Volume 7, Number 5, January 2006

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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Decorator Looks That Don't Cost a Mint
Great Garden and Patio Décor

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

If you haven't visited a garden center or greenhouse yet this year, you might not be aware of the new craze in garden and patio decorator items. Everywhere you look there are really nice concrete and unglazed ceramic pieces that possess that old world, ancient look. Upon close examination of the surfaces on several pieces it was clear that there was more than a simple brush coat of stain or paint applied. I also noticed that the random thick and thin layering of the "crusty" surface was something that might be fun to replicate.

However, it was more than the realization that painting concrete items would be interesting. And I was sure there were lots of options for the cool looks, but it was the PRICE that convinced me to give it a whirl. Even small and medium containers or short pedestals were in the $150 range. Despite the fact that some of the shapes were very unusual and charming, I thought of other items that could be decorated to look like a million without costing a mint.

Gather the materials you will need and get ready to have some fun!

The project I settled on was the decoration of red clay flower pots. They are low cost and readily available and are absorbent enough to allow the finished paints to have that dry, abandoned look of their high-priced cousins. I gathered the materials: My invaluable Iwata Revolution CR Airbrush, the incredible Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Compressor, clay pots, white house paint, a stiff brush, a container of chunky soil, the decorative colors (dark green, brown, black, brick) and paper towels.

After some testing, I discovered that a base coat of flat white house paint applied thickly with a brush allows for the easy addition of texture. You have to work while the paint is still wet, so having all the materials at hand is wise. I found that mixing in some dirt from the garden gave the paint a really neat crunchy surface. Sometimes the soil itself imparts a color as it is applied and dries on the surface. That's all the better.

Using a new clay pot, or at least a clean one, begin by applying a coat of flat house paint around the edge of the base or foot and on the top three inches on the inside of the pot. After these areas have dried, paint a super-thick coat of paint on the outside of the pot.  While it is still dry, sprinkle bits of chunky dirt into the wet paint.  Allow this to dry.

If you first apply a light coat to the foot and upper inside of the pot, you're ready to get to the heart of the project. The thick brushed-on layer of paint will hold more crumbles of soil. This means a great texture for the finished pot. Chunky garden soil dropped into wet paint will give a heavily textured look to the finished pot.

Select one of the accent tones you want to use. Apply the color in a random, thick and thin coating over the surface. My aim with this practice piece was to create an old mossy look, something that might have been in a garden for decades. My choice of browns and greens applied over the base coat seems to give me that look.

The greens and browns give age and authenticity to the finished look. Detail of the finished pot.

A copper patina look could be achieved by using dark brown paint as a base over which you apply copper metallic pigments. Finish with some bright turquoise flicks to add interest and the illusion of oxidized metal. A dirty stone look can be created with soft green and neutral tones, along with detail enrichment using darks.

The finished pot is old and moldy looking-- just the look I desired and what the high-dollar shops are selling. I enjoyed this so much that I think I'll create some other neat garden containers!

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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.

Classic Universal Monster Busts

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

Thinning Paint

Hello everyone! Last time around I painted the Creature from the Black Lagoon. It seems that I've developed a thing for the classic Universal monsters, so this time I'll be giving you a double dose of airbrush magic with GEOmetric Design's Phantom of the Opera and Bride of Frankenstein busts.

I began by priming the busts in flat white. This is a bit different from how I normally do flesh tones, but since both of these busts are pale, it seemed reasonable to go with white. This was sprayed right out of the can.

Next, I picked up my Eclipse HP-CS and gave both busts a base coat of Freak Flex Suntan Flesh. This was dark enough to indicate the shadow work that will come later.

I followed up with highlights of Freak Flex Rose Flesh. After I laid in my highlights, I misted Suntan Flesh over both busts to tie the two colors together.

The Bride was further highlighted with Freak Flex Pale Flesh and shadows were laid in with dark gray pastels. I mixed up some Model Master Flesh Tone and noodled this on the Bride. I wanted her to have a ladylike flesh tone, but I wanted an ashen look about it. Remember, she was created from parts of corpses so there couldn't be a lot of blood in her body to begin with. I was hoping for a "just awakened" look.

I sat the Bride aside to dry. Meanwhile, I mixed some yellow into some Model Master Flesh Tone in order to achieve a jaundice color. I pretty much followed the same color scheme I used on Smeagol. I noodled this color all over the Phantom. I was happy with the work thus far. You can see in the pictures that the Phantom has a sickly look about him, which is exactly what I was after.

I painted the Phantom's coat with Freak Flex Body Bag Black and highlighted it with Hippo Gray. The eyes were painted with the usual Dolphin Gray with black pupils. The Bride received the same treatment.

I masked the Bride with liquid latex and sprayed her hair with Body Bag Black. The white streak in her hair and the robe were painted with Turned Ghost White.

The Bride's eyebrows and lips were hand-painted with Body Bag Black

This project was a fun exercise in various flesh tones and shading. I was a bit nervous at first to try using grays for shadows on the bride, but I'm pretty happy with the results. I managed to achieve the almost but not quite dead look for the Bride and the pale shades for the Phantom. Amazing results can be accomplished with no more than five or six different colors, a little imagination, and proper application of the airbrush. To see the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush, follow the links on this publication. The Phantom of the Opera and the Bride of Frankenstein busts can be obtained from

Thanks for reading and I'll see you next time!


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The Artool Story - Part 2

Reprinted with permission of Airbrush Action Magazine

Gabe McCubbin's Passion for Airbrushing Sparks The Creation of Artool, One of The Industry's Fastest Growing Companies

By Dave Waite

Inventing The Dream

"I didn't know how to fill orders that large," Gabe said. He wasn't sure about quitting his day job, but he soon had to cut back his hours at the store.

During his breaks, he'd call customers, who thought they were talking to the president of a company, not an art store employee calling from a pay phone.

"I was literally flying by the seat of my pants to get Artool started," Gabe said.

He started by taking an afternoon a week off from the store, which was incredibly supportive of his entrepreneurial efforts, but soon had to work just on Saturdays. Even that became too much as Artool was taking off in a big way.

"I was that swamped," Gabe said. He was focused and on a mission, now knowing his idea for the company was more than promising.

He sought to make each Artool product as perfect as could be. There was no detail too small. He discovered manufacturers in the US who could meet his exacting standards in producing each piece. His company's slogan was "Quality Crafted Innovation," which remains Artool's mantra.

The first Artool Multirail ad and brochure.

Possessed By Obsession

"From start to finish I carefully scrutinized each step to ensure that the Artool Products were the very best they could be," he said. "I'm totally obsessive about each process of my company's products. Believe me, I've made more than a few people crazy with details, but through the years, the artists who use Artool Products have always been pleased with the results."

The article in Airbrush Action magazine wasn't the only glowing review. Other artists were taking note.

Gabe's first endorser was legendary master Charles White III, an illustrator who created the original Star Wars poster, Treasure Island in Las Vegas, countless film posters and huge environmental designs.

"He really liked the product. It was useful to him and made his life easier" Gabe said.

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A Template To Grow

Buoyed by this early success, Gabe took his entrepreneurial imagination and aimed at another airbrushing improvement he'd long pondered - templates. No company had done an autographed airbrush template series before.

"When I would attend the Airbrush Getaways in the early 90's, which Airbrush Action magazine sponsored, I noticed that the students were cutting out shapes similar to those described in Radu Vero's The Complete Studio Handbook," Gabe explains. "These shapes were a close resemblance of what Radu was describing, but students were hard-pressed to make the smooth cuts necessary to shape the template curves drawn by a master."

When material was cut with an X-acto blade, making curves continuous and smooth proved exceptionally difficult. While some templates were better than others, the overall experience was time consuming and yielded mostly throwaway pieces of acetate - whatever you cut was what you got when applying paint with an airbrush.

"Around this time I had met and started working with Eddie Young, who was rendering animation illustrations for Walt Disney Studios," Gabe said. "He had cut two French-curve templates shapes, which not only had smooth curves, but they were perfectly suited for airbrush illustration. So I set out to find the right manufacturer to create these small French-curve shapes.

"Once I did, airbrushers had a product they could use confidently again and again right out of the package - no more spending time cutting out a series of shapes that might achieve the desired results."

Eddy's now-recognizable original Freehand logo still adorns all Artool Freehand template products. And legendary airbrush illustrator Mark Frederickson provided the quote that would appear on Artool packaging, "Since getting my hands on the Artool templates, I can't put them down."

These two early templates led other artists to start approaching Gabe with ideas. And it grew from there.

"Airbrushes don't kill people. Men with mustaches with airbrushes kill people." Gabe with Iwata's Will Naemura back in the day.

The Masters Come Calling

After the seeing the success of the new Artool Freehand Airbrush Templates, Radu contacted Gabe to produce two of his favorite shapes, The Pharaoh and The Bird for the Master Series.

"I was honored that 'the man' had so much faith in my little Artool Company," Gabe said fondly. "He gave real legitimacy to the Artool line of Freehand Templates."

Many artists still use Radu's two shapes exclusively. Radu and Gabe became good friends, and the Artool Freehand Template line has grown into the larger line of creative and usable signature series shapes of the industry's top artists and illustrators, a list that includes such notable artists as Craig Fraser, Michael Cacy, Andrea Mistretta, Mark "The Shark" Rush, Deborah Mahan, Edward Reed, Julian Braet, Mike Lavallee, Dennis Mathewson, Richard Montoya, Gary Padilla and Pamela Shanteau.

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A Template to Grow

When the performing bug bites, Gabe is ready with headshot in hand for local community theatre productions.

At a trade show in 1994 where his booth was located next to Iwata-Medea's, Gabe quickly hit it off with Iwata's president, Will Naemura and they stayed in touch. The airbrush industry's top product company, Iwata became Artool's master distributor, giving Artool products the outlet they needed for explosive growth.

Gabe remains the owner and president of Artool, and business continues to boom.

During the last 13 years, Gabe hasn't had to sing over dinner or deliver any re-treaded tires. He still finds time to play music, often sitting in on guitar with one of Northern California's top rhythm-and-blues bands, Groove Drop, led by Eric Barton.

Today, Artool has over 150 products in its catalog, with plans to add at least 20 more this year alone while working with new artists.

"In many ways I feel like Artool is just getting started. It feels really good to be very busy with the career I love the most. This is the most rewarding thing I could do for a career," Gabe said. "It wasn't always a clear road. It's been a real journey. But I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet." features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

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"Basic Airbrush Complete" with Robert Paschal, MFA

Saturday, February 11, 2006
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Beacon, NY

For information, visit or call 845.831.1043.


...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 March 2006!