Volume 5, Number 4, November 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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With Michael Cacy will return with the January issue.

Decorative Crackle Papers for Holiday Gift-Wrap

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

With the holiday season rapidly approaching, I thought it might be fun to use the airbrush to create interesting decorative papers suitable for original gift-wrap (can even be used for large scale projects like wall coverings). With some modification, these methods might also be applicable to fine art for textures or ethereal backgrounds. The techniques are easy, fun and with personalized modifications can get many different looks.

Materials you will need include an airbrush, paper and paint. Other optional items include glitter, glue, metallic pigments, a 1-inch paintbrush and painter's gloves to protect your hands. These items will be used to customize the finished products. Gather your materials and let the fun begin!

For the airbrush I use either the Iwata HP-SAR Single Action or the Iwata Eclipse BCS, ECL 2000. When the technique requires a large application in the same concentration of paint, the single action works well. If the technique needs a variety of concentrations the Iwata ECL 2000 double action works best.

For paper quality I select one compatible with the end product. Banner paper or rolls of Kraft paper (see instructions below for another paper choice) make large-sized sheets perfect for gift-wrap, table covers or even wall covering or other large-scale applications. Artists' quality sheets in various sizes work well for the basis of a fine art piece.

Another aspect of using artists' quality paper is the variety of background colors. When you start with a rich jewel tone, all you really need to do is add one color and you have a dynamite decorative paper.

The paint you select can be any quality airbrush acrylic. I love bright jewel tones on light backgrounds because of the contrasting effects achieved. The colors selected can be altered for any occasion. This example will be specific to holiday gift-wrap in traditional tones.

Balls of plastic-coated freezer paper balled up and ready for airbrushing. Different densities create different patterns in the finished paper.

Begin by setting up the airbrush with two colors of paint. For these sheets I selected red and green. The paper can be any, but I will be using one designed not for artistic applications but for kitchen use. Freezer paper can be manipulated in many ways and for this project it is ideal. Tear off a length of paper and tightly crush it into a ball. Make the ball tight and the "wrinkles" many. If you do not crush the paper tightly, the pattern created will have less strength but will be beautiful just the same. Unroll the tight ball and flatten on a work surface with the paper side up. Airbrush one color on the paper side.

Color application should be very heavy. Essentially you want to saturate the crackle patterns on the paper side of the sheet.

Apply the paint thickly, and then allow the sheet to dry completely. Once dry, the paper is ready to use for unique gift-wrap. Voila! A designer crackle paper that was fun, inexpensive and very beautiful.

Two colors applied to the paper side create a crackle pattern in red and green.

If you like a more elegant sheet, crush the paper a bit less tightly for your color application. Apply as above, allow to dry, and then re-crush into a ball. Flatten and add a second color. After drying, this paper has texture and beauty.

Note: Another decorative sheet can be created by lightly crushing a sheet. Partially open and flatten it on your work surface. Airbrush a mist across the top of the texture, catching color on the high ridges. The sides of the "hills" will catch color, while the "valleys" will be lighter. This is a very dramatic look. Is this fun or what?

Here the paper side is stretched flat after being airbrushed across the hills and valleys of the crunched paper. Two tones were applied across the hills and valleys of this sheet to create a striking contrast.


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Realistic Alien Facehugger Eggs

by Wes Hawkins
Start Over/W.A.D. Productions
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Greetings once again! Wes Hawkins of Start Over/W.A.D. Productions here! In this article I'll be discussing the paint scheme involved in creating a realistic "Alien" egg. For this project, I'll be using the following paints and tools:

  1. Iwata Eclipse HP-CS gravity feed airbrush.
  2. Iwata Revolution single-action airbrush.
  3. Various water-soluble paints (Delta Ceramcoat, Tamiya)
  4. Closed Alien Facehugger eggs (sculpted by yours truly)

Here you see the eggs ready to paint. I decided to prime the eggs using primer in a rattle can. This sort of primer can be purchased in any hardware or department store. Primer usually comes in either gray or white, but brown can also be found. In this case, the color of the primer doesn't matter. The primer acts as a base for the next several layers of paint to adhere. It also serves to seal any pinholes that I might have inadvertently created when I sculpted these little fellows.

To begin, I work from dark to light in regard to colors. I used Iwata's Revolution single-action brush to base coat the eggs in flat black. Next I used an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS gravity feed airbrush and a technique called "noodling." "Noodling" is a technique that a lot of model figure builders use to create subtle skin tones. A gravity feed brush is essential when using the noodling technique because very little paint is used, and the colors will be switched several times during this project. A siphon feed brush can be used for this; however I want to spend as much time painting as I can versus cleaning paint jars.

Basically, I take a slightly lighter color of paint than my base color and, using an erratic motion, paint squiggly lines all over the surface of the egg. Here's where the beauty of Iwata's brushes shines through. The Eclipse HP-CS has the largest color cup that is produced in the airbrush world. It's also the only gravity feed brush that comes with a tightly fitted lid so paint won't run out if the brush is tilted. I've used a number of brands of different gravity feed brushes and I've spilled more paint than I've sprayed due to dropping or tilting my brush. Whoever thought of the color cup lid is a genius!

For my first layer, I misted Model Master Leather. Noodling might look a little odd at first, but once the rest of the colors are applied, you can see the desired effect. Next, I applied umbers and siennas, followed by light browns and tans. In the pic below, you can see how the effect is becoming more and more subtle with each application of paint.

The eggs need some veins added to them. This will make them look more organic and creepy. For this, I'll use the Iwata Revolution again. The reason behind this is I'll be spraying some very thin lines and I want to make them all the same width. I'm not as skilled with a double-action brush as I am with a single-action, so the Revolution is just the tool. The line adjustment is very easy to control on this brush, and it can withstand the usual bumps and jolts that come with my projects without losing its adjustments.

A well-accomplished figure painter once said, "Think of your airbrush as a light source." With this thought in mind, I realized that light shining from above dictates that the tops of the eggs would be lighter than the bottom. I've added shadows to create depth in the eggs. The shadowing will also help break up my final color used to noodle the bottom portion of the egg and make the veins appear to be under the surface.

Finally, I sealed the egg with Testors Dullcoat. Just for kicks, I used clear epoxy to make a wet slimy drool for the lips. For the secretions, please check out "The Aliens Project" via the website.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please E-mail me via the Star Over/W.A.D. Productions website!

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.

Creating a Zombie Makeup With Your Airbrush

by Bradley M. Look
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

It's early on a Monday morning as I sit writing this latest article, on the Western street at Universal Studios' back lot in Hollywood, California. Stunt men, dressed up as cowboys, gallop past on horses leaving a cloud of dust behind them. Grips are busy setting up large arc lamps, while the rest of the crew stand about anxiously waiting for the first assistant director to call out for last looks. The sun begins to burn through the fog as it rises above the tops of the façade of the old west. As I collect my thoughts to continue writing, a tram loaded with tourists pulls up and stops momentarily, with cameras madly clicking at us. Now I know how animals in the zoo feel!

Anyway, since I have covered the basic equipment needs as well as airbrush makeup product lines, we're finally ready to move on to demonstrations of actual makeups!

I decided to create a character makeup that is a cross between a zombie (very traditional Halloween fare) and that of Mr. Hyde. And to make this makeup easy to duplicate by any of the AirbrushTalk readers, I decided not to use any foam latex prosthetics (also known within the makeup field as "appliances"). The makeup will be created solely using only shadows and lowlights--a technique that can yield quite impressive results. The reason I mentioned "lowlights" as opposed to the commonly used highlights is that unlike more traditional painting techniques that are applied to a flat 2-D surface, the airbrushing is being applied to a 3-D surface, namely a human face. Since the lighting is not a fixed source and the makeup will be seen close-up by discriminating eyes, a strong fixed highlight doesn't look natural, especially if you want to apply this makeup for a party or a haunted house environment. So with no further ado's, let's get started.

To begin any makeup, the model needs to have a freshly scrubbed face. Do not apply any oily moisturizer beforehand; otherwise the makeup won't adhere evenly to the skin. Here is my victim, uh, I mean model, Clayton Stang, sans makeup.

I like to create mixed medium makeups, so I start by applying a cake makeup foundation in a jaundice yellow shade to Clayton's entire face, using a dampened synthetic sponge. A makeup brush was used to apply makeup under the eyes and around the ears. Cake makeup is a water-activated product that is available in a wide variety of not only skin tones, but also in a complete spectrum of colors. Brand names for cake makeup include Ben Nye's Cake Foundation and Magicolor, Kryolan's (not the paint company) Aquacolor, and Mehron's Starblend and Paradise. See the listing of makeup retailers from the previous article to purchase any of these products.

Next, I applied a mixture of my yellow base with that of a paler cake makeup. This was applied to the high points of Clayton's face to delineate the facial forms. After the makeup has dried (you can speed up the drying process by using a hair dryer on a cool setting), it is powdered and then a makeup sealer is lightly misted over the entire face and neck. When using makeup sealers, always be sure to follow the manufacturer's complete instructions for application. Makeup sealers include Mehron's Barrier Spray, Ben Nye's Final Seal, Kryolan's Fixer Spray, and Premiere Products Green Marble. Once the sealer is dry, you may need to powder it lightly to remove any tack. The under painting is now sealed and we're ready to move onto the airbrushing.

To begin the spraying process, I used a subtle shadow color to block in the hollows of Clayton's face. When airbrushing the face, it is always important to work between 3 and 6 psi. Also, do not spray product in the eyes, ears, or the mouth.

If you're working on a model who has never been airbrushed before, it is helpful to move the gun over his face while depressing the trigger so that he gets used to the sensation of the airflow without flinching. Once he is used to the air movement over his face, you can load your airbrush with product and begin spraying.

For the next step, a mixture of a brown-green color was sprayed in a loose, broken fashion over portions of the face to give the skin a mottled appearance.

Now to give the face more dimensions, low lights were finally added to create stronger high points.

I wanted a more period looking zombie, so I decided to lengthen Clayton's modern sideburns by hand laying human hair into spirit gum adhesive. Then using a comb as a shield, I sprayed the sides of the head to gray the hair. It's important to work from the root to the end of the hair shaft to impart a more realistic appearance, otherwise the color looks like it's just sitting on the top of the hair.

As you can see, costuming completes the overall look.


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Painting Late War Luftwaffe Aircraft

by Andrew Dextras
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Being an armor modeler, when I decided to build a few aircraft kits to relax and learn a few new tricks, a natural subject seemed to be late war Luftwaffe. With a multitude of paint schemes and some heavy weathering evident in period photos, the subject is perfect for some heavy weathering. The Fw190F8 is a perfect subject, as so many of them were found at the end of the Second World War, and there are plenty of photographs to work from and upon which to base your model.

I began by using a black pre-shade coat using Tamiya acrylic flat black using my Iwata Custom Micron B. I then applied Gunze RLM 76 on the undersides. I added a bit of white to the paint in order to offset the dark preshade. If you don't do this, the black will still show through a little and change the tone of the paint. I applied it in a very diffused pattern and let a bit of the darkness show though in the panel lines.

Moving to the upper surfaces I used Gunze RLM 74 gray and RLM 82 bright green for the basic camouflage. The particular F8 I was modeling also had some RLM 81 violet brown heavily applied to the rear of the fuselage and mottled on the fuselage sides and tail. The rudder and cowling stripe were painted with Gunze again, this time RLM 28 yellow. All of these paints were lightened a bit using white to compensate for the preshade…and the post shading chaos which was to follow.

I used Cutting Edge's sheet 48164 Butcher Birds Over Czech Lands Part 1 for the decals. This F8 had interesting fuselage balkenkreuz with white outlines. These were then oversprayed with RLM 82 as per the instructions and reference photos. The decals were very thin and went on nicely with a coat of Micro Sol. I then flat coated the model using Micro Flat.

Once all this was done, it was time to make the thing look beat up. Two photos of this particular aircraft can be found in the WWP book Luftwaffe Over the Czech Lands, along with other F8s found in the area. These are not factory-fresh subjects; if you're interested in the lifeless and toy-like die cast model look, you'll have to find something else to model, as these F8s were beat up and pretty filthy. Muck her up, mate!

I then mixed up some paint to use as a post-shade coat. This is not a scientific process; just mix up some black and brown Tamiya acrylics until you get a nice murky roadside public restroom color and add 90% thinner. Using the Iwata, I sprayed this into the panel lines to create a shaded effect and to give it some depth. The side benefit of this is that not only do you get some effective shading, but also some grime. I then post-shaded the rest of the model, liberally spraying grime everywhere. Before you put your hand up to say "They didn't look like that", take a gander at color photos of Fw190D9 WrN 500570 to get an idea of what I was aiming for. I finished the model off with chipping, using a silver pencil.

This project was a welcome change from armor models and was a challenge to both build and paint. I recommend that any armor modeler try a few of these in order to test out some new ideas and push your own limits as a modeler.

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Holiday Shopping

With the holidays quickly approaching, please patronize those manufacturers/retailers that bring you AirbrushTalk. You will find top-notch gifts for those artists/airbrush enthusiasts on your shopping list.

Artool Products Co. -

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Silentaire Technology - features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops

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March 20 and 21, 2004


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Robert Paschal, MFA-Artist, Author and Publisher


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...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 January 2004!


Happy Holidays to All!