Volume 4, Number 4, November 2002
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With Michael Cacy
Note: Michael Cacy is on vacation. His column will return in the January 2003 issue.
Kustom FX Templates - Something for Everyone
By Janean S. Thompson
|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.|
In this first part (of two), we're going to look at the necessary equipment needs of the makeup artist who works as what is termed a "day checker." Within the film industry, the job of a day checker makeup artist is someone who is hired on a day-to-day basis. So, for example, on Monday the makeup artist will be given a work order to help over on the daytime soap PASSIONS (which is filmed at CBS Radford in Studio City, CA), applying makeup to a blind priest; and on Tuesday, the makeup artist is now helping out on JAG, which is shooting out in Simi Valley on a private ranch--a mere forty-mile drive (one way) from the artist's apartment. Oh, and by the way, the call is for 4:12 a.m.!
A common question that is always asked of me as both a working makeup artist and educator is "What airbrush equipment do I need as a day checker?" In fact, while I was writing this column on Stage 9 (at Paramount where ENTERPRISE is filmed), two makeup artists, separately, picked my brain on that very question.
The equipment issue for the makeup artist who is always on the go is one of weight and portability, whereas the professional airbrush illustrator, T-Shirt artist, and auto air brusher don't have to concern themselves with such issues. After all, they have the luxury of being able to work in the same location every day. That isn't the case with the makeup artist whose job can take him to anyplace in the world--from that of the controlled environment of a studio sound stage to working out of a trailer in the jungles of Central America! And though maybe not as exotic as the film industry, there are other freelance makeup and nail artists whose jobs demand complete mobility to apply their craft.
Besides needing their general makeup kit, the makeup artist will also bring a tall director's chair (for the actor to sit in while getting made up), an effects makeup kit, a hair kit, and sometimes even portable lights. Now add to that list the addition of the airbrush kit as well. As I mentioned in my first column, the use of the airbrush as a general piece of equipment to apply makeup is becoming increasingly more commonplace. So what basic equipment should you have if you work as a freelancer?
As far as airbrushes go, most makeup artists generally use the gravity-feed double-action models. Why? Well that type of airbrush can operate using only a couple of drops of product. For example, a complete coverage of foundation for a beauty makeup takes only 6 to 8 drops! The gravity feed airbrush is also easy to flush out and change colors relatively quickly, which is another reason for its popularity among makeup artists. Gravity airbrushes are also less prone to clogging, which is important when you have a Production Assistant (known in the industry as a PA) telling you that your actor has only five more minutes before he's due on set.
Iwata's Eclipse and Revolution double-action gravity-feed airbrushes are quickly becoming the standard among makeup artists. (Fig. 1 & 2) Some artists prefer the convenience of siphon-feed airbrushes, preferring the ease of snapping a bottle into place.
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Of course, besides the airbrush, the other major equipment concern is the type of air compressor best suited for the job. While most professional airbrush artists will choose the silent oil compressors to work with, their very design does not lend them to being mobile. Most manufacturers of silent compressors recommend that the oil be drained before transporting them. In addition, this style of compressor is neither lightweight nor highly portable for the makeup artist who is always on the go.
Instead, the diaphragm compressor is a better choice. For instance, the Iwata Smart Jet with its auto shut-off makes it a perfect compressor. (Fig. 3) It's small and compact, making it ideal for the makeup artist on the go.
If you do a high volume of spray work, then the Iwata Power Jet would be the perfect choice. (Fig. 4) Though not lightweight, it still is quite portable. I suggest using a luggage cart to wheel it around. The Power Jet features a 3.5-liter air storage tank and allows for multiple operator use. From the moisture filtration and pressure regulation to zero pulsation (extremely helpful when doing line work), the Power Jet has the "Smart Technology" at a good price.
Other compressors used in the makeup industry are Kopykake's Kroma Jet and Air Master compressors. The Kroma Jet is one of the tiniest compressors available and not a bad choice for the occasional airbrusher. And probably one of the most unusual air compressors is the Tamiya Spray-Work Air Compressor. This compressor uses re-chargeable 7.2 V battery packs to operate! It's great for on-set touch-ups when there isn't access to a power source. This compressor was used extensively for the recent Tim Burton re-make of the sci-fi classic, PLANET OF THE APES.
It should be pointed out that makeup artists use a very low psi (pounds per square inch) when spraying product on an actor's face--between 3 to 10 psi! That low a pressure is unheard of in other airbrush professions.
Air hoses that have quick-disconnects are another must for the makeup artist. And don't forget the "male" side of the disconnect for your airbrush! I always carry several in my case for emergencies.
To keep my air hoses organized, I like to use multi-use Velcro straps, which are available in most hardware stores. (Fig, 5) Also found in your neighborhood hardware store are hose screen filters, which are normally used to filter water. The number #30 mesh filter fits nicely into the color cup of my Eclipse airbrush, allowing me to strain product. (Fig. 6)
I also like using the Aztek Cleaning Station so that I can properly dispose of any cleaning solution. (Fig. 7) Never spray cleaning product into the air!
That's it for now. In Part Two, I'll continue with a detailed listing of all the airbrush makeups currently on the market as well as other products of interest. And, remember, if anyone out there has a burning question, please send it in and I'll address it in the column so all can benefit. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: Makeup Questions.
I picked Trumpeter's brand new M1A1 Abrams kit to experiment with a "Desert Camouflage" type scheme. Its sleek and low profile is the perfect choice. Getting a subtle effect on a miniature model can be a somewhat difficult task, especially when the vehicle is a singular color. Here is where control and subtlety play a major part in its final look. For the most part, I am very systematic in my painting approach, slowly building up shades or layers to give a sense of depth and dimension to a model.
As usual, after the model was assembled, it was carefully washed in a bath of warm soapy water and was left to dry overnight.
Tamyia acrylics were used throughout, starting with a black "pre shade," which is a fine line of heavily thinned (90% thinner to 10% paint) airbrush applied FLAT BLACK (XF-1) on all panel lines, corners and areas that would cast a shadow. Precision is not too important here; we'll see that it mostly gets covered with the succeeding coats later on.
For the base coat, a heavily thinned (80% thinner to 20% paint) custom mixture of BUFF (XF-57) and FLAT WHITE (XF-2) was airbrushed over the model, leaving the black pre-shade just barely visible. I try to keep it very subtle here, even though I will be adding a number of different shades afterwards.
Here's where the fun begins. I then start adding a lighter coat of the base color in small, "patchy" random patterns to the selected areas, starting from the middle and slowly feathering out, to give a used, sun-worn look. I slowly build up layers until the proper shading is achieved. This is where the Iwata HP-B really shines. The sheer precision and controllability is unsurpassed.
I repeated this approach three more times, lightening with each coat. This technique is used throughout the vehicle but, once more, kept very subtle. Once the base coat was finished, I proceeded to "post-shade." This is essentially the same way I did the "pre-shading" but with a custom mixture of Black (XF1) and Red Brown (XF64) heavily thinned, of course, and applied the same exact way!
After all subassemblies were attached and painted (tracks, hand-made tarp, machine guns, and markings, etc), I proceed to add dust to the overall vehicle. This was approached by simply using a combination of extremely lightened paint in conjunction with pastel chalks. I used a combination of very light FLAT EARTH (XF-52) and a light Black (XF1) and Red Brown (XF64) for contrasting dust streaks on all sides. I applied these all the same way by lightly "streaking" in a vertical motion throughout.
Serious scale model enthusiasts often come to that proverbial fork in the road, trying to determine where exactly they want to take their skills and how far they should go with them. Many modelers sometimes forget that a good quality airbrush can give them the inspiration to tackle projects that they never before thought possible, providing that extra edge that will inspire them to paint and build better.
|Silent compressors for use with airbrushes, spray guns, and air tools from Werther International.|
The airbrush world of Pamela Shanteau lands in Chicagoland!
Airbrush 1 - Pamela Shanteau demonstrates the "easy way" to learn airbrushing. Solid instruction and proven techniques make learning the airbrush fun and easy.
3-Hour Hands-On Workshop
Airbrush 2 - Take your airbrushing skills to the next level with non-traditional tools and techniques. Pamela will teach you the tips and shortcuts that provide professional results with less time and effort.
3 Hour Hands-On Workshop
Renowned artist and illustrator Pamela Shanteau instructs airbrush techniques at seminars all over the U.S. Hot rods and motorcycles airbrushed by Pamela have been featured in the finest publications, and she illustrates for many fantasy role-playing game companies, providing wonderful fantasy art for games, book covers and trading cards. She co-authored The Ultimate Airbrush Handbook with her husband Donn Shanteau (Watson-Guptill Publications) and appears on a series of automotive airbrushing videotapes.
Call the Blick store at 847.619.1115 for details and sign-ups.
|WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.|
The ARTtalk.com Gallery at the Square in Beacon, New York (60 miles north of New York City) will present workshops in airbrush techniques on Saturday, February 8, 2003.
10am - 1pm
Basic Airbrush Techniques - Black and White
3-Hour Hands-on Workshop
Intermediate Airbrush Techniques - Working in Color
3-Hour Hands-on Workshop
The fee includes the use of equipment and all class materials. Instructor is Robert Paschal, MFA. Robert has taught these classes internationally and is the author of Airbrushing for Fine and Commercial Artists and co-author with Robert Anderson of The Art of the Dot—Advanced Airbrush Techniques. He has received the Vargas Award and American Artist magazine's Art Masters Award for Airbrush Teacher.
Class size is limited and pre-registration is required, so don't delay. For further information, go to www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm or call 845.831.4458.
Whether you wish to use airbrush in fine art, illustration, crafts, tattoos, nails or makeup, a basic knowledge of airbrushing is necessary. Here's your opportunity!
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|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.|
The holiday season has arrived. When selecting a gift for the artist on your list, please be sure to see the fine lines of art materials from the manufacturers who bring you AirbrushTalk: