Thursday, March 6, 2008
Do you want to learn how to airbrush?
If I am not painting, airbrushing a motorcycle or organizing art shows you can safely bet that I am giving airbrush classes. When I meet a new artist interested in learning how to airbrush I have to go over a few simple rules to follow when learning how to airbrush. I figure I would list these tips here for anyone wanting to learn how to airbrush:
Know your Gun
There are many uses for learning the skill of airbrushing. Motorcycles, t-shirts, signs, fine art, bodypainting ect. No matter what you plan to airbrush, you need to know your gun. The best thing to do when you buy an airbrush gun is to use it: get some scrap paper and do as many tests as you can. If you have problems with mixing the paint, spitting, chunking, dripping, overspray, you need to search online for why this is happening. These are all things you need to solve before attacking an airbrush project. You also need to dismantle your gun, understand the mechanics of it, and put it back together. This will help you understand where problems may be occuring and how to fix them. Practice until you are confident (this may take a while).
Space to Spray
Overspray will get everywhere, in your carpet, in your keyboard, in your cell phone. Be very careful about covering your electrical equipment that is in the same room as your airbrush. You need ample room to set up your guns, mix your paint, lay down some plastic or newspaper to protect drips and spills and also a place for your compressor. This leads us to our next tip...compressor noise.
Finding a small portable compressor (which will create your air flow) is the best bet for any airbrusher. This will cost $100-250 dollars, possibly cheaper if you can find a used compressor (which i would suggest). Be forewarned that they can be noisy, even the ones claiming to be quiet create a loud hum during portions of the time you use it.
Stencils & Freehand
Once you have your gun & compressor, feel comfortable shooting some paint, and have a place to paint you are ready to work on a project. Often times, but not always, you will need to use a mixture of stencils and freehand work. Stencils simply aid in reducing overspray, creating hard edges, and color seperation. For those familiar with Craig Fraser, you will notice his mural are about 80% freehand airbrushing which he tributes to has vast experience behind the gun. Each project you want to create make sure you plan out how much stencil and freehand work you will use and cut those stencils out of card stock, old postcards.
No matter how skilled you are in fine arts, or how good you are with spray paint....airbrushing is a different ball game. Make sure to get a few airbrushing magazines from the library or search online for walkthroughs. I've seen some decent walkthroughs on youtube. Make sure you understand the proper order in which to attack things, and follow along. Airbrushing if unforgiving if you do things out of order.
I hope this has been a helpful post. If you have any questions about airbrushing, I would love to feature your questions on my blog and give you some advice.
I work for my own airbrushing company called Billy and the Old Man Design. We now can paint on felt and previously did a skull project on a film cannister. This blog has & will feature all sort of our airbrushing adventures & misadventures.
For other airbrush projects see my airbrushed Poker Table, the dragonfly bike, and also the candy/pearl project with a WW2 theme. If you enjoyed this post you should also check out 5 simple steps to become an airbrush artist.