AirbrushTalk©  
Volume 7, Number 1, May 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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Scrapbooking Fun

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

Cover distracting background clutter by shadowing behind your subject.

With today's interest in preservation of family history and recording all events with photos and other memorabilia, there are new windows of opportunity for personal creativity. Within this window are several applications where airbrush work can mean the difference between a good-looking image and an exceptional one. You might consider using an airbrush to embellish scrapbook pages as a background for other "appliqué" additions and then design and create those embellishments with airbrush colors. Masking of images and creative paper "frames" are some of the ways you can create unique looks for your treasured photos. Touch-up or masking with an airbrush can transform an ordinary photo into a spectacular one. Following are several examples of ways to use an airbrush to create special images and embellishments that will add to your airbrush skills and be loads of fun in the process.

"Mountains" are easy to create using torn paper masks and receding tones.

It's easy to create your own accents like decorative paper supports for the photos and mementos you use on your pages. It is really simple to do and the result will be personal and eye catching. All you will need to do the base sheets is an airbrush, an air source, stationery quality white paper (high quality card stock is perfect), and acrylic airbrush paints in the colors you desire. For specialty photo surrounds (paper frames) you will also need a stencil knife or other cutting device, a pencil, scrap paper and an eraser. Special effects can be easy with the application of airbrushed acrylics onto colored card stock or papers.

Torn paper "clouds" ready for painting with the Iwata Revolution HP-CR R4500 airbrush. This airbrush is perfect for quick color changes.

To create full pages of color to use as background tones for your photos and collected items you can use techniques used to improve airbrush control and skill. Torn paper shapes laid over the surface and lightly misted in a sky tone will give the illusion of clouds. This style of background sheet is great for beach photos, picnic shots and family reunion pics where the outdoors is a vital part of the event. Tear your paper "clouds" and lay them, one at a time, onto the surface. Airbrush over the torn shapes to create lovely overall designs. The result will be the look of bright blue sky and soft white clouds. Alternatively, the same torn paper technique can be used to create the look of receding mountains. Simply tear irregular strips rather than "clumps" and select earth tones for the mountains. To give the look of fading into the distance, progressively soften the tones you apply, just like the natural look of mountains fading into the distance. Camping, hiking, trail biking and similar photos are perfect for this type of background.

Sheet in progress.
Finished page with color backed photos on the cloud design.

After creating the overall scrapbook sheets, you will want to coordinate small frames and surrounds for the photos. These frames and backing pieces can be tied directly to your original sheets by using the same colors to make the mini frames and background papers. For instance, if you have a background sheet of clouds and sky, blue tones that complement the sky color and clear whites to match the clouds will work very well as embellishments around the photos on that page. Contrasting or complementary colors also add a bit of zing to your presentation. By using a combination of colors you can create a dynamic look with very little effort.

When you design scrapbook pages for yourself, think of friends and family, too. Completed pages make excellent gifts and help them enjoy a history of the family as well. Framing of scrapbook pages is an excellent way to enjoy the collections of photos and mementos every day. Be creative and have fun!


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Cellar Cast Cave Troll

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

Greetings everybody! I hope you enjoyed last issues' article about Dan Perez' excellent "Good Smeagol" bust. This time around I'll be breathing life into Cellar Casts' AWESOME Cave Troll!

This large scale bust gave me another excuse to use my new Iwata Eclipse G6 airbrush. Of all the airbrushes I use on a regular basis, this is the workhorse for me. This particular brush cut my work time to a fraction of what it would have been had I used another smaller brush.

Here you can see that I've sprayed the bust with a coat of automotive gray primer. Seeing as this creature is mainly colored in grays, the automotive color was just what I needed as a foundation.

Here you can see that I've sprayed the chest and belly with Badger Freak Flex Rotten Tooth Tan and sprayed the head and back with a mixture of aircraft gray and flat black. This gave me a good foundation to begin noodling. You might think the colors are too dark and, in truth, they are, but the noodling will take care of that.

This is the result after noodling Freak Flex Grave Parlor Gray, Dead Guy Gray, and Gravestone Gray. The tool of choice here was an Iwata Eclipse HP CS. This bust is so large that I have to hold it in one arm and spray with the other. Noodling is such an erratic technique that I'm VERY glad the Eclipse comes packaged with a lid for the paint cup. With the bust being as big as it is, I had a LOT of paint in the cup. The lid prevented sloshing and turning another good shirt into a dust rag.

After a wash of dark grey to bring out the highlights, I went back with Freak Flex Dead Guy Gray and added some shadows along the head, neck and back. This looked very subtle but made the bust look more realistic.

I used Freak Flex Gravestone Gray for the chest and highlights, being very careful not to overdo the shades. I want this to look real, not like a toy.

Still not satisfied, I gave the bust a glaze with flat black. This really amazed me at the result. I actually got a little scared looking at it!

For the mouth, I base coated it with Freak Flex Jezebel Pink. Next, I washed the mouth with Burnt Umber to make the teeth look nice and disgusting, followed by a dry brushing of ivory. I washed the mouth with a combination of burnt umber and black.

The base was sprayed with Cermacoat Hippo Gray and sponged with pewter and country gray. A black wash brought out the detail and I finished with a dry brushing of white.

This was a fun project that allowed me to employ both my favorite brushes and an eye popper at the model shows! See ya next issue!

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Hi-Definition and Its Impact on Makeup

by Bradley M. Look

Recently, I received an email from a friend of mine in England, John Woodbridge. In his email, John asked if I had any pointers on the impact of hi-definition on makeup. After all, we had stared season four on the series Star Trek Enterprise, shooting all principal photography in this new format.

I have to tell you that when I had first heard during our hiatus that we were going to start shooting in HDTV, I had extreme reservations. Every production that I had ever worked on was shot on cellulose (film). I thought back to an excursion I had made to my neighborhood Circuit City store where I firsthand got to see an example of a program on hi-definition television. It was truly amazing. There was such clarity to the image! As I stood there marveling at a lifelike image, a HDTV program on a loop was already in progress. A woman on the screen was talking about the virtues of HDTV over those of regular television sets. While the quality of the image was truly impressive, the application of the woman's makeup was painfully obvious. Every section of the actress' makeup application was noticeable to the naked eye! Even a non-makeup artist could see where the makeup stopped and started. The HDTV image was like looking at hyper reality. Pores in the skin were visible. Unevenness to the lipstick application couldn't be missed. There were even a few strands of hair that hadn't been smoothed into place by the on-set hairdresser that stood out.

Back in September 29, 1996, TV GUIDE featured an article, "A New Wrinkle in Video Technology," in the Robins Report (page 57). Author J. Max Robins wrote about a new technology that would greatly impact how an actor would appear on camera. 60 Minutes, 20/20, and Dateline NBC had already been using it regularly on their anchors. What is it you ask? A camera system that makes wrinkles disappear. In fact, the technology was deemed so successful that special Emmy awards were given to its developers. "A good technician operating one of these cameras can really take years off someone's face," stated a veteran network news technician in the article.

The technology revolution is upon us as we have moved into the next century. The cost differences between shooting an episodic series on film versus digital hi-definition are enormous. While there is a budgetary balancing act going on with production companies, the end results must still be high. Filmmakers such as George Lucas (STAR WARS: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith) and Michael Mann (COLLATERAL) are also embracing this new medium as they shoot their respective features. A bonus of this techno marvel is that you can film in relatively low light levels and still get amazing clarity of image.

With a continuing growing number of productions adopting the hi-definition digital medium, makeup artists and hairdressers have had to do a lot of experimenting to learn what works and doesn't in HD. Of course this isn't unlike the process that artisans went through when color was first introduced to television. *

As the old adage goes, "Less is more," and this is quite true when applying makeup for this medium. Traditionally, a makeup artist will apply concealer to the dark areas under the eyes. The challenge is to use only enough to conceal the defect and still not be detectable on HD. This can be quite challenging considering that many manufacturers of under eye concealers can have a higher percentage of pigment in their product that can appear to be dense on camera unless properly blended down. Unlike film, in HD everything shows.

Because HD cameras are more sensitive to reds than standard film and video equipment, some makeup testing might be in order to determine if a blush you have in mind to use will photograph correctly. On STAR TREK ENTERPRISE we used Plus 8 Digital (www.plus8digital.com) cameras. The makeup department soon discovered that cool reds became more highly saturated. So we found that warmer or neutral colors worked better. For example, coral lipsticks and blushers photographed more lifelike or real, whereas cooler lipstick colors became more "neonish" and could look more like Rocky Horror lips!

While it is possible to apply a traditional beauty makeup using sponges and brushes, extremely great care must be taken in the blending of the product on the face. Beauty/corrective makeups can be given a more natural, polished look if an airbrush foundation is carefully hazed over the finished makeup. The airbrush also helps in removing any potential blending problems.

Another issue that becomes much more critical in HD is the correct matching of makeup to the actor's skin tone. You shouldn't be aware of where makeup starts and stops. This is especially crucial when working with darker complexioned actors such as African-Americans. If you go too dark or too light it will be obvious on HD.

Besides just straight/corrective makeup, ENTERPRISE routinely used character prosthetics (or commonly referred to in the industry as "appliances") and special makeup effects, such as cuts, bruises, and burns. One of the first things I discovered is that if your actor has any facial hair or peach fuzz next to an appliance edge, the HD cameras will create a line where none exists to the naked eye! Once I was studying the Dr. Phlox makeup that I routinely applied on one of the HD monitors and was horrified to spot the complete line to the edge of the appliance around the actor's left eye. How could the edge have completely lifted? I raced onto the set to examine the problem closer. To my relief I soon discovered that the edge hadn't lifted at all, but that my actor had a little peach fuzz on his cheek that the HD cameras were reading as an edge! The problem was remedied quickly by running a personal hair trimmer over the spot.

Further problems can arise if an appliance edge isn't properly blended off onto the actor's skin. A texture jump becomes very apparent on the HD monitor. It's important to blend off the edge of the appliance onto the skin using a product such as Duo Adhesive. Traditionally, makeup artists have always been able to salvage a bad appliance edge using some artful coloring to mask the problem. Such isn't the case with HD. While attending the second annual Oscar® nominated Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist symposium, makeup artist Bill Corso--who applied Jim Carrey's LEMONY SNICKET'S Count Olaf character makeup--mentioned this very problem on the feature. As he stated, color alone could no longer be used to correct an appliance flaw, as the camera would still see it. Other means were necessary. Even the successful sculpting of appliances is determined by the complete matching of pore texture to that of the actors. Some sculptors will even create rubber donor texture stamps taken directly from the life cast that they are working on.

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When making up an appliance, use base shades that are closer in value to each other as the HD camera can read a jump in the coloring. For example, with blush color I will mix some of the base color into it so as to give a more natural appearance. Again, I find that some controlled airbrushing can help with any potential problems. Also, using Iwata's Hi-line airbrushes to spatter some light breakup of color imparts a more organic appearance.

And this brings me to one final problem area for HD cameras: lace fronted wigs. Lace resembles a fine mesh material (similar to that of, say, bridal tulle), of which the fronts of wigs are constructed. Each hair is individually tied into the lace so as to create a very realistic hairline. Unfortunately, we discovered that the lace would read on camera as a texture jump. This was also the same problem that Michael Mann ran into with Tom Cruise's wig on COLLATERAL, which is why they went through four hairdressers to find a solution to this difficulty. We discovered on our show that two things would help to remedy this dilemma. First, cut excess lace off the front. And secondly, a light spatter from our Iwata airbrushes (like the Hi-Line model) over the lace and onto the actor's surrounding skin would give a subtle breakup so that the HD cameras were less likely to catch the edge.

When all is said and done, you can apply the most perfect makeup in the world, but if it isn't properly lit there's not much you can do to salvage it. That's why you always want to make a friend with the director of photography on the set because he or she can make or break your work.

So the next time you think to yourself those immortal words spoken by Gloria Swanson in SUNSET BOULEVARD, "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!" check the HD monitor first to make sure your actor looks like Swanson and not Burnett.

• For more information on this topic, read pages 13 and 14 of STAR TREK: ALIENS & ARTIFACTS co-written by Bradley M. Look.

You can also read further on the topic of Hi Definition in the magazine Below the Line.

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

1/6th scale, Vinyl kit from Geometric painted by Alex Castro Using Iwata airbrushes.

Ambassador Spock

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

I am a longtime viewer and admirer of the Star Trek series. One of my favorite characters is Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of Mr. Spock. The character brings to mind logic, integrity and tons of character! This long-retired model from Geometric is one of the best interpretations of Leonard Nimoy ever produced in any format. He stands about 12" tall, 1/6 scale and was inspired by his cameo appearance on "Next Generation" originally released as a limited edition. When viewing this kit, one is immediately struck by the resemblance of Spock's face. You can't help in commenting that's HIM! This is a must have for serious-minded Star Trek collectors.

In this article I will focus on Spock's head and face.

Note the excess vinyl in the neck area of Spock's head.

A Word on Vinyl

Vinyl kits are different from plastic and resin kits not only in the type of material they're made of but also because of the excess vinyl that the kit contains. This vinyl must be removed with a sharp knife or a Xacto knife #11 blade. I must emphasize that if the excess vinyl is not skillfully removed, the kit can be ruined even before you start. Vinyl also requires the use of heat. You can use a hair blow-dryer or hot water. Again, I must emphasize the importance of being extra CAUTIOUS when trimming the excess vinyl and the use of heat.

Getting Started

Using a Xacto knife # 11 blade, I poke small slits like this (- - - -) around the neck area. Then I insert the tip of the blade in the slit at an angle, pointing away from me. Then, in a sawing manner, I cut the excess vinyl around the neck. Note that it is a good idea to apply heat to the area that will be trimmed for a few minutes before cutting. This will make the vinyl softer and easier to cut.

Silvering Technique.

The Priming Process

The priming stage is very important. As I discuss in my book, The Art of Painting Miniatures: Faces & Figures, published by Compendium Publishers, "it is the foundation for the painting process." This process brings out the flaws not visible to the eye prior to spraying and acts as a gripping agent for the paint.

Silvering the piece: First I take a piece of paper and I spray silver paint. I use Krylon Bright Silver 1401. Using the silver paint I spray on a piece of paper and then I dab a hand brush in the paint. Using the hand brush, I gently paint around the deep relief areas. This is necessary so as not to spray too much paint while trying to get into the relief areas. I follow this by gently spraying the entire head and face in a light dusting fashion using the Krylon spray.

White primer is applied after the silvering technique.

Using the white primer: Once the silvering is complete, I use a hand brush and an Iwata HP-AH airbrush with Tamiya flat white to paint around the deep relief areas. Then using the Iwata HP-BE 1 airbrush, I spray Tamiya flat white paint on the entire face and head.

Painting the Skin

Formula: The flesh formula is made with Tamiya acrylic flat paints.

Gum Base:  flat flesh + flat yellow + flat red in equal parts
Gum #4:  ½ jar of Gum Base + ½ jar of flat flesh
Gum #3:  ½ jar of Gum #4 + ½ jar of flat flesh
Gum #2:  ½ jar of Gum #3 + ½ jar of flat flesh
Gum #1:  ½ jar of Gum #2 + ½ jar of flat flesh
Soot:  Flat Brown & Flat Black in equal parts

Note: From here on, I use the Iwata HP-AH for all airbrushing of small areas, the Iwata HP-CH for medium size areas, and Winsor & Newton # 7 series hand brushes as needed.

Gum #3 is applied after the flesh & gray tones. Note, the face must hold its own even without the eyes.

Applying Flesh: I repeat the same process I used in priming the piece to apply Tamiya flat flesh paint. Once this is completed, I apply the smoothing technique. This involves washing and brushing the piece under running water, which helps create a buttery skin effect. Use this technique after every major painting phase.

Gray Tones: I apply Tamiya flat gray using a hand brush in all the deep relief areas and wrinkles of the head and face. I then airbrush the area in a mist of gray paint. Do this carefully so that the flesh paint shows through the gray (Ghost Tone).

Character development is accomplished by manipulating or playing up or down the wrinkles and lines on the face. The character can be accented or deemphasized. I use a mixture of Gum colors and gray paint to blend in. I use soot to darken deep lines in the face (integrator).

Using Gum #3, I reinstate the flesh areas but allow the gray accents to come through in the relief areas.

Dull Cote: Using Testors Dull Cote, spray the piece. This protects the work you have already completed and gives the skin an optical effect. Use Dull Cote after every major stage.

Painting the Hair

I also use the color soot as a separator to paint the real dark areas and the hairline around the head. I paint the hair and eyebrows with the same mixture. The separator mixture leans toward more black. I also use a small amount of flat blue and gray to accent the highlights of the hair.

Note the application of vermillion on the mouth area and the sensitivity of the lips.

Painting the Low and High Extremities

To bring out the lower extremities, I spray gum #4 to the bottom of the cheeks, bottom of the nose, ear lobes, temple, mouth and inner corners of the eyes. I gently airbrush the higher extremities by highlighting them with gum # 2 and #1. This brings out the bone structure and highlights in the face. I then go over the lower lip in a hatch effect with vermillion and gum #4 for effect. For more depth in the painting stage, read Chapter 7, Painting the Skin, in the Art of Painting Miniatures: Faces & Figures.

Notice the wax effect on the eyes. Note: I use the catch light approach instead of the fix light. In the fix light approach, which gives you a permanent highlight, you carefully rotate the head under direct light and where the light hits the eyes I apply a small dot of white paint in a circular motion.

Painting the Eyes

To paint the eyes, I start by painting them white. Then I add a little gray or flesh with the white to tone it down. I call this stage the opening of the eye. I use silver paint for the cornea followed by black paint around the edges and pupils. Note: For the cornea I use flat brown mixed with Tamiya clear paint, which is glazed on so as not to remove the silver and allows it to come through. Then I add a tiny amount of gum base to the tear duct. To close the eye, I paint the top eyelid with soot (mixture contains more black); then I use Gum #4 on the bottom part of the eye to close it. For the final effect, I wax the eye using floor wax.

Vinyl Head. Silver Primed Head. White Primed Head.
Flesh tone applied to face. The development of the eyes and hair (notice gray tones slightly coming through the flesh tones). Finished Head & Face..

Ambassador Spock, Painted by Alex Castro. Close-up of the finished model.

In a final note, the use of these techniques evolves the piece, giving it lifelike qualities. The techniques used here are not difficult but do require practice. Certainly, it will provide hours of enjoyment. Painting miniatures is an art to be enjoyed!

Happy Painting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Airbrush Products

New Airbrush Series from Iwata-Medea

The new Iwata Revolution Series HP-TR1 and HP-TR2 Airbrushes feature a unique pistol trigger that is comfortable and smooth. Comfort also comes with the pistol grip filter. Not just a hand-rest, this filter is your last defense against moisture. The ergonomic, balanced handle makes for easy, level spraying. The two models are dual-action, internal-mix airbrushes, which means that you have full control over your paint and spray just like with conventional airbrushes. All HP-TR models include an Iwata Pistol-Grip Filter and a ½ oz. side-mount color cup. They can also be used with Iwata 1 oz. and 2 oz. side-mount bottle sets, which are available separately. See your dealer and visit www.iwata-medea.com.

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

Art in the Adirondacks

The Indian Lake (NY) Events Department in cooperation with ARTtalk.com will host "Art in the Adirondacks," a unique opportunity for students to immerse themselves in intense art workshops with renowned artists. Classes will be held June 3-5 in Indian Lake, NY, in the scenic Adirondacks.

  • Basic/Intermediate Airbrush Techniques (6 hours) will be taught June 3 by award-winning teacher and artist/author Robert Paschal, and all equipment/materials will be provided.
  • Automotive and Motorcycle Airbrushing (2 days, 12 hours total) will be taught June 4-5 by acclaimed artist/author Pamela Shanteau. In this unique hands-on workshop, Pamela will share her moneymaking secrets and show you everything you need to know to paint skulls and freehand flames. All materials are provided for use in class, and a basic working knowledge of airbrush technique is a prerequisite. Do not pass up this unique opportunity!

ARTtalk.com - Gallery at the Square

  • Basic/Intermediate Airbrush Techniques with Robert Paschal August 20, 2005 Beacon, NY
  • Pre-registration is required for all the above classes. For more information, visit www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm or call (845) 831-1043.

 

 

 

 

Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in July 2005!