Removing the Little Obstacles to Your Creativity
By Janean S. Thompson
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Ever have those days when the slightest little thing feels like a major roadblock, a huge boulder in the road obscuring your creative nature? I would bet that you and every other creative mind have had the same experience. Some of the biggest obstacles are the preparation needed to start working and then the inevitable cleanup after your airbrush session. As a long-time artist, I have let these two relatively simple segments of art creation stop me cold, paralyzing my actions. When I stepped back to look at what the reasons for the blocks were, I was amazed to see how simple the impediments were to remove.
When you get ready to do airbrush work, unless you are fortunate to have a studio always waiting for you to enter and immediately begin working, there are certain steps you must complete before the excitement and fun of actually airbrushing can begin. Gathering the subliminal tools and gadgets that will assist you might take longer than the actual creative time itself. That was my situation.
Every time I got ready to practice, experiment or create with my airbrush, I had to gather an armload of materials. Over and above the surface I was going to work on, there were many items associated with airbrush maintenance, surface protection and cleanup. Many times I let this gathering and assembly suffocate my desire to paint. Something had to be done!
|Gather and store all
the needed materials so you'll be ready to create!
Carefully considering the things I felt I needed to work, I made a list of all the items that would make airbrushing more enjoyable. The list consisted of all preparation and cleanup things I liked to use, even if they weren't used each time I airbrushed. My list consisted of the following: some sort of surface protection (I paint inside our home and have to be careful about overspray. I use an old bed sheet or large cardboard scrap.), paper towels, old washcloths and hand towels, a bucket for dousing the airbrush jars and other items, Iwata Airbrush Cleaner, an airbrush cleaning station, 409 or other topical cleaner, Windex, Clorox surface wipes and a sponge. Your tools might be different, but the idea is to gather everything you need and keep it handy.
Once the list was complete, I collected everything and put the items on the counter where I work. The bucket proved to be the ideal storage place for many of the small things. I took the bucket, along with the complete collection, and stored them in the closet, right beside the storage box for my
Revolution HP-CR Airbrush and
Iwata Smart Jet Air Compressor. They are part of the Iwata/Medea Scrapbooker's Set that neatly stores my basic airbrush materials. With these two concise storage items, all I needed to work was ready and waiting for the next time I got the urge to paint. It was very liberating to have all I required in one spot and all set to go.
It is simple to make an
airbrush cleaning station. The station catches all your clean-out
To use the cleaning
station, put several crumpled paper towels in the container, put on
the lid and stick the end of your airbrush into the opening. Spray
until the current material works through the airbrush and the water
or cleaner is clear.
The airbrush cleaning station in the collection was something I had needed and wanted for a long time. It was such a simple item to make that I wondered why I hadn't made one before. The station is used to clean one color of airbrush acrylics out of your airbrush so that you can go to a new color. The station is nothing more than a covered plastic container with a hole cut in the top and several layers of paper toweling inside to catch the spray.
By tipping the cup into the water bucket, you remove most of the paint. To clean
the brush well, flush a bit of clean water through the airbrush, adjusting the
flow lever as you clean. The result will be a clean cup and airbrush, ready for
the next color.
When you complete your airbrushing session, clean as above, but run two applications through the airbrush.
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.
GEOmetric Design Creature from the Black Lagoon
Greetings once again, my friends! People are always telling me I should try painting one of the Universal Monsters so, being one who rushes in where angels fear to tread, I've brought before you this issue of GEOmetric Designs' wonderful 1/6 scale "Creature from the Black Lagoon" Gillman with detailed base!
Looking over the piece there is a lot to offer. The base includes some driftwood, rocks, plants and even seaweed! I'll be using most of the colors in my inventory here, so without further adieu, let's get started, shall we?
After deciding on a pose, I decided this time around to step away from the double-action brush and return to my roots of the single-action. While the double-action is superior in many ways, the single-action is good for beginners as well as seasoned artists. I whipped out my
Iwata Revolution SAR and sprayed a base coat of Freak Flex "Got Ill Green" on the figure and touched up the belly and chin with Freak Flex Rotten Tooth Tan.
Next I touched up each of the major scale lines with
Com Art Transparent Forest Green. I sealed the work thus far with Dullcoat.
I did a quick touchup with Transparent Forest Green again and a touch of Transparent Moss Green. I hit the belly and face with Transparent Ochre. I mixed up a thin wash using Ivory Black oil paint and spread this over the figure. This may seem like a terrible idea, but there is a method to the madness. One of the peculiar things about figure painting is you want the viewer's mind to acknowledge the varying colors without necessarily making the colors obvious enough for the eye to pick up. The wash ties the two colors together and breaks up the obvious color change, yet the subtlety is still there.
The base was painted by hand using sea sponges and various shades of grays and greens. Not much to explain here. I just dabbed on color until I found a setting I liked that would resemble the lagoon bottom. The plants were primed and airbrushed with Freak Flex "Black Lagoon Green" washed in black and highlighted with a brighter shade of green.
I painted the eyes with a combination of yellow and black for the pupils. The claws were painted with Freak Flex Bleached Bone Tan and shadowed with a wash of burnt umber.
The dead tree was painted brown and again washed with black to bring out the details.
The really fun part was painting the nameplate. I airbrushed green across the top of the letters and yellow across the bottom. Next I used Black Lagoon Green to outline the letters to make them stand out more.
A very fun project and a new experiment with colors and shading. If you like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, drop by GEOmetric's website at
www.geometricdesign.net and order one today!
Artool Products Co.
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Nail Art supplies.
New Airbrush Products
(Click on any image for a larger view!)
Artool Products Co. has introduced Pin-Up Girlies Part 2 Airbrush Templates designed by
Deborah Mahan, Artool Kustom Kulture Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by
Craig Fraser, and TRUE FIRE Freehand Airbrush Template Instructional Video DVD by
Due to popular demand, Deborah Mahan came up with more exciting looks and accessories for her
Artool PIN-UP GIRLIES series! Like the first set, PART 2 contains
5 distinctive GIRLIE configurations to choose from. Besides having sexy new body contours, you can accessorize her with stars 'n' stripes; sexy boots 'n' heels; a jester's cap; a gambling theme of hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs; a devilish or angelic tail 'n' wings; and more. Remember, ALL of Deborah's
PIN-UP GIRLIES are interchangeable not only with each other, but with any of the
Artool Freehand Templates. Give your airbrush and your imagination a whirl and have fun with
PIN-UP GIRLIES PART 2 (FH PUGII)!
The phrase Kustom Kulture was originally coined by the likes of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth and
Robert Williams. Simply put, the genre of the Kustom Kulture relates to any artistic, cultural aspect of the hot rodder's lifestyle. The title of each of the six new stencils in this set is self-explanatory.
FLYBALLZ (FH KKFX 15): a whole passel of flying eyeballs! ACES N' EIGHTS (FH KKFX 16): "The dead-man's hand."
PISTONS N' PLUGS (FH KKFX 17): Pistons…Plugs…V8's…Oh My! SACRED HEART (FH KKFX 18): A salute to the tattoo "flash" artists out there.
LUCKY 7 (FH KKFX 19): Now you can create your own luck! MARTINI TIME (FH KKFX 20): Hey, it's Martini Time! To get the set
of six KUSTOM KULTURE templates, ask for FH KKFX 21.
The Artool TRUE FIRE Freehand Airbrush Template Instructional Video DVD by
Mike Lavallee (FH TFDVD) is the same DVD included as a bonus with the Artool TRUE FIRE Freehand Template Set (FH TF1) and is now offered separately as a must-have instructional aid. Mike takes you through his step-by-step process of working with the
Artool TRUE FIRE Templates to create your own TRUE FIRE masterpiece! After successfully airbrushing his
TRUE FIRE for years using a variety of the popular Artool Freehand Templates, Mike wanted to work with Gabe McCubbin at
Artool to design the ultimate Freehand shapes for creating realistic fire effects. This
TRUE FIRE DVD (MSRP: $39.95) is about 40 minutes in length, and comes with a guarantee from Mike: I will set your world on fire!!!
The above products are available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier. For a complete listing of the
Iwata-Medea-Artool catalog on the Web, go to
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Mottling a Mutant
By Jim Bertges
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The Metaluna Mutant from the film This Island Earth is an icon of 50's Sci Fi movie monsters. With his exposed brain, bug eyes and insect-like pincer claws, he is a vision of outer space terror from a time gone by. He is perfectly captured in all his retro-alien glory in this bust from GEOmetric, sculpted by Joe Simon. After a quick wash and a coat of white primer, the first thing I did to start painting was to stain the kit overall with a black acrylic. Staining is a simple procedure: apply the paint liberally and then wipe it off, leaving it in the recesses and detail areas. This helps to bring out those details and add depth when layers of transparent colors are built up over them.
Here's the bust with a coat of white primer and a staining coat of black acrylic applied. The black paint was brushed on in sections and wiped off before it could dry, leaving the dark color in the deep recesses and details.
Normally when you see this guy depicted, he's a solid bluish gray color and that's kind of boring. If you're painting an alien being, I say make him look interesting! The key to getting an interesting "realistic" alien appearance for this guy's skin is to create a mottled texture of various colors. This breaks up the surface and creates a translucent appearance in this membrane. My
Iwata Eclipse HP BCS was perfect for the task on this ¼ scale bust. Using very low pressure (around 10 psi) and
Com Art Transparent colors, I started by going over all red areas, including veins, with Transparent Bright Red and then randomly spraying little "squiggles" of the red over the skin surface, followed by "squiggles" of Transparent Royal Blue and a little Opaque Ultramarine Blue. A misting of Transparent Cerulean Blue over the skin surface blended the colors while allowing the mottled look to show through. I've found that the Com Art Transparent colors are excellent for building up subtle layers of color, which can add so much depth to your work while creating a realistic look, especially when you're working on more creature-oriented projects.
On the left you can see the red veins as well as the red and blue random squiggles on the skin surface. Notice how the black staining effect shows up the details under the color. The right shows how the mottling is made subtler by a light overcoat of Transparent Cerulean Blue.
All the right tools--my Iwata Eclipse HP BCS and the selection of Com Art Transparent colors used in this project.
To add a little interest I added a few more random "squiggles" of Transparent Emerald Green, Transparent Kelly Green and Transparent Violet over the skin. Transparent Black was misted on to the lower chest area and the creature's mouth/chin to give it depth. This work was then protected with an overspray of Testors Dullcote. With the skin finished, I hand brushed a bright red Testors Enamel over the veins and other red areas and dry brushed a light gray acrylic on the lower chest area and a light blue gray on the mouth/chin part. The eyes were coated in a gloss black, flecked with random specks of silver and over coated with Com Art Transparent Violet, with a final layer of Future acrylic for gloss.
It was a real blast bringing one of my favorite movie creatures to life with these great tools.
Spray 2005-The Airbrush in Modern Art-Four Perspectives in Airbrushing is at
Zahra's Studio Gallery in Beacon, NY, through October 1. It focuses on four distinctly different artists who utilize the airbrush in the development of their artwork.
A. D. Cook has a traditional approach to figurative art using airbrushed acrylic artist colors. Pamela Shanteau's works are derived from many years of painting in the custom automotive field. Kirk Lybecker paints large sharp-focus landscapes/florals in airbrushed watercolor; and John Wesley Hawkins paints contemporary and futuristic fantasy cast-resin models that have won numerous awards.
Spray 2005 include
Iwata-Medea, Inc., and
between you, the visual artist, and the manufacturer of art
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.
"Basic Airbrush Techniques"
With Robert Paschal, MFA
Sat., November 12, 2005
ARTtalk.com Gallery at the Square
6-Hour Hands-On Class
All equipment/materials supplied for use in class.
Whatever your intended application-whether you wish to paint fine art, illustration, hobbies or crafts, nails/makeup, tattoos, decorative art, murals, cakes or autos/motorcycles/helmets, etc.--the basic techniques are the same. Here's your opportunity to learn from an experienced instructor who has taught the fundamentals of airbrushing for many years. Beacon is located approximately 65 miles north of New York City and is easily accessible by car or train as well as by plane via Stewart-Newburgh International Airport nearby. So take advantage of this unique opportunity! For more information, visit
www.arttalk.com/workshop/workshop.htm or call 845.831.1043.
Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in November 2005!