By Tim Mitchell, Panama City Beach, FL
Over the years that I have been airbrushing on the World’s most beautiful beaches of Panama City Beach, FL, I have seen many trends come and go. Boxer and booty shorts, koozies, and license plates have waned in popularity. Over the last few years, however, the popularity of trucker hats (foam front, mesh back) have seen a steady rise in popularity, especially with the introduction of neon colors. On average, a thriving airbrush business will have 300 – 500+ different designs for T-shirts and my customers regularly ask if a shirt design can be put on a hat. Therefore it has been advantageous for me to display my most popular designs on trucker hats as well as keep hat size stencils available upon request. Many days have seen higher hat sales than T-shirts so it pays to be prepared. I charge the same price however, because even though the design is smaller, it is much more difficult to paint on a hat and requires well working equipment.
The stencil should be designed so it does most of the detail work making it easier for any artist to paint. Currently, I have over 1000 designs on file and because I have a laser cutter, the stencils can be cut in any size, in minutes, with the touch of a button. Here are some examples.
I always put a protective cover over the bill of the hat to keep unwanted paint and overspray form getting on it. Start with a 3 1/2 inch tall stencil (fig.1).
With an even coat of adhesive applied to the back, I usually place the stencil over to one side. This allows more room for personalization. Starting with black I do the burst background, the name, which includes an outline and dropshadow, and any part of the design that is black. In this case, that includes the eyebrows and outline of the eyes, the lines of the teeth, the black guidelines of the stitching on the ball, and the guide lines of the bracelet (fig.2).
Always be careful to not get any paint where you don’t want it. Next comes the red of the stitching and eyes and the brown of the teeth (fig.3).
After peeling the stencil (fig.4),
complete the black lines of the bracelet and stitching, the mean frown line, and the shading of the arm (fig.5).
Complete the design by adding the blue shading on the ball, red to the bracelet and eyes, yellow to the eyes, and a dark to light green fade on the name (fig.6).
Upon request, since this is a baseball design, a number or saying can be added to the bicep (fig.7).