Flames Design – Dave Perewitz

Follow Dave's design process for flawless flameworkFeel is central to Dave’s design process, but he does have one major rule: everything must flow. “The colors and the design both have to flow, that’s the most important thing.” In his work, notice how every line of the design is continuously curving to imply speed and motion. He also pays special attention to the placement of flame tips. “You don’t want them bunched up. I try to separate them as much as I can through the design. This also aids the flow factor.”


Follow Dave's design process for flawless flamework

Step 1 — Design Layout

The entire tank is painted in purple base. Dave begins the design at the front and works back with 1/8-inch masking tape

Step 2 — Crossovers

Avoid straight lines. Sinuous curves mimic the flickering of flames. Overlapping the flames (crossovers) adds complexity and depth.

Step 3 — Cut Crossovers and Mask

A smooth radius around the top of the tank is a can’tmiss technique. Once the design is down, cut out the crossovers and mask the outside of the flames, protecting the background layers (purple).

Step 4 — White Pearl Layer

Dave applies two light coats of white, followed by two light coats of the pearl. He allows it to set up for one hour so the tape won’t mark it.

Step 5 — Yellow Layer

The front of the tank and each flame are dusted in yellow. If you look carefully, you can see a wave of the white glimmering through the center of the tank.

Step 6 — Orange Layer

The tip of each flame is then airbrushed in orange, fogging toward the front.

Step 7 — Crossover Taping

Dave tapes off the crossovers, then back masks to protect the other flames from overspray. Any mistake would be difficult to fix at this point, so he is very careful.

Step 8 — Red Layer

Each flame tip is shaded from the back to the front in red, smoothly transitioning into the orange layer below. In areas where the flames overlap, the red really pops.

Step 9 — Purple Layer

Each flame tip is given a very light, short coating of purple highlight, fogging toward the front. It’s a small detail that pays big dividends.

Step 10 — Optional Red Touch-up

If you feel a flame tip’s purple-red-orange-yellow transition needs tweaking, go back over it with a touch of red.

Step 11 — Tape Removal

Time to see what you’ve got! As always, be careful when you remove tape.

Step 12 — Flame Tip Cleaning

Dave uses the air nozzle to eliminate any small paint pieces at the flame tips. After this step, the panel will be ready for clearcoat and pinstripes.

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