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"Jersey Style" Airbrushed Truck Lettering

By Julian "Mr.J" Braet


This job is typical of the type of work that I do on a daily basis. The sketch was developed quickly after a brief discussion with the client. I use these quick sketches to help sell the client on the idea that I have in mind. This will make my job easier by already having the layout, the colors, and the spelling correct before I begin. If I don't deviate from the original sketch, the client will not be disappointed. On some occasions, I will have the client sign their OK on the sketch.

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1. Using the colored pencil sketch that I used to sell the job, I enlarge the sketch and make a pattern for the truck door lettering. I perforate the pattern (following the outlines of the letters) with a pounce wheel. This will allow the charcoal powder to pass through the pattern and transfer the layout onto the truck door.
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2. I cut a masking vinyl on my computerized plotter for the phone numbers (I never did like to hand letter phone numbers). Using 3M Fine Line tape, I tape out the panel that must be painted first.
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3. Signpainter's lettering enamel (such as One-Shot or Chromatic) is used for this type of work. I begin by mixing a lime green (emerald green and lemon yellow) and coat out the panel.
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4. Using a darker shade of green (medium green) in a double-action airbrush, the top of the panel is darkened, creating a smooth transition between the medium green and the lime green.
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5. The same medium green is brushed on the panel to create a shadow by the letter "P". Some white highlights are airbrushed on the panel to give it a rounded look.
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6. The main copy and the phone number are lettered with a mix of white and magenta. It helps to tint white paint with a color to make it cover better. Using this same off-white mixture with more magenta added, I airbrush the letters and numbers from the bottom up.
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7. With dark magenta in the airbrush, the bottoms of the letters are accented darker.
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8. More depth is added to the lettering by adding some purple airbrushing to the dark magenta.
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9. Finally, white is added to the bottom of the letters for contrast.
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10. When the paint is dry, I re-pounce the pattern on the door so I can letter the words "Fence Co." and "Lyndhurst, NJ" in black. Also at this time, I shift the pattern down and to the left for the shadow. This "shadow" is painted with a mixture of finishing clear with a little black for a dark transparent color. This creates the illusion that the word "Price" is floating off the surface of the truck door. Next, the lettering is outlined as it is in the sketch.
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11. After lettering "Fence Co.," I lettered in the shadow with the transparent color. The green panel was then outlined with a coral color using a pinstriping brush.
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12. The coral pinstriping on the truck is painted on freehand using a pinstriping brush.
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13. The completed job.


Julian "Mr.J" Braet is an internationally known sign, pinstripping and airbrush artist from Lynhurst, NJ. In addition to his live seminars, he writes for various publications, and markets the "Xcaliber" line of pinstriping brushes. If you need a great source for airbrush goodies, Mr. J is your man. E-Mail Mr. J or phone him at 201-935-4510. Tell him we send you!


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