This is an airbrush technique that my husband asked me to do on his Kawasaki Vulcan 750 and his helmet. It is what I call “shadow” or “ghosting” an image using metallic automotive paints. It makes the artist face the challenge of selecting which details are necessary and which are not. When you get a little sunshine on it, surprise, there it is!
This was done as a matching shadow eagle face that is on his bike but the biggest challenge was reversing the image to rest on a white surface (helmet) instead of the black surface of the bike.Again the simplicity of the image is quite attractive, and much more powerful than you would originally think especially in sunlight. More images of this helmet can be seen here. It definetely gets the double take. It is painted on a black Kawasaki 750 (in reverse) that you can see here.
Airbrush ghost eagle style becomes a trademark of work for me.
My “ghost airbrush techniques” have proven that simple is quite attractive and powerful. Learning to render in this technique, makes an artist face the challenges of selecting which details are really necessary and which are not. When correctly done, this ghost technique is a real show-stopper and conversation piece.
Ghost Eagle Discovery
Discovering this ghosted eagle technique began with my husband asking me for an American eagle on his rebuilt Kawasaki Vulcan 750 . He doesn’t want it to be a blaring image, but would rather it be artistic and subtle. First, I spent a great deal of time perfecting a detailed eagle face across the entire tank. Facing many challenges and using only one color (metallic silver), with the difficult eagle image. Finally, Pete saunters over to where I am painting and asks me to start removing details. Can you believe that? It seems utterly ludicrous to go to all that work and then simply start blowing black over the most difficult details. What does he think he is doing?
Are you crazy, man?
It seems like, he was systematically ruining all the hard work I had just finished. AAAARGHHHHH! But, I was wrong. Don’t tell my husband though. If he finds out, I know I’ll never live it down. More images of this bike can be seen here. How do I know this? Well, his bike definitely gets the double-take on the road, or anytime people walk past it. We have been noticed at traffic lights where consequently, his ghost eagle has become somewhat of a traffic distraction . Invariably, Pete will have someone standing and looking at his bike in the parking lot when he returns from the store, resulting in interesting conversations with people. Likewise, he gets the same results with his helmet.
Pete asked for this image on his white helmet, so I needed to work in reverse to accomplish this. This same eagle image is painted in reverse and you can check it out here on his white helmet.
I do a lot of sketching in the studio, regularly switching from drawing with pencil on white paper to drawing with chalk on black paper. With pencil I am concentrating on seeing and drawing the shadows, and with the chalk I am concentrating on drawing the highlights. Try it sometime yourself, to see how opposite it feels.
Airbrushing a custom helmet is a fun way to have a bit of personality on your ride. Here is one of my first helmets I did entitled “Back of My Mind”. It has been the theme of multiple helmets for myself over the years. Which way is she facing? It is a conversation starter.
This is the second motorcycle I painted with an airbrush and it won a spot for “Great Paint” in a motorcycle publication named Full Throttle magazine, which surprised me and inspired me to keep on doing airbrush. I used to get people checking it our anytime I parked it in a parking lot. It was a little Honda Rebel 250, a classic that my husband Pete painted a royal blue for me. I went to work painting images from pictures and memories of my horse I had while growing up. His name was Rocky, and was a quite spirited gelding who just loved to run. I have many wonderful memories of riding the paths in the mountains of Kahaluu with him. Rocky really was fast and he did win the state finals reserve championship for pole-bending.