Volume 5, Number 1, May 2003

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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Airbrushing Italian Style

and an Update on the European Airbrush Scene

With Michael Cacy
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Last month I attended the Airbrush Show 2003 held in Milan and organized by the Italian publication Airbrush Art Magazine. Though I have attended other large-scale European airbrush events, this was my first foray into Italy, and I would characterize the experience as "refreshing and inspiring." I felt honored to be included as a guest artist.

In this installment I want to relate some observations on the show, itself, and then offer up some opinion on how the Euro airbrush art scene affects or may affect what we do here halfway around the globe.

I arrived at the Centro Congresses Quark Hotel early enough to be involved in the show setup. J.R. Rapetti, the editor and publisher of Airbrush Art Magazine (and a highly skilled airbrush artist in his own right), has to be one of the hardest working figures in airbrush. He and his dedicated staff, friends, and family worked relentlessly at the convention facilities for two days to see that the booths on the expansive show floor (over 12,000 sq. ft.) and gallery on the floor above were assembled and ready in time for the opening bell. And, somehow, there was still plenty of energy left over for the opening of the Airbrush Show 2003 on that crisp May Saturday morning.

There were over fifty artists featured in the show from various spots on the planet (England, Germany, Japan, Belgium, Canada, Austria, Russia, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, France, Italy, and a few places you probably never heard of), so please…there's not space here to list all of you here, and I surely do not want to slight anyone. But this was a chance for me to reconnect with a number of old friends from around the world. Some of these old friends and new included talents such as Giorgio Uccellini (U.K.), Ingo Körner (Germany), Andreas Raufeisen (Germany), Luca Pagan (Italy), Marcus Pfeil (Austria), Guerrino Boatto (Italy), and the famed Formula 1 realist painter Alberto Ponno (Italy), who always sports one of the best smiles ever seen. Painting race scenes must be extremely satisfying.

Several guest artists painted canvases on stage daily during the two-day show and others painted in exhibit booths around the show floor. An abundance of paint flowed and ideas were exchanged freely. The party-like show atmosphere was friendly and ego-free. DJ's blasted out the music. Television camera crews naturally gravitated toward body painting demonstrations. Many of us saw ourselves on Italian national TV on Sunday evening. Industry experts were on hand, busy answering questions about new equipment and media or troubleshooting finicky airbrushes.

The gallery and exhibit floor featured (as does the magazine) not only the typical genre of airbrush art (illustration, fine art, automotive, textile, etc.), but digital, animated, and aerosol art as well. Familiar industry names, including Iwata, provided corporate sponsorship for the event. Corona Extra (that's right, the beer) sponsored a competition that was juried during the show with awards going to artists in various categories of airbrush art.

Both the caliber of art and the camaraderie at the show inspired me. Many thanks to J.R. and his staff for allowing me to participate.

So, how does the enthusiasm and quality of European airbrush art impact what we are doing here in the states and the rest of the New World?

It has long been my opinion that, though many may think we are on the cutting edge in the U.S., real trends in graphics often actually originate in Europe. For example, there were design studios, print production facilities, and ad agencies operating fully electronically in Europe a year and a half before the same could be said here. It didn't take long for the U.S. to catch up, but the groundbreaking first took place in Europe.

I don't pretend to be an art guru, but I believe we haven't yet seen anything resembling the crest of the airbrush wave here in the western world. The level of sophistication in airbrush art and the respect (especially in the fine art arena) will blossom because of efforts and talents in Europe. This is a safe and easy prediction for me to make, because the future has already begun. The impact is already being felt. An airbrush renaissance of sorts is blossoming. Names of serious European airbrush masters are being recognized out west. And there is a treasure-trove of talents known in Europe who are still largely unknown here.

This should not come as a huge surprise. Most of these artists grew up in the cradle of the Renaissance…the same ground that spawned Donatello, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Titian. Creativity, craftsmanship, and the courage to take one's art to a higher level are qualities that still flourish amidst a world facing challenges the Old Masters could not have imagined. Art will always be the aesthetic buffer that brings us to our senses and forces us to rediscover our "humanity."

Well, enough history and philosophy. The bottom line is that the energy evident in European circles only bolsters the credibility of airbrush art for those of us working in the rest of the world. The public only thinks it knows what airbrush art is. You and I can show them it is a whole lot more.

ARTOOL Hobby Mask - Small Size and Big Potential

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

Artool's new Hobby Mask is the answer to many hobbyists' dreams. Consider its value to any creative craftsman who is looking for mask that is easy to handle and remove. Aircraft models are a snap when the mask is used to cover and protect canopies, wings, tail, etc. Hobby Mask makes fast work out of masking large areas and tackling intricate painting and airbrushing graphics. This solvent-proof adhesive clear film stretches well and conforms easily to any contours and corners. Design and detailing of model building is as easy as 1-2-3: Mask, paint, and peel.

In model auto detailing, use Hobby Mask to cover headlights, windshields, trim, tires and bumpers. Create the "car of your dreams" with any type of paint. Design and cut your own decorative designs and apply them over your custom paint job. For military camouflage on aircraft or transports, use patterns cut from Hobby Mask to create the mottled shapes and tones that make military vehicles disappear in their surroundings. Sci-Fi vehicles can be decked out with Federation and Aztec patterns along with wear and tear smudges caused from battle or encounters. Railroad cars can be aged with weathered accents to more closely resemble actual rolling stock as seen on any railroad track in America. You can also use the masks to design and execute new, personalized billboard cars and accessories.

Striping on cars and trucks, especially the jazzy colors and designs for racing vehicles, is one way to use this handy Hobby Mask. For battleships and freight carriers, yachts, sailboats, and even dinghies, use the mask to delineate waterlines, deck colors, striping and more. Interior designers will also find this mask valuable in their crafts projects. To protect items from overspray, gently wrap the mask around any shape and it will remain clean. To create shapes on vases, trays, boxes, etc., cut designs from the mask for a sure pattern and ease of removal. You can even use the mask to create a reusable stencil for repeated use. Carefully lift away the mask and place it on another piece of masking material that is applied to a rigid surface such as cardboard or foam board. Lay the tacky side of your stencil on this base for storage between uses.

Our Hobby Mask project is to customize a small model 1957 Chevrolet, a model car that was purchased ready-made.  You could use a car kit for more control of the paint application or more intricate designing. I have chosen really bright, fantasy colors, creating the look of an art car, most likely not the choice of many to drive down the highway, but loads of fun to paint.

Begin by masking off the areas you wish to protect from paint: bumpers, tires, and windshield. Since this inexpensive model has no windscreen or side windows, I stuffed the interior spaces with paper toweling to catch overspray and prevent coloration of the inside of the car.

With the front area protected with Hobby Mask, the first color was applied. The turquoise tone was feathered into a lighter application near the windscreen. The second color was then applied through the middle of the model and the purple at the fin area. Notice that the masking has protected the wheels, and the toweling has prevented any interior damage by overspray.

The airbrushing is completed and the masking is removed. All that remains is a few detail delineations with black. This allows the stripe down the side of the model and the handles and hood ornaments to stand out from the paint colors. More fine details could be added, such as painting of the headlights and taillights and flames along the sides of the car or over the hood.

Hobby Mask is an excellent mask for model designing, fine art applications, and crafts; because it comes in a small width, it is easy to use. Imagine the possibilities with the craft and hobby projects you do. Give it a try. I'm betting you'll love it!

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.

Painting Sweden's Strv 103B MBT

By Nick Cortese
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

In my first article for AirbrushTalk, I presented a 1/35 scale M1A1 Abrams in a bright desert camouflage-type scheme, highlighting dirt and dust. In this installment, I've decided to keep it interesting and have chosen a darker paint scheme to experiment with subtle shading effects. The neat, "sci-fi" look of Trumpeter's excellent Strv 103B MBT "S-TANK" is a perfect platform to try new airbrushing techniques.

Getting Started

The first thing, as always, was to soak the plastic sprues in a bath of lukewarm dishwashing liquid, just to get some of the mold release off, and rinse off with cold water. I find clean plastic really glues together and paint adheres so much better after a quick washing. As per instructions, I assembled the vehicle without any problems.

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After checking some color references and in-action photos, I decided that Tamiya (XF 22) would be a pretty close match as the base color. Thinking ahead, I also wanted to have the front "plow" in position to feature some mud weathering, which would add a nice realistic touch to the overall final effect.

Even though the kit plastic is a dark green color, the usual pre-shading method of Tamiya Flat Black (XF 1) was used throughout the underside, wheels and in areas that would cast a shadow only.

With my trusty Iwata custom Micron-B ready to go, a heavily thinned and a slightly lightened base color of Tamiya German Grey (XF 22) was airbrushed throughout the main body, leaving the black pre-shade just barely visible, giving an illusion of depth. Because of its dark color, I found it difficult to get a true, realistic dimensional look, so I went back and applied an even lighter shade of base color to the "raised" areas, slowly building up shades and layers of color and giving a sense of depth and dimension to the model.

At this point I airbrushed a tiny amount of gloss coat in specified areas for the decals, quickly sealing them after application with a quick layer of dull coat.

Once the base coat and decals were done, I proceeded to "post-shade," which is essentially the same as how I did the "pre-shading," but with a custom mixture of Tamiya Black (XF1) and Tamiya Red Brown (XF64) heavily thinned, of course, and applied the same exact way!


After this process, I applied ground pastel chalk to simulate mud weathering throughout the underside, wheels and front plow. The actual color of the pastels isn't really important at this point, mainly because I applied a light coat of Buff (XF57) that will seal the pastel application and give an overall dry, dusty look.

Final dust streaking was accomplished with a heavily thinned Tamiya Buff (XF57) applied vertically to the upper hull of the vehicle in conjunction with pastel chalk of the same color. The final touch was a combination of light colored pastel applications throughout the top of the vehicle, giving the vehicle a busy, worn-out look.

A planned, systematic approach to painting is paramount to getting the proper final results, giving me more confidence to tackle more complex paint schemes.

My next Installment for AirbrushTalk will be "How to paint WW II Luftwaffe camouflage."

The Art of Airbrushing Makeup

"Part Two: What Product Line Do I Use?"

By Bradley M. Look

If you'll recall, in Part One I outlined some of the basic equipment needs for airbrushing makeup--types of airbrushes, compressors, and other basics, such as hoses, cleaning station, etc., all stressing the importance for portability. The makeup artist must be able to, without a moment's notice, grab his or her gear to answer a work call. That call may be a wedding, a photo shoot, a kid's party, or even to day check on a film or television series.

Now that we know what some of our equipment requirements are, we're going to need something to run through the airbrush. That's where we pick up with part two--or what I like to call, "What product line do I use?"

In my first article for AirbrushTalk (Volume 4, Number 2, July 2002), I mentioned that the process of spraying makeup onto a performer goes all the way back to the 1929 feature, NOAH'S ARK. But if I were to ask you to name the very first makeup actually manufactured for the expressed use of being airbrushed and the year, what would you say? I've no doubt that some might say it probably was the Dinair line. Right? Wrong.

A man named Dennis Hoey created the very first makeup line made specifically to be sprayed through an airbrush. His line was called StarMist cosmetics and it debuted in 1984. Dennis' company was StarMist Air Tech Cosmetics, Inc., and with him as its President, he quickly got the word out conducting two-day seminars across the country. He taught not only professional makeup artists, but also licensed cosmetologists as to how to safely use the airbrush to apply a base, blusher, and contouring to a person's face. Well-known makeup artists like Ben Nye, Jr., Ve Neill, Michael Westmore, Dina Ousley, Steve LaPorte, and Leonard Engleman, to name just a few, all passed through his tutelage.

In a 1997 interview I had with Dennis, he told me, "The airbrush allows for greater speed, accuracy and versatility of makeup application while expanding possibilities for new artistic expression. It was my belief that StarMist combined the technical artistry of airbrushing with that of the elegant science of makeup application."

Dennis found his inspiration for the creation of an airbrushing cosmetic line back in 1979 when he worked at airbrush retouching for commercial clients. It soon dawned on Dennis that what he did to color correct a photograph might be able to be done on a person's face if there were the right product available.

After some research, Dennis discovered that around 1960, makeup artists were experimenting at airbrushing people's bodies using watercolor paint as a medium. Not wanting to use paint on the skin, Dennis would eventually seek out a cosmetic chemist in the Los Angeles area to help him develop a product that could be adapted to the specific needs of the airbrush process. Of course, paramount to the very success of such a line was its need not to clog the fine opening of the airbrush.

Using himself as a guinea pig, Dennis finally found the right combination of cosmetic grade pigments, emulsifiers, and vehicle, resulting in a water-based liquid that met with his critical approval. Distilled water was used as a cleaner. Dennis taught that spraying several thin layers (to build up a makeup) was much better than thick opaque ones. And while the airbrush seemed to be a miracle tool, Dennis also stressed that more traditional techniques still had their place with makeup application.

In 1990, Dennis sold the name StarMist to the Kryolan Makeup Corporation, as he had become increasing more involved with the producing of commercials, which he still does to this day. Kryolan for a short while produced the line; eventually, however, they ceased its production of the line owing to manufacturing difficulties.

To be continued in the next (July) issue where we turn our attention back to which airbrush makeup lines are currently available. Products are listed by their brand name, as well as the name of the manufacturer. Additionally, you'll find colors, size amounts, and other pertinent information listed. Don't miss it!

Silentaire Technology
Silent compressors for use with airbrushes, spray guns, and air tools from Werther International.

New Products

New Airbrushes/Technology from IWATA-MEDEA

Just introduced by IWATA at the NAMTA Convention in Chicago were the new Micro Air Control Valve Hi-Line, High Performance Plus Series, Custom Micron CM-C Plus, and Eclipse G6 Airbrushes.

With the breakthrough Micro Air Control Valve technology, the Hi-Line Series doesn't just change air pressure instantly-it changes the way you airbrush and is designed for artists who need extreme control of detailed spraying. This series uses larger diameter threads on the nozzle than the HP Series, making the nozzle much stronger when tightening it onto the airbrush, and ensures better centering of the nozzle when it screws onto the airbrush body.

The MAC Valve enables infinite control of the airflow at the head of the airbrush, which is different from just regulating the air pressure at the compressor. The Valve lets users spray a coarse stippling effect to full atomization with a quick turn of the valve. For fine line or detail work, the MAC Valve is adjusted to create the optimum airflow for the maximum control of the paint output. By fully opening the valve, the airbrush can quickly be cleaned during color changes or used for wide background spraying.

The Hi-Line Series is now made with PTFE needle packing, a dual-purpose cutaway, pre-set handle and one-piece auxiliary lever/needle chucking guide construction. The series consists of the HP-AH, where larger threads on the nozzle offer a more secure fit and better centering of the nozzle on the body; the HP-BH that is similar, but has a 0.2mm nozzle with a larger cup for holding more paint; and the HP-CH, which has a 0.3mm nozzle and a large tapered gravity feed cup, ideal for spraying a variety of paints from watercolors to solvent-based automotive paints.

Long noted as the professional's workhorse, the popular High Performance Series has just been pumped up with these inspired new features:

  • Dual-purpose, cutaway and pre-set handle for easy cleanup and precise control of paint flow.
  • PTFE needle packing for automotive or other solvent-based paints.
  • Larger threads on the nozzle offer a more secure fit and better centering of the nozzle.
  • Redesigned tapered gravity feed cups make for easy cleanup and more efficient paint flow.
  • Single-piece auxiliary lever/needle chucking guide assures easy assembly.

Included in the High Performance Series for high precision, high detail work are the HP-A Plus, the HP-B Plus, the HP-C Plus, the HP-BC Plus, and the HP-SC Plus.

The Custom Micron CM-C Plus, which provides absolute precision for the elite professional, features the new MAC Valve that provides even more control of stippling, fine details, and finely atomized background spraying.

And the unique Eclipse G6 "Pistol Grip" airbrush looks like a miniature spray gun, but sprays and performs like a large airbrush with its 0.6mm stainless steel nozzle. Equipped with a long tapered needle that ensures a smooth transition between fine to wide background spray, the G6 utilizes a dual purpose air cap and a fan adjustment valve that lets the airbrush spray a round or oval spray pattern, useful for painting graphics and backgrounds, respectively. It also uses a special fitting where airbrush bottles can be used instead of a gravity feed cup, allowing for multiple color bottles to be interchanged quickly without having to clean a cup thoroughly-another unique feature for this type of spray unit.

You'll want to visit your retailer soon to see these innovative new airbrushes from IWATA!

...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.

Airbrush Workshops Gallery at the Square

Beacon, NY (60 miles north of New York City)


Saturday, June 14
Basic Airbrush Techniques / Intermediate Airbrush Techniques
Instructor: Robert Paschal, MFA


Saturday, July 12, and Sunday, July 13
Two-Day Advanced Airbrush Workshop
Instructor: Pamela Shanteau

Tuition for all above workshops includes the use of equipment and all materials used in class. Seating is limited, so sign up now! This is an opportunity not to be missed!

For further information, see or call 845.831.4458.

Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in July 2003!