View Full Version : Painting automobiles for the first time.. tips?

01-19-2017, 06:12 AM
Hello, I'm painting a 1993 Ford Mustang. This is my first go at an automobile. I generally paint landscape and still-life. I'm wondering if I should work in oils vs acrylics. Would the quick drying time of acrylics give me a hard time with the blending? Any other tips would be helpful :smug:

01-19-2017, 07:02 AM
first off we can't really advise on weather to use oil or acrylics as both have their own virtues/drawbacks and both have their own fans also a lot look away from just paints for automobiles ,, I watched an artist working in coloured pencil at this years NEC classic car show and his freehand , style and accuracy were second to none ,,,,

all depends what acrylics you use I've converted trumper to atelier interactive acrylics and he's seeming to enjoy them even though he's not given a full report yet

oils will always be better for blending but they can deffinately be a bind for the faster working artist

there is a lot to credit both for but never forget the 3rd kid on the block alkyds give the blending properties of oils with a faster drying time

01-19-2017, 04:17 PM
There are also fast drying media - I use neo megilp from Gamblin in my oils and it really reduces drying time. I do agree with Shad though, each has benefits. For me, I would run oils or an open acrylic. Personal preference for oils though.

01-19-2017, 10:08 PM
Water mixable oils is what I use. Dry faster then regular oil but slower then acrylic which gives me time to work with it.

01-24-2017, 07:13 AM
Thank you all for your responses. I'm working on this painting away from my main studio, so unfortunately I don't have all my media on hand. I bought some acrylics for this project and I'll see what will come of it.

01-25-2017, 12:38 PM
ah so you only have acrylics there ,, the original question was oils or acrylics , both are good I used acrylics on my last street scene incorporating vehicles acrylics are a bit trickier for blending if you need time especially in hotter climates but you can still get good results



01-27-2017, 03:34 AM
Wow, these two paintings are really good. I like the subtle changes in colour on the red truck.
It's relatively cold now, so I'm hopeful the paint will stay open long enough for blending. Usually in warmer weather I get around 1 minute blending time then the paint starts dragging.

01-27-2017, 06:04 AM
Just let it dry and paint another layer over it till you get the right hue and tone . Acrylic dries quickly so you need to adapt your method to take advantage of that rather than fight it.

01-28-2017, 12:23 AM
I think it's all about reflections and light on a car. But this really just means lighter versions of a colour placed where the light reflects and the use of finger blending as you paint..it can get messy :)
I used acrylics in this mustang race car .. There's a lot of blending anf quite a bit of touching up with white highlights after it all dried etc


Chas McHugh
01-28-2017, 02:44 AM
The best artistic challenge for any transportational/industrial artist, is to paint a black VW Beatle (Bug USA) ...... Without using any black paint.

This exercise forces you to see the effect of direct sunlight and reflections / reflected light, in addition to exploring the scope of colour mixing.

A polished black car will reflect all that surrounds it; and the curves of a VW Beatle bodywork make these reflections more profound. The next best lesson comes in Life Drawing a slightly overweight female, for very similar reasons.
Shape or 'form' and no straight lines.

Chas McHugh
01-28-2017, 02:50 AM

My contribution to automotive artwork at a time when reflections due to rain was used often in my artwork. 'Dangerous liasions' depicting an Austin Healey departing an Oxfordshore (UK) Inn circa early sixties.

01-28-2017, 03:42 PM
This is my one and only car painting the reflections are from the lights in the garage and sky lights in the roof. It was an interesting painting to do.
http://i1244.photobucket.com/albums/gg579/longforgan/semi%202aw_zpsdfjcag7f.jpg (http://s1244.photobucket.com/user/longforgan/media/semi%202aw_zpsdfjcag7f.jpg.html)

01-28-2017, 06:58 PM
That is the best painting of yours I have ever seen Don. If you could do a plane one like that it'd be a winner!!