AirbrushTalk©  
Volume 6, Number 6, March 2005

Published six times a year by The Paschal Group, Inc.
Publisher: Robert Paschal
Editor: Jeanne Paschal
E-mail: arttalk6@aol.com
Also see www.arttalk.com — The Newsletter for Visual Artists
 

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With Spring Showers Come Flowers, but We Don't Have to Wait!

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

Spring is a time of renewal, color and vibrancy. Like most of us, I can't wait to see all the fresh textures and tones of flowers that burst out after the gray and chill of winter. No matter where one lives, there is a flash of exuberance when spring rushes onto the scene. But it seems to take forever to get here. Now we don't have to wait for Mother Nature to gift us with her beauty; we can create our own bouquets of color that will brighten the last days of winter and stay fresh and perky in any room for as long as we want.

We can create easy rosebud blossoms with torn paper and airbrushed tones, blooms that never wilt and can even emit fragrance if you choose. Supplies needed include sheets of common copier paper; airbrush colors in the tones you'd like for your blooms (I'm partial to coral, yellow and two-tone buds.); an air source (I love my compact, quiet and very dependable Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Compressor.); an air brush (Tops for this type of work is the Iwata Revolution CR Airbrush - a multipurpose airbrush designed for quick color changes.). Floral wire and green florist's tape will finish your projects off with flair and a more natural look; however, they are not necessary. You can opt for masking tape that is airbrushed with green color instead, and it works great. Any lengths of rigid wire can be used, as can soda straws, twigs or thin, bamboo barbecue skewers.

Simple paper strips and bamboo skewers are the start of gorgeous bouquets of rose blooms.

Begin by tearing strips of paper (with a slightly irregular surface) down the length of a sheet of copy paper. The purpose of the torn edge is to soften the tips of the "petals" and to give a gradual width to the strip so that a more natural bud shape can be created. Tear several strips to get the feel for tearing and shaping the paper as you go, and have them ready for color.  Long, narrow strips with little taper are great for buds or small, miniature blooms. Wide, slightly tapered strips make the best large blossoms.

Strips airbrushed with color and ready for rolling and gathering into stems.

With the strips torn, apply paint to both fronts and backs for rich color. Apply to the top torn edges most heavily, leaving the bottom edges white. This will provide a softened look, and when you coil the paper strips to form the flower, the white will create a realistic look of depth. For two-toned buds, paint backs one color and the front a second tone with white paper in the lower areas to soften the tone as you crinkle and gather the paper onto the florist wire.

To create a small bud-like blossom, use a narrow, tapered strip of paper. Start at the small end and tightly roll the strip around the tip of the skewer or florist's wire to create a tiny "cigar" type roll. Tape it in place to hold it tight.  From this rolled center, gently gather the lower edge to add fullness to the top edge of the bloom.  Catch and fasten the bottom edge of the paper strip to the stem with tape as you continue around the wire. As you near the middle of the strip, widen the size of the gathers to create more openness to the bloom. Finish off the bloom by running the green tape down the stem. If you want to add leaves, tear some rounded/pointed-end shapes, paint them green and add them to the stems as you work the tape down the wire/twig.

Tight centers anchor the blooms and give them depth, texture and more realism. Use a snip of tape to hold the center tight. Tight centers anchor the blooms and give them depth, texture and more realism. Use a snip of tape to hold the center tight.

You can create any color combination that you like. Some of the most impressive blooms are two-toned, light inside and dark outside. Bouquets of all small buds are beautiful and make wonderful decorations and gift embellishments. And vases of larger blooms brighten any spot they are placed.

Voila! Armloads of colorful blossoms anytime you want them!

Fragrance can be added by spritzing the blooms with cologne or perfume. The scent lasts a long time and gives the blooms more realism and appeal. Have fun creating your everlasting bouquets for home, office or gifting.

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Good Sméagol

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

My….Preciousssss! Dan Perez at Dan Perez Studios has sculpted a wonderful bust entitled "Good Sméagol." After seeing this bust at Wonderfest 2003, I HAD to have one and sling some paint on him. Join me on a journey into Middle Earth…….Preciousssss!

To begin, I sprayed the bust with a thin coat of Model Master Fleshtone Shadow Tint. Next, I took the Shadow Tint and mixed in a few drops of MM Fleshtone. I added just enough fleshtone to make the Shadow Tint noticeably lighter than the base color. I thinned it to a water consistency and began to noodle this color over the entire bust. To explain noodling, I spray figure 8's in extremely thin lines. I took care to change the distance between the airbrush and the bust. The point of noodling is to make the skin look blotchy.

I continued to lighten the shadow tint until it was nearly the same shade as the normal fleshtone and continued to noodle a broken pattern on the bust.

I thinned down some Model Master Duck Egg Blue and noodled this on the bust. This looked pretty good, but still wasn't what I was after. I decided to take a chance and added some yellow to the fleshtone mix. Now Sméagol was starting to look like the film! My final application of noodling color was Model Master Fleshtone straight out of the bottle. Sméagol's skin was, for the most part, complete; but he was still lacking something.

I sealed the kit with Testors Dullcoat and added some veins with watercolors and a fine-tipped brush. Next, I noodled my base fleshtone over the bust one more time to partially hide the veins and make them look as if they're under the skin.

I painted the scars on Sméagol's back with Model Master Fleshtone Warm Tint. The color was right, but a little too bright for my liking, so I noodled some more fleshtone over top of the scars. This dulled them down a little and made them look not so fresh.

The base was sponged with various shades of gray and washed with black to look like stone.

The eyes were based in Apple Barrel dolphin gray, with the iris being hand painted in with a variety of blues. The teeth were based with ivory and the mouth was washed with burnt umber, including the teeth.

While I was happy with what I was seeing so far, I still wasn't completely satisfied. The finishing touches on this bust were adding the included hair and some in-scale vines, along with a resin casting of the one ring. Ahhh! My…………PRECIOUSSSSSSS!

In conclusion, if you are a fan of "Lord of the Ring," this little bust is affordable, well cast, and all around wonderful! Special thanks to Dan Perez for his advice on painting the eyes. See ya next time everyone!!

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CANVAS WRAP

by A.D. Cook
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

In our second installment of CANVAS WRAP, we're going to get the background painted.

I typically paint back to front, so I start by removing acetate pieces to expose the background area, leaving our lady covered for now. Separate the pieces by gently folding the acetate back against the scores to pop the individual pieces apart. If you've scored the acetate properly, they will come apart quite easily. If you encounter resistance, take your knife and carefully rescore the lines as needed. Avoid pulling the acetate so as not to distort it. The removed acetate pieces get taped to the studio wall for future use. To make life a bit easier, I position them in place like a large puzzle.

This is a good time to mix some paint. This painting is monochromatic, meaning it'll appear as a one-color painting when finished. I mix a selection of colors to get the desired blue I'm looking for, but you could paint it any color you want. I wanted a winter-like feeling for this piece, so a dark blue seemed like the obvious choice.

The wall surface that our model is leaning against gets painted first. (Normally, working back to front, I'd paint the sky area first, but in this case I'm painting the wall to establish my darkest values.) My first step is to get some color down, so using an Iwata LPH-50 Spray Gun I lightly build up the value to create an even fill of blue. Keep this light as we'll be adding texture and it'll be important that it show through. It's always easier to darken later.

Next, I switch to an Iwata HP-C to add stipple effect - lots and lots of stipple. To do this, remove the nozzle from the front of the airbrush and crank your air pressure up to 50 PSI. Spray the background to keep darkening it, but now you'll get a nice coarse texture instead of the fine spray offered by the spray gun. Vary the air pressure, spraying some texture at 30 PSI, 40 PSI, and then 20 PSI until you achieve the desired result. This is a good thing to practice on scrap before approaching your painting. With a little practice you can create shading using the coarse texture rather nicely. Next, I switch to Com-Art Opaque Black and repeat the process, adding shadows under her hand and as needed. Then I replace the nozzle on my airbrush and I glaze over everything with my blue again so that my black becomes a blue-black, which looks more interesting than just straight black.

Allow the background to thoroughly dry (usually overnight), and then mask over everything that was previously painted. At this point, I'm also going to keep the torso protected as I prepare to paint the area behind her and the wall. I've used masking tape, masking paper and acetate to do everything here, but you could just as easily use frisket for this. If you're going to use masking tape, make sure it's good quality. (I only use 3M brand tapes because they're easy to remove and don't leave residue behind.) Notice at this point that I've used tape (or frisket) where I want a crisp edge and acetate masking where I want softer edges. Also, the acetate covering the torso has never been removed from the canvas, ensuring an exact edge. This background is now ready to paint.

I wanted the area behind our lovely lady to have a winter-like feeling. To achieve this, I start by airbrushing a blend of my blue - darker in the upper right-hand corner fading to lighter in the bottom left-hand corner. This is all painted with an HP-C, working slowly to keep the color light. Next, I lay the painting on the floor and randomly disperse lentils. Now spray another gradation with the beans in place, but rather than spraying directly at the lentils, spray at an angle (again, this is something worth playing around with on scrap before jumping straight to your painting). Be sure to spray lightly here, making sure you don't blow the lentils around. (This blend was sprayed at about 15 PSI, again using the HP-C.) Remove the lentils and we're back to the easel.

My next and final step is to spray over the entire area with a light color: a mixture of Com-Art White mixed with a few drops of my blue color. All I'm trying to do here is ghost back the background and take the edge off the lentil shapes. Finally, I can now unwrap my canvas.

The background is now finished and has a lot of impact for what is really a simple technique. Mixing up the textures adds flavor to your painting and keeps the viewer interested.

In the next installment of CANVAS WRAP we'll start painting the figure. I can hardly wait!

A.D. Cook is an artist based out of Portland, Oregon. Since buying his first airbrush nearly 30 years ago, he has continued to paint in many media, including dozens of larger-than-life-sized murals for the Hollywood Video stores, commissioned works, and fine art paintings. His current works are life-size and larger fine art nudes and figurative paintings.

Visit A.D. Cook's web site at http://www.ADCookFineArt.com to learn more.

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The Hyde Project

by Alex Castro
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

John Barrymore's Mr. Hyde 1/6th Scale, Resin Model Kit by Janus Work-in-Progress by Alex Castro.

John Barrymore's classic version of Mr. Hyde is a take-off on Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This model was made by Janus and sculptured by William Paquet. In my opinion, of all the Hyde kits, I would consider this model one of the best. If you are into horror figures, this collectible is a must have for your classic horror collection. As a baby boomer growing up in the horror halcyon days of the late Sixties, this type of horror model holds a special place in my heart.

So let's get started. First examine what's in the box to determine if there are any items missing or pieces that require extensive repairs. I appreciate a well-made kit; I don't believe that the manufacturer's neglect or poor workmanship is part of my creative process. It is at this point that you can determine if you need any parts, need to send the kit back or move ahead.

Six parts in this kit. Note the optional elongated hat!
Preparing the Kit

For the purpose of this article, I will concentrate on the face. First I check for air holes or chip outs in the face, ears, teeth and hair. I then look for cast lines. The better kits have very fine cast lines and position them in areas that do not impact the kit. One of the things that I didn't like was that the eyes were sculptured in a fixed position, therefore not allowing me to add my creativity. However, overall the kit was excellently sculptured and the face expresses plenty of emotion. One of my goals in painting the kit was to try to capture the transition from human to beast, showing the emerging beast/evil but not entirely have it dominate the human side. To do this I exploited the character lines and concentrated on Hyde's teeth and bulging eyes.

I prepare the kit by sanding the cast lines and filling in the air holes with putty. I do this carefully so as not to flatten the facial features. Follow this by washing the head to get rid of any mold residue. To make it easier to hold the head, I carefully drill a tiny hole to insert a small pin in the middle of the bottom part of the neck. I then use the eraser of the pencil to pin the head or place it in an adjustable vice.

Mr. Hyde's resin head nicely sculptured by William Paquet.
Two-Part Priming Technique

Silver Primer - Using Krylon Bright Silver #1401 I spray some paint on a piece of paper. Using a hand brush, I silver line all the deep folds and relief areas around the face and hair. This process will prevent you from over spraying the piece. Once this is complete, I spray, very lightly, the entire head with the silver primer. This dries to the touch within 15 minutes. The silver paint covers the resin regardless of color. It also helps to bring out imperfections you normally can't see and acts as a ground for the white primer.

White Primer - Once the silvering is complete, I then white line all the deep folds and relief areas using Tamiya flat white paint. You can do this by using a hand brush or the Iwata airbrush HP - A (.2mm nozzle). For wider areas I use the Iwata HP - C. For the final white priming, I use the new Iwata Eclipse G6, which is great for large areas.

Silver Priming Stage. White Priming Stage. Apply Tamiya XF 15 Flesh evenly.
This shows the model assembled and flesh parts in the kit.

Spraying Tip: To spray, begin before the piece and stop spraying after the piece, which creates an even coat of paint. Most airbrushes splatter at the starting point and at the stopping point. I prefer to think of the spray as a dusting.

A Word on Airbrushing: There is probably no other instrument that has impacted the miniature industry as much as the airbrush. The airbrush sprays a pattern of delicate soft tones and lines, creating realistic effects that are not obtainable with a hand brush. This is important when trying to achieve realistic skin tones.

Shooting the Planes - The other point we must consider is that with miniatures, unlike a flat canvas, we are confronted with a landscape of high peaks and low valleys that vary from rough to smooth, large to small, and from regular shapes to irregular forms. It is this surface that I refer to as surface planes. I paint these surfaces by spraying at an angle, hitting the high points. This is done by the angle of the airbrush. I call this shooting the planes or angle spraying. On the head most of this spraying is done from left and right angles and from angles over and behind the head!

Painting the Flesh
Smoothing technique - requires washing after every stage.

Since I was not comfortable with the range of flesh paints in the market that would provide me with a palette of flesh tones, I created my own: Gum base (1 part flesh + 1 part flat yellow + 1 part flat red), Gum #2 (½ Gum #3 + ½ flesh), Gum #3 (½ Gum #4 + ½ flesh) and Gum #4 (½ Gum Base + ½ flesh).

Using Tamiya flat flesh acrylic paint, I outline the wrinkles or relief areas in the face with a small hand bush (Winsor & Newton Series # 7). I then soften this using the Iwata HP-A. I follow this by spraying the entire face using the Iwata HP-C, which provides me with a broader and smoother coat. Once this is complete, I wash the face under water and scrub lightly using a flat bristle brush. As a rule of thumb, I use a brush twice the size of the area to be washed. I call this the smoothing technique because it helps eliminate rough spots and smoothes the skin. I use the smoothing technique after every major stage.

Outline relief areas with Tamiya XF-66 Gray.
Ghost Tone Effect, note transparency.

The Gray Tone: Once the face has been painted with the color flesh, I outline the relief areas like the eye sockets, inside of the ears and wherever there is depth with Tamiya light gray. I apply this lightly, almost in a wash, but not too fluid because I don't want hard lines or ridges to develop. Using a hand brush and the Iwata HP-A, I gently go over these areas. Now take the Iwata HP-C, fill the cup with Tamiya light gray and set the air compressor to 35 PSI. To get the right consistency, I take a new bottle of flat gray (3/4 oz. bottle) and add alcohol (regular rubbing alcohol) to the top. Shake and stir well. Take an old airbrush needle, and using the back side of the needle, dip it in and pull it quickly straight out. You should get a rapid series of drops. If the drip is too slow the mixture is too thick. Before you spray, test the spray on a white piece of paper to check for splattering and consistency. Depending on the mixture of paint, you may want to turn your compressor up or down. Open the airbrush to give you a mist spray, making sure there is no splattering. I suggest you obtain the Iwata crowns to avoid accumulation of paint at the nozzle tip.

Notice vermillion on the cheek, nose, and earlobe; integrator under the eyes and corner of eyes; separator applied to nostrils and hairline.

Ghost Tone Effect: Apply the light gray in a mist all around using the HP-C. Here you want to achieve a transparent coating that blends in with the gray lining but allows you to see the base flesh color as well.

Then apply Gum #3 to all your non-relief areas pushing back the gray tones but still allowing the grays to show through. Here you are reinstating the flesh areas.

Using Gum #4, spray the areas (shooting the planes), such as the cheeks, Adam's apple, earlobes, inside of the mouth, lower lip, temple and the bottom tip of the nose.

Using the Separator-Soot color (combination of flat brown and flat black + one eye drop of alcohol), paint the nostrils and gently paint the hairline separating the hair from the gray tones.

Using the Integrator color (flat gray and Gum #3 = greenish gray) blend the areas such as under the eyes, corner of the eyes, around the nose, or in areas that you need to reinstate the gray tone. This develops the character lines. Also using the integrator, airbrush lightly the veins on top. When you do this you get a residue of paint on the sides of the veins.

Use soot for beard applying hatching technique. Apply backstroke technique using soot for hair.

Beard - I also use the Soot paint for the development of the beard. Using the hatching technique in a backward stroke (suggest that you practice on a piece of paper), identify the direction of the beard mask (the area where the beard appears on the face). And follow the direction of the hair, going under the neck and around the chin.

Hair - Using the soot color, backstroke the hair. Where the hair meets the flesh, gently spray with Gum #3 to soften the edges and then integrate the area by using a backward stroke with flat brown. This is the base color of the hair around the edges. Go around using Gum #3 in between the stroke you just completed with flat brown. Finally using soot, paint in between the strokes. You want to achieve a well blended but uneven edge, giving you a random look. Use the same approach for the part in the middle of the hair. Leave a little flesh in the middle and for each side use flat brown, Gum #3 and soot.

Dull Cote - The dull cote gives your work a transparent and optical appearance to the skin; it also protects the work from one level to the next. I recommend that you dull cote after every major stage.

Paint eyeballs white. Paint the outside of cornea and pupil black; paint inside of cornea silver. Use clear blue to glaze over the silver.

Eyes - The eyeballs are painted flat white. Sometimes I mix a little bit of gray to tone down the white. Paint the eye area all white and paint the circle around the cornea and pupil black. Take Krylon Bright Silver paint and gently paint the cornea of the eye silver leaving the edge and the pupil black. Then take Tamiya clear blue X-25 and glaze over the silver. To close the eye, turn the head at an angle, take flat black and paint the inside of the top eyelid. Take a little gum base and add it to the corner of the tear duck for effect; turn the head to see the inside of the bottom lid and paint the lid with Gum #4. Using Tamiya X-27 clear red, paint around the white of the eye tiny jagged lines. When this dries, apply a light tint of clear red (very transparent) coat to the eye, giving the eye a bloodshot effect.

Use flat black to paint the inside of the top eyelid. Paint the bottom of the eyelid and the corner of the tear duct using Gum #4. Using X-27 clear red, paint around the white of the eye tiny jagged lines.
Paint inside of mouth with Gum #4.

Mouth & Teeth - Paint the mouth and teeth with Gum #4. The objective here is to achieve a system of opposition: acrylic vs. enamel. The mouth is painted with acrylic paint Gum #4 and the teeth are painted with enamel paint Testor's light ivory. Enamel paint has a luster to it. Note that with the system of opposition, if you make a mistake you can clean it up without disturbing the acrylic paint. Turn the head over. Paint the back teeth first. To paint the front teeth using Testor's light ivory and a hand brush, start at the top, stroke down and away from the gum leaving the in between spaces with the original Gum #4. The point here is to start with nice teeth and slowly evolve to the deterioration process. To do this use flat brown and flat yellow. Apply a little at a time until you are satisfied with the results. Then take the flat brown and give it a very thin wash; just enough to fill the top cracks of the teeth. Then use a small amount of clear paint to indicate saliva in the mouth.

Paint teeth from back to front. Side view of teeth. Apply Enamel, Testor's light ivory.

Lips - I touchup the top lip using a little of Gum #3 and Gum #4. However, the focus is on the lower lip. Using the hatching stroke effect, apply Gum #3 followed by Gum #4. Take regular flesh paint and make tiny hatch lines. Apply dull cote. Follow this by adding a little floor wax to the mouth and eyes, giving them a wet appearance.

Finished lips and mouth. Notice the impact that applying flat yellow and a thin wash of flat brown makes in giving the teeth a rotting appearance important for horror.

The head is now complete.

Stay-tuned for the completion of Mr. Hyde's kit that includes the hand and the clothing.

To obtain more in depth knowledge of painting techniques, read Alex's new book, The Art of Painting Miniatures: Faces & Figures, published by Compendium Publishers LTD. You can view his website at www.alexcastro.com.

Alex Castro is an artist/author with over 30 years of experience in art. He offers painting services and is available for individual tutoring or group workshops. He can be reached by email at alexdoriscastro@msn.com.

WatercolorTalk.com
WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

New Products for the Airbrush Painter

New Artool Pin-Up Girlies Freehand Airbrush Templates - Designed by Deborah Mahan

NEW Artool Pin-Up Girlies Freehand Airbrush TemplatesArtool Products Company, Portland, Oregon, USA, is excited to announce the release and availability of the new Artool Pin-Up Girlies Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Deborah Mahan. Pin-Up Girlies, whether they have been the likeness' of Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe or Betty Page, have historically adorned the pages of a zillion calendars, nose art on WWII aircraft and advertising signage for countless products, and have been around longer than rock 'n roll! And we all remember those sexy mud flaps on the backs of big rigs…with the chrome Girlies. You've either followed or ogled them for miles on the highway! Deborah Mahan, whose custom airbrush art now graces a large number of custom hotrods and motorcycles, now works alongside Craig Fraser, The Artool Skull Master!, in his custom painting shop, Air Syndicate, in Southern California.

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The new Artool Pin-Up Girlies Freehand Airbrush Templates by Deborah Mahan are now available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier. For a complete listing of the Iwata-Medea-Artool catalog on the Web, go to www.artoolproducts.com.

New Airbrush Colors from Jacquard

Jacquard Airbrush Colors Exciter PacksRupert Gibbon & Spider, Inc., manufacturers of Jacquard Products, is pleased to announce their new Airbrush Colors. The three Airbrush Colors Exciter Packs are grouped by their color characteristics: Transparent, Metallic, and Opaque. Each Exciter contains 8 great colors plus a clear varnish. They are specifically formulated for airbrushing, are intermixable and clean up with water. Airbrush Colors are suitable for use on all surfaces, including fabric, leather, wood, plastic and metal! The varnish included is for added durability on non-porous surfaces as a topcoat.

The Airbrush Colors packaging is also the first of Jacquard's products to feature International Labeling. Each package contains information and instructions in English, Spanish, French and German. This will be a fantastic benefit for multilingual customers.

See www.jacquardproducts.com for full product line information or call 1-800-442-0455 for a free catalog.

ARTtalk
...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

ARTtalk.com Presents

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June 3-5, 2005
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June 3
"Basic Airbrush Complete"
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Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in May 2005!