Being an artist doesn’t always have to be a life-long pursuit.

Winchester resident James Rees just started making his own gear shift knobs about a year ago.

There are tiki shift knobs. There are cartoon characters. There is a Death Star shift knob. Rees recently finished a Navy-themed knob for another client. He has made cartoon characters.

His knobs have found their way into a variety of cars, from hot rods and customs to daily drivers.

As Rees has worked on his craft, his techniques and designs have progressed. Each one takes a little more than three weeks to complete and paint, whether cast in resin or carved by hand.

Whatever the material, for Rees, it’s all about the details.

“If the eyes don’t look right, nothing will look right,” he said.

Though he has made several using resin and molds, wood is Rees’s favorite medium. He often works with exotic woods like mahogany, purple heart and marble wood.

“I like the wood process better,” he said. “The end result is more rewarding.”

Though a business has grown from it, Rees isn’t in it for the sake of business.

“I don’t do it for big money,” he said. “I do it for extra cash to put something in my Buick or play money.”