Volume 12, Number 2, July 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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Market to Potential Clients Efficiently and Cost Effectively

By Donn Shanteau

During the course of navigating the current slow economy, some interesting and enlightening facts seem to manifest themselves a bit more profoundly than when the good times were rolling. When the living is easy, you can fool yourself into thinking that everything that you do is wise, every decision you make is correct, and that you completely understand your target market. It’s an easy thing to do when your business is profitable and seemingly taken on a life of its own.  The phones are ringing and the website is escorting new clients to your doorstep with increasing regularity. Then the worm turns.

In our case, we saw the worm coming. As the year 2002 transpired, the portents of the future were glaringly apparent in our local economy. Stuck! ... smack dab in the middle of the infamous “Rust Belt,” about halfway between Detroit and Cleveland, we saw our client base erode due to lay-offs and auto plant closings. “Big Steel” began to whittle away appendages as well, which served to further malign our traditional customers.  Due to these occurrences, we started modifying our approach to marketing our business in an attempt to become more cost effective and expand our customer base. The culture that we started back in 2002 has served to help us weather the storm today.

If I had to facilitate every business operation modification that has occurred in the last eight years during the last year or two, it would not only be overwhelming, but entirely disruptive to a smooth business operation. We employed a lot of trial and error as we attempted to cope with the treacherous business climate of the last few years.

So, what did we learn?  What’s been distilled from the years of experiences, good and bad? Did any of that mud I threw at the wall stick?


As with all things, the bigger the question, the simpler the answer usually is. Business 101 teaches us that you must spend in accordance with your income. That means reducing your fixed expenses as well as discretionary spending. I have audited every bundle of services that we contract for in the way of phone and Internet service, saving many hundreds of dollars every year.  A major expense for our business is advertising and marketing. After examining the monies spent on hotels, food, fuel, vehicle maintenance and space rental to attend events that we thought would attract new business, it was apparent that changes had to be made. When money was flowing freely, these expenses were easy to ignore. Now that money is tight, these expenditures must bear fruit.

I guess we kind of “cherry pick” events now. To keep expenses low we try to only do shows that let us commute home in the evenings. That also limits the mileage on the vehicles, which lowers fuel and maintenance costs. The most important lesson we have learned is that there must be a good crowd of people at any event we attend.

Because we specialize in auto and cycle airbrushing, The Ohio Bike Week Rally is a perfect venue for us to display. There are thousands of people on-site every day, relatively low show and travel costs and a proven track record for providing new leads for airbrushing assignments. This is the kind of event where our marketing dollars and efforts are well spent. As a rule of thumb, if an event is more than 150 miles from home base, it better have the potential to generate the business that will offset the expense of attending.

I use the Internet to prospect farther than our 150-mile personal appearance radius.  It is very efficient and I have found that it rivals the effectiveness of being somewhere personally. Just remember to use your head when deciding where and how to spend your marketing funds.


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Oh Yeah! Kool Made Shoes

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

Fashion is huge these days and more colorful than ever.  Over the past several years we have seen fashion become seriously inventive and vibrant. That’s why I was not surprised when a friend of mine who is attending the B.E.T Awards asked me to make him a pair of personalized shoes for the show. Its all about being original and I believe the “Kool” shoes you are about to see are about as original as they come. Let’s get started!

For this project you want to start with a blank canvas, literally.  The blank canvas we started with were a pair of white canvas Converse Chucks.


Fig. 1 These classic white Chuck Taylors will be a perfect canvas for the Kool Shoes.

Canvas is a great material to paint on, as I am sure all of you out there know.  It takes paint well, soaks it in permanently and makes for even gradients when airbrushing. This will be a perfect palette for our Purple Candy Paint.

The first thing on the list was to lightly color in the Converse logo on the other side of the shoe. I will be spraying light misty coats over the top of the area with purple fabric paint. To get an even soft fill I will use my Iwata HP-C at about 30-40 psi. When spraying the purple over the existing black logo, you will notice that the purple does not show up on the black for the most part. This is a good thing as we want the logo to still show through. Any haze left on top of the black screen printing will quickly rub off with the wearing of the shoes.


Fig. 2 Here is Chris showing off my custom created fashion.

Now that the small stuff is done with, it is time to make our mark on the fashion world. To do this dig into your past and think about the coolest person you ever knew and imagine his face. Does he look like this?


Fig. 3 OH YEAH! The Kool Aid Man. Who’s thirsty?

There he is, that’s our buddy the Kool Aid man, everyone’s favorite large walking glass container.  Okay, back to business. The first step to putting this famous face on the ankle of our shoes is taking a sheet of adhesive-backed mask and drawing out the face. There are many things you may use as a mask. Vinyl, contact paper and regular thick masking tape work well on canvas.  First draw out the face onto the mask material. Be sure you are making it the correct size and shape to fit the work area.  Then when the drawing is all finished, use a sharp razor blade or X-acto knife to cut out the parts of the stencil. Remember, the parts you pull out will be painted so make sure you are pulling out the right pieces.


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When the stencil has been applied you are ready to paint. First make sure that the masked area is large enough that overspray will not get on the shoe. Then once again using the Iwata HP-C at about 35 psi, we will use a regular black fabric paint to lightly fill in the stencil. DO NOT heavily fill the stencil in with black. Remember, we are working with fabric and it tends to bleed so the way we are going to cure this is by doing a light coat over the stencil to give us a reference for the picture. Once that is complete and the stencil is removed you should see this.


Fig. 4 - A light coat is best so as not to bleed under the stencil.

With the stencil removed it is time to go back and darken the face freehand.  Continue using the Iwata HP-C but up the pressure to about 50-55 psi. This will ensure a tight powerful stream to stay clean around the edges of the picture. You may even want to remove the needle cap on the HP-C to give you a finer spray pattern.

Once the face is bolded in it is time for the final step. Chris (the customer) wanted a light purple haze over the face. Well, that is no problem. Just as we did earlier, take the candy purple and mist it over the face in a circular pattern. You can leave the psi dialed up since you will be holding the brush 4-5 inches away. Be careful to keep the edges soft and even.  When all is cleaned, use a heat gun or hair dryer on the highest setting to heat set the paint.


Fig. 5 - Chris has some Kool Made shoes for the Awards Show in L.A.

That’s all for now. Until next time, keep paintin’!


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.

Casting a New Light

By Janean Thompson
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Craft projects seem to be popping up everywhere these days.  There are so many for home décor that it is hard to decide what to do next.  So, this month we will be adding to the mix with a great, easy and fun project for changing those boring, plain light switch plates into designer one-of-a-kind artistic replacements.  It is a project designed for any level of airbrush artist, but one very well suited for the novice.

There are just a few materials you will need to gather to complete this project.  First you will need your airbrush and air supply (again I rely on my trusted Iwata Revolution HP-CR 4500 and my Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet, both of which offer carefree and quiet operation); extra fine sandpaper or emery cloth; acrylic paints to suit your design; stencils of any shapes or designs you want to carry through your project; clear topcoat for permanence; soft cloth and other cleanup materials. Once you have these materials gathered, you are ready to begin. 

One thing I seldom mention is the safety issues of using an airbrush.  For more involved projects, it is very wise to wear a respirator to prevent inhalation of the mist (overspray) that floats in the air around the project on which you are working. I always use the minimum of a dust mask (Photo 1), but for more involved work—one where lots of painting will be done—please use a respirator for health/safety.


Photo 1:  The minimum protection for airbrushing is a particle mask.

Photo 2:  An even sanding of a plastic switch plate will give it tooth to hold the paints.

  Begin by lightly sanding the switch plate with emery paper or extra fine sandpaper.  This will create a surface to which the paints will better adhere. (Photo 2) Without this step, the paint will bead up and not cover the switch plate.  It is advisable to double sand the plate.  The first sanding is done in one direction; the second sanding is done opposed to the first direction.  Remove the dust with a soft cloth.  You are now ready to apply your base coat color.

For my design I am coordinating with a quilt in the bedroom.  I want the green base tone to be the prominent color with support colors of blue, red and orange.  Allow the paint to dry very well before proceeding.  To aid the drying you can use a small handheld hair dryer or set the plate in the hot sun.  Double base coats would be a good idea.  (Photo 3)

Decorative options might include use of color gradation towards the center of the plate or along the outside edges.  Stickers, tapes and other add-ons (including faux jewels) can create true pizzazz. 


Photo 3:  For even coverage, two base coats are used.

Photo 4:  Card stock can be used for sharp-edged lines.

For hard-edged stripes, card stock is easily used to create stripes of color after the base color is dry, but with the somewhat fragile surface, you will have to be careful.  (Photo 4)

Stencils can be used to add special looks or themes to your plate.  There are tons of designs that are offered for use on walls, t-shirt work, jewelry, body art and more.  Once you start investigating the stencils out there, you are sure to find a design that fits your project perfectly.


Photo 5:  Completed switch plate with fabric swatch from decor.

Once the plate is complete, allow it to dry for a few hours.  Then apply a coat or two of clear covering to help give the surface some protection from wear.  (Photo 5) Acrylic painting medium is one product that works well and can be applied with your airbrush without fear of damage.  Others include clear polyurethane and clear varnish.  If you apply these with your airbrush, remember to use a good solvent cleaner to cleanse your airbrush and prevent damage.


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Dracula in Armor

By Wes Hawkins
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

In continuation of my series of “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” I present to you this wonderful 1/6-scale bust of Dracula in the trademark red armor. 

Painting flesh tones, in my opinion, is the hardest aspect of figure building because it has to look natural.  Normally I’ll paint something three or four times before I’m satisfied, so for those of you out there who would like to try it, some words of advice: Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up.  No one can paint flesh tone correctly the first time they try it, or in my case, the first several times.  I asked a lot of questions of my painting friends and watched a lot of them in action before I really understood how to do it, and even then it takes practice.  I STILL have a long way to go before I can compare myself to some people I know, so like I said, don’t give up and eventually it’ll “click.”  Now, on to the bust.

After priming the bust in gray automotive primer, I go back with flat white and spray the flesh areas. This not only helps the paint adhere, but covering white with flesh tone is a LOT easier than trying to cover it with gray.  An airbrush isn’t absolutely necessary here. I use rattle cans.  However, I highly recommend using an Iwata HP-CS airbrush.  It is perfectly suited for close-up detail work as well as general purpose coverage.

A lot of people debate what color to use for shading, and none of them are wrong.  It all depends on your own preference.  I like to use rust.  The only problem with rust is you have to be careful and lay down your coats very lightly and slowly.  If you don’t, it doesn’t look natural.  My brush of choice for this task is an Iwata Custom Micron C+.  This brush has superior paint flow control to any brush I’ve used, and if I need to control my lines down to hair width, this is your tool.  I start out by spraying on a paper towel to get a feel for the line width and then begin covering the shaded parts of the bust.  (If you’re unsure about where to lay your shadows, get a flashlight and shine it directly on your project from above.)


Here you can see the results of my shadow work on the cheeks, temple, and side of the face—very subtle, yet defining.  I recommend lowering your pressure to less than 5 PSI.  You don’t want to do ALL your shadows in one pass. Make several light coat passes until the shadows look right to you.  You can also make a few passes, then hold the bust at arm’s length and examine your work until you’re satisfied.

The initial flesh tone will be too light, so once you’re happy with your shadows, mist your shadow color VERY lightly over the entire flesh tone to blend everything together.  You may also want to try mixing your base flesh tone with a little of your shadow color for an in-between shade.


Here I’ve made several passes with my shadow color and also added my base/shade mix and hit the areas between the highlights and depressions.  At this point I’m not satisfied with the results, so I kept adding shade to the base until I managed to get the color I was looking for.

Here is the finished flesh tone.  It took several hours and trial and error, but eventually after making enough passes and misting with the Iwata Custom Micron C+, I was finally satisfied.  I couldn’t image trying to paint flesh tone without the C+ and I won’t use anything else.


I’m not satisfied with the eyes, so I’ll redo those later, but here is the bust to give you an idea of how much difference you’ll see with your flesh tones once the eyes are completed.  Your piece won’t come to life until you do, but you’ll realize how the flesh tone will “pop” at that point.

I hope you found this article helpful! See you next time!


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New Airbrush Products

Iwata – New Super Nova Spray Gun

Iwata-Medea has announced the arrival of the new Iwata Super Nova Spray Gun, designed by the world-renowned design firm Pininfarina—famous for their state-of-the-art automobile design.  The new Super Nova features:

—Iwata’s advanced atomizing technology with production speed and ergonomics.

—A cup angle design that guarantees perfect balance.

—A quick release air-cap that facilitates quick removal and refitting after cleaning.

—Responsive trigger action that gives the painter stable air flow control.

—A slim ergonomic grip that helps distribute weight and balance through the wrist, reducing the risk of repetitive strains.

The Iwata Supernova LS400-1301 for Basecoat has a 600ml plastic cup (1.3mm), and the Supernova LS400-1402 for Clearcoat has a 600ml plastic cup (1.4mm).  See your favorite Iwata distributor and visit


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Airbrush Workshop Opportunity

Basic Airbrush Techniques
6-Hour Hands-On Workshop
DATE:  Saturday, August 7, 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 September 2010!