Monday, October 4, 2010

The Making of the Ducati Blade

OK, enough soap boxing, time to get down to painting. In mid January I will be having a show at the Felos Gallery of new work. The drive of the show will be mostly these miniature paintings so I thought it would be a good time to share the process of how I get these done.

The subject of this painting will be a Ducati 1098. Basically this bike is a Ferrari on two wheels. The materials that will be used on this one are Createx Wicked paints, Richpen 213 and 212 airbrushes, Pocket Grafx templates and a #1 Winsor Newton Artists’ Water Colour Sable brush. I have made the decision on this painting to angle the bike towards the front to add some tension. I also want to show the shadow on the ground to reinforce that it is in fact on the ground and not doing some wild, riderless wheel stand.

First step with any of these blades is the prep work. I grind the edge completely off to ensure there aren’t any unplanned trips to the Emergency room. Next the blade is sanded with 600 grit wet/dry paper and cleaned. From there a self etching automotive primer is used to seal the metal and make it ready for paint.

Second step is painting the background. The lighter areas are sprayed first with a mixture of Detail White, Yellow Ochre and Detail Black. The darker areas are the same colors with a higher percentage of black.

Third step is to get the area primed for the red of the body of the bike. Using photo editing software, I take the reference photo and compose and scale it down to the actual size of the painting. From there I make several copies of the image. These copies become the templates for each part. All the red areas are cut out with a #11 X-Acto blade. This first template will be used to spray the area with white. This white will act as a primer and give the red its brilliance. When working with templates this small, it is important to keep the airbrush at a 90 degree angle to the surface to avoid having the template lift up while spraying.

Once the white is in place the same procedure is used to spray in the red. For this color I used Wicked Red.

Now a new template is made of the reflected light areas on the bike. This lighter color is made up of Detail White, Red and Detail Orange.

Once again, a new template is cut for the dark areas on the bike. The color here is Detail Smoke black. It is highly reduced to give me more control as there is some freehand airbrushing done at this stage as well.

Finally another template is cut out for the white areas. Detail white is used here.

These initial steps are designed to put all the elements in their correct place. In next week’s blog I’ll show how I use a combination of traditional brush and airbrush work to tie in all the details together and make this come alive.

Thanks for checking in!


  1. Incredible Steve... Thanks for sharing this ... I've done a lot of this work myself, but never at such small a scale, this is seriously tough stuff !!!... It's really cool to see a true craftsmans work unravel in this way.... :)

  2. Thanks Ian! I'd love to see what you are working on too!