The Art of Tribalnometry
by Steve Vandemon
I was commissioned by Artool to design a series of templates to emulate my tribal designs that I’ve used for years on various projects. Artool has done an excellent job of reproducing these designs. Tribal Master combines a set of linear stencils, called Tribalnometry, and circular stencils: Cirque Du Trible. Whenever I’m asked to create a tribal design on a bike or something small or tight, I make templates to aid in the layout. These templates are often made of Pellon fabric.
While Pellon is excellent for easy cutting and designing one-off stencils, it’s definitely not as durable or accurate as a piece of laser-cut acetate. The following how-to shows a simple application of freehand technique and stenciling. Using Tribalnometry, the linear templates from Tribal Master, I completed an entire kustom paint job on a set of chopper tins.
The sky’s the limit with these stencils. I could create literally thousands of different designs with just these three stencils! Keep in mind that this demo shows only one application of these versatile stencils. In the future, I’ll show many more tricks with the other stencils in the kit. Hope you like it!
STEP 1. After prepping the surface— including cleaning it with a little soap and water—I masked the tins using AutoMask from Coast Airbrush. After selecting the Tribal Master of choice, I taped it to the AutoMask and fogged in paint with an Iwata Eclipse CS to establish the initial layout.
STEP 2. After removing the stencil, notice how just a little basecoat black is all you need to transfer the tribal design to the masked surface. Believe me, this method is much faster and cleaner than using a pencil or carbon.
STEP 3. On this side of the tank, I combined two of the stencils to create a longer and modified version of the initial tribal design. The ability to combine stencils is the key to unlocking literally 1000’s of design choices.
STEP 4. With all the tribals airbrushed, I followed the stenciled spray pattern with a sharp X-Acto knife, and removed the surrounding negative space of the design, leaving the positive portion masked (you can just as easily remove the positive section and spray the actual tribal, but that’s another article) Be careful not to cut too deep or you’ll gouge or score the tank’s surface.
STEP 5. With all the chopper tins laid out, cut, and unmasked, I was ready to spray. IMPORTANT: Periodically, make sure your tape or stencil hasn’t lifted during sitting. This critical precaution will prevent bleed-throughs that everybody loves so much!
STEP 6. I then used House of Kolor BC-26 white to freehand airbrush realistic fire and smoke as a good backdrop for the tribals. Be sure to render the fire all over the masked tribal. Any area left unsprayed around the cut edge will look unresolved when unmasked. The more paint, the more contrast.
STEP 7. To add even more interest, I airbrushed kandy oriental blue and kandy violet over the white. You need the white background/base to make a true kandy punch out. This one really amplified the white contrast around the tribal, and at the same time emphasized the heavy MBC diamonds in the base.
STEP 8. With the kandy spraying completed, I carefully unmasked the tribal to reveal the black-on-black design. The great advantage that Automask (and other transfer tapes) holds over standard masking tape is that you experience little or no glue residue from Automask, and you don’t have to worry about tape tracking from the solvents inherent in standard masking tape.
STEP 9. Before clearing this project, I pinstriped the graphic’s outline with a mixture of House of Kolor Lavendar striping urethane. This stylized stripe really gave the design extra pop.
FINAL This relatively simple tribal graphic can easily be finished in one day—minus clearing and buffing. It bears repeating that this demo introduced only one of potentially thousands of uses for just three of the four linear stencils in the Tribalmaster kit. I didn’t even get to the three circular tribal stencils—I left that for another time!
Reprinted with permission of www.airbrushaction.com