Volume 6, Number 1, May 2004

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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Airbrushes & Supplies

Airbrush Art for the Garden

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

There are lots of ways to use an airbrush in the decor of one's home, office or studio, but one spot often forgotten is the garden. An airbrush can make easy and fun work of lots of projects from birdhouses and flower boxes to decorative trim and wall stenciling. Another great application for airbrush art is the embellishment of stepping-stones. All the rage now, these stones can add a new dimension to any path or walkway around plants and greenery.

Materials are simple and the setup is fast and easy. Airbrush, compressor, paint and stone -You're all set!

Our project is to create a twelve-inch square stepping-stone with simple, yet colorful decoration. The materials you will need include: airbrush (I used an Iwata Revolution CR), compressor (I used the wondrous Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet), acrylic airbrush paints, 12" stepping stone (or any size you desire), stencil knife, masking tape and stencil-cutting material (I used an old file folder - rigid and thick enough to avoid bleed through.) The design is simple and will be done in patriotic colors, but you could do any design and use a rainbow of colors.

Begin by dusting off the stepping-stone with a cloth. If the stone is really dirty or is being recycled, wash the top off well and allow it to dry completely. A clean surface will allow the paint to soak into and bond to the hard surface. Be sure to cover your work surface with a protective covering because the underside of stepping-stones is rough and will damage a tabletop or workbench.

The top portion of the stone is masked off to prevent overspray.
An Iwata Cutting Mat and Stencil Knife make quick work of sizing down masking tape strips for the starburst pattern.

With your clean stone in place on your work surface, begin your design elements by laying out a diagonal line of masking tape in the upper left area. This delineates the location of the blue field. With the diagonal tape strip in place, begin to "draw" the resist areas that will divide the red field. They will mimic the look of stylized flag stripes. Cut the pieces of masking tape in strips with the Iwata stencil knife easily by sticking them to a small cutting mat and simply cutting freehand. You could use a ruler if desired, but this is a less "exact" art form and hand-cut strips do well. With the blue area covered to prevent overspray, paint in the open areas between the sunburst pattern created by the masking tape. Allow this area to dry completely (or speed it along with a hair dryer).

Remove all the starburst strips, and then carefully use white paint to define the stripes.

With the lower area masked off, paint the solid blue area and then lay in the stars using a stencil. My star stencil was hand-cut to achieve a relaxed style, but you could use any star stencil. Allow the blue to dry completely before overpainting with the white stars. Remove the entire tape mask so that you can add white accents to the stripes. Adjust your airbrush to a fine pattern and carefully add white to the "stripes." This will tie the stars to the stripes.

Enjoy your original airbrush art in any part of your garden.

Once the stone is completely dry, place it in the garden. It will retain the acrylic paint for many months. Should you want to reuse an aged stone, roll a coat of house paint over the top, and then apply a new design. Simple and effective, this recycling means you could update your stones for every season. To add longer durability to the finished stone, spray a coating of clear polyurethane over the finished dry pattern.

Other shapes and designs could be created easily, too. Consider the look of mosaic stone or a stained glass appearance. To create either of these, you could use an Iwata Friskfilm sheet for a stencil, being careful to keep the cut out shapes intact and repositioning them so that you could continue to the next open area. Or you could use paper/cardboard stencils and expose only the area you wish to paint--one section at a time. Either way works, but the Friskfilm sheeting is faster and you have more control of overspray.

Have fun!

Dixie Art Supplies since 1935
2612 Jefferson Hwy. • New Orleans, LA 70121
Phone 1-800-783-2612
Order online safe, secure and easy at Dixie Art and Airbrushing

Painting the Predator Creature

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

Hi, everyone! Wes Hawkins here. This article will be covering one of the more difficult genres of garage kit painting, the Predator Creature from the popular films and computer games. The process involves several colors and techniques; however I'm going to show you how to use your airbrush to achieve stunning yet simple results. First I would like to acknowledge a good friend of mine, Jerry Buchanan, who allowed me to utilize his website for this project. Click this link to see the paint scheme I'm speaking of. I'll be using GEOmetric Designs' Predator for this project.

I used my Iwata Eclipse HP-CS gravity feed airbrush to paint this project. You'd be surprised how little you have to spray to make the details pop out on this piece, and the Eclipse was built for this type of work. I can't stress enough how the proper airbrush is vital to making projects come alive. The Eclipse is durable, well made and can take a lot of punishment from paints and thinners and remain reliable. Now back to the project. Unless stated otherwise, each application of paint was sealed with Testors Dullcoat. This makes the flesh look transparent and you'll learn why later on.

Here you can see the base coat color of Ivory. Notice the Predator is very light-- actually more of an off-white. Next, using a dark gray, I sprayed in the muscle tone and skin folds. Next, using a toothpick I laid down black and dark brown spots along the muscle tone and added a pattern along the creature's sides. I laid a pattern along the arms and legs as well. See the pics below for details.

The body got an overspray of ivory to make the spots appear to be under the skin. This is where the beauty of Testors Dullcoat really shines through. Notice below how the spots now seem to be beneath the surface of the skin.

The netting was drawn in using a precision tipped ink pen. Most folks paint them in with a tiny brush, but I prefer to use a pen, as it's more precise and faster. The armor and leather was base coated in black and dry brushed with ModelMaster Steel and Leather, respectively.

The head first got a giraffe spots scheme with light brown on the cranium and down the jaws. Next the cranium was outlined with black spots, including a "V" shaped pattern on the top of the head. Ivory was misted over this as mentioned earlier. I went in again and redid the spots, but not as heavy as before so that the earlier spots still show through. The very edge of the head was misted in black along with a shot of brown along the jaw line. Next I airbrushed black into the eye sockets to make them appear set deep in the head.

Finally, the dreadlocks were sprayed black and then dry brushed with ModelMaster gunmetal. The jewelry on the dreadlocks was painted various metallic colors. The mouth was sprayed pink, washed with red, and dry brushed pink again. Think "bubblegum" and you've got the right color in mind. The teeth were painted with ivory, washed with tan, and then tipped with white with the airbrush. The eyes are painted bright yellow with a tiny black pupil.

There you have it--the Predator skin tone made easy. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me here. See ya next time!!

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.

Preparing and Base Coating Fingernails

by Laura Morgan

It is very important to begin an airbrush project with properly prepared "canvas." Color retention will suffer if fingernails are not clean and sanitized, free from polish remover residue, lotion, oil, or soap residue.

High-gloss coatings used to seal gel nails will cause color retention problems as well because they are designed to be topcoats, not base coats. Take the glass-like shine off with a fine buffer to make it more retention friendly before applying the paint-on airbrush basecoat.

Basic Steps

  1. Wash nails with soap and water to remove oil or lotions from the top and undersides.
  2. Generously wipe nails with a nail-sanitizing product.
  3. Apply paint on airbrush basecoat. Cover nails completely and wrap base around edges of nails. (Substituting the manufacturer recommended base or topcoat for any other may negatively affect retention.)
  4. Allow to fan-dry for 2 minutes.
  5. Spray airbrush color/s using the design medium of your choice.
  6. Spray varnish lightly over nails after all color has been applied (if recommended by the manufacturer).
  7. Carefully apply 2 coats of Airbrush Topcoat. Apply a coat every other day or so to re-shine and extend wear. Substituting with a topcoat not intended for airbrush may cause paint to smear or crackle.

Topcoat Application Technique

Apply topcoat with a light touch and a generous amount on the brush. Be careful not to dig brush bristles into the fragile paint. Apply fairly quickly and avoid excessive strokes. Fan-dry for 2-3 minutes.

Helpful Hints

  • Spray airbrush paint in ultra-light layers, gradually building color to the desired intensity. Wet puddles of paint will not set up properly. Even after they dry, retention will be compromised. If you are seeing a wet-looking spray surface, work at eliminating this in your technique. Mist paint along the edge of the free edge by bending the finger slightly upward while you spray along the edge.
  • Use the manufacturer recommended base and top coatings for airbrush. Any substitutions may greatly affect the outcome.
  • Allow adequate time for the topcoat to set up completely. Studies show that if the wearer is hard on her nails within 1 hour of polish application, retention will suffer. This applies to regular nail enamel as well.
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.

Painting Small-Scale Aircraft Models

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

The ultimate model airbrushing challenge has to be 1/72 or smaller single seat WWII aircraft. These models are only 4" or so long in real life, and the most difficult part of the painting and weathering process is ensuring that the model looks realistic at this scale.

The model I selected for this exercise is Hasegawa's 1/72 Messer Schmitt Bf-109 G-14. The kit is well detailed and assembly can be completed in a matter of hours, which is exactly what I wanted so I could get on with the painting ASAP.

The model was lightly pre-shaded with Tamiya black acrylic. After this I painted on the basic camouflage scheme freehand using my Iwata Custom Micron B and Gunze acrylics. I probably should have used a hard-edged mask for the wing camouflage pattern, but the micron sprays with such little overspray that you can get away with free-handing the camo.

Once this was done, I began the first stage of diffusion by mixing up lighter versions of the camo colors and spraying them over the base coats in an erratic pattern. By ensuring the pattern is erratic, the paint scheme will look more realistic.

At this point I masked off the rudder and lower cowl and painted them yellow. I also masked the fuselage and painted the blue ID band seen on Croatian aircraft. The decals then went on next. Now comes the real fun.

I mixed up a grimy black-brown mix of Tamiya acrylics thinned at 90% for post shading. I sprayed this along panel lines for added depth and also streaked it all over the model to impart a sense of muck and grime commonly seen on late war Axis aircraft. The key here is to close the needle down until the paint is coming out of the Micron translucent and in a very fine line thickness.

I finished the model off with a paint chipping effect using a silver pencil.

The point of this painting exercise was to try and replicate 1/32 scale weathering on a 1/72 model without losing any "resolution," i.e., maintain scale effect regardless of actual scale. The key tool in accomplishing this is a very good airbrush. The CM-B allowed me to spray very fine lines and atomized the thinned paint so well that there is no overspray on the model, even when viewed at 400% magnification through a digital camera. What are the limits of the CM-B when painting models? Maybe it's time to try a 1/144-scale aircraft and see what it can really do?

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

New Products

New Silentaire Technology 20-A Compressor

New Silentaire 20-A CompressorSilentaire has introduced the Silentaire 20-A Compressor that features a line pressure gauge, line pressure regulator, moisture trap, safety valve, air-intake filter, and a convenient carrying handle. It is 1/5 HP, has a 0.4-gallon tank, produces 0.7cfm and 55-85 psi. The 20-A will operate one or two airbrushes, is virtually soundless and totally automatic! Visit for this line of fine compressors and accessories as well as the Spectrum 2000 Color Changer, which enables you to use up to nine colors simultaneously.

New Return of Skull Master Set from Artool

New Return of Skullmaster Set from Artool!!Artool Products Company is beyond pleased to announce the release and availability of The Return of Skull Master by Craig Fraser! Yet again, Artool can count on the Chemtox prisoner testing facility to crank out another set of polymer monstrosities for your cake decorating pleasure. With names like: "Frontal II", "Screamin' II" and "Multiple II", you can pretty much figure out that we're bringin' 'em back!!! We did throw in a new one: "Lucky 13" for those who feel that any changes to the original Skull Masters would be blasphemy, but still wanted something new and skull-icious to play with. As with all of the Artool Freehand Templates, we offer no guarantees that you will be a better airbrush artist or that people will like you now (or ever), but you will be able to airbrush skulls, and in some circles, that could make you the "alpha" painter.

The Return of Skull Master by Craig Fraser is now available at your favorite Artool-Iwata-Medea supplier. You can purchase them individually or save a few pieces of eight and get 'em as The Return of Skull Master Set!

New Iwata Studio Series Power Jet Pro Compressor

Iwata-Medea is very pleased to announce they have added a new member to their very popular Studio Series team of compressors: the Power Jet Pro. It is the ultimate compressor for dual studio and workshop applications! The Iwata Power Jet Pro features a 2-liter air storage tank, has zero pulsation, and incorporates Smart Technology with a 2x Sprint Power 1/6 hp motor. Additional features include dual moisture filters, dual-mounted pressure gauges and airbrush holders, and even dual quick-disconnect ports! There is absolutely no maintenance and no mess thanks to the twin oil-less piston compressors. This mighty little unit is protected in a steel outer case, and weighs in at a super light 26.5 lbs, with a working pressure of 1 psi to 60 psi. The Iwata Power Jet Pro is power packed portable workhorse for dual as well as single airbrush use!

The new Iwata Studio Series Power Jet Pro Compressor is now available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier.

New Iwata-Medea Pistol-Grip Airbrush Filter

Iwata-Medea is proud to announce their newest breakthrough in airbrushing technology and precision: the Pistol-Grip Airbrush Filter! Attaching directly onto the airbrush, the Iwata-Medea Pistol-Grip Filter is the final defense to deliver clean, dry air to your airbrush. Miniature in size, the super-fine, 5-micron filter element performs like a full-size filter separator. The clear filter bowl allows a visual inspection of built-up moisture and is evacuated through a spring-loaded release valve-without taking the filter off the airbrush! Also, the Pistol-Grip Filter features an ergonomic design, which acts as a handle on your airbrush to relieve muscle tension.

The Pistol-Grip Filter, Model # F A450, is available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier.

New Iwata-Medea Air Blast Propellant and Air Blast Valve

New Iwata-Medea Air Blast Propellant!Iwata-Medea is proud to announce the availability of their latest innovations: the new Iwata Air Blast Non-flammable Airbrush Propellant and Air Blast Regulator Valve. Air Blast Propellant cans come in two sizes: 6 oz. and the 14 oz. JUMBO Air Blast. This new breakthrough Iwata propellant for airbrushing is completely odor-free, non-toxic and nonflammable! Iwata-Medea Air Blast contains no chlorines and is safe for our stratospheric ozone.

The new Iwata Air Blast Regulator Valves are built with Iwata's legendary durable precision engineering. These new Iwata products will be sure to please all airbrushers seeking a kinder and safer way to share our environment!

For a complete listing of the Iwata-Medea-Artool catalog on the Web, go to features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops

ARTtalk/'s "Basic and Intermediate Airbrush Workshop Complete," scheduled for June 12 at the Hampton Inn in Newburgh, NY, has SOLD OUT.

Our next scheduled date will be posted soon at

...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 July 2004!