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1  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Resteraunt murals on: May 18, 2005 10:11:53 PM
Speaking as someone who has done them, doing murals for resteraunts and casinos is tough, you are stuck on very odd hours for work time (they don't want to lose business hours while you paint), you are limited on the kinds of paint you use because of fumes, the creativity part is almost nil by the time you get artwork approved, they want it yesterday and for free.
If you want to approach business's about doing murals, have a portfolio with not just finished murals, but sketches of ideas for those murals, have a set formula for the cost of doing all of your work, including time for moving furniture, scrubbing walls, dry time, paint time, retouch and alterations.  Make sure to cover ALL of your costs, waste disposal, drop cloths, scaffolding, everything!  Bring a calculator, tape measure, a sketch pad, lined paper or note book (for taking notes), colored pencils, pen & pencil, and a contract.
Never give artwork without a contract and a copyright notice on it, if you get people who refuse to deal with you if you are going to require a contract or because you are putting a copyright notice on your artwork or sketches, then it's time to leave.  If they question the reason for being honest and law abiding, then they have no intentions of being either.
The typical scam is to get drawings from someone who is talented in design, tell the artist they want to think about it for a while, and then take the sketches to cheap labor painters who have the imagination of a brick, they get a mural with your ideas, and you get no money or recognition.  It happens all the time.
Do your research on the resteraunt or company, if they own or operate several pieces of property, they may want more than one job done, knowing this up front can make it easier to design with the big picture in mind, if they want to have things done in multiple locations, creating the Mona Lisa in one only means that you have to create something at least as nice in every other location, if it is a chain of resteraunts, picking a theme and feel that you can use and expand upon makes the job a lot easier and helps to keep you from having to re-invent the wheel every time.
Owners are notorious for changing their minds at the last moment, adding or deleting items from the design, or adding or deleting whole sections that are to be painted.  They don't see any difference.  ALWAYS require them to sign off on artwork, and pay at least 50% of the total up front.   Once you walk away from your project, you have little or no leverage to use to get paid.  Require the balance in completion by a given date (usually the date slated for completion), and again, have all this in writing and signed by them.  Your initial cost should cover all of your materials and equipment costs, so that the balance is all profit.  This way, if they stiff you on the payments, you have at least not lost anything but time and face. 
Take photos of the areas being painted throughout the process.  Do a walk through the area to be painted with the owner or person hiring you to make note of any and all damage or trouble spots, this keeps you from getting blamed for "putting a hole in the wall" when in fact it was already there.  Again, take notes, and use your camera.  If you force them to acknowledge that the damage was already there, then you CYA and keep them from trying to knock the price down for the "damage" you did.
Remember to check your ego at the door, when you go to these places, they may ask what creative stuff you have done in the past, but they have already pretty much decided what they want on their walls, this is where showing them sketches of ideas from past jobs may make them sway their choices a bit.  But don't hold your breath.
Include time to scrub the walls with TSP and water, and drying time.  The TSP (Tri-Sodium-Phosphate) takes the oils and grime from cooking, perfumes, body oils, etc. off the walls.  The mural can only be as good as the base.
Good luck.
2  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Re: Old labels from fruit crates, cans, soap, etc. on: May 17, 2005 02:46:51 AM
First off, scan them all at as good a quality as you can, this gives you something you can use for cards or other stuff later on.  Second step is to decide how much you want to have these things in your life.  I know that may sound a little obscure, but are these just a passing fad, or are they something you have always loved and now you finally have some?

If they are something you really enjoy and want to have as a permenant part of your life, how about decorating the ends of bookshelves to look like old fruit crates, or doing a mural type wall decoration that looks like stacks of fruit crates.  If these are more of a passing fad, you may not want to do anything that drastic, maybe pick the nicest ones and put them on a coffee table under a sheet of glass for protection.  You can change them around as time goes on, and help keep the look of your room updated or up graped as the case may be.
3  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: Wanted good fabric paint on: May 17, 2005 02:28:46 AM
Go to your local art store and look at their airbrush section for textile paints, you can use these paints using conventional methods as well as airbrush, although airbrush is an absolute blast.  Look at Createx, Liquetex, Aquatex, DR PHMarten brands.  There are a few others, but these should cover all your needs.
4  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Re: Airbrush advice on: May 17, 2005 02:24:35 AM
As far as an airbrush model is concerned, you might look at a Paasche VL, this is a very versital airbrush and it is not very expensive (around $65 for the kit, retail).  As for the air source, avoid the little cans of compressed air like the plague, they are VERY expensive, inconsistent, and very short lived.  If you aren't sure you are going to stick with this, you might consider using CO2, you can get this from local welding supply stores, they lease the big bottles, they don't need filters for dirt, oil or moisture, they are portable, silent, and they don't have to be plugged in.  You will get a whole lot of hours out of each bottle, I get 168 hours out of each bottle, and that is with 12 students painting at the same time!  If you decide that you don't want to do it any more, or that you want to get a compressor instead, call the welding supply house and they get their bottle back, and you get your deposit back.  all you end up paying is the cost of the gas itself, very cheap!
5  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Re: agent smith.... first ever stencil :D on: May 17, 2005 02:10:30 AM
There's a material called Frisket that is made for doing stencils, it is cheaper than the laminating material, and much easier to cut and work with.
It should help to sharpen up the lines to a certain point.  You might try doing a single pass with the textile paint and heat setting it, then come back, re-apply the stencil and do additional coats if you feel it needs it.  Part of the bleed problem is too much liquid either by volume or too thin paint.  If the paint is too thin, it just bleeds out into the cloth.  Also, if your shirt is a high percentage polyester or synthetic content, the paint won't bond with it too well.
6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Re: image transfering to cloth on: May 17, 2005 01:54:25 AM
If you are trying to transfer the image as a whole (colors and all) the cheapest way to do mass numbers would be to do screenprints, if that is not really an option, you might contact Office Depot, Staples, or Office Max and explain your situation to them, they can be very accommodating to educators and schools.  If you do get goods or deals from them, make sure you and your class write a good thank you note.  Those noted do wonders.

If you are just looking for a way to transfer the outlines or shapes, try printing or drawing out your designs on paper and then using a pounce wheel to trace the lines you have drawn or printed, once that is done, place the paper pattern over the article of clothing you want to paint, tape it down so that it won't move on you and then you can use chalk dust to trace over the pattern for the transfer.  You can get the chalk dust for very little money from hardware stores or places like Home Depot, and a little goes a long way.
Once the pattern has been chalked, remove the tape and lift the paper pattern off, you will see your pattern on the clothing like a coloring book.
7  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Discussion and Questions / Re: Stencil Disaster on: May 17, 2005 01:42:21 AM
First, light colors trying to cover dark colors is always one of the toughest jobs, and use a shirt that is at least 50% cotton for your jobs, paint always bonds better with cotton.
With that said, try using textile paint, most good art supply stores carry it.  There are several brands out there to choose from, among them are Createx, Aquatex, Liquetex, DrPHMartens and others.  Although they are generally used for airbrushing they work just fine for painting on in more traditional methods.  One trick to try is to put your first layer of paint down and then heat set it as per the instructions that come with the paint itself.  This gives the paint a solid base to build upon, and keeps it from just soaking through.  Some other tricks to try, use a shirt board.  A shirt board is usually made from foam core, Masonite, or light plywood.  To make one, trace the shape of your shirt (laid out flat) on a board, draw a line that is offset by about an inch wider than the actual shirt, unless you are going to paint the sleeves, don't bother including them in the shape of the board.  Once you have drawn the pattern for your shirt board, cut it out using the off-set line.  Once the board is cut, make sure your edges are clean and smooth, this keeps you from snagging your shirt or leaving splinters.  You may find that leaving a tab or section sticking out through the neck hole with a hole in it to hang it by  to be very handy, also, make the board 5 or 6 inches longer than the actual shirt, this gives you room to grab the shirt and board without having to touch the shirt if you have paint on your hands, and some varieties of shirts have much longer trunks or bodies to them.
With your board made (you may want to mark the size shirt it is made for on it), stretch your shirt over it, you don't want the shirt getting distorted, just stretched a little, you can use masking tape on the shirt on the back side of the board to hold sleeves or take up any remaining slack. if you left board sticking out of the bottom and out the neck hole, you can clamp your shirt down on these sections, or, if you work on an easel you can clamp your shirt by them.
Rather than using contact paper, try using a material called Frisket, art supply stores carry this also, it is a clear acetate with an adhesive on one side, it comes in various thicknesses and adhesive strengths.  The thicker the material the more durable, but also the harder to get fine detail when cutting.  A great tool I found for cutting is the "Shapecutter" by Fiskars, it is a swivel cutter with a razor bladed swivel head on it, you can set the depth on it so that when you cut your stencils that you ONLY cut through the plastic or acetate and not through the backing paper.  Leaving your backing paper intact lets you put stencils away so that they may be used again in the future.  The adhesive on Friskit is made to hold the stencil firm, but leave no residue.  If you find that the adhesive is to strong, try this trick.  Take the stencil/Friskit, and place it on your stomach, rub it down firmly, then peel it off and apply it to the shirt you want to paint, by applying it to the shirt you are wearing you have reduced the tackiness enough to make it workable. 
Now with your shirt stretched tight, your paint is ready and your stencil is down and flat where you wanted it, you can now apply your paint.
If you know you are going to have to make multiple passes of paint, and that you are going to have to place the stencil back over the same spot, you may find that putting masking tape on the shirt where the corners of the stencil go, and then tracing the corners onto the tape will give you an easy way to align your stencil repeatedly without so much guesswork.  When you are all done, peel off the masking tape.
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