First thing’s first, the real secret of pinstriping steady lines and flowing curves is all in how you hold the brush. Don’t sweat the technique too hard—ultimately, you must adjust for what’s comfortable—but the key is twofold: for long pulls of lines and arcs, you’ll want the brush at a slight angle relative to the work piece, allowing the brush hairs to act like a “shock absorber” for your hands, but for curves and tighter circles, the brush is held more upright.
“The way that I like to explain it is to say, OK, everybody knows how to make an ‘OK sign’ [with your hand], but everybody picks this brush up and they want to hold a pencil, you know? But when I go to North Carolina, where the NASCAR guys are, it’s ‘three’ for Dale [Earnhardt]—I got to give them the credit for that,” Styles joked, holding up a “three” with his pointer finger and thumb pinched. The pocket created by your thumb and pointer is where the brush handle should sit, while your three remaining fingers are used to stabilize the brush against your work.
“You’re going to take this brush belly-side down, you’re going to take your ‘three’ for Dale, pinch it on either side of the ferrule [the wrapping that ties the bristles to the handle]. And the reason you want to pinch that is so you can rotate the brush.”
Next, you’ve got to load the brush with paint. The paint’s consistency is important because it affects the coverage of the line you pull, along with the drying time when working through a multicolor design. “It gets heavy when you load it with paint,” Ryan said.
“And when you’re thinning it, you can feel when it’s right because it’ll pull smooth—if it’s too thick, it feels like it hops as you pull,” Styles continued.
04 03] A typical, sword-shaped brush—like the venerable Mack brushes— are held with the pointer and thumb, using the other digits for support.
04] Ryan Lugo, HRM art director, was quick to pick up the minutia, like keeping the brush palatted and loaded with paint.