Volume 8, Number 2, July 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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Airbrush Staining

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

There are many ways to paint wooden furniture, trim, decorator items and more, including stains and opaque colors. Airbrushing stain is a fast and easy method to apply a coating of color and then amend the color in a number of ways. The stain might be oil based or a diluted acrylic wash. For this month's consideration is an article that explores the possibilities of staining with single and multiple layers of acrylic.

1. Gather simple materials to practice creation of interesting wood finishes for your projects.

We will need the following for this exercise: An airbrush (I continue to use the easy to operate and invaluable Iwata Revolution CR Airbrush); an air source (the Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet Compressor is a grand choice because of the near silent operation and surprising power); formal or recycled airbrush parking "station"; acrylic wash tones in your choice of colors (acrylic paints diluted with distilled water - half paint, half water); cotton rags, towels; wooden objects to practice upon (I used scrap lumber with both smooth and rough

To be sure we are clear on the purpose of this exercise, what we want to do is to learn ways to create interesting surface tones using a dilute stain color on raw woods. This is very useful with any crafts projects where you are using wood as a structural basis for decoration.

2. Stain applied to wood and removal of excess stain is begun.

Bird houses, wooden serving trays, flower boxes, tables, chests, chairs and more could be on the list of possibilities. What we want to do is gain the skill and experience necessary to tackle a large and possibly formal piece with confidence. A bit of practice is all that is required to learn the ways an airbrush and stain can work together to create an unusual and interesting painted object.

Be sure the project is free of dust or soil. A quick dusting with a rag is wise. For the first practice piece, begin color application with a light mist to familiarize yourself with the amount of "hesitate or hurry" that is required to leave behind the tone of color you want. It is always wise to use a limited amount of paint at the beginning.

3. Application of a second color will yield a blend of both tones. The longer the second color sets prior to removal, the darker it will be.

Application should be as smooth as possible. Rubbing with a cloth as shown in the photo will "set" the color into the grain of the wood rather than give the appearance of a painted surface.

For another practice piece, we want to apply a blend of two tones. Allow the first color to dry. Apply a thick layer of the second stain color. Use a rag to rub away most of the second color.

4. A wax candle has been rubbed into the surface grain and functions as a resist.

The amount removed will determine the color. Several coatings may be required to achieve the tone you wish.

Or a very light misting--rubbed away--may be the exact tone you want. Trial and test will prove the order of application, the amount applied and conversely the amount removed.

5. A neat way to "age" stained items or give surface interest is to speckle by "plucking" the control of your airbrush.

When using a very porous wood surface, a very light coating of acrylic medium (diluted 50 percent with water) will partially seal the surface and prevent immediate absorption into the wood. Tests of materials around the studio or home will prove interesting.

Sometimes, spraying Pam (no-stick cooking spray) onto a surface will give the finished piece a streaky, aged look. Gently rubbing a candle over the surface will create a resist.

Remember to include surface embellishments such as speckling. Photo 5 shows a finishing speckle coat over rich rose stain. There is real potential here!

Have fun with the learning methods and the doing becomes more interesting.

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.

Repainting Latex Masks

by Wes Hawkins
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The costume industry has improved leaps and bounds from when I was a kid and we made our Halloween costumes. The quality has increased tenfold as well as the paint job.

One of the annoying things about using the airbrush all the time is that when you see a pre-paint, you see all the things you would have done differently and feel compelled to make changes. I am speaking only for myself here.

I have decided that for my annual Halloween party this year, I will put together a costume of Jason Voorhees, the murdering maniac from the "Friday the 13th" film series. I purchased this latex full head mask and decided to make some changes to it. It's not that it isn't painted well already, but I wanted to put my own spin on the character.

Here you can see the mask as it comes from the factory. I consulted some online resources and learned that latex must be sprayed with water-based paint to prevent the latex from deteriorating. The latex mask will be the focus of this article, as the goalie mask is so straightforward. The only airbrushing for the goalie mask consisted of repainting the red triangle and noodling several shades of gray and brown.

To begin, I sprayed the mask with primer and then I whipped out my Iwata Eclipse HP-CS and looked through my paint box and picked out dark grays and earth tones. Since the character is a zombie, I won't have to worry about getting living flesh tones right.

Here you can see where I've noodled two colors on the mask; Freak Flex dead Guy Gray and Cursed Earth. The main point of noodling is learning to control the airbrush. If you're too close, the lines you spray will be too defined. If you're too far away, you won't see where the color is going. My advice is to practice noodling until you have the hang of it. You want to be able to pick out the colors with your eyes, but not see any defining lines between them. (On a side note, the term "noodling" makes reference to taking a string of noodle and slowly lowering it onto a flat surface. Notice how it curls up in every direction? This is what you want your color to do on your subject, so move your hand around in various random patterns so that the spray will look like a noodle coiled up.) Once in a while I get carried away when I noodle and paint will splash out of the color cup and onto my work. One of the things I love about the Iwata series over other airbrush brands is that the color cup has a removable cap that prevents paint from sloshing out. To my knowledge, no other airbrush company has this feature. This and the ease of disassembly and cleaning sold me on Iwata.

In the above pic you can pick out 4 or 5 different colors that I've noodled onto the mask.

Next, I added a wash or dark brown mixed with black to bring out all the crevices in the mask. This also helps to bring out the highlights.

In this pic, I've gone in with FF Bleached Bone Tan and painted the exposed bone. I've also used FF Near Black to add some shadows to the mask.

Here is yours truly in costume. I still have to finish the costume to match the mask.

This pretty much wraps it up! I hope this encourages you to try repainting your favorite film character, as Halloween is just a few months away. See ya next time!!

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"There is Something Rotten in Hollywood…"

by Glenn Hetrick
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Hello again faithful readers…sorry for the long delay in my contributions to this most excellent of art zines, but I was absolutely inundated with work this past year (and that is a good thing). So that also means that I have a veritable plethora, a bevy if you will, of new projects from this last year to share with you, so let's get started.

Before we dive in, may I suggest that if you are a new reader it would probably be best if you went into the AirbrushTalk Archives ( and reviewed my past articles. Many of the techniques that I use are discussed in my previous works (such as how to mix paint, how to stipple, etc.) and I will not, for the sake of brevity, be repeating ideas that have already been covered. I say this so I don't lose anyone; there is nothing I hate more than reading an informative article and then not being able to find the information in the article I need to learn from it. With that, let us paint away!

Today we will be looking at two different but very similar silicone corpses that we produced this year for the television show "Crossing Jordan," and by we I mean me and the rest of the talented crew at Optic Nerve Studios (including Bryan Blair, Richard T. Mayberry, Esq., Lancel Reyes, Johnny Flannigan, Dan Gates, Erin Draney, Josh Holland, Greg Solomon, Ron Pipes, Brad Hardin and all of the other artists who pitched in).

These silicone corpses were both to be severely decomposed…and that means fun! What I would like to illustrate here is some of the specifics of the painting and finishing techniques that we used to create this gruesome look. First, let's take a look at the color palette and observe how it differs from our normal flesh tones and lividity. Notice that there is a great amount of contrast here, more so than under normal conditions. We go from cool blues and greens into yellows, browns and up into really warm reds. This is trickier than it looks, and I think the best way I can show you is to tell you to really study the pics that I have included this time.

Notice the subtle nuance of the transitory areas going from one color grouping to the other. Also note that I leave areas in between relatively unpainted to add bigger breakup to the patterning from further away. Sometimes it is tough to remember to do this when painting because you are so honed in on the detail of what you are doing. Since you are right on top of the piece, it is very important to keep stepping away and looking at the overall patterning that you are developing. This very much dictates how the finished paint job will "read" on camera due to the fact that you are going to end up with a lot of medium and long shots of your work edited into the final production.

While we are talking about those less painted areas, notice how light the silicone is that we used here…that is all in the tinting of your "canvas," in this case a silicone body. One thing I have learned from all of the burned and rotted bodies I have painted (and in all of the real forensic reference I have looked at) is that nothing makes the piece look more lifelike, nothing "sells it" more than patches of flesh that haven't been affected by the devastation. This lends it not only necessary contrast, but also credibility…a certain unsettling humanity as well. It is particularly important in these garish paint schemes; they look so unreal (even though you do see this coloring in forensic reference) that they demand something to make them look legitimate.

Another cool addition to the already gruesome visage sported by both of these fellows was the implementation of some sloughing skin techniques. Basically it goes like this--paint your silicone areas that are going to end up covered with a heavy breakup or veining pattern. Paint what will be the exposed areas in detail and then seal your work. Cover large patches with a "skin" (foam latex base works well but you should experiment with different materials). Once you have built up a nice thickness and it has dried, paint small detailed breakup and veining on the skin. Seal that and let it dry before proceeding. Now peel the skin back off of the areas that you had painted in detail for exposure and drape the skin over the areas that you left more contrasty and heavy handed. Goo the skin up with one of the various slimy concoctions available (color to taste) and voila! I hope the pain and suffering of these two poor souls has inspired you to create some new ghoulish Fx designs of your own…till next time, good luck!

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New Products for Airbrushing

New Masking Film and Templates from Artool
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Artool Products Co., Inc., Portland, Oregon, USA, is proud to announce the release and availability of several new products: Horror of Skullmaster by Craig Fraser, FX 3 by Craig Fraser, True Fire Mini Series by Mike Lavallee, and ULTRA MASK Masking Film.

--Artool Horror of Skullmaster Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Craig Fraser. The Horror of Skullmaster Series was created by Craig Fraser not to replace your creativity, but to spark it by giving you a killer set of tools to help you make the finest skulls possible! This new series from the Artool Chemtox Lab contains both positive and negative templates as well as registration holes in each corner for perfect alignment. You're getting Heads-Up (FH SK21), a "dead-on" gaze in 3 sizes (all models have 3 sizes!), The Scream (FH SK22), a "not quite dead" look with a ¾ view and Profile (FH SK23), the classic screamin' look, which is sure to be a favorite for all the kustom chopper painters out there…and you can get the WHOLE SET (FH SK24)! We'll keep you supplied with the latest, best and most radically original skin-challenged creations ever to be laser-cut out of dead dinosaurs! "Keep on stencillin'…" ---Craig Fraser

--Artool FX 3 Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Craig Fraser. From the mind of Craig Fraser, and the work-release program of the criminally insane at Artool, we have done it again: 6 new radically original FX stencils…these aren't quick photo-shopped pics grabbed from some public domain clip-art CD!

Here's the lineup: GLYPHS (FH FX3 15), kewl Hieroglyphics!, UNCHAINED (FH FX3 16), some awesome repetitive chain designs, THE WEB (FH FX3 17), giving your kustom paintwork the ultra tattoo look, BLADES (FH FX3 18), pretty self-explanatory, huh?, MUSIKA (FH FX3 19), Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, BARBY (FH FX3 20), whatever your sharp-wire fetish, we've got it all… or you can get ALL SIX in one set: FH FX3 21. Combining laser-cut precision with hand drawn creativity (unless you can't live without clip-art) from the Artool Chemtox Lab, you are in for a treat with this new batch of paint tools!

--True Fire Freehand Airbrush Templates designed by Mike Lavallee in new mini sizes: the Artool True Fire Mini Series (FH TF1 MS). Create Mike Lavallee's blazing fire effects--only smaller! Mike has been setting the world on fire with his many television appearances on programs like "Overhaulin,'" "Rides," "Monster Garage" and others. Mike's True Fire can now be easily rendered on smaller projects such as RC cars, model airplanes and trains, model cars and kits, figure models, a variety of hobby/model scale projects and a myriad of kustom automotive applications. The True Fire Mini Series set comes with the 3 ever popular shapes: Diablo, Wild Fire and Inferno, which can be separated to make 6 templates! Plus, you will receive Mike's new Artool True Fire Mini Series instructional DVD, where he renders some awesome Mini True Fire FX…on smaller stuff!

"This ain't your daddy's flame job!" ---Mike Lavallee

--Artool ULTRA MASK (F 501: 24" x 5 yards & F 502: 24" x 10 yards) - This is a radically innovative masking film, which has gone through the gauntlet of rigorous testing for the past two years by the Artool Chemtox Lab staff of kustom painters and tinkering specialists. Besides being SOLVENT PROOF (like the ever popular Artool Stretch Mask), ULTRA MASK is tinted for easy reference and workability; it is low tack with a secure adhesive strength and is safe for all artwork. ULTRA MASK has maximum stretch for irregularly shaped surfaces, along with having a paper backing, which can be run through your favorite plotter/cutter. Plus, if that's not kewl enough, it's repositionable!

"I like it when a product can multi-task; Artool ULTRA MASK is an excellent addition to any kustom painter's masking tool arsenal!"-Craig Fraser

These new Artool products are now available at your favorite Artool-Iwata-Medea supplier. For a complete listing of the Artool-Iwata-Medea catalog on the Web, go to

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New Iwata Kustom Airbrush Series
(Click on any image for a larger view.)

The new Kustom Airbrush Series from Iwata includes five models that sport large cups and provide outstanding performance in atomizing solvent-based paints. Designed for automotive enthusiasts, the brushes are distinguished by PTFE packing, large cups, pre-set handles and taller triggers.

--The first airbrush to create a fan-patterned spray, the Kustom TH stands alone among its peers. It features a round-patterned air cap, has a spray gun trigger design and is great for small or hard-to-reach areas.

--The "mac daddy" of all airbrushes, the Kustom Micron CM (framed around the Iwata Custom Micron) provides extreme control of ultra fine-line spray, silky smooth atomization and ultimate paint-flow control with hand-tuned, hand-adjusted performance.

--A preferred airbrush for users who need ultimate control of fine-line work and medium background spraying, the Kustom CH boasts a MAC valve that supplies precise air control to the head of the airbrush.

--Triggering the passion of spray-gun users, the Kustom TR proves easy to use, with a long spray gun trigger design that provides commanding control of the airbrush spray as well as a large ½ oz. removable fluid cup.

--The workhorse of the line, the Kustom CS features a large general purpose nozzle/needle combination. It creates wide background sprays with fine atomization and control and is designed to spray metallic, pearlescent and base-coat paints.

See your retailer and visit features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops

Learning & Product Expo: ART!

October 6-8
Classes begin October 5
Hilton Burbank Airport & Convention Center
Burbank, CA

Immerse yourself in a unique experience for artists where you can visit an exhibit hall packed with art material manufacturers and choose from a program of 200 art classes-including airbrush. Visit for more information.

Artist & Display

Milwaukee, WI
"Basic and Intermediate Airbrush Complete"
With Robert Paschal
(6-hour class)

Choose November 11 or 12

Robert Paschal, MFA--artist, author and publisher--returns to Milwaukee to teach this popular hands-on workshop. All equipment and supplies are provided for use in class. For further information, call 414-442-9100; email;

...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 September 2006!