The Inertia

Following on from the last tutorial starring Dan’s retro fish masterpiece, I escort you through an old-school spray technique and share some paint marker secrets to create a fresh twist on the ol’ screaming skull and snake combo. My brother (Matt Fieldes, the mastermind behind the camera) and I filmed this on location at The Apple, a refurbished old farmhouse in Bridgetown in country Western Australia, and it’s one of my favorite tutorials to date. I had a blast painting this, and I hope you enjoy it too!

I get asked about the liquid soap technique quite a bit, so if you’re keen to have a go at home, here’s how it’s done:

  1. Prep Your Board: Super-duper most important step, if you leave any wax, grease or chemical residue the paint will peel off. You can refer to the instructions on this post for the full rundown.
  2. Base Coat: This is what will show through, underneath your soap. In the movie above I do a single color coat in a light yellowish green, but you could go wild — gradients work well, as do stripes — whatever your heart desires. I would recommend using an acrylic based spray, something with a quick drying time so that the soap doesn’t sit too long on the board and dry onto it.
  3. Make a cup of coffee… that base coat needs to be dry before you can go crazy with your soap.
  4. Fun Times: Lay your board out flat (if you haven’t already), preferably somewhere shady or not in full sun. Grab yourself some dishwashing detergent, the brand doesn’t matter but I prefer my detergent/soap to be fairly thick so it doesn’t drip off the board too much. Strafe, splat and splodge that detergent onto your board, Jackson Pollock the hell outta it and lay bare the bitter-sweet fruits of your soul.
  5. Top Coat: You’ll want to move quickly now, don’t leave the soap on too long. Apply your top coat — again it can be a single color, or you can do gradients, stripes etc. A good tip is not to lay on too much paint. You need it to dry fast so don’t get too close and flood the surface of the board. If you’re using graffiti paint change the cap to a bigger size to get more coverage. I like to use an X-Ray super fat.
  6. Wash: As soon as the top coat is just touch dry hose it off, the soap should wash away leaving the base coat showing through. If the soap is being stubborn or has started to dry, you can gently hurry things along with a plastic dish scourer.
  7. Finish: If you’re not going to add anything else to your board and you want to take it out for a surf, just make sure you give it three to four coats of clear coat first, wait for it to dry and then you’re good to go!

You can see more of Fieldey’s work at or deck your board out with a piece of Fieldey awesomeness at If you want to paint your own board, check out Fieldey TV for inspiration and tutorials. 




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