PonyBoy Pop Art is a group of local artists, located in Milford Michigan. We are a 3d Printing and Hand-Painted Finishing Service company. Our products focus on pieces such as fan art, busts, posed statues, dioramas, and the like.

The Process

Step 0 – A Digital Model

Everything starts with a digital model. We often work with design partners such Wicked 3d Art / B3dserk / Star Wars 3d ModelsEastman3d, Walades, and Likeness3d create 3d models. Sometimes we even create our own.

Step 1 – Decide Size/Scale/Prep

A digital model is purely a design. Detailed as it is, it is all in the digital space, and its not until its printed that it becomes a physical reality. At that, it can be sized (scaled) however you decide. Most are typically around 8 to 14 inches tall. Generally, these are referred to as “1:6 scale“, whereas everything is 1/6th the size of reality. In this a typical 6 foot tall person will print at 12 inches tall. But, we CAN take them to be lifesize or even bigger.

Step 2 – 3d Printing

Once we know the scale and detail, we decide how many pieces we are going to print it in, and what details. For most of our work, we print detailed items in resin, and sometimes print the bases in PLA on an FDM printer. Lately, however, we’ve been doing a lot of bases in resin as well, due to the details that some of the designers have been putting in.

Step 3 – Post-Processing

Almost every 3d print requires supports. The stereotypical 3d printer is known as an FDM printer, and has a spool of filament going through a nozzle. I have described this as imagine drawing a figure 8 on a piece of paper with an ink pen, then let the ink dry and lift the pen the height of the ink and repeat about a million times. Eventually you will have a 3d figure 8. Now, imagine that halfway up, you decide to just start drawing outside of the lines. You would be drawing in thin air. The same is true with a 3d printer. It cannot easily “print in thin air”, and so adds what is known as support material underneath. This always requires some amount of cleanup, often with sanding involved, which is known as post-processing.

Step 4 – Priming

Nearly all of our pieces become coated with “Primer Grey”. This is most often with Rustoleum’s 2-in-1 Fillable / Sandable Primer. This is perfect for both resin and FDM prints. It helps fill in the layer lines (if FDM), making the sanding a lot less of a chore. It also gives us a consistent start for our base coat.

Step 5 – The Base Coat

Once primed, we start filling in the major areas with our base coat. This is usually with an acrylic paint, such as Valejo, but it may be good old “rattlecan” spray paint, or sometimes jump straight to an oil (see Weathering)

Step 6 – Matte Enamel

After getting the base colors down, you want to protect it so that touching it wont pull the paint back off. But, as you find as you go along, it also sets everything. I like to call it my “Undo Layer”. That is, once I spray Matte Enamel, i can paint some more on top, and if I completely mess up, still clean it off and Undo my mess.

Step n – Shading and Weathering

Once its been “locked down” with Matte enamel, we bring out oil paints, or watered down acrylics, to add shading and weathering effects. The oil paints are semi-translucent, meaning that they add color but don’t completely replace the color. Typical acrylic paints are totally opaque, in that when you paint them, that’s the color they are now. If you heavily water down an acrylic, or use an oil, it becomes a “wash” and lets you add depth to the colors.

Once done with this step, jump back to Step 6 and repeat until you feel the piece is done.

PonyBoy Pop Art Studios was founded by Mark Brown and his mentor Joseph Brancick (aka Likeness3d), working out of Mark’s Workshop. At present, six artists call The Workshop their artistic home-away-from-home.