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How Dillon DeJesus went from hobbyist to pro

(Sponsored Artist Dillon Dejesus using Angelus Direct Products)

How can an artist turn a side hustle customizing sneakers into a full-time job? Dillon DeJesus, of DeJesus Custom Footwear, has figured that out.

Customizing shoes started as a hobby for Dillon while studying architecture in college, but he quickly realized he wanted to do it full-time. "Anytime I was in class or working on architecture studio projects," he recalls, "all I could think about was getting back to painting shoes." After a year and a half, he left school to commit to customizing full-time.

Fortunately, it more than worked out, and Dillon has grown a devoted following through his customs and social media. He now has over 200,000 subscribers on YouTube and millions of views. In large part that has been through his tutorials, in which he creates the kind of teaching resources he wishes he'd had starting out. In his videos, he covers everything from DIY Air Force 1s to business advice for up-and-coming sneaker customizers.

Because he often works with Angelus Direct paints in his tutorials, teaming up with them as a sponsored artist was a natural partnership. "Dillon has been a crucial part of the learning experience for our customers," says Tyler Angelos, CEO of the Angelus Brand. "Working together with him has been fantastic for showing an honest, fun, and educational representation of our products." This partnership between customizer and paint company has helped both businesses grow.

(Sponsored Artist Dillon Dejesus with some of this custom sneakers)

Dillon recently started taking his tutorials in-person with the DCF Experience, a series of pop-up events. He knows how lonely the creative process can be, so he wanted to build a community where artists could meet and learn new techniques. He was excited to have Angelus Direct agree to donate their paint for these workshops. He says that Angelus Direct has "become synonymous with paint for sneakers, and it's been an honor to represent the brand. I enjoy having the opportunity to test out products early in the development stage and help new creators get their hands on high-quality products."

The partnership between customizer and paint company has helped both grow their businesses. For years Dillon has relied on products like Angelus Direct Duller to help give his sneakers that professional, factory look, making it one of his favorite products. Angelus Direct is always developing new products and Dillon now uses the new Matte-4 Coat for that perfect finish. “It's great that we have an even better, stronger finisher,” says Dillon.

Right now, Dillon is working on an upcoming shoe showcase at Galerie Sakura in Paris and is busy creating custom cleats for the current NFL season. "It's great to be able to use a product like Angelus, knowing it's going to give us a clean result that can even withstand getting beat up on an NFL field," says Dillon.

Get inspired by more artists on Angelus Directs Instagram or if you want to start creating your own custom items find everything you need at AngelusDirect.com.

Angelus Tutorials: Custom Denim

 

Give new life to old denim with Angelus Paints. Jeans, jackets and any piece of denim clothing can be customized, just like leather, you just have to have the right tools and products. Angelus Direct sponsored artist @sophiesophss recently took us through the steps you need to take to create your own denim custom.

Supplies:

-Vinyl Stencil

-Heat Gun

-Flat White Angelus Paint

-Brushes

-Graphite tracing paper

-Pencil

-Detail brushes

-Black Paint

-Red Paint

-Chili Red Paint

-Orange Paint

-Yellow Paint

-Matte 4-Coat

1. Create Your Design

When you've decided what you want your design to be you can either paint it freehand or use a stencil. Having a print out or sketch of your design will also help. Here a vinyl stencil is transferred to the jeans using transfer tape. Once the vinyl stencil is in place you can use a heat gun to make sure the edges are fully adhering to the jeans.

2. Paint the Base 

For this tutorial Flat White Angelus Paint is used to block out the shape. Tracing along the edges and only taking paint right to the edge of the stencil helps keep paint from leaking underneath the edges.

3. Transfer the Design

To transfer the design on top of the Flat White Angelus Paint you can use graphite tracing paper. Use a detail brush to cover this outline in black paint and then fill in the rest of the design in red paint and chili red paint with orange and yellow accents.

4. Finishing Touches

When you finish painting your design you can remove the vinyl stencil. Clean up the edges by painting a black border around the edge. A layer of Matte 4-Coat on top will help protect the design.

More Custom Tutorials

If you want to see more custom tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and techniques.

Also, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and check out our online store to grab the materials you need to create your own custom designs!

Angelus Tutorials: Custom Watch Bands

There's no limit to what you can customize and leather items especially lend themselves to customization. From an everyday watch to some of the most high-end, a customized leather watch band is the perfect way to put your personal stamp on an accessory.

Supplies:

-Watch bands

-Deglazer

-Cotton balls

-Paint

-Stencils

-Paint brush

-Matte 4-Coat 

1. Deglaze

The first step is to prepare the leather for painting by using deglazer to remove any finish. You can use a cotton ball to apply the deglazer. 

2. Painting and Stenciling

Choose the design you want to apply, either by hand painting or with a stencil. Here a checker pattern stencil is applied to the band to help create a clean design. 

Thin coats of paint, about three or four, applied with a fine brush will help create a clean look.

For this design smiley faces in a custom yellow add some color to the black and white background. This yellow is created using flat white, yellow and orange

When both areas are painted the stencils can be removed.

3. Top Coat

When the design has dried applying some Matte 4-Coat will help protect the paint and give the leather some sheen, giving it that professional, finished look. 

You can also use any combination of brushes, air brushes and stencils, just like with any other custom.

More Custom Tutorials

If you want to see more custom tutorials like this one, make sure to subscribe to the Angelus YouTube channel to learn tips and techniques.

Also, make sure to follow Angelus on Instagram and check out our online store to grab the materials you need to create your own custom designs!