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Zbarsky MGB GT “Mabel”

Ralph Zbarsky's MGB GT

Ralph Zbarsky’s MGB GT

This one was just for fun (aren’t they all?).

Ralph was my very first decal replication assignment—the Lockheed/Borg & Beck decal for his MGB GT. I don’t think either Ralph or I had any idea what his innocent request would precipitate. But, due in a large part to his sponsorship of my work, not only have the decal assignments continued to come in but I have an interest in reviving my illustration skills. Part of that has come in the form of paint scheme assignments for a few folks but also in wanting to renew my aquaintance with my fine art side.

How It Was Done
For this artwork I started with a photograph that Ralph had sent me early on when we were talking about the Lockheed decal and brought it into Adobe Illustrator® as a base layer. From there, I created successive layers of specific parts—body, windshield, wheels/tires, etc.—about 12 layers in total. Rendering each element individually allows me to have absolute control over how I want each piece to look. Once I was happy with the MGB GT, I brought the Illustrator file into PhotoShop® where I created the shadow under the car and progressively motion blurred the back third to create the illusion of depth of field and speed. I also changed the perspective of the original shot, turning the car to the left slightly then pinching in the back end to give it amore aggressive stance. I think it’s called “artistic license.”

Once I was happy with the way the GT looked, I began to build the background and attend to some of the details—adding a period style helmet on the driver, placing the Lockheed decal which inspired all of this, and color correcting some areas that I couldn’t get quite the way I wanted them in Illustrator. To continue developing the illusion of speed, I found an image of a race track surface which I treated the same way I did the car, motion blurring the left third to match the technique applied to the GT.

I knew I wanted to incorporate a checkered flag somewhere in the design, same for the decal that started things rolling. My first attempts to create the background collage seemed to compete with the MG image so I duplicated the file and re-saved it in grayscale, then merged the background elements and brought the result back into the work file. Bingo! The gray scale subdued the background and really made the GT pop. Lastly, I brought in the Lockheed decal as final touch.

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And a couple of Ralph’s car still under construction as well as the photograph I started with.

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