Volume 10, Number 2, July 2008

Published six times a year by The Paschal Group, Inc.
Publisher: Robert Paschal
Editor: Jeanne Paschal
Also see — The Newsletter for Visual Artists

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Iwata Airbrushes
The professional Iwata Airbrush line is imported and manufactured exclusively by Medea Airbrush Products, along with commercial spray guns, Medea Textile Colours and Com-Art Airbrush Colours.

Be Ready for a Cool Snap—with Wearable Art!

By Janean S. Thompson (Click on any photo for a larger view!)

We may be in the middle of summer right now, but it will soon start to cool down. During really nippy days it is great to have a soft, comfortable stocking cap or ski band to keep your ears nice and cozy. But most of the ones you find for sale are pretty boring—like the black set I have. I think it’s time to jazz up my cap and be ready for winter. What could be better than experiencing the first cool snap decked out in wearable art?

There are lots of ways to customize caps and bands to make them uniquely your own, but I think the black will provide a great background for bright tonal additions. I will be adding hard-edge color patterns with overlapping curved shapes to create an eye-catching style. The last thing I will add are some "zingers" in the form of small star shapes.

Gather your materials: Since I want to change colors easily, I will use the Iwata Revolution HP-CR 4500 - my favorite; the air supply I use is the Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet - so quiet, so capable and a joy to use; airbrush acrylic fabric paints; mask material - I used scrap cardboard cut in curved and straight shapes, but you could use card stock, found objects, torn paper, etc.; small stencil of star shape – or you could use any small stencil.

Photo 1: To keep colors intense, slightly stretch the cap/ski band over a form before applying colors.

Because of the stretchy nature of the cap or band, it is best to pull them over a cardboard form that enlarges them slightly. (Photo 1) The form does two things to help you with your project: 1. The form gives you something to hold that is rigid and can be moved with ease, allowing you to airbrush the entire item before you stop. Without the form, you would have to do one side at a time. 2. With the item slightly stretched, when the paint is applied, the colors will not diminish when the garment is pulled on. That will make the colors more intense.


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With a soft, gentle stroke, create the first layer of color. Do this along a straight-edged mask material.  (I use cardboard.) (Photo 2) This material is free, holds up to repeated uses and can be tossed into the recycle bin when you are done with it. Any straight edge could be used:  office cardstock, wood scrap, ruler, plastic scrap, etc. You could also create a design edge by cutting the scrap into a special shape.

Photo 2: Straight-edged designs made in red start the project off.

Photo 3: Two colors and/or patterns that overlap look super. Both the curved and straight designs were made with cardboard scrap.

Since I want to overlap and mingle the patterns and colors, I move the straight-edge around to different angles. (Photo 3) This way I create a somewhat textured base for the next colors. In reality, a project could be airbrushed with nothing but straight edge designs. The look is great and it is really easy to do. Angles and overlaps create their own texture and interest that look good.

With the curved cardboard piece I airbrushed curved shapes over the red straight-edge areas. Then, with the fresh color on the edge of the curved form, I rolled the form to create a very distinct line in lime green. When I saw how that looked, I picked up the red straight-edged shape and did the same with the paint remaining on that edge--nice, simple and another texture.

To create hot spots I chose a small patriotic star shape from a set of Freehand Airbrush Templates Kustom FX from Artool Company. (Photo 4) They offer many different templates, but stars worked very well for this project. I have used them on many of my artworks.

Photo 4: Freehand Airbrush Templates Kustom FX patriotic star shapes add highlight to the cap.

Photo 5: The finished project - Now where is the cold weather?

The finished cap is funky and fun to wear. (Photo 5) Expect to get lots of comments on it - so have some fun!


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The Home Stretch — How to Stretch and Prime Your Own Canvas

By Thomas Adams (Click on any photo for a larger view!)

In these troubled economic times, more and more people are trying to find simple and inexpensive ways to get things done. Artists are no exception to this trend, especially those trying to make a living off their craft. So rejoice! Here is a simple and cheap way to build, stretch and prime your own canvas at home.

This process begins with a frame; this is one I made using pine. The strips of wood should be at least 2 inches wide so the canvas has sufficient backing to stretch over. The width, height, and depth of the whole frame are up to you. I personally began making canvases because I was not satisfied with the stock sizes available. Use a Miter saw to cut 45 degree angles on each end after your pieces are cut to length. Then cut four short pieces the same length and give them a 45 degree miter cut at each end.

Once this is finished you are ready to construct. You may start by using a square and aligning two pieces, making sure the angle they make is a true 90 degree L. Then use a brad nailer or a small hammer and trim nails to affix the pieces together. Continue this until your four sides are complete. When you have finished, you should have a rectangle or square frame in front of you. If this is not the case you may want to go back a few steps and try again. Now affix the inside corners, leaving them a little less than flush with the face of the frame. You do not want these to protrude when you stretch the canvas over them.

Now it is time to stretch; but before you do, there are some important things that will save you in the long run, the first of these being round all the edges of your frame. Sharp edges in the frame strain the canvas and it will begin to rip at those seams with age. Also the last bit of woodwork you should do to your canvas is to seal or prime it. Wood has natural, saps, acids, and, oils. These are especially prominent in pine and other soft woods. Using a non-acid acrylic sealer or some sort of primer will trap those oils and keep them from staining your piece.


Once this is done, roll out your canvas on a flat surface. I use common roll canvas available at many art/hobby stores and online. There are many grades, textures, and thicknesses and most of them are very affordable. Depending on the depth of your frame, adjust the length and width of you canvas and cut it so there is about 1.5 to 2 inches excess overlapping on the back of the canvas. Then straighten the canvas and carefully staple one edge. Put a staple in every 2 to 2.5 in.  Once this is done, staple the opposite edge while you stretch the canvas across. As you begin the opposite sides you will be faced with a corner. No to worry; just bring the first flap down and across at a 45 degree angle and staple it in place. Now grab the remaining canvas, fold it and lap it to the back, creating an inside 45 degree fold. This process seems confusing, but it is very similar to wrapping the corner of a gift or present. Continue until your sides and corners are finished and you have a nice tight stretch.


One of these days we are going to paint on this canvas, but first we have to prime it. Priming canvases seals the oils and alkyds from your paint and prevents them from spreading throughout the canvas and staining the surrounding areas. If a canvas is not primed correctly you can experience color fade and bleeding. Also, oil paints may not stay workable for long. The answer to all of these problems is gesso primer. This is a thick primer that puts a good paintable surface on your canvas and can be brushed or rolled on or applied with a paint pad. Once dry, however, it leaves a texture from the cotton canvas. If you like the texture, just get a good layer or two of gesso on the canvas and stop. If you want the smoothest area possible you must sand the canvas after it is dry and repeat application of the gesso, sanding it again before use.


There you have it--a canvas for half the cost, made specifically for your masterpiece. Now that you have seen it done, go for it!


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Pop Art Portrait Project

By Robert Anderson
(Click on any photo for a larger view!)

As an artist, I sometimes feel a responsibility to pass on some of the passion that I feel for art to the children of my extended family. I have five young grand nephews ranging in age from 4 to 10, and I occasionally enjoy getting them together for an art project. I can still recall, after a past art project, hearing one of them exclaim “Uncle Bob, this is your best idea ever!”

So it was with this in mind that I began to plan an art project for the boys. But I had to somehow surpass the “best idea ever” project. Why not ramp it up a bit, I thought. We’ll paint self-portraits this year.  It was going to be a challenge to plan this project for a group that is high on enthusiasm but low on art skills. A number of steps had to be completed beforehand to make the execution fast and simple, ensuring a successful, educational and satisfying experience.

Step 1 – The Approach
  • Project time frame should be between 60 to 90 minutes to stay within a comfortable concentration period for this age group.
  • The drawing portion of the project must be completed ahead of time to assure a successful outcome.
  • The color portion of the project must be completed ahead of time to assure timely completion of the project.
  • The number of colors should be minimized to reduce the amount of mixing by the project leader.
Step 2 – The Preliminary Work (to be completed before the painting day)
  • PHOTO: Begin by taking a digital “head shot” photo of each subject.

  • PHOTO PROCESS 1: Load this photo into a photo processing program – and change it from color to black and white. Experiment with the included tools to achieve a drawing effect. You may find filters named “Drawing” or “Edge Detection” or simply adjust the contrast to high for a pop art effect.
  • PRINTING 1: Purchase a package of 8 ½”x11” Desktop Inkjet Canvas and print the image on the canvas using an inkjet printer.
  • MOUNTING: Mount the canvas print on Foam Core or cardboard using acrylic gel medium. Spread a thin coat of the gel medium on the back of the canvas using a palette knife. Apply the canvas to the backing board and smooth the top surface with a brayer or plastic spackle tool. Allow to dry.
  • SEALING: The print should be fixed before proceeding to seal the ink before paint application. Using an Iwata gravity feed airbrush (HPC Plus), apply 2 coats of Liquitex Airbrush Medium.
  • PHOTO PROCESS 2: Load the original photo back into your photo processing program and experiment with the included color processing tools to get a color poster effect. You may find filters named “Poster” or “High Contrast Color” or change to INDEXED COLOR mode and lower the number of colors. Continue experimenting until you get a sort of pop art poster look.
  • PRINTING 2: Print this photo on an inkjet printer using inkjet photo paper. This will be the guide to paint from.


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Step 3 – A Little Art History – The Presentation

Look through your collection of art books and explore online resources to gather examples of pop art. Show these to your “students” and talk about the visual aspects that define that school of art as a style of art that derives from mass popular culture, including consumer products and cartoon characters. Some leading artists of the style include Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Show some examples of Andy Warhol’s work, as this defines the portrait painting approach.

Step 4 – The Painting

This is where the project begins for the artists-in-training.

  • The best approach in “building” any painting is to start with the area farthest back in the 2-dimensional plane and move forward. So starting with the background, mix an approximate color (an exact match is not necessary) and have your little artist brush it in. Depending on his/her age, you can direct the brush stroke to be simple and flat or more complicated in application.
  • Moving forward, apply skin tones next, as the hair and clothing will overlap this layer. This may mean two or three colors need to be applied.
  • Hair, defining edges of the face and the shoulders and chest are applied last. Try to limit the number of colors here to simplify the project.
Step 5 – Varnish Application

It’s necessary to varnish the “masterpieces” in order to protect the surface and establish an overall even sheen. Use matte or gloss varnish or mix any proportion of the two for a satin sheen. Apply two coats of this varnish using your Iwata airbrush, allowing each application to dry before applying the next. Spray application will ensure an even, brush stroke-free application without the worry of clouding the varnish by over-brushing.

The Artist and Artists-in-Training holding their finished masterpieces.


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New Artool True Fire 2 “2nd Degree Burn” Templates by Mike Lavallee

Artool Products Co. has announced release of the next generation of Artool True Fire Templates: “2nd Degree Burn” by Mike LavalleeTrue Fire 2 “2nd Degree Burn” is sold as a set (FH TF2) and contains 21 new positive/negative breakaway shapes from the 3 new master True Fire 2 configurations: Pyro, Fireball & Blaze.  Ever since the release of Mike’s original Artool True Fire Set nearly 3 years ago--and Mike’s many appearances on television programs like Monster Garage,” “Rides,” “Overhaulin’” and others--the kustom automotive painting world has never been the same.  Thanks to Mike Lavallee’s revolutionary concepts and his incredible talent and skill as an artist, the way we all look at flame jobs nowadays is off the charts! See your retailer and visit

New Iwata HP Plus Pro Pack Airbrush Set

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Airbrush Workshops

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn basic airbrush techniques with instructor Robert Paschal!  Learn a new skill that will increase your income potential.  Knowing basic airbrush techniques will allow you to apply them to painting or enhancing decorative murals, nails/makeup, cakes and pastries, automotive/motorcycle design, temporary tattoos, artwork, crafts, and much more.  The use of all equipment/supplies is included, and seats are limited.

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...the link between you, the visual artist, and the manufacturer of art materials.
ARTtalk is a monthly eight-page newsletter available FREE-OF-CHARGE from Participating Art Material Retailers in the U.S., Canada and Bermuda. Each month you'll find informative articles that deal with a variety of subjects such as painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, arts and crafts, and more. These explain various techniques—how to work and paint with watercolor, oils, or acrylics; use pastels or pen and ink, airbrush, and more. You'll find information on art history, current events and art world news, as well as an occasional "Kids' Korner." Subjects vary and change each month.





Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in September 2008!