Either edge of trim is painted with body color, and is where caulking is applied at most 90 degree angles. Painting trim only, cannot feasibly include caulking, as this fails and opens up over time. Most homes need new caulking when painting the exterior, and a close inspection can determine.
THE BRUSHWORK. Depending on the art movement and personal peculiarities of the artist, the brushwork can range from delicate and almost invisible to rough and plastic.
Also, when checking the paint, be realistic and don't ignore areas just for the sake of convenience. It will cost you more in time and money later. Typically if one area of the paint is cracked or peeling, then the paint on the entire car is suspect. Maybe the rest of the car just hasn't quite reached that point of decay, but it will shortly. So if you only fix areas that look bad, you'll likely find that you wasted a paint job when the other areas start to crack or peel in a year or two.
Feel free to email me if you have questions at the email addresses below. But most important, you'll find that with each painting you'll get better and better. Carry forward everything you learn from each work and eventually you'll have real talent! But only if you keep at it. And don't worry about people telling you you're crazy. They told that to van Gogh too! Sweet justice Vincent, sweet justice. He's certainly getting the last laugh, isn't he? And the world will know who Vincent van Gogh was for the rest of time. Not a bad gig.
When you have all the tools at hand, examine your exterior. You might find exterior painting problems, which could be any of the following: alligatoring, blistering, chalking, chalk run down, crackling, dirt pickup, efflorescence, fading, frosting, lapping, mildew, nail head rusting, paint incompatibility, peeling, poor alkali resistance, poor adhesion, poor gloss retention, surfacent leaching, staining, vinyl siding wrap, wax bleed, or wrinkling.
Always use a sanding block for flat surfaces. Just your hand behind a thin piece of sand paper can leave grooves and low spots. It's also easier on your hands. For inside curves try wrapping the sand paper around a short section of garden or heater hose. This will help approximate the concave curve and help stay away from sanding through hard edges. On hard edges, like the top ridge of a fender or leading edge of a hood, you need to do this by hand. A sanding block will quickly dig right through the paint on a hard edge and take you down to bare metal. This means primer and more sanding.
Technical advancements are constantly being made to improve the life span, durability, wear and performance of exterior paints. The Akrylatfarg range at Ray Munn, for example, is an environmentally sound water-based option.