Way behind schedule, but anyway…

old and new sea turtle tire covers compared
So, I finally managed to finish off a project started for last christmas, which is the repainting of The Girlfriend’s spare tire cover. The first had been done back in 2009, and despite our best efforts with UV protectant spray, the vinyl cover was showing its age and starting to tatter at the edges, so it was time for a new one.

I had intended to find a hard shell cover instead of a vinyl one this time, but nearly all of them made for that car have “Honda” embossed into the shell, which wasn’t going to work. The company that I bought this from glossed over the fact that the face was hard, but the rim was still vinyl – easier to paint, but still beholden to the elements and expected to last no longer than the previous. By the time it had arrived I was up against my christmas deadline and wasn’t going to play around with another order, but it means I still have another project waiting in the wings for when I find a full shell cover.

Nonetheless, I had the chance to correct a couple of things with this one, notably some proportional errors and the number of scutes on the turtle shell, at the same time bringing the color a bit closer to reality – it’s nice to have good photos to work from. It could still be more accurate, but I’m pleased, and so is she, which is the important bit.

sea turtle tire cover head detail
I’m most pleased with how the head turned out, especially the reddish ‘tint’ of the scales, but even the fading minor scales came out well. I’m not an artist or painter, though I dabbled back in school and did a shit-ton of model kits which at least contributed to my handling of a brush. We look at things like this and think, “Oh, yeah, it just curves around, I can do it,” but the truth is (at least for me,) that three-dimensional aspect can be very hard to render, getting the shape and distortion of the scales right as they follow the curve of the head. I could point out the significant errors still present, but I suspect that most people would miss them, so I’m okay with this for now; the next one will have to be better, though.

[Okay, fine. See that scale above and behind the eye, right at the corner? The one on the opposite side of the head should be positioned at the same place in regards to the eye, but it’s nowhere near it, is it? Happy now? You can also see the color-matching issues when you’re this close, but you really have to be this close for it to be noticeable. I’m making excuses, aren’t I?]

The grasses had been a corrective addition to the previous version, since I hadn’t stretched the cover to the proper placement on the tire that I had when I painted it, and the turtle came out off-center. It was much easier to center this one, but The Girlfriend thought the grasses added to the atmosphere (aquasphere, whatever,) and so I kept them for this. But I have different plans for the next – it’s just a matter of whether I can adequately pull them off or not. And proper shading would be a nice thing to develop. We’ll see.

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