May 16, 2014
Whether you’re looking for an eye-catching fill or a background for pinstripes or artwork, the fish scale technique is a timeless choice. In this tutorial, Chris uses a traditional circular scale, but other shapes work just as well. With a little imagination and experimentation, you’ll be able to create a wide range of patterns and effects.
Chris uses a template to create the pattern of overlapping circles. Generally, the “scale” size should be big enough to fill the space without appearing busy. Use your best judgment.
Your pattern should be drawn on a light cardstock, about the thickness of a business card—heavy enough not to become soggy and tear, light enough to cut cleanly with scissors or a craft knife.
To ready the panel for the tutorial, it was covered with Deltron® 2000 DBC Bright Silver (5464). Over that, two color layers from the Vibrance Collection® were added, each fogged toward the center—Radiance® II Yellow (DMX210), then Green (DMX217). Each toner was added to a 1:1 mix of Deltron DBC500 Color Blender and DT870 reducer.
Any general-purpose airbrush, single or double action, can be used to achieve this effect. Chris recommends a medium sized tip at 40 psi. “The higher pressure allows me to use the airbrush as a mini paint gun and put on a wash of color.
Placing the template against the surface, Chris sprays a line of the Radiance® II Green. The green is solid at the bottom of the “V” and fades upward. Keep the template and the spray motion as horizontal as possible
Aligning the scales is simple—the center of each circle slightly overlaps the bottom of the “V” on the row above. Spacing between the rows is a matter of personal taste. Here, Chris uses a tight formation for a more intense pattern.
The template will be covered with many layers of paint. To maintain a crisp pattern, allow the template to dry for a minute every few rows, or create more than one template.
Once all the rows have been sprayed, Chris fogs the outer edge of the panel with several layers of Radiance® II Green (DMX217) until the color is intense.
From here, your options are wide open. The design stands on its own, so you could add a midcoat, or go straight to clear. Chris also suggests that the pattern can be a bed for pinstripes, lettering or artwork (see example). “As a background, fish scales can push any job over the top.”
Ryan Korek demonstrates how he created a razor-sharp design. Ryan's three-dimensional design calls for bold, high-gloss colored graphics "drop shadowed" over a matter gloss silver charcoal metallic base.
Dave Perewitz shows his design process for flawless flamework. Feel is central to Dave's design process, but he does have one major rule: everything must flow.
Low gloss finishes have grown in popularity among refinishers and OEM designers. In this video, painters get tips on how to achieve a great low gloss finish.