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what's the biggest artistic project you've worked on? 

34 deviants said *comment, ya pewps*


Hey guys!  Longer post time, bit of an explanation as to what actually has been going on for a while now and a proper explanation of why I wasn't posting art here.  And it turns out, it wasn't that I wasn't working on art or a hiatus, it was the exact opposite.

So bit of background first:  My Dad owns a motor home, a pretty big one too.  about 40 ft or so, 11 or 12 feet high?  Didn't measure all of it's so I dont know.  Anyway, He's been looking at getting the outer surface painted so it wouldn't look like this:

This was after I spend a bunch of time removing the vinyl siding pre-paint, but I'll get to that later.

The initial plan was for me to design the paintjob from the ground up, create schematics to go into Illustrator format, then prepare and paint the rig before he left to visit my Grandfather on a roadtrip in Tennessee.  I had been given this project right around the 'Tobuscus' thing, which I'll get to at the end of this journal.

So the initial time budget was 2 weeks, and let me tell you a thing:  if there's one thing I've learned more than anything else on this project, it was to NEVER underestimate how much work it takes to finish a project like this.  Holy crap.

So this was the preliminary concept I dooped out in PS, which I later converted to an Illustrator file, which was then put into a format Autocad could read properly.  This was the easy part, and for those out there that like making mock-ups of paintjobs for vehicles and the like, the difference between your concept and what actually happens is about 400-800 work hours (of actual sander-to-surface work) and several thousand dollars.  But anyway:

After the concept, prep work is the name of the game.  Now what actually needs to be prepared before you line this with paint?  Well:
  • removal of all the old vehicle vinyl which requires special chemicals and a 1100°F heat gun 
  • removal of all the caulking seals on the entire vehicle
  • removal of all exterior components for painting
  • sanding the entire surface of the vehicle to remove the previous clearcoat of paint, or the new paint isnt going to stick
  • masking everything (which if you follow me on twitter, you were aware of the nightmares of tape I have now after putting down close to 800 yards of tape xnx)

    this process must take place before any sort of paint can even be considered or the entire paintjob will literally peel off.  Also, the precision required for the prep work (stage 1) must be near-perfect, as the paint is microns thin, and will show any imperfections underneath the spray coats.

    This took a month of 7 day work weeks at 8-9 hours a day.  Which, is not bad at all compared to part 2.

So by this point, initial deadline is way gone as the amount of work required was underestimated by factors.  So my dad approaches me, tells me this needs to be painted in 1 week, and the dial for difficulty gets cranked through the ceiling.  Work hours shift easily into the 14 hour-a day range, and toward the end of the experience, 18 hours a day minimum, 25 hours a day (which technically isnt possible) being the longest continuous shift I was in. 

Next step? Priming.
Yeah, so it turns out, paint does not like to just 'stick' to any surface.  You need primer!  lots of it.

  • First, the surface must be primed a total of 3 times, sanding in-between each completed coat with a block sander with increasingly fine grit sandpaper to smooth the surface to its best.

so the overall surface area of the coach is around 1400 sq/ft.  We ran into a tremendous problem with the priming spray with something called "pot life".  This means, 'your paint hardens to the consistency of rubber in X minutes from adding the hardening agent to the paint mix".  In this case?  10 minutes.  10.  We ended up ruining our first paintgun with this process after solidifying 100ft of pneumatic hose with the stuff, then went to gravity-feed guns.  Process consisted of 1.) hit timer 2.) haul ass 3.) pray to god you shot it right

which never went according to plan, but that's how these type of projects work.  First sanding pass, we ate through the entire first coat, needing a respray.  Second pass dripped, third pass did the trick, and brought the coach to this point in the grand scheme of things:

So, surface looks nice right?  So this shouldnt be a hard job from here?


Next part, actually painting.  The design, as shown earler, needs to be printed onto a paint mask.  essentially, its 4 sticky-backed rolls for each side that creates the design on Vinyl that you can peel off, and mask the needed paint regions.  This comes with a pretty large problem though.  1.) aligning properly with 4 rolls.  and 2.)  how the hell do you peel off the back?  The paint mask manufacturer actually made the mask incorrectly, and instead of creating multiple components to peel and stick, like with the transparent nike-esque swoop, merged it all onto one sheet, and then removed chunks of the design we actually needed, so I needed to manually reconstruct it xnx.  A process that was supposed™ to take 1 day turned into 1.5 weeks for simply getting the mask mounted, then installing it, which required 4 people (brothers + dad), and then making sure the linkage points on the lines which were 1/2" were 'perfect'.  When I say that, i literally mean that the paint will shoot through any size gap, so on a 40ft long 4 part sticker, 1/64" was bad. and required manual repairing. 

Passenger side with the transparency repairs going in

so by now, we've probably invested 250 hours into the prep work.  sides are re-masked with another oodles of tape and plastic and are ready to paint.

Painting consists of a few parts:

  • Painting, making sure you spray 2-3 coats without runs/sags
  • clearcoat the final process.

You essentially remove the mask using a razor along the center of the vinyl and peel the paper off, then re-mask the section afterward to prevent overspray from later sections.  This section came together in about 3 days, after everything that could've gone wrong did indeed go horribly wrong.  Paint runs, paint peeled off several sections, tape marks in the paint as the hardener mixture was incorrect, it was a nightmare (july 3-4 being the most intensive as it was 25 hours non-stop for me, and my dad stayed around for another 10 to finish the job).

Don't even talk about the airbrusing custom stuff, it failed after the paint did not stick to any of the surfaces at all, and will probably be re-painted at a later date

so, on July 7-8 ( I cant remember, it was all kind of one blend of memory)...

Final result. 

Estimated stats here?

  • 600+ physical work hours (well over 1100 combined when you figure in the time my dad worked with me)
  • 800 Yards of masking tape, several hundred of plastic
  • 12000+ sq ft prepared, sanded, re-sanded
  • hardest I've ever worked on something in my life

Last bit though?  Something that gained alot of meaning for me.  I'm sure you all have seen this logo before, my Sy emblem right? 

I know alot of artists have their little signature thing they put on images.  you know, water marks, signed name, etc.  All mean different things to them.  Sometimes its to keep others from stealing work, other times its just the little touch to make it recognizable to them down the road.  On this project, this symbol gained alot of meaning to me.  I do NOT put this on just anything, as this is really what I consider to be the 'stamp of my own approval' on my work.  That means it meets my expectations in terms of quality.  The day we added this (or night), i suffered a break down, as I did not think this symbol deserved to be on this job after everything that went wrong, After my dad did some talking to me, I realized:

The Sy emblem isnt necessarily a stamp of approval, its more of a sign of the dedication I like to hold myself to on the jobs I dump all 110% into.  To others, its a symbol that just says 'oh Dan did this' but to me, its a symbol showing how much hard work and perseverance in the face of the absolute worst can bring, even if nothing goes according to plan.  it shows what 3 (almost 4) years of busting back can bring, because I can guarantee  that 2 months ago, I would've thought this was impossible, and 4 years ago?  I would've called you crazy.  To me?  this is my symbol of 'I did what I thought was impossible, and shows me what I can do, and what the future holds.'  And after today, it won't even mean anything less.  You guys will probably never see nor understand the personal obstacles I went through to finish this project, and probably won't ever see this as anything but 'oh cool paintjob'.  Nor do I expect you to.  This was really the precious baby of My dad, who, even if everyone else in the universe fails to see its value, he will always remember it.  And you know what?  that's why I do what I do.  This project really put into perspective that art should never be about coming online to x0,000 watchers and making stuff for faves and stuff, and its about making that one person see that you've brought something into their lives that can never be replaced nor forgotten.  It's about making something more than what you see on the side of a big motorcoach, or the cool FX in an animation, its about changing someone elses life forever, and in the process learning more about yourself, so you become stronger in the aftermath.  Art for me is not necessarily a venting medium, or a language, its my way of growing, progressing, learning what Life can do for me every day, and seeing the impact on others in your journey, for better or for worse.  To me, its growing stronger.  and that's why I do what I do.

With that?  The other updates?  The Tobuscus thing is a bust for now.  It's ok though, It was a cool shot at an opportunity, but man, imagine what else can come!  I probably will not resume commission work for some time, as I need a bit of time to get my own ideas out there, as I've come up with some crazy amazing stuff in the 2-3 month span this consumed.  Dragonfly?  I've decided to redo it, and compose the music/voices for it.  Long term goal, but do something amazing with it, there's never a rush.  But expect a slurry of other work from me as I rebound after this massive undertaking.

thanks for reading this if you took the time to do so.  I can safely say, I don't know of many other artists that have painted something equivalent to a small airplane. ;)

'Til Next time, Cya

About Me


Jul 22, 2014
2:19 pm
Jul 22, 2014
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Jul 22, 2014
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UltraRaccoon Featured By Owner 8 hours ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
cool stuff bro
DanSyron Featured By Owner 3 hours ago
thank you
Unexus Featured By Owner 14 hours ago
Just dropping by to say hi~ ^_^
DanSyron Featured By Owner 3 hours ago
oh hallo :D
Unexus Featured By Owner 3 hours ago
How is life treating you? ^_^ (You are such a cool artist!!!)
SimplySilent Featured By Owner 5 days ago

Hey there! :giggle: You've been given a deviantART Compliment! :heart: :dummy:

Hope you have a wonderful day! :tighthug:
pugdog919 Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2014
You have been taged. I have been taged to do…
Tonythunder Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2014
heya Dan :)
How've you been hanging these days?
DanSyron Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014
working 14-15 hour shifts doing a custom paint job on a 40 foot RV, so little time for actual art.  but good.  You?
Tonythunder Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2014
sounds like a pretty neat job you're working at,hope it pays well
I'vebeen doing ok,just trying to get my actual art juices flowing again once I'm finished with my inbox here
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