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Deadpool Mask Painting

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  • Deadpool Mask Painting

    Here's how I go about airbrushing a goalie mask. I'm not saying this is the right way or the only way; it's just the way I do it. I forgot to take a lot of photos for parts as I'm not used to documenting the process. Hopefully future how-tos will be more detailed.

    I work with the client to come up with a feasible design using Photoshop. I try and steer them in a direction that will give the best results, always giving an explanation as to why something will work or not work. I always tell them that ultimately it's up to them, because it is. Here's the design I've decided to go with.

  • #2
    Once I have the final design and the client has signed off on it, I strip the mask as much as possible (removing cage, straps, screws, clips, etc.) and then wet sand with 600 grit sandpaper.

    Any grit from 400 to 800 or even 1000 will work. There's no need to sand through the gel coat to the fiberglass. You just want to kill the shine, making sure the entire mask is dull. I then use a red or gray scotch-brite pad to scuff the areas like inside the vent holes where sandpaper is tough to get to. The goal is just to scuff the surface, giving it some tooth so the paint will have something to stick to.

    The next step is to mask off all vent and screw/clip holes and padding if you're leaving it in. Unless it's a complete refurbish job, I don't strip out the foam as it's a huge pain in the butt. This mask features the mechanical liner which is held in place by the cage screws. Brilliant!


    • #3
      Once the mask is scuffed and wiped with a degreaser (I use PPG DX-330) I transfer my design to the mask. I first start by laying down a sheet of vinyl transfer tape. It's low-tack paper used to transfer vinyl lettering onto a surface. I like it because you can draw on it with a pencil and it won't lift paint. You can use masking tape too, but it's thicker and more difficult to cut. Also, I find the transfer tape easier to reposition back onto the surface, like pieces of a puzzle.

      I then use a layer of carbon paper, position the image, and then just trace it. If the lines are too light I'll go over them with a pen or marker. Using a new or very sharp X-acto knife (#11 blades) I cut the marker lines so the pieces can be removed. I removed the areas to be coloured red and start spraying, using a bright red for the lighter areas, a darker red for the shadowed areas and a transparent red candy for shading and details. A true candy will become almost black if you layer it enough, but I'll help it along by adding a tinting black or weak black.


      • #4
        I forgot to mention that when you remove areas to be painted, save the pieces! Once I was happy with the red, I masked them up using the pieces I removed and then removed the areas to be painted black. It's important to make sure your pieces are aligned as accurately as possible because if they overlap even a bit you'll see the white area it leaves. The green masking tape is there to help keep the edges of the transfer tape flat and to mask any tears or gaps that may be there.
        Last edited by parebele; 03-26-2018, 12:52 PM.


        • #5
          All done with the black. The black I used was a mixture of black, transparent paint, and a little bit of blue. This allows me to shade and shadow like a candy, getting progressively darker and darker without muddying up the design with overspray. Also, if I need to punch out a really dark area, then I can just use straight black for contrast.

          I then used white to bring out the highlights in the eyepieces and a little bit on the shoulder and fogged over it with the black if I thought it was too bright. Going back and forth between colours helps build depth.
          Last edited by parebele; 03-26-2018, 12:53 PM.


          • #6
            Swords and scabbards are next. Using the pieces I removed earlier, I mask up only the areas that are next to what I'm spraying. In the case of the bigger deadpool, I had to mask and recut the his face next to the sword because I threw out the original piece. Transfer tape is great but can only be repositioned so many times before it won't stick well. Overspray is kept to a minimum by keeping the airbrush very close to the surface. I spray at around 25 PSI. If this was a T-shirt, I would be up around 65 to 80 PSI. Areas to be sprayed are removed.

            The swords are different because they're two different versions of deadpool. One is purely from the comics and the other is a little more realistic. And his weapons, suit and accessory colours changed throughout the years so there's room to play with. Although what I'm using is basically a stencil, everything within the parts is freehanded.


            • #7
              The belts, gun holsters and gun are next. Same process as before: mask up painted areas to protect from overspray and unmask the new areas to be painted. The gun will be a gun metal gray and the belts/pouches will be brown.

              I've unmasked areas that don't matter just so I can see how I'm progressing. And I know the lighting is horrible. Sorry.


              • #8
                Great work!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mr_shifty1982 View Post
                  Great work!
                  Thanks! Glad you like it!


                  • #10
                    So I forgot to take pictures of the belt painting but it's the same as everything else. I started by unmasking the entire belt and spraying a light brown over everything. Then I masked the tops of the bags and added she shadows and texture using the same brown, but with a little bit of black added to darken it up. Then I unmasked the tops and freehanded the shadows and folds, etc.

                    For the gun I sprayed it completely with full black. Using an over-reduced white I added little highlights and things and then tightened those up using the same transparent blue tinted black that I've been using for all of the dark areas on the mask. Once I was happy with that I sprayed a light mist of candy blue over the white, just to mute it and to give it a bit of a metal look.

                    The paint peeled off of the edge of the mask a little bit but that's not a big deal. I'll be going over the whole mask before clearcoating it and touching up all of the areas that need it, getting rid of any white showing where my masking was off. I also missed a black area on his shoulder but that's an easy fix.

                    The next step is to start sizing and transferring the frontal 'heart deadpool'.


                    • #11
                      This is pretty much how I transfer all my designs that aren't cut out using a vinyl plotter. Size and print the design on normal paper, trace it using tracing paper (both sides), position it on the mask, tape it in place and then just trace over it again.

                      The lines will be faint but I go over them with a thin sharpie or pen, adjusting the design as needed. The curved surface and ridges means that the tracing won't sit flat and the pencil lines won't line up exactly so you have to fudge it in places. I love this mask, but I really don't like the ridges on it. Sportmask Razors and Protechsports are far easier due to the general roundness of them.

                      Then it's cutting out the pieces using a sharp X-acto knife, just like before. Lather, rinse, repeat. These types of designs aren't the most enjoyable for me, as I prefer to freehand as much as possible. The less stencil work, the happier I am. But at the same time, I have to do whatever serves the design to get the best results possible.

                      And on to paint.


                      • #12
                        The black is done on the front deadpool. Same process as before (am I saying that too much?). Used the same blue-tinted black to do the shading. Then came in with an over-reduced white for the highlights and then used black again to mute and tone down the white. Layers, people, layers! That's how you achieve depth!

                        I've been using an Iwata HP-C airbrush for most of the paint, but I switched to an Iwata CM-B custom micron airbrush for the white highlights. It's a detail gun, with a smaller needle and allows me to literally paint lines the width of a human hair. It's not an airbrush I use often, but it's a handy one to have for fine detail work. My HP-C is the workhorse of my stable. And the Iwatas are amazing airbrushes. I have two HP-C's that are literally 25 years old and are still spraying like new. Regular maintenance is all they need.

                        Back to the mask, I started by spraying the black areas first. I decided to start with black because it's much easier to mask off small areas than it is to mask large areas. And there's much more red than black on this deadpool. The next step is to mask off the black and start spraying the red. But you already knew that.

                        And I have to start thinking about the background. I know I'm going to be doing the deadpool logos in the background on the sides, but I'm thinking I might do wolverine, spider-man and cable on the chin and top. Not only to fill space, but also because they're badass and I like them. I don't think I'll know for sure if/where they'll go until the side logos are done. I don't want to muddy the design with stuff that looks like an afterthought.


                        • #13
                          I've masked of the black and sprayed the reds. Same as the others, I started with a bright red and then went with a standard red for the opaques. The bright red has an orange tint to it, and the standard red has a magenta tint to it. They worked well on the front DP (I think) because his suit is made of sewn panels which look a bit different in photos. Then came the candy red for shading and detail, and then the darkened red/black candy for shadowing.


                          • #14
                            One thing I did differently on this DP was use a piece of medical gauze to add a bit of texture to the suit. In real life the suit has a pattern to it and I tried to replicate that a little bit. You can see it up close but not from a distance, which I don't mind because most people don't see masks up close anyway. And in fact, most art is meant to be viewed from a distance. These two pictures show what I'm talking about.


                            • #15
                              And apart from the eyes and a little bit of cleanup, all Deadpools are done! Next are the side logos, which is pretty straight forward. I don't think I'm going to be putting Cable on the mask, as I don't think his colours will work with the look I'm going for. Spider-man will definitely work though, so he'll be there. I never start a clients' project until the total design is finished, but made an exception in this case since I'm the client and haven't/won't paint anything that I'm not %100 sure will work and I like.