Volume 6, Number 3, September 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

Easy Airbrush Projects for Home Decor and Gifts

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

There are lots of unusual and exciting ways to use an airbrush to embellish all sorts of items. Home decor is very easy to personalize with the addition of slight airbrush toning. Crafts projects including woodworking, leather design and coloration, plaster embellishment, stationery design and book arts, wall decor and all types of fabric designing can be greatly enhanced by airbrush work. Following is an overview of a few of the easiest and most rewarding ways to employ an airbrush in personalization of your surroundings.

With the craze of paper lampshades, we are offered an empty canvas for anyone to embellish (even those with the most basic airbrush skills). All it takes for a quick and easy color coordinating look is to add a bit of color to tie any solid-colored paper lampshade directly to the colors used in the room. Stencils could also be used for specific design work on the shades, but the simplest and fastest way to decorate a shade is with a tone around the top and bottom opening. This will not affect the amount of light transmitted by the lamp, but will definitely dress it up.

Pillowcases are easy to decorate with neat overlapping textures. Here an elastic cord is laid over previously sprayed patterns.

Another way to decorate with an airbrush is to add textures and color to finished pillows, throws, rag rugs, bed linens, fabric shower curtains and small waste paper cans. These items (and many others) can be customized with coordinating colors and can transform standard room decor into remarkable designer styles.

Any tote bag becomes a work of art with simple textural overlays. Here sequin punched ribbon is sprayed for an unusual look. Collect neat shapes to spray over or through.

Personal clothing is another opportunity for decoration with an airbrush. Cotton items and blends of 50/50 cotton/polyester make the best candidates for permanent, often washable color applications. (Set colors more permanently onto fabrics by thoroughly pressing dry wearables with an iron.) Canvas totes and sneakers are some of the most interesting projects, since they can be decorated with an assortment of different techniques (overlapped textures, stencils, free style, metallics). Consider using resist or solid positive shapes for special effects. Things like large-weave window screening and hardware cloth or loosely woven fabric or mats, overlapped twigs, leaves or any perforated form are great. Overlapping different textures will create an interesting overall look and will let you use lots of color.

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Once you have your airbrush and colors, it will be hard to stop finding new ways to use it in home decoration. Every holiday can be another creative time. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas offer some of the most dramatic outlets for individual creativity. Halloween pumpkins decorated with airbrush rather than carved will not only last longer, but will offer more design possibilities. Funny faces, scary faces and unique decorations are easily created on the surface of pumpkins and take much less time than carved features.

Napkins can be given a quick spritz of pumpkin orange for a neat table setting.

Gift-wrap takes on a new dimension when airbrush patterns are applied to solid colored backgrounds. Easy and lots of fun!

Table linens can be "fogged" around the edges with any décor-coordinated color. If desired, the napkins or other linens can then be jazzed up with stencil shapes. These are great for your own table or to give as special gifts. Use a light coating of acrylic on pinecones, and then sprinkle with glitter for a neat centerpiece for any holiday table. Create "snowflake" patterns using white acrylic and your airbrush to stencil on windows and door panes. These designs will last lots longer than the old-fashioned Glasswax type and can be easily removed with a blade scraper. (Use a light airbrushed coating of slightly diluted matte painting medium to transform a clear glass pane into a privacy window.) Holiday gifts that are misted with the iridescence of metallic or vivid acrylic colors become gifts almost too pretty to open. Add star stickers and fluffy shredded curling ribbon for gifts that will wow everyone!

There are so many ways to use an airbrush that it's hard to believe that some people are hesitant to try it. Don't let yourself be dissuaded. Fun awaits you!

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 Simple Makeup Wound Effects

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

As a makeup artist working in the entertainment field, I've found that scripts will routinely list a character to have bruises and facial scrapes. This is especially true with action dramas such as 24, JAG, and the CSI franchise. Such simple makeup effects are usually referred to as out-of-the-kit makeup effects. The idea is that these "effects" can be created using standard products that all makeup artists should always have on hand when the script or director asks for it. These products include: bruise colors, stage blood in both thick and thin consistencies, and KY Jelly. Using the airbrush can certainly speed up the process. Let me take you through the steps so that you can create your own out-of-the-kit bruises and scrapes.

For this demonstration, actor/fitness model Matt Cable sat for me. Here is Matt's before photo. To begin the process, lightly spray a yellow ochre temporary tattoo color on the face where needed. In this case, I applied color around Matt's left eye area. During this whole process Matt kept his eyes closed. When spraying the bruise colors, keep in mind that the colors should not be sprayed on evenly as a circle. Some areas should be heavier, while others more lightly misted. You want an irregular look to the bruise so that it appears more natural.

A deep red is next applied very sporadically with some overlapping of colors.  A small amount of blue is added to the red to create a purplish color that is sprayed over portions of the first two colors.

Using Iwata's new Hi-line HP-CH airbrush for both these makeups gave me great control. Dialing down the air adjustment valve, I spattered some of the deep red on portions of the bruise to give the effect of broken capillaries.

To complete the illusion, lightly pat a little KY Jelly over the bruise to create a shiner.  KY Jelly is commonly used to impart a shine or wet look to makeups. Don't use petroleum-based products (such as Vaseline), as they will break down the makeup. Only water-based products like KY Jelly should be used.

The next makeup effect is a scrape. Before starting this makeup either cut or burn a stencil like the example shown here.  You can make several stencils of different sizes to keep in your kit so that you're always ready. Using a highlight color, I sprayed some breakup sporadically on the right side of Matt's forehead.

Then using a bruise red that I added a couple of drops of an olive green to (the complementary color), I sprayed through the stencil; after which the look was accentuated with some random spraying to further break-up the stencil work.

Using a pointed sable makeup brush, I dabbed some dark spots inside the scrapes to add further depth.

To add the finishing touches, use a palette knife to apply some stage blood to each of the scrapes. For this demonstration I used Cinema Secret's Blood Gel, which gives a wonderful realistic look to any wound. Though I didn't do it here, KY Jelly could also be lightly patted over top of the scrapes.

And there you have it--two simple makeup effects that you can re-create anytime the need arises!

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Horizon Baby T-Rex

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

Horizon made some wonderful dino kits before closing their doors. In this issue of, I'll be airbrushing Horizons' "Hatching T-Rex."

This was the first time I had tried COM-Arts' airbrush-ready paint and I'm very glad I did. All that is required to prepare these paints for spraying is a good shaking before use. The paint flows as smooth as cream and seldom clogs the airbrush like most other paints do. As you will read in this article, the paints come in a wide variety of colors. For this project I used "Transparent Kit E," "Transparent Kit F" and "Opaque & Transparent Kit G," respectively.

I primed this little fellow with white primer. Next, I sprayed the egg with flat white. I'm thinking that dinosaur eggs were probably white. After all, most bird eggs are white or an off-white. Most of the versions of this kit I've seen are painted with a grey egg and there's nothing wrong with that; however, I wanted to go with a white egg to make the baby T-Rex's skin tones pop out more.

Once the flat white had dried, I mixed up a batch of light gray and stippled this on using my Iwata Eclipse HP-CS gravity fed airbrush, being sure not to completely cover the white. Next, I mixed up a lighter version of the gray and stippled this on in a broken pattern. The key here is randomness. Don't be predictable in stippling. Be sure you're not putting the same pattern down over and over. The two colors are very subtle and barely register when you look directly at it. This is important so as to break up the base color of the egg and prevent it from looking like a toy. I sealed the work with Testors Dullcoat Flat Lacquer.

Next, I mixed up a dark grey wash and scrubbed it into the cracks and crevices on the egg. This made the detail in the egg pop out. It's not noticeable until the wash is applied. I wanted the egg to look dirty. After all, T-Rex eggs probably took a while to develop and hatch, so it was bound to get dirty from rainstorms and so forth.

After the wash had dried, I again sprayed on a coat of Dullcoat to seal the wash. Finally, I drybrushed flat white to give the egg its final "pop." This made the stippling, wash, and surface detail really stand out.

My favorite part of any project is taking a lifeless piece of vinyl or resin and bringing it to life. I'll be covering several different techniques here that will look complicated that are actually very simple.

The interesting aspect of airbrushing dinos is no one has the authority to tell you that the paint scheme is wrong. I prefer to stick to the general paint scheme of the T-Rex featured in the Jurassic Park films. Now we're about to have some fun.

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

Using Com-Art colours transparent airbrush-ready paint, I began building up colors starting with the Rex's underbelly. I wanted the belly to be an off-white or a very light gray or tan; however, I decided a nice yellow color would complement the hide better. I chose Transparent Ochre. This was misted in an even pattern with a slightly heavier concentration in the folds of the skin to simulate shadows. I strengthened the shadows with Transparent Sienna Brown.

Next, I sprayed dark brown on the back, neck and top of the Rex's head and darkened the skin folds again with Transparent Sienna Brown mixed with a touch of Transparent Black.

The next task at hand is deciding on a skin pattern for the Rex. I would like to imagine that dinos didn't just have a plain pattern on them, so I decided to put tiger stripes on him. My cat "Toonces" was the inspiration for this and I tried to imitate her tabby cat pattern on my new pet lizard. Transparent Black did the trick here. I bordered the stripes with Transparent Sienna Brown again to make him a little more interesting.

Next came the most challenging part, the eyes. Normally I put glass eyes in my dino projects, but I decided to paint these with Golden Brown. Next, I oversprayed Transparent Burnt Orange to add sheen to the eyes, and then I added depth and shading with transparent violet.

I painted a slit pupil with Opaque Black and added several tiny dots of various sizes around the pupil with Transparent Orange. I outlined the dots with Transparent Pale Yellow and highlighted the yellow with Transparent Bright Yellow. A coat of clear floor wax finished the eyes.

I painted the teeth ivory and the claws black, highlighting the claws with transparent Ochre.

This was a very fun and interesting project. If you need paint to make subtle color variations on any project, whether it is T-shirts, automotive or figures, this is the stuff you need!

Any questions? Feel free to E-mail me and visit the "Start Over/W.A.D. Productions" website! features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops Presents

"Intermediate/Advanced-Special Effects & Techniques"

Instructor: Pamela Shanteau, Artist/Author
Two-Day Workshop: October 9-10, 2004

"Basic Airbrush Techniques Complete"

Instructor: Robert Paschal, MFA, Artist/Author
Saturday, November 13, 2004

Above workshops will be held at:
Gallery at the Square
18 East Main St.
Beacon, NY

All equipment/supplies are provided for use in class. For more information, see or call 845.831.4458

Seating is limited so don't delay!


...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 November 2004!