No Love for Rats

Lately I’ve been working with Andrew Gelber, a buddy of mine, to help get his skateboarding company off the ground.  So far this has included creating a logo, re-skinning a WordPress theme, and doing lots of other various graphic projects.  It’s not a lot of work, and it’s been fun and challenging to see how creative we can get.

The above rat image was created to be screened onto the bottom of a line of skateboards Andrew will be putting out soon.  I sent it off to him yesterday, and I’m excited to see the final product.  It’s a remake of the lino-print below, that I made in college for one of my art classes:

The no Love website can be found here.  it’s still pretty basic, and definitely a work in progress, but it’s getting better all the time.  if you live in the Denver, CO area and are interested in this sort of thing, give it a look.


  1. xot - Over a year ago

    I’m digging that logo. Although if I’m brutally honest, I’d like to see those whiskers on the right.

    Are you planning on doing any other screen print designs for them? I’ve been slowly learning the ins-and-outs of screen printing doing T designs.

    Sort of related, I used to do art for various surfboard labels around here. That’s airbrush, not screen printing, so it’s a completely different animal. Kind of miss doing that kind of work but a surfboard factory is not the most pleasant of environs.

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Thanks Xot! The whiskers are actually there, but they got lost in the white background. I will have to make them go black when they hit that edge – thanks for pointing that out.

      I’ve actually already done a few other designs for them, one of just the “no love” logo (which I also created) and one with the Denver city-scape (they’re based in Denver). I don’t know much about designing for the screen printing medium myself, but my buddy has been making the shirts from my designs and he hasn’t come back to me with any design changes yet, so I guess I’m going something right. It’s easier than your average print though, since he is only dealing with one color prints right now, so most of my work for these shirts is just going to be in black and white. I prefer that sometimes though, because I think I do better designs under those constraints.

      That’s pretty sweet that you did surfboard airbrushing – if you’ve got any of the artwork online, it’d be great to see it! I’ve always wanted to try airbrushing, but I’ve just never had the time or the opportunity yet. Is it easy to get into?

    2. xot - Over a year ago

      Airbrushing isn’t all that difficult to get into, there are lots of good books that explain the basics and provide exercises, you’ll probably find several at your local library. Get an inexpensive double-action airbrush to get started. You’ll also need an air compressor (preferably with a tank) and a water trap, although an inflated car tire isn’t a bad way to get started. Canned air isn’t really an option.

      Working on surfboards is quite tricky. You paint on the “shaped” foam boards before they are fiberglassed. They are incredibly delicate and very easy to dent or get dirty. You can not make any mistakes when you paint because there is really no way to correct them. Any mistakes can’t be removed or even covered really unless you are lucky. The surface you are painting on is pourous and you must be very careful that you get just the right amount of coverage from all angles. Too little paint and it looks cloudy, too much and the board will delaminate. You also have to maticulously keep your gun free of contamination and watch out for overspray since the board is rarely fully masked. It’s also vital you use the correct paint, water-based acrylic latex designed for marine use. Sea Cor is a good brand. Certain colors are difficult to work with as well, like dark green. All colors are mixed as needed from white, cyan, magenta, yellow, black. Cadmium red and phthalo blue are also used to mix rich darker colors.

      Masking the boards for painting is also not simple. Airbrushing in this case isn’t usually free form painting unless it’s a special order. Stock boards are all masked with tape and paper and spayed with an industrial suction-feed paint gun. It’s important to use tape that sticks well on the foam, otherwise it can blow off as you paint, easily ruining the board. 3M makes good products. When it comes to actually laying out the designs, your lines and rail curves have to absolutely perfect with no wobbles. It takes a steady hand and a good eye. Fortunately, it’s not a problem to pull up the tape and try again if you make a mistake. You can also cover the board with strips of two-inch tape and cut out designs such as flames. It’s very important not to cut too deeply. Something you can’t do is tape on areas that have already been painted which is a major design restriction.

      Once painted, boards are pin-lined using a roller, which is a small vessel of paint and with a wheel on the end. As it rolls it pulls paint from the vessel and applies it to whatever you are rolling on. Some painters don’t pin-line because it is quite difficult, but the boards really require it to look “finished”.

      There are a lot ways you can go wrong and destroy a board, it’s a very challenging job. I was trained by a true master of the craft and don’t pretend to have his skill, but I think he taught me well if that’s not too immodest. Unfortunately I do not have any examples of my own I can show. The link below shows work representative of what I was doing. Most of those boards were painted by the guy who trained me.

    3. Martin - Over a year ago

      Whoa, those boards are pretty nice Xot! Working on a surface so unforgiving with mistakes doesn’t sound like that much fun, but as an artist, I am sure there is great satisfaction in completing a paint job like that without messing anything up. It’s good that they come taped up too – I can’t imagine doing any of that stuff free-form.

      I’ll have to look into airbrushing a bit more when summer rolls around and I’ve got most of my winter projects off my plate. It sounds like it might be fun, and though I’ve been trying to get back into traditional painting a little bit, my interest keeps waning.

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