Volume 5, Number 1, May 2003
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Airbrushing Italian Style
and an Update on the European Airbrush Scene
With Michael Cacy
|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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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!
|Silent compressors for use with airbrushes, spray guns, and air tools from Werther International.|
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:
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.|
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