, white and red Wicked Color set to finish up the fencing mask project. The result ended up as a gargoyle or some sort of demonic face with horns.

Front part of the mask.

Front part of the mask.

One side of it.

One side of it.

Fencing Squad Shirt 2019

As a new addition to the design gallery, the competitive squad shirt for the Vermont Fencing Alliance has been recently completed. A fellow fencer once approached me about how she had nightmares of a squid holding several blades and that I mentioned how I could draw it, considering the ‘lovecraftian’ nature of tentacles and dark art that compels me. Due to the club’s recent slight restructuring of the team that now includes all adults and teenagers instead of just the Junior Team, a new identity would be in need to show a sense of unification and attitude.

I set out to go with the Kraken and add in a pirate’s patch along with four blades. As tempted as I was going to make it seem like the goddess Kali, that decision led to restraint to focus on the actual weapons my club uses ranging from electric epee and foil while saber wasn’t the specialized discipline. I added in the pirate’s cutlass instead just for the fun of it. And once it was finished, it went to a Redbubble account owned by my coach so that anyone in the club can purchase it without need of going to a local shirt manufacturer.

Also, stickers are part of the store offering which I’m planning to buy one for my next sketchbook!

VFA Competitive Squad shirt

VFA Competitive Squad shirt

Airbrushing Once Again

Years ago, I got into airbrushing during the time I was in art school and owned the classic HP-C Iwata airbrush. This thing was an engineering marvel which never broke down on me The Paasche was the other I had and it worked pretty well except for the certain times I had difficulty creating thin lines. The problem, at the time, was that I had a small air compressor which was a single motor without a tank and it was quite loud. I had to pull the plug every time it got hot and waited for it to cool off in order to resume the work. 

But I enjoyed the airbrush process and how the paint flowed onto the surface was fascinating to me.

I got into it when an old neighborhood friend of mine, who's a talented artist, purchased an airbrush with a huge silent compressor. When I first saw it, I was stunned to see the incredible details he was able to pull off and the medium was new to me. I owe it to him for opening my eyes on this incredible tool, among other techniques. 

After I finished art school, I stopped using the airbrush and went into other media. I moved around a lot back then and lost two air compressors. The loud motorized one and the other was a pitch black box from Aztek, I believe, were the only ones I had. When I moved to Vermont, I lost both of them in the process and could'nt locate the items. 

But the Iwata still remained in my possession. Until now, when a friend of mine privately hired me to custom paint his HEMA (historical european martial arts ) fencing mask based on the heraldry of the design I did for him over a year ago.

All of a sudden, it was my chance to get back into it. So I had to get a new compressor and start all over from scratch. My Paasche then broke down due to the nozzle tip that snapped. I couldn't use it again and had to buy a second hand vintage Paasche V from a local person. This brush was much older from the 1980s and surprisingly, it worked. 

But the Iwata is still my favorite workhorse which had not failed me over the years. And that needle which was inside of it was still there since the last time I used it in the old days. It was in perfect condition that shocked me because ordering airbrush needles are not cheap, let me just say. 

My Iwata HP-C airbrush. A solid classic revered by many.Zeny airbrush compressor with a motorI had to order new Wicked Color paints from Createx so that they would flow better through the airbrush than the opaques which were causing problems to the needle and nozzle areas. The new air compressor from Zeny did the job perfectly well for the level and scale of my project. Especially the new paint had to adhere to the apparel surface of the mask which was important. And best of all, it's got a tank with the moisture trap which was badly needed. 

Worked out the visuals on the Concepts app on my iPad ProI then got to work on my iPad Pro to visualize on the Concepts app of how the mask would look and the way his creature's mane would flow. I swear by Concepts for many things and made things more streamlined. It took several iterations to get it right. The final results can be seen below.

Front of the maskThe side of the maskThe back of the maskIt took me a few days to complete it after some re-adjusting to the compressor and getting the paint volume right. This was a lot of fun and my client is very please with it. Especially since it's part of the SCA form of fencing that's partly related to my interests. As an epee fencer myself, it's really a great way for me to run wild with this and learn from this experience on how to airbrush again. 

Now the thought of doing a large scale airbrush illustration intriques me especially if it's something for the Art of Horror group exhibition in October. I think I may buy one more airbrush along with a few other necessities to complete the kit and add more colors for future projects. 

 

New Society6 Art Prints

Over a month ago, I illustrated and designed a t-shrit for the Champlain Cup fencing tournament with an irish green backdrop as a transparency. Once it was printed, it sold out very quickly almost on the first day of the event and people had to request for more orders. I had the idea of re-creating it as an art print instead in black and white which was the original intention and so, therefore, two alternative versions have been made available in my Society6 store.

 

One would be with the white background and the other in black for a more dramatic effect with some quotes. However, the half-tones for the mask in this print has been re-created. I certainly hope that those who have missed out on the shirts would have a new chance at it, especially there are phone case offerings for them on my Society6 store.

 

" Fencer's Glory ". White background version as originally intended." Fencer's Creed ". Black background version with quotes.

 

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New Fencing Shirt Printed

The latest piece I did while juggling between projects was this shirt for the Vermont Fencing Alliance's annual tournament. I did this image on Manga Studio and Adobe Illustrator entirely in black and white on 600 DPI. Depsite some of the white colors they used in the actual print, it diluted some of the lines but the entire composition came out fine. The shirt looks great in person, though, utilizing the inspired theme of Game of Thrones.

Actual illustration done on Manga StudioActual shirt based on the image I created based on a new photo I took.I was surprised that some of the toner effect on the mask was preserved, even though some of the white coating that diluted it slightly. That's the challenging part of t-shirt design when it comes to having a balance between black and white ink to a certain minimum to be translatable to the eye. I could have added color to the title but considering the club's limited budget of this year, it would've been a bit more expensive. When the club's finances increase next year or so, I can consider adding more color options.

 

 Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.