Watercolors, Brushes and Commissions - Roger Lusty

Watercolors, Brushes and Commissions – Roger Lusty

Watercolors, Brushes and Commissions - Roger Lusty

Roger Lusty is an artist with 30 years experience in various ad agencies and art houses. In 2005 he decided to combine his love of cars and art to form his own business Rogers Auto Art Works.

While only exhibiting his work at four local car shows a year, he is constantly busy with commission work. He has a large number of clients already booked for 2015.

We got in touch with Roger to find out a little more about him, the tools he uses and what he is currently working on.


AA: How long have you been painting?

RL: I started painting at the early age of 9 or 10. I was constantly drawing in school and I was sent to the office on more than one occasion for drawing hot rods in my notebooks instead of taking notes.

A teacher in my grade 7 class had noticed I was constantly drawing, and asked if I would be interested in attending a Saturday morning art class at the local university. I spent the next 2 years studying art with students twice my age, and new then I would work as an professional artist.

I graduated a 3 year advertising art course in 1971, and spent the next 30 years in various ad agencies, art houses developing my skills as an illustrator, graphic designer.

When the graphics industry made the change to computer graphics, I decided it was time for a change. Over the next few years I worked in various jobs which included assembly line work, and also auto body repair and painting, until I decided to combine my love of cars and art to form my business, Rogers Auto Art Works in 2005.

AA: How best would you describe your style?

RL: My style is similar to the automotive illustrations of the 50s, 60s, 70s car advertisements and brochures. One of my favorite automotive artists is Art Fitzpatrick, well known for his amazing work, including the illustrations for GM – Pontiac Division.

Art Fitzpatrick

This is the reason I have chosen watercolor for a medium, as it lends itself to vintage automotive subjects.  Watercolor and Gouache was the chosen medium of many automotive illustrators in the past, and has a character that can be achieved by layering washes.

AA: Have you always used watercolors?

RL: At present I am primarily working with watercolor and designer gouache. In the past I have worked with acrylics on large canvas, these however were mostly landscapes.

AA: What brand of watercolor do you use?

RL: The automotive subjects demand a great amount of detail and accuracy, and for this reason I have chosen Winsor & Newton Watercolors, Designer Gouache, and brushes to achieve the best results.

Automotive finishes and colors can be very difficult to reproduce, however by layering up to eight or more washes I can achieve the correct color and depth, while retaining strong brilliant color. Although my technique requires major control of washes and color, I still prefer to allow the loose blends to take their own form and direction.

Tin Man Auto

Along with Winsor & Newton colors I also prefer to use the Winsor & Newton watercolor paper. NOT/CP 140 lb.  The paper has a nice toothy surface, which allows for good color flow and quick setting.

Another important element of my work is the use of Process White – Daler Rowney Pro White. Although it is frowned upon by the watercolor purist, if used sparingly the white does not detract from the overall feel of the watercolor technique.

AA: What kind of brushes do you use?

RL: Brushes I choose for my work varies. Brands include Winsor & Newton – Loew – Cornell  Cotmon.  When applying large panels of color I prefer to work with my brush loaded with color, applying to dry paper, using washes of 50% in strength to lay down the first wash. Brush size – # 8 Ultra Round.  Also when laying down large areas of color I use a 3/4 ” angular brush.

Brush Rule 8 Flat Shader

When applying large loose areas of color I have even resorted to using a 2″ and 3″ brushes to lay down loose washes. Also on larger size paintings 2′ x 3′ to 3′ x 4′   I will use a Micron Custom SB Airbrush. However the airbrush is only used when large panels of even color are required, such as sky’s, etc. I do not use the airbrush on the cars, as I find it tightens up the painting and detracts from the loose washes that will give the painting character.

The most important brush I use in my work is the 00 Liner along with a stainless steel rule.  Brush rules are a key element of my work, as I do not use pencil or ink as a final detail.

Brush Rule 00 Liner

AA: There are a lot of prints on your site that are 13″ x 21″. The last three you have done “BBQs” , “P-51″ Mustang – Vintage Motorcycles”, and “1936 Harley Davidson, 1950 Triumph 500 Twin” are 24″ x 36″. Is the larger size something you are going to start using on all your new artwork?

RL: Most of my work size is a half sheet of Winsor & Newton Watercolor Paper  size 13″ x 21″    Full sheet size – 30″ x 22″.  However if the commission includes more than 3 vehicles I prefer to work with the full sheet size 30″ x 22″.

I have also produced a number of large commissions on special order paper, size 3′ x 4′. These pieces usually include up to seven vehicles in the painting and require the larger size to achieve the correct perspective and detail.

Roger Lusty Studio

AA: What are you working on right now?

RL: At present I am working on a number of commissions including, a 1948 Chevrolet Custom Coupe, 1955 Chevrolet 2 Door Post, 1954 Austin Convertible, 1941 Mercury Coupe Custom, 1946 Chevrolet Pickup, 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, 1957 Chevrolet 2 Door Post Custom, 1949 Chevrolet Pickup.

The commission on my table at present is titled “HOT Rods by Larry”.  Watercolor size – 25″ x 17″ .

Hot Rods by Larry

The painting will depict the hot rods that Larry has built over the past 30 years. I have also included in the background a typical hot rod shop. The most difficult part of this painting was establishing the correct perspective and placement according to the build sequence. Most often the customer supplied reference photos are not very good, and a great deal of research is required to get the details just right.

The painting will take approximately 40 to 50 hours to complete.


We would like to thank Roger for doing the interview, we caught him at a busy time but he was nice enough to answer our questions and sent us some great images.

He also let us know that what he has listed for commission work in the interview is only half of what he has already booked for next year. Some of what he has booked are a number of large car collection commissions.

Find out more about Roger and his work at his website  http://www.rogers-auto-art.ca


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