Scott In Sunny Elbridge NY



Ok, not so sunny, at least this time of year, and for quite some time to come.

I have a long story how I got here, but I'll spare you the worst of it. I've done a lot of things through the years, and there's been a common thread among them. I don't have much artist in my being. At least not that I've found so far.

I've been an engineer most all of my life, passing the Amateur Radio license Test at 13, scratch building a computer as a Junior in high school (1978 - before you could buy a decent computer) I knew at that point that I'd better stick to technical drawings, I was NO artist!

I owned and operated a small Custom Engineering Firm doing contract work for a lot of big (and small) names. Until I became ill. I'm now a disabled/retired (against my wishes).

(I tried to put my story here, but thought better of it. Long story.)

I 'll try it this way. My interests: Engineering, Drag Racing, Engine building, Competitive Shooting,Climbing, Small Business owner - now disabled/retired. Currently I fly model airplanes when able (and I use the term fly loosely) and am trying to start another business, but my health keeps disagreeing with my efforts.

My interests have always been technical in nature, while not entirely non- creative, they tended to structured skills with free thinking problem solving being my talent, if you could say I have one. I always love a challenge. So, in my typical fashion, before really knowing what I was getting into, I became interested in custom painting, and striping, and airbrushing. It started as my current 'hobby' is model aircraft, which I really enjoy building, which is good, because I'm nowhere as good at flying them as building them, and they get repaired a fair amount.

Anyway, a few weeks back I started to think I could do some painting on my giant scale planes, (One needs a 'touch-up' where I flew into a wind sock pole), I used to paint cars, but never took it to art, (just got competent at getting the color on well) despite the interest in more creative work, there never seemed time.

You see, I can't really draw a decent stick figure.

I had little hope that I had any chance at custom painting, but that never stopped me before in my other interests. You see, I learn. It's what I'm best at. Taught the kids to Salmon Fish on the great lakes when I didn't know how. (they now understand learning, and the satisfaction in it - I taught them HOW to learn, never really thought about it like that before)

Anyway, enter YouTube, gods gift to learners - I watched Steve Kafka Flame a tank, Knew I had to learn to do that! then Terry Hill in what must be a 25 yr old film painting tee shirts, then I caught another of him, present day, still at it and still teaching. Respect. Whoa!, with guys like this with their talent and work they've put in learning their craft over 30-40 years, I've got to try to feel that creative spark I've always missed. Then I found an old (must have been 8mm?) film of Ed Roth interviewing VonDutch – wow, I knew these guys, but never KNEW these guys. VonDutch is being interviewed by Ed (Ed is 'Just a friend' back then, and I don't think very well known yet) and he tells the story of working at his fathers sign painting shop and that back during the depression, they started striping as a way of covering up grinder scratches from poor body work. THATS HOW IT ALL STARTED!!! INCREDIBLE!! I was blown away.
I watched the rest of the series, 8 or 9 parts, incredible. I was up all night, couldn't turn it off.
Passed out finally - then:

Ordered a striping brush, An airbrush and spent more than I should on nearly a full set of Wicked colors. (and a sampler of the new candies, I have a project in mind.....

Now I 'm committed to learning to use this gear.

Today was wild. Airbrush finally in Mailbox, Have 6 colors and reducer, and the will to learn. Got it running – wow this is harder than it looks, well, I knew that, learn it. Keep painting.. Remember VonDutch, Ed Kafka, Terry Hill.
Black only, no color until I have some control. Dots, Lines, like I read. Half a notebook full, everything withing reach that would hold paint. Some that wouldn't Striped foam plates. Drew faces, progress. Finally I decided to do a tree. Ok, keep working, a landscape, airbrush fighting me all the way, gotta beat the tip dry, or learn to work with it, eventually I ended up with a painting of which I am proud.

I cleaned the Airbrush, loaded Red, just for a change. Different setup.. I had some foamboard too wrinkled to make planes from, so I started painting it. Roomy. Learning to letter, I stumbled onto a word collage. Another work I'm not ashamed of. I'm signing and keeping both. Maybe someday I'll post them here, we'll see. A good day.

NOW I feel I have something to say, so here I am. I didn't feel right, here as a non-artist, now I feel I can do it, my style probably won't be conventional, and I don't have 30 years to learn it. But I DO feel I can work with it. Guess I better have at it. I'm having fun, got lots of paint, gotta use it now. Another new world.

Thinking about a plotter/cutter for stenciling, which led me back to the forum. Anybody own a Silhouette Cameo? Any thoughts? Been cutting stenciling for a few days while the airbrush was lost in the mail, so I have a good idea what's going on there. Watched a lot of videos, and with my lack of natural talent and my plans for projects, it would seem a good idea. I've been looking at widebed Plotters for a while, with the intention of laying out airplane patterns, but anything big enough puts me at 2 grand plus or Cheap Chinese. Now, with size requirements decreased, the Silhouette machine seems like it may be a good choice. Hard to tell, all but 1 review on it were by crafters, and they don't speak my language. Did run into 1 by model airplane guy, can't find it again.

Guess I got running on here, if you read this far, I salute you, and be glad I cut the BIO.

Oh, yeah, my faults, obsessive (I prefer to think of it as determined), and tend to run on, but then, you probably got those 2 by now without me spelling it out.

Thanks for reading.

Ready to learn....
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Welcome to the forum Scott, If your here to learn this is the place,as you learn and have questions just post um up and someone will be there to help
I would welcome some suggested reading, or videos on learning basic skills and composition. Thanks!
Just go to the top of the page and click on Tutorials and that should get you going in the right direction
I found the Ed Roth/VonDutch video series again, Knew I stored the link somewhere.

Welcome aboard Scott!! Glad to hear you started with Wicked. (Easier to put reducer in first, then add paint...cap on, and shake). As far as a cricket, too small for me. I own a plotting machine from U.S. Cutters....but I needed a big one for my business. I have a friend that owns a cricket, and she comes to me for anything over 10", but I believe they are a 12"
Thanks Guys!

Michele, I was looking at the Silhouette Cameo, it's a 12wide unit with a 10 foot roll media limit and has a roll cutter. Seems like a baby commercial plotter, but is marketed to teachers, parents, and of course crafters. It will import almost any format image and will 2 pass cut thicker material. It seems to have a better bade system, but it suspect it proably rounds corners off a tad etc. I can live with that for 300 bucks.
The Cricut line seems targeted at the crafter market, specifically in separating them from their money. You need a million "special" tools amd mediums, sold only by them, a download pendant to use non-cricut image files, also sold only by cricut. It's a canned image system that requires you to buy cartridges or subscribe to their website to download their proprietary image files. Not for me.

I'm a CAD guy from way back, but no longer own a modern pen plotter. Still have a Summasketch pad that may come in handy at some point in this endeavor.
I looked at the US Cutter 30" machine, pricing seems reasonable, but you are on your own from what I understand as far as softwre bugs etc. I'm pretty sure they are stepper motor machines, which isn't all bad if they are rugged enough. The consumer machines seem as though they're going to blow up any second cutting 3 mil vinyl.

I'm really wanting a laser cutter, I may have to build one if I want one as the market is held pretty tightly and industrial machines are pretty pricy. I'd like to cut up to 1/4" aircraft ply, and that puts me into about a 6 grand Co2 machine. Someday maybe. Not today.

Any info on the US Cutter machine would be helpful - software decent? parts availability, performance, etc. You hear horror stories but I suspect it's US importer/sellers trying to bash the competition. I don't mind working out a few kinks, Maintaining it, and a little TLC, but I don't want to work on it more than I use it.

I'm setting up for a run at the "Space Scene" in the tutorials.
I'm up and running,I have a 22 x 28" piece of black foamboard, and a sheet off a 9 x 12' sketchpad - I shot both with a 50% Wicked Black for a base.
I figure I'll use the small sheet for working up techiques, paint colors etc, and then move to the larger media when I feel the love.
If I feel well enough tonight I may crack out the white and have at it.

Thanks again, Scott
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Welcome from Canada Scott, I own a Silhouette Cameo and enjoy it very much it comes with a software for cutting. There are a few of us with Camel's on the forum. :)
WhiteKnight, that's good to hear. Fit my budget (but not so easily if it doesn't work out, I can just get something else) and it seems that with the price of stencils, my desire/need for special one (model aircraft and technical symbols) it ought to earn it's keep quite well. Anything beyond that is all a bonus.

Any advice on purchasing one? I see them on ebay for $279 with the 'starter kit'. That's the newer model with the roll cutter ("V2" I think) The home site is suggesting "something big for black friday" - maybe a new model or something??

Thanks, Scott
Welcome to the forum Scott. I purchases a Cameo a few months back and have been pretty happy with it. It has its limits, but it is also versatile also:) I am still learning what all it will do!
Thanks Greg.
It seems like that sort of tool, I'm sure as I learn to use it, it will find a lot of uses. Having little native talent, I rely on technology for a lot of my creative outlets.
I was thinking it looked like a good entry level cutter, and I've pretty much decided it's the only one in my price range right now. I'm just working up the courage to hit the paypal button. I just blew my slush fund by deciding to become an artist and buying a ton of paint, brushes and gadgets. Now I'm perusing the gallery and wondering if I belong here. Time to get working.
Hi Scott, welcome from the UK! Check out here Register then go to Tutorials and down the left hand side are all the starter exercises you need to master the AB. Boring after a while for sure, but for building muscle memory and developing technique invaluable. Many of us still do them as a warm up years down the line.

Don't worry about not having drawing skills. There are many ways to skin a cat. Designs can be done on computer, or even by collaging things together, then you can trace, make stencils, or even project an image to follow.

If you have the obsessive gene, then welcome to your new life Lol. Many of us are are addicted so join the club :D
Thanks Squishy, Been working on the exercises a bit. need to order in more black. Bigger bottle.

I'll make it happen somehow. I do have that genetic problem as well. Pretty well hooked, at this point.