Variant Shading Technique – Paul Stoll

How variant shades of a single color can be creatively applied to craft a beautifully understated custom finishThe paint scheme for John Hayes’ Corvette was conceived by Paul Stoll, PPG training instructor and accomplished painter, who not only donated sketches from his own dream project, he also shared Hayes’ deep reverence for the Corvette. The design builds on the Corvette’s original Switchblade Silver paint finish and makes use of four “coarser” custom variant colors. Referring to the picture of the hood above, notice the “V” pattern created with the tones— darker variants (#3, #4) are toward the back and center; lighter variants (#1, #2) are used toward the front and sides. This razor-sharp cascade of tones accentuates the supercar’s natural lines while imparting a sense of motion.

The must-have paint for the Hayes project was the Envirobase® High Performance system. With fast dry times and thin film build, the waterborne basecoat allowed the team to lay numerous graphic layers quickly while eliminating big edges between colors.


How variant shades of a single color can be creatively applied to craft a
beautifully understated custom finish

Step 1 — "Coarser" Background

After breaking down the Corvette and masking, the hood and front bumper cover were sprayed with Graphic Color #1 (see numbers at left, on hood photo)—a lighter, coarser variant closest to the vehicle’s OEM paint.

Step 2 — Hood "Dashes"

The center graphic and hood dashes were masked. Stoll cut and applied stencils for the vertical “dashes” on either side of the large center area (below) so they would all match. Note how the angles on the cutouts reinforce the “V” paint and blend pattern as well as the hood’s natural lines.

Step 3 — Short Hood "Dashes"

The four short dashes were painted with Graphic Color #1, repainting the first on each side then blending the second set from front to rear. Each short dash is only nominally lighter than the blend underneath it; pinstriping the edges, however, will make the subtle difference pop.

Step 4 — Long Hood "Dashes"

The long dashes begin with Graphic Color #4 at the windshield, blending to Graphic Color #3 and then Graphic Color #2 all the way to the front.

Step 5 — Center Hood Stripes

The 5 ¾-inch stripes were masked in the center. Graphic Color #4, the darkest variant, was sprayed from the rear towards the front, creating the base. The fade was built with Graphic Colors #3 and #2, blending toward the front.

Step 6 — Center Hood Fade

After the green masking tape was removed, the blend shows against the five stripes. The stripes were re-masked and blended with Graphic Color #2 from the rear forward to soften the color difference. These five stripes continue over the Black Pearl roof and onto the rear of the car, darkening as they go.

Step 7 — Tape Shades

The additional tape shades in Graphic Color #2 were added between the graphic dashes and the edge of the hood.

Step 8 — Clearcoat and Pinstripe

Each The Corvette was cleared with Deltron® DC2000 Ultra Velocity Clear with super fast air-dry capability, then flat sanded. Black pinstripes were added around some elements for contrast.

Step 9 — Topcoat

Once all the hand-drawn artwork is done, the Corvette is cleared with Deltron® DC2000 Ultra Velocity Clear, flat sanded and buffed to a show-quality shine.

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