Your sneakers are your canvas. It is up to you to decide what style of shoe best fits the image you want to create.
White sneakers are the simplest to customize. Choose a sneaker made of either leather or vinyl. A canvas sneaker may also be used but could prove to be a much trickier surface for a beginner. Unless you are familiar with the many different types of paints and how they are applied to different surfaces, steer clear of canvas for now. Here we will be using white leather sneakers as pictured above.
Before you do anything with those soon-to-be-customized kicks, it is best you devise a rough sketch of your plan. Draw an example of what you want to create on paper or use a computer program like Photoshop or Illustrator like I have done in the image below. This will help you to better visualize your sneaker masterpiece before you start working with permanent paints.
Creating a rough sketch is extremely important because you are working with a pair of shoes as your canvas. You want to make sure both shoes are designed to look identical for them to be a successful pair of custom kicks.
Now that you have an idea of the image you want to create and the colors you need, it's time to pick your paints.
People frequently ask me about which types of paints and supplies I use for my sneakers. Paint markers are usually a very good option for customized sneaker projects. These can be found at your local art supply store or online. If you go to an art supply shop you can usually test the paint markers before you buy them.
Some paint markers release very weak paint and some are extremely watery. These types do not work well for sneaker art. Make sure the markers you choose have the thickest consistency for the best results.
Paint markers are available in various tip sizes: fat to skinny. Based on your sketch, choose the proper tip sizes for your image. You want to be able to control lines, fill space and define curves. The thinner the tip, the easier it will be to draw details and get to those hard- to-reach spaces. The thicker the tip, the more paint you can spread to large areas.
Spray paint can also be used. However, if you use spray paint as a base, make sure you get skinny caps to keep the aerosol from covering detail you want to show. Spray cans are harder to control and best used on large canvases. I advise beginners against using spray paint for their custom sneaker project. Take my advice and stick to paint markers if perfection is what you seek.
Lastly, you may want to pick up a can of clearcoat. This is entirely optional but may be useful in extending the life of your artwork. It can provide a barrier against the potential cracking that can occur if the customized sneakers are worn too much.
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