Volume 11, Number 5, January 2010

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.

Cutting into Special FX

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

We all want to airbrush like the pros.  It would feel great to pick up a spray gun and just slam out amazing graphics onto any surface. Well what’s holding you back? In reality all that holds you back is a couple of easy tips and tricks that professional airbrushers use to create illusions. This installment of your favorite airbrush periodical will give you all the edge you need to produce crisp illusions.

Okay, folks, we are going to take this journey on a skateboard. This skateboard is called a blank, meaning that it is a plain manufactured board with no graphics on it. These blanks used to come in white and wood but now are being made in many colors. This is good news for all of us artists because that is less prep we have to do.  This particular board is a powder blue and will contrast our thrashed up leg perfectly.

Our first order of business is to cover the board with tracing paper and sketch a light drawing on it. (Fig. 1) After this is done go back and define the lines a little better.  Next, I will use a new razor to cut out the shape of the leg and foot. (Fig. 2)


Figure 1.  Mask off the skateboard and get your draw on!

Figure 2.  Always use a brand new blade to cut out your masks.

This mask is set up and now it is time for some fun. The composition is going to need a base coat, and for this we are breaking out the legendary Iwata G5. I hope you got one of these for Christmas, but if you didn’t, you better get one! The G5 is great for this size job and it sprays so smoothly you couldn’t ask for anything better. So our primer is applied in two thin-medium coats. (Fig. 3) This is going to ensure that none of that blue bleeds into our flesh tone.


Figure 3.  The primer comes out so smooth with the G5.  P.S. Don’t worry about the overspray; we are using water-based pigment.

Figure 4.  Rinse and repeat the last step with a fleshtone. Figure 5.  Use the dark candy colors to slowly build those flesh tones.

Once the priming is finished we clean and refill the Iwata G5 with some flesh tone and go to town. (Fig. 4) Once that is done it is time to learn some skillful maneuvers on this skateboard. Take an airbrush and fill it up with a little transparent dark brown or Root beer Candy as it is sometimes called. This will serve as a light, buildable shading for the flesh tones. This comes in so handy because areas can be gradually darkened to build depth in the skin. (Fig. 5) Skin is probably my favorite thing to airbrush because it easy to make such a realistic illusion.


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This project is looking great, but it is time for disaster to strike our skater. We are going to put a gash in this beautiful leg that we worked so hard on.  First the whole board needs to be carefully masked with some more low tack stencil paper, which is great because it’s translucent. This means you can carefully place the gash wherever you want on the paper while still seeing the leg. Once that is drawn on the trace paper and cut out the next step will be to splash some gash. It is a great idea, again, to use a candy color to do this because of the build properties. These “candies” start light and transparent and build to very dark values (almost black). In this case the candy apple red is light and thin but when you pool it up it almost turns black…just like blood…and perfect for what we are trying to achieve here! So start building up that candy red into the deepest cut you have ever seen. (Fig. 6)


Figure 6.  Keep laying down coats of candy to get a rich, deep blood tone.

Figure 7.  Get some metal on those gears. Figure 8.  Lay in some black to give depth to the machinery.

Once the incision has been made it is time to show you what this guy is made of. For this line of work there is an awesome line of gear stencils from Artool and Craig Fraser. This is a special effects stencil that will make the cut look like it is filled with gears. The stencils are easy to use and solvent proof so they are worth the investment for that next level of Special FX. Now that the stencil is in place I used my Iwata HP-C to fill in the gears with a medium silver metallic. (Fig. 7) After the base coat is down, but before the stencil is removed, I used the HP-C with the crown cap removed to lay in some black and make these gears look ultra-realistic. (Fig. 8)

Next is a trick that is a little less airbrush and a little more illustrator.  The candy apple red made such a good faux blood that I decided to dab it down the edges of the cut with a brush. This dabble gives the illusion of dried blood along the openings of the cut. (Fig. 9)With this done, a little more random black sprayed along the edges will enhance the depth.


Figure 9.  The cut edges are important to the illusion.

Figure 10.  The G5 makes short work of the shorts. Figure 11.  Coming to a skate park or hospital near you!

Now bring up that Iwata G5 for a victory lap. We are going to airbrush some cool shorts at the top of this gnarly leg.  Easy enough, the way to lay down these cool blue shorts is just to mask across the board above the knee, then spray a layer of color and finish with a stripe.(Fig. 10) After this dries, spray some folds with one of Artool’s freehand stencils to bring this bloody mess to a close. Until next time--keep on paintin’. (Fig. 11)


Gussied Up Sleep Mask
Easy and Fun to Use!

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

Day sleepers and travelers often long to sleep in total darkness, but it’s difficult to find when sleep is necessary during daylight hours.  One solution for this is the use of a sleep mask, designed to completely block out any ambient light.   These masks are soft, padded for comfort and often foam lined for long-time wear.  But they are most often boring and undecorated, and you can do something to improve that if you so desire.  Change plain to extraordinary easily by creating a mask that is fun to use and will generate comments should anyone get a glimpse of it.  Admittedly, this is a rather frivolous project, but to start the year out with something fanciful and fun seemed like a good idea.

To transform your sleep mask you will need the following equipment and materials:  An airbrush and air supply: I will be using my Iwata Revolution HP-CR 4500 and my Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet, both of which have performed for years without mishap; a sleep mask (Photo 1); a sketch of what you want to add to your mask; perhaps stencil material if you want both sides of the mask to exactly match; airbrush acrylic paint; a piece of plain, white chalk.


Photo 1: Transform a plain, solid color sleep mask into a wearable work of art.

I want this mask to look like funky sleeping eyes, with eye makeup on the lids, some shimmer and long lashes and a brow line.  If you wanted to make a more embellished sleep mask, perhaps to give as a gift, you could actually glue or sew on lashes made of clipped ribbon, but I travel with my mask so I need a more streamlined design idea.  However, I couldn’t resist adding some glitter to give some sparkle.  You could do abstract shapes, tones – almost anything on the outer covering material of the mask.  You are in charge of the design.


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After making a quick sketch, I begin my design by sketching shapes on the mask.  With the chalk I lightly delineate the shape of the closed eye, the placement of the lashes and the placement of the brow (Photo 2).  Colors of eye shadow will be placed in between.  With the brow and last lines established, I lay on a color as if it were eye shadow.  For more “glamour,” use two or more shades of color for impact.  (Photo 3)


Photo 2: Use chalk to draw on your design…here the placement of brow line and lashes.

Photo 3: Eye shadow color is added first and allowed to dry.  Multiple colors can be used.

Once the shadow is completed and allowed to dry, add the brow line.  For the brow, create a more softened, feathered look by applying the color in softened lines that combine to create a full look.  Once that dries, continue by using the same technique to add eyelashes.  Using a thicker viscosity of paint will help create a very fine paint pattern.  Alter the shape of some of the lashes to create a more realistic, sleeping look (Photo 4).


Photo 4: Ready to wear – same mask; new fun look.

It is up to you at this point to decide whether or not to further embellish the mask.  Faux gemstones, rhinestones, buttons and other additions would make your sleep mask personalized and completely unique.   I have seen super decorative masks in fun shops with sequins sewn on or jewels applied like eyeglass frames.  There are many ways you can go, each one a fun project to do and to wear.

Since I travel frequently, I pack the mask in a small fabric, drawstring bag.  The bag could be decorated as well and would finish the project, creating a nice set.  This would make a smashing gift for the frequent traveler.

Ernie Bust

By Wes Hawkins
Start Over/W.A.D. Productions
(Click on any photo for a larger view!)

Happy New Year everyone!  I would like to share with you a little Christmas present in this amazing bust called “Ernie,” created by one of my favorite sculptors, Steve West.

I’m not sure if this creature is an alien or a monster, so I decided to paint it as I would both subjects. Using an Iwata HP-CS airbrush, I lowered the air pressure to about 2 PSI and sprayed a basic fleshtone along the front and added a darker earth tone to the back of the creature. See the pic to the right for reference.

One can see how well the muscle tone of this bust will accept highlights and shadows that will really make this piece pop. The Iwata HP-CS is my brush of choice on projects like this because of the large color cup, the gravity feed design, and the ease of cleanup.  This subject will be accepting several colors and cleanup between each shade is vital. Too many times I’ve used other brushes that were frustrating in design and maintenance and usually resulted in a blob of semi-dried paint splattering all over my projects—ruining what I had hours of work into. The Iwata HP-CS solves all these problems.  Now back to the bust.


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You’ll notice I’ve added a few shades to the skin. See the shoulders and chest area. Notice how subtly adding colors breaks up the fleshtone I originally used, but you can still somewhat see it?  This is a technique called “noodling” that I picked up from the fine folks at Amazing Figure Modeler.  I used the same earth tones that I previously used on the back of the creature, leather and rust. I further used rust to shadow the muscle tone. Highlights were added with the same basic fleshtone that was used as the base color. Again, the Iwata HP-CS proved vital. Noodling requires barely spraying color in hair-thin lines. I thin my paint down to the point that it’s almost tinted thinner, so making splatters of thinner that ruin a paint job is VERY easy to make happen.  By lowering the pressure and careful trigger control (again, easy to accomplish with the Iwata HP-CS) the line width and spray is easier to manage and the paint goes right where I need it.

Here I’ve added some character by spraying flat black in horizontal lines across the back of the creature.  I also shadowed the edge of the dark patch.

Normally I’d paint stone with a combination of airbrush, sea sponge and hand brushes, but I decided to try making the stone base look like a green tinted stone with bronze patches—some sort of alien stone, if you will.  Again, thinning the paint and careful trigger/air pressure control finished this task.  I used several shades of green, progressing from darkest to lightest, and noodled each color.  And I was pleased with the result.

To finish, I sprayed several coats of gloss coat over the bust.  This gave the bust that final “pop” I was hoping for and brought out all the tiny shadows and highlights that I had previously done.

I really enjoyed painting this piece and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.  Please direct any questions you might have to me here.  See ya next time!!


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Airbrush Workshop Opportunity

Basic Airbrush Techniques
6-Hour Hands-On Workshop
DATE:  February 20, 2010
INSTRUCTOR:   Robert Paschal
PLACE:  Beacon, NY

Approx. 65 miles north of N.Y.C. – On the Metro North Line

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 technique will allow you to apply the technique to painting or enhancing decorative murals, nails/makeup, cakes and sugar art, automotive/motorcycle design, temporary tattoos, fine arts work, hobbies/crafts, and much more.  The use of all equipment/supplies is included, and seats are limited.

For information, visit or call 845.831.1043


...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 March 2010!