Repainting an Ibanez EX360 Guitar
This Ibanez EX360 is getting a makeover and some airbrush work. The design brief was for something with a bit of a ‘supernatural’ feel to it, possibly a design based around a Ouija Board was a possibility…………so here we go.
The body actually isn’t in too bad a condition………..
This guitar is ‘played’ and so there are the inevitable marks and scratches shown here that will need filling…………
A few marks and chips around the headstock………….but again, nothing major.
Here the neck and headstock have been masked and lightly rubbed down.
Minor ‘dings’ and a small crack by the neck pocket……
All the little marks, chips and scratches that won’t sandpaper out are filled.
Then the body and the neck are rubbed down and ready for the first primer coat………..
Note that the neck pocket is masked out before any paint or primer is applied to the guitar, this helps to ensure that when the guitar is reassembled everything lines back up correctly.
The neck is also masked, filled and rubbed down ready for the first primer coat.
Okay, the first primer coat has been painted here and lightly rubbed down with 1000 grade wet and dry. This helps show up any minor flaws and any remaining scratches that need refilling. The guitar has now been refilled and is in the process of being rubbed down ready for another primer coat. This too will then be rubbed down – and if necessary, the filling, priming and rubbing down process will be repeated again and again……… until the body and the neck are perfectly smooth, chip, scratch and mark free. Then the interesting stuff begins.
Okay…………..the guitar body and neck are now perfectly smooth and primed ready for paint. The next stage now is to mark out the design onto the guitar, apply the first masking and paint in the background colour………
This is the proposed design that will (probably) be going onto the guitar. It will be much more effective in colour than just drawn out in pencil, with far more use of shadow and so, depth – but this drawing gives the general idea.
The next stage then is to redraw this design onto the guitar, then start the masking and painting stages.
Okay, again finally getting back to some proper custom work after an awful lot of finishing work, time to get this long-standing project moving along a bit. The first stage is to transfer the design down onto the guitar. The rest of the design will be drawn in freehand as there are a couple of minor alterations to be made, but the Ouija board itself was a complicated ‘draw out’ in the original drawing and was as good as I was going to get it, so this I’ve traced from the original drawing onto tracing paper. The back of the tracing was then covered with a layer of graphite from a soft lead pencil and taped in place on the guitars surface. The next step is to go over the design again and lightly transfer the design onto the guitar.
Here a section the design is being transferred onto the guitar by once again going over the previously traced Ouija board part of the design……………..
And once the tracing paper is removed this is what is left…………..not the clearest of outlines, but enough to guide the redrawing of the Ouija board design onto the guitar.
To save a bit of time – and as there is already a faint outline to work to – I’m drawing this part straight in with a fineline pen.
Trying to keep this as accurate as possible……………
Changed ‘The Grim Reaper’ figure on the guitar as Aasmund felt the original was slightly too small and the face couldn’t be seen……………….reckon he was probably right as this is looking better.
Definitely going to look good this one. Going to go to town on the background graveyard scene here, doesn’t look much at the moment, but this drawing out stage is really just a rough guide for the painting stages to follow.
Looks uncannily like an old drinking ‘oppo’ of mine from back in the Royal Marines………….spooky! (no wonder I never pulled back then)
Right, that’s got the design down on the guitar so the next stage is the first masking.
Here the guitar has been partially covered in Frisk Masking film.
I usually start painting with the background and work my way forward, so here the foreground details are very carefully being cut around with a scalpel, taking care no to cut too deep and end up cutting into the primer below the masking film.
Then the masking covering the background is very carefully peeled away…………
And we’re left with the background revealed ready to be painted and the foreground detail masked off.
Here the background detail on the Ouija board has also been carefully been cut around and removed. The Ouija board is probably going to take two or three maskings to get all the detail sharp as I want it to be…………….so lot’s of fiddly cutting out with the scalpel to do here.
Here the guitar is ready for the back of the body to be painted. The background of the front will also be painted in at this stage. The Ouija board part is covered at this stage to stop any overspray from painting the back of the guitar getting onto the front. In reality, it probably wouldn’t make any difference………………but I just like each section to be clean when I start painting it. I know………………….just an oddball!
Right, just a short day today, but the back of the guitar has been basecoated and the start of the airbrushing process is just started here.
Here the background is being airbrushed in. All the detail in the background is still all safe under the masking, but the basic sky background colour is developing here.
A bit of work on the background ‘graveyard mist’ is whacked in, along with a couple of distant ghostly forms. None of this will make much sense until the masking is removed.
With the background sky pretty much in place, it’s time to uncover the Ouija board and start painting it in………………..but that’s a job for the morning.
Well, not quite the next morning, but here we go anyway! When I went back to this guitar some of the sky detail didn’t look crisp enough, so reworked some of it.
Then it was down to work on the Ouija Board. First off started here to lay in some of the shadow……….
………and then started work on the surface o the board itself. Looking for something of a stone effect here.
Takes a while to get the kind of effect I’m looking for here. It’s all about rough colour layouts at this stage and what looks right.
Once the Ouija board is roughly the tone that I want it, then it’s time to start airbrushing in some of the other detail around the board itself. Most, if not all of this will be tinkered with as the whole image develops……….
……….but to start with it’s just a case of roughing it all in.
Obviously still lots of masking applied here and lots more work to be done before some of that masking is removed, but this guitar is starting to take shape quite quickly.
Here a bit more work has been done on the detail below the Ouija board.
At this stage it’s getting close to removing some of the masking. There is one bit of this design that I’m not sure about – and I must have spent the best part an afternoon trying to work out what to put there…………….definitely time to lift some of the masking and see if that kickstarts the grey matter.
Okay, with some of the maskings removed the whole image becomes clearer again. I’ve got a couple of ideas for the inch or so of the design that I’m puzzling with now……………….so it’s time to head out to my little room again and see if either of them work………..
The little section between the back of the Ouija Board and the gravestones had been bothering me slightly. I had one or two ideas for what to do there but couldn’t decide which would be the best solution. In the end, as is usually the case, the best thing to do is to just pile in and see what happens…………….this was the start of this particular pile.
Decided to have a go at continuing the detail around the front of the Ouija board around behind the board, to link in with the gravestones. After being roughed out with the airbrush, here the gravestone is getting it’s first basic tones of colour.
After a bit of work it all started to take shape quite nicely. Coincidentally, at about the same time the wind increased from the usual Orkney force 5 ‘light breeze’, up to Orkney scale ‘moderately windy’, i.e..,, Gale force 9………..and successfully turned my thankfully well secured portakin workroom, into a pretty fair imitation of a rocking horse………….still not really conducive to accurate airbrushing.
So that was were the work on the Ouija Board guitar finished this evening. There’s a whole hash of detail to be applied as the airbrushing progresses. I’ve gotten some feedback, concerned that the ‘Reaper’ doesn’t look quite frightening enough. Fair comment too at this stage……….but, the thing to bear in mind is that the line drawing is basically just a guide to work to. It’s not until the colour, shadows, highlights and all the other details are applied that the whole thing (hopefully) should come together to give the desired effect. So watch this page………….Our ‘sickle toting party pooper’ will be considerably less friendly looking once the airbrush has had a pop at him…………..trust me!
Okay, time to start this beastie moving on. Here the last masking still remaining on the guitar after the original airbrushing was done is removed…………..very carefully.
Even like this she’s looking good. But the plan is to lacquer her and seal in the paintwork that’s already been applied. This will mean that when I come to mask out for the next painting stage all my previously applied paint is protected beneath the lacquer and won’t lift once the new masking is removed.
So here she is ready for lacquer………
And here she is after a lacquer coat, all sealed in. The next stage with this guitar is to rub her down very lightly with 1000 grade wet and dry, then remask ready for the next painting stage. I’m toying with the idea of doing the lettering on the Ouija Board in an ‘aged and weathered’ gold leaf effect, but I’m not sure……………
This job is all about learning as you go along. On another project I’m working on I discovered the benefits of pearlescent white basecoat to make images appear almost luminous in bright light (always was a bit slow on the uptake me!). Now this being a kind of creepy design, that effect would be really useful here on certain parts of this design………….so it was time to go back a step at this stage.
Here the previous lacquer coat has been completely rubbed down with 1000 grade wet and dry. This gives a smooth enough surface for masking film to stick to, yet leaves enough ‘roughness’ for the next layers of paint to key (grip) onto. Then masking film is applied over the skeletal hands and face of ‘Mr. Grim’. Other areas we’re going to try this on are the moon and some of the gravestones, all are covered with frisk masking film here.
Then the selected areas are carefully scalpelled out. The gravestones that we’re brightening are the ones that would naturally be brighter in real life given the position of light source in the design (the moon). This should help to make the image look believable when it’s finished and also help add to the depth of the image when the deeper shadows are painted in later.
In an attempt not to loose the definition of the skeletal hand the individual bones were carefully cut out of the masking.
Recon old ‘Grim’ needs those nails sorting. No wonder he’s single!
And here she is all masked up and ready for attacking with some basecoat white.
Here the unmasked areas have been painted in, firstly with a white basecoat and then with a fine grain pearlescent white.
When all the masking is removed ‘Mr Grims’ left looking a bit pastey faced. With the areas we want to show out more brightly now basecoated a nice bright pearlescent white – time to start some of the other jobs that can be done at this stage.
Until our newly applied basecaot is sealed in with a lacquer coat I don’t really want to be working over it too much. The beauty of sealing in your paint is that if the next work you do in that area doesn’t work out – you can remove it without too much hassle and rework that area again. So here we’ve moved on to another area of the design and some silver leafing work. ‘Mr Grims’ trusty sythe blade has been silver leafed here. Going to be playing with this blade in some depth as the design evolves, this silver leaf being basically a basecoat for the detail work that’s to follow.
With the silver leafing done on the blade, time now to move onto some gold leaf work. The letters and some of the ouija board detail are going to be done in what will eventually be an ‘aged gilt’ effect. The start of that is to gold leaf the design using 22 carrat gold leaf (very, very fine). On the areas of the design with straight edges the best way to keep everything fairly neat and tidy is to mask the areas where you don’t want the gold leaf to stick. So here, the design is covered with masking film.
Then the main pentagram is carefully cut out of the mask using a scalpel.
That done, the first stage of the gold leaf within the masking is applied. This is very carefully worked in with a felt cloth until it’s perfectly smooth – and then the masking film is removed……………
……………leaving something like this.
Here you can see the second stage of the gilding is being applied to the lettering around the board.
In this case the ‘size’ (glue) is carefully painted inside the letters with a paint brush, left for about half an hour to dry. The gold leaf is then applied and rubbed smooth as before, with a piece of felt cloth.
With all the excess gold leaf removed she looks like this.
The gold leaf was then treated to a coat of nail varnish. This seals the very soft and almost transparently thin 22 carrat gold leaf in, prior to the application of any lacquer. If it’s not sealed in before the 2K lacquer is applied the gold leaf can bubble under the lacquer………….and in this case it wants to be as smooth as possible. Just to be sure………. the silver leaf got a coat of nail varnish too!
The last fling with the silver leaf at this stage, was to add a bit of background detailing onto the pearlescent paint on the moon and a couple of the graveyard statues. This should help to create highlight and form even from the basecoat level, as I’ll be using tinted lacquers and very light layers of paint on these ‘bright’ areas to get the full benefit of my pearlescent basecoat. The moon will have a subliminal face showing when it’s finished…………well, that’s the plan anyway!
So here she is, ready now for some airbrush and paintbrush work on the graveyard prior to the next lacquering/sealer coat.
Just starting to paint some colour into the graveyard.
Working these initial stages in with a normal paintbrush and acrylic paint.
After a bit of work the graveyard is starting to take shape.
The silver leaf highlighting on the statues and the face on the moon is going to work really well on this guitar. You can’t really catch it on the camera, but the silver and gold leaf leap out of this image as the guitar body is moved in the light., it’s a really neat effect.
Okay, just a quick update on this guitar tonight. All that’s really been done is to work out the shadows of the grave yard scene and to get a feel for the colours to use. This roughly done, the next stage is to go to work with the airbrush over the brush applied paint and smooth everything in. The two gravestones in the foreground have to be lightened up considerably. This shows up now that some of the other detail and the gilding is applied. There is also a lot of fine detail to be painted in once the airbrushing of the gravestones is complete……………….and of course…………..creepy graveyard style mist and some spooks.
With a bit more detail painted in already with a normal paintbrush, it’s time to start whacking in some graveyard style mist. To give the scene some depth we’re going to use the gravestones to help deceive the eye with our mist, so first thing to do is to mask out the gravestones in the foregound. This way, when we start spraying in the mist layers the foreground gravestones will remain clear – instantly giving the scene some depth. When this masking is then removed and more mist sprayed over the foreground gravestones, the eye should still be able to differenciate between the mist in the foreground and the mist initially sprayed behind the foreground gravestones. It’s the simple little tricks like this that deceive the eye and make your image more believable…………..and so, more real looking.
Dead simple…………….pun intended!!
Anyway, because I’m going to be using white paint through the airbrush, just as a precaution I’ve completely masked the bottom of the guitar…………..just in case I get any white ‘splatters’ where I don’t want them.
Jumped a few stages here, but hopefully you’ll be able to see what I mean about the depth created simply by using the gravestones in the scene and the mist……simple.
Here continued the white mist down towards the foreground of the image. This ties the back ground graveyard scene into the foreground detail.
Trying to move this guitar along a bit here, so doing as much as possible before the next sealer coat of lacquer is applied. Here the background around ‘Mr Grim’ is roughly masked off with low tack masking tape.
Then, once he’s fully masked up the first paint is airbrushed on to our cheery friend. Experimenting a bit here, trying to make him a bit more than your average ‘Mr Grim’ by giving him some slightly fancy gear.
That done the masking is removed and the effect is starting to develope. This is all pretty much a case of trial and error at this stage. I know the kind of effect that I’m trying to achieve, but really until the whole image is roughly painted in, I’m not clever enough to be able to get all the individual sections of the design to balanced up and work properly with each other. Only when everything is in place can the final ‘tweaking’ be done and the whole image hopefully look right.
But so far, this is coming not too badly………………so that’ll do for tonight.