Volume 14, Number 5, January 2013

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

SUBSCRIBE to Airbrush Talk© — It's FREE!!


Bird of a Different Color

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

If you haven't gathered it by now, I love gardening and all that it encompasses. There are so many facets and interests connected to such a simple endeavor. One of the most interesting is the way any garden is decorated. By that I mean the way each gardener chooses to embellish the plantings that he/she puts in. With a bit of investigation, you can find such variety and diverse tastes as to create an entirely new category for gardeners.

This month's craft idea for use of the handy, diverse and nearly unlimited art tool - the airbrush - will be the refinishing of one of my favorite container garden stakes. The hummingbird that hovers above a container of vibrant Neon sedum needs a quick and fancy "refeathering." By no means will it remotely resemble a living hummer, but the color will be revitalized and might draw attention to the plant it accompanies.

While I will be dressing up a hummingbird, the same applications could apply to any number of garden stakes and decorations. To accomplish such a project you will need to gather the materials needed and get ready to play Mother Nature with one of our favorite creatures. I will use the Iwata Revolution CR Airbrush and my air source (the Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Compressor); bright acrylic paints; painter’s tape or other masking material (for the beak); a slender brush for possible detail work; towels and cleanup materials. Another item I use for such texturing as feathers is the recycled netting that comes on frozen turkeys. That lacy/fishnet texture, when scrunched closely and airbrushed through, will replicate the hummer's body covering. And the netting is fun to use and applicable to many other textures, too.


Artool Products Co.
Art bridges for painting and drawing with soft and wet mediums. Safety non-slip rulers, and cutting mats for use with art and utility knives and rotary cutters. Low-tack film for airbrushing, illustration and fine art. Airbrush templates for illustration and graphics. Body art and finger nail art accessories and paint. Manufacturer of innovative art materials, tools and airbrush accessories for fine art, illustration, T-shirt art, body and finger nail art, sign and automotive art and graphics. Artist Bridges, Cuttingrails, Freehand Airbrush Templates, Friskfilm, Artool Cutting Mats, Body Art and Nail Art supplies.

Begin by cleaning the body of the bird with a soft cloth. This could also apply to other shapes like sunflowers, lady bugs, dragonflies or other "sticks/stakes" used for garden embellishments. Being clean to start with is vital for adhesion of the acrylics we'll be adding.


Photo 1: Cleaned and ready for embellishment, this little hummingbird needs some flashy colors!

Photo 1:  This first photo also gives you an idea of the faded colors I will be replacing and shows the beak masked off.

Mask off the beak so it stays clean. (This also made a great "handle" for holding so that all surfaces got even coverage. Pretty neat!)


Photo 2: Masking the beak gives you a great handle.

Photo 2:  When you have chosen the colors you will apply, start with the base color - the color upon which you will add the surface textures that will resemble feathers.


Photo 3: Turkey netting creates one of the cool textures you can discover from using recycled "trash."

Photo 3:  I chose teal as the base color and will add a whisper of yellow and a bit of red iron oxide to "top dress" for quasi-realism. Apply at least two light coats of the base/overall color to insure good coverage of the old finishes and apply this color to the body, head and wings. (I did four to cover the previous colors.)

Now the more challenging fun starts. Using a wad of crumpled netting, apply an accent color thru the scrunch. The resulting texture seems very much like feathers to me. And what could be easier?


Photo 4: Adding colors creates more texture and interest.

Photo 4:  After the first texture application on the body of the hummer is dry, very carefully top coat with some of the second color, but be very sparing with the color. It is simply a light dusting of tone to tie the wing colors to the body colors - to coordinate the two and make them appear more "natural". Let this dry completely before continuing to the wing coloration.

The wings are done in much the same way as the body of the bird, with open texture to look like larger feathers.

Photo 5:  Remember to use all colors that you selected on the wings. The wings are what most people will focus upon and they need to tie to the body colors, too.


Photo 5: With colors and texturing complete, the hummer is ready to go back to the garden!

With this project completed, I would bet you can think of many other embellishments and re-finishing you can do. Don't limit yourself to garden gadgets...think outside the flowerpot!


London Wolf

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

Hello again, everyone! In this issue of AirbrushTalk, I'd like to talk about this neat little werewolf known as "London Wolf" and my adventure bringing him to life! To begin, I did some image searches on the Internet to familiarize myself with the paint scheme and determine what colors I'd need. Luckily there are plenty of pics of this character so I had a lot of samples to choose from; and as luck would have it, I only needed three colors. I'll explain how I got around the problem of more colors shortly.



Here's the bust with a coat of gray automotive primer applied. As my subject matter was mainly gray tones, I could cheat and use the primer as a color.



Normally I say that it's better to go from dark to light, and most of the time, this is true. On this project, however, I learned that my traditional way of thinking was incorrect, so I learned a valuable lesson. Now the fun starts! I knew I'd be working in some tight spaces so I loaded up the best airbrush I have, an Iwata Custom Micron C+ with a light shade of gray and used this as my highlight color. I cranked the pressure down to about 2 psi and gave the raised areas several coats until I was satisfied. You'll notice that I didn't hit the eye sockets all that much. This is where I was cheating with the primer!



Next, I took a darker shade of gray and started putting in my shadows. This is where the Iwata Custom Micron C+ stood out above other brushes that I've used. The brush sprays lines that are hair-thin and on this project, that was just what I needed. The reason for this is the Micro Air Control (MAC) Valve located at the front of the brush. The compressor and regulator I have are pretty much obsolete by today's standards, so I need to have complete control over the air flow. The MAC makes this simple. Once I have the pressure down as far as the regulator will allow, I can continue to drop the pressure inside the brush! I took my time and made sure I was satisfied before I moved on to the next color. It's easy to cover mistakes with dark paint over a light paint base, but not vice versa, so you have to be comfortable with what you've accomplished before moving on.




After I was finished with the shadows, I took flat black and sprayed the rest of the fur. This looked two-dimensional to me, but I didn't want to hand brush the bust. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to take my shadow color and randomly spray areas through the black fur. Normally, I refer to this technique as "noodling."



After I was finished with the shadow color, the rest of the bust (eyes and mouth) was finished by hand. I have to admit I was really pleased with how this piece turned out. I hope you enjoyed reading the article and that you'll consider a Micron for your next airbrush. Trust me, you won't be sorry!

See you next time!!


Medea Com-Art Colours
All airbrush colours are not the same. Com-Art is considered to be one of the finest and most versatile professional airbrush colours in the world. Because of a common hydro-carbon base binder, Com-Art transparent and opaque colours can be used together without bleeding between colours. This non-toxic, ready to use paint is specifically formulated for use with an airbrush and never needs to be filtered or strained. Com-Art colours are heavily pigmented and light fast, allowing for accurate 4 colour separations. They provide superior atomization, smooth spraying, and they dry instantly.

Fly like an Eyeball

Airbrushing the Legendary Flying Eye on a Utility Pouch

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

Hello campers, today we are going to do a crafty project that will astonish all your friends while making your airbrush work so much easier. I don’t know whether it is age, attention span, or just plain general dumbness on my part, but I can never seem to find the tools I need when I am working on an involved project. When airbrushing murals or hanging large signs in my business, I need a way to have several tools handy that I can whip out without having to stop what I am doing. For this a solution has been found--a tool apron. I have meant for years to get one of these handy little things for my toolbox, but I just never seemed to get around to it. Well I finally found one at a hobby store and was pleased to find out that they are cheaper than a large soda. But, alas, there is one problem with this jazzy new pouch; it is not jazzy at all. It is PLAIN as can be, so we are going to fix that with the legendary “flying eye.”

The Flying Eye design is nothing new to most airbrushers; it was made popular by Von Dutch and Big Daddy Ed Roth in the 1960’s. The design has become a pop culture icon since then, especially among airbrush and pinstripe artists and the hot rod culture. I have always liked the eyeball because a guy can only paint so many skulls and flames, and it is nice to throw in something different once in a while. The great thing about this icon is that it will fit the shape of our smock perfectly, so let’s get started.

First I start with this cheap little pouch all cleaned and ironed and ready to be airbrushed.


Fig. 1: Our pouch all ready to go.

Next take a fabric pen or washable marker and locate the center of the pouch. Place a very small dot in the center of the pouch to use as a focal point to center the circle of the eyeball. Once this is done, I use a circle from a circle guide to mask out a big mean eye. I used scrap paper to block out the rest of the circles on the guide so the overspray does not pick up their shapes.


Fig. 2: Make sure to mask plenty of room so there is no overspray damage.

Now we are all ready to paint, much like in the last project--I am doing this one monochromatic (one color). This is the most basic way to do things and it help others to learn tone and value instead of just throwing tons of color in that give no depth. For monochromatic designs it is a good idea to use a transparent color because it will build up gradually and allow you to get very slight and subtle shading and detail. I used a transparent pthalo blue in my Iwata HP-C with the Triple Action Handle. This brush will be great to get both hard lines and fluffy shading. Also, the Triple Action Handle is great for quick spray outs and needle adjustments. The brush is set to a rather low pressure, around 30 psi, because we will be working with some frisket later, and I don’t want to blow it off the table.


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.

Start by airbrushing a very light haze around the whole eyeball and give it some shape by going over the edge of one side several times.


Fig. 3: The orb is complete. Notice the shading in the lower left gives a three- dimensional look.

Once the orb is complete, it is time to break out some good old fashioned frisket film to mask some wings. Frisket or frisket film, such as that produced by Artool, is available at most hobby or art stores. This is a clear film with a sticky back that can be cut to make stencils. Take a sheet of frisket and tape it down next to the eye where you would like to create the first wing. You may choose to tape it in place or even draw it on a light table from another picture. I simply used a pen to trace out what I wanted on the fly.


Fig. 4: Use Frisket film to create temporary stencils for your projects.

Once our artwork is done it is time to cut the stencil. A new stencil knife or razor blade works best for this operation. Try not to cut past the edges of the work because paint works in mysterious ways, and it likes to seep into all the cracks and crevices. Once the stencil is cut it should look a bit like the picture.


Fig. 5: The wing stencil is cut from frisket film.

Now it is once again Painting Time. I use the same brush, color and settings as before to give the wing shape. Once again I want to stress that stencils are just used as a guide in this case to get a shape on your tool pouch. Use the paint very lightly to do this and stay away from the vertical line that overlaps the eye, as you do not want that line to show up. Once you have ghosted in one wing, allow the paint to dry on the mask, flip it over and use the reverse on the other side.


Fig. 6: With some cheap masking our eye is taking shape.

Now the next portion of this is the fun part. You must flex your freehand muscle and follow the outline you just made. At this point I would crank up your air pressure a bit to get clean, solid lines and penetrate the fabric better; 40-45 psi should work well for this. I also remove the needle cap from my Iwata HP-C to get neat, thin lines. Start by giving the wings some feather and bone structure with some long, clean dagger strokes. Also shade on both sides of the strokes to give the illusion of bulging feathers. Then give the eyeball a pupil and iris.


Fig. 7: Start from the inside and slowly work out to make a freehand circle.

Once all the detail has been inserted you may want to go back and give the whole piece a once-over to balance it out. You may decide to darken the eye a bit more or define the wings a bit better; you may even want to put a haze around the whole thing. Also remember that airbrush fabrics tend to fade, so your details may be bold now, but they may also lighten with time and use. Well, once all that is done, heat set your fabric according to the paint manufacturer’s specifications and you will have an awesome place to hang your tools. Well, folks, until next time, Keep On Paintin’.




...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 2013!