Good pinstriping adds an atmosphere to an item, enhancing or adding qualities to make it seem more complete.
That was my little Zen of Pinstriping lesson.
Most stripes will be laid on cars, motorcycles, or other vehicles, using paint and a striping brush. But trust me, you don't want to start on your car and screw up. And, trust me again here, you will screw up. The ability to see something in your mind's eye and faithfully replicate it in the physical wold is a skill that comes with practice.
Today, we will be practicing on paper, with a Marks-a-Lot marker. These are a pain in the ass for jobs like this, but I'm out of Sharpies and Wal-Mart was having a sale. Now I have 50 of these markers, and I'm getting used to them. Use one kind of marker and stick with it.
Practice basic ways of starting, getting your design even, line weights, spacing, etc. These will pay off when we move on to paint and brushes.
Plus, many things can be striped with a marker, making them that much cooler. I guarantee you will be doodling in pinstripe on everything that will stand still before you're done.
Step 1: Get a Feel for Your Marker
Step 2: A Point to Start From
Draw it. Straight. As near the middle as you can.
Step 3: Frame Your Centerline
If you are right-handed, draw the left side first. Then do the right. That way, you can see the other side as a reference. Get used to using your peripheral vision to get it right. Especially with curves, it will take you a while to get this right. be picky about it.
Your left side will be smooth. Your right side will be wobbly, unsure, and possibly out of whack. Practice until you no longer have this problem. You will be making a lot of paper airplanes out of your mistakes. Start a private air force.
Step 4: Build Off of Your Frames
Yes, mine are out of whack. It will only get worse-- I was trying to blaze through this at a mile a minute, and it shows. In fact, pretty soon, I screwed this one up and started another one more carefully to demonstrate on from there.
Don't get ahead of yourself!
Step 5: Make a Pattern
If you look at most stripes on hot rods and such, you will notice that they are comprised largely of curved lines, and in general those are laid out so as to be concave.
The last one (labeled "No!") is one that you might be able to get away with if you can integrate it well. But most of the time, it won't work.
Some people like lots of curves, others lots of points. Some people like to have lines come close, but rarely touch. Find your own style.
Pay attention. Small wavers and inconsistencies will come back to bite you. If you made those earlier, you will have to be careful and plan so as to balance them out. See where I got distracted and royally put my foot in it? Use multiple points of reference, and only go fast enough that you can still be smooooooth.
Step 6: Sudden Change of Pattern!
Note how on this one, I used a straightedge to form the centerline, two framing lines, and the horizontal cross-lines. I actually measured distance, but you could eyeball it, too. I liked the crisp edge that the straightedge gave me.
Note on fixing mistakes: sometimes they are unfixable. Most of the time, you just have to let them slide and carefully continue, making sure to draw attention away from the skewed area. Sometimes, counterintuitively, that means adding more things in that area. Most of the time, it doesn't.
Step 7: Finish and Embellish
See the photos? Subtle change, noticeable difference in feel.
Step 8: Know When to Stop!
Do just enough that it complements the subject. I could cover this plane, but I won't. I'm just accenting its shape. Learn to do that, and then you'll be a good striper.