Volume 8, Number 5, January 2007

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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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.

Airbrushing Resolutions

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

At the start of every New Year, most of us invest a bit of time reviewing the past months and what we accomplished during that time.  For most of us, a few important issues stand out as areas for adjustment or alteration.  Artistic endeavors are on my list this year and at the top of the list is the topic of airbrushing.  A few items of concern are equipment maintenance and storage, revitalization of supplies and new directions of application.

1. Paint buildup should be cleaned so that the projection of tiny droplets will be even.

You can’t do airbrush work with equipment that is poorly maintained or stored in such a way as to cause damage.  At the beginning of the year I am often looking for ways to improve what I do and one way is to examine the basics of maintenance of airbrush materials.  It is a good time to inspect hoses, fittings and operation of equipment so that any repair or replacement might be completed prior to new assignments and projects. 

2. Tiny cotton swabs made from tooth picks and cotton make great cleanup tools.

One area of particular importance is proper cleaning of the airbrush itself.  Cleaning should, of course, be done immediately after each use, but an occasional deep-clean maintenance is also a good idea.  Accumulated pigments within the airbrush will cause sluggish operation or total jamming of the mechanism.  (Photo 1)  For tips and orifices, soak them in airbrush solvent to loosen particles, and then clean with a swab to lift away remaining paint.  For really tight areas, create tiny swabs with cotton and toothpicks. (Photo 2)

3. If needle assembly is snug in the airbrush, carefully use a pair of pliers to remove it.

Examine the needle valve tip carefully.  Replacement of bent needles will insure a more uniform particle application.  If the needle is lodged in the airbrush, remove all threaded collaring devices and gently pull with a pair of precision pliers.  (Photo 3)  Thoroughly clean the needle and re-insert.

4. Thread Sealant Tape on threads gives an airtight fit – quick and easy.

Hoses are very sturdy, but the connectors and fittings can wear out or become damaged.  Look closely at your equipment or put some air pressure on the lines to check the fittings.  One trick to close slight leaks at hose connections is to use plumbers’ Thread Sealant Tape on the threads to form a better seal.  It only takes two or three thicknesses to form a tight, “grippy” connection.  (Photo 4)

Paints become less useful as they age or if they are not stored properly capped.  Overturned jars of aged paints, loose caps, and old pigments – now is a great time to examine your collection and then remove and replace any that fall short.  New colors bring new opportunities…try something new when you go out to replenish your materials.

5. Cotton and “Oops” can help remove dried paints.

More compulsive airbrush artists might want to clean accumulated over-sprayed paints from their work areas, air compressor case or airbrush hoses.  This can be done with a solvent designed to remove the paint type involved.  I have very good luck with a general clean-up solvent called “Oops.”  (Photo 5)  It is petroleum based and should be used very carefully; but for dried on acrylic and enamel paints, it does an amazing removal job.  Do not use this product on painted surfaces or your airbrush body but only on the case, hoses, etc., that are more resilient. 

General storage of your equipment should be considered.  Any dampness or humidity in the storage area should be avoided.  The result could be rust or corrosion of metal parts and shorter life of your equipment.  An inside closet is ideal, perhaps a closet dedicated to all creative materials…in one place and easy to locate when those creative urges hit.  I just completed transformation of a walk-in closet into a storage/creative space.  There is great lighting, a work table, and high shelves full of large, labeled, plastic totes for organization of raw materials and equipment. 

As I ponder the issues that are important to me, I also want to include some new directions of creative thinking.  While the application itself is similar on projects, what results is often new.  That is what I will be looking for in 2007!

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The Derelict Spacecraft

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

Greetings everyone!! If you’ve read my past articles, you’ll notice I’m a figure painter at heart, but I could not resist the idea of painting the Derelict Spacecraft from the film “Alien.”  This will be my first venture outside of the figure genre so strap yourselves in. This will most likely be a bumpy ride!

I consulted the Internet for pics of the actual filming miniature and other sources of the derelict. The ship appears to be mostly dark with several highlights of grey and white. This is because the ship is fossilized. I decided to go a different route and try making the ship look as if it has not been on the planet long enough to fossilize, but was in the beginning stages.

To do this, I chose to use Com-Art’s Colors Metallics and also photo black and 10% neutral gray. With this wide variety of colors I should be able to come up with something interesting.

Here’s the ship with a coat of primer. The gray coat will go a long way insofar as making colors more subtle is concerned. Since the fossilization process will make the ship look a little gray here and there, a total coverage of other colors is not needed.

All paint will be sprayed using my workhorse airbrush:  the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS. Here’s the ship after a coat of Opaque Metallic Bronze with some shadows added by using Metallic Copper.

The piece after some highlights of Opaque Metallic Gold and Opaque Metallic Silver.

Now, here comes the interesting part--the grays! To achieve the desired effect, I will use Com-Arts Photo Gray colors.

Spraying thin lines straight up and down on the piece, I started with Photo Black and worked my way from dark to light starting with Neutral Gray 60% and continuing on with 50%, 40%, and 30%,  being careful not to completely cover each pre-sprayed color. By leaving a hint of each previously sprayed color, this aided with the fossilized look seen in the film.

The finishing touches are 20% gray and Photo White. I went back once I was finished and gave the whole piece an overspray of Photo Black to blend everything together.

To sum it up, I’ve used virtually every paint known to mankind, but the Com-Art paints made this project a one-day task, due to ease of cleanup and their ease of spraying. Color change was a snap with the simple shooting of thinner through the brush to prepare the brush for the next color. The Metallics and Photo Gray colors complemented each other well on the subject matter. Give Com-Art a try. You won’t be disappointed!

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Girlie Girl Pin-Up Step-by-Step

By Deborah Mahan
(Click on any image for a larger view!)

Hi all!  My name is Deborah Mahan, and I am the designer of the Girlie Girl Pin-up stencils, part one and part two, and also the new Sailor Girlies. I have over 30 years experience painting and sculpting the human form. I have always loved creating art using the female, be it classical or fantasy. Over the years, I have had many artists and students wanting advice on painting this subject. So a couple of years ago, I mentioned to Craig Fraser that I wanted to develop a stencil for custom painters to use, to make that subject more accessible to them. He thought it was a great idea and called Artool to introduce me and the rest is history. So to help you out, here is a step-by-step on using the first set.

There are 5 parts to the set: a negative shield, a shield with detail work, a shield with all the bits and pieces to create an angel/devil chick, a shield with boots and sexy high heels, and one with a different hair style, tattoos and hot rod gear.   What I am going to paint is a martini girl. I will be painting it on an aluminum panel that is powder coated black. The colors I will be using are flesh tone base, red base, black base, white base, root beer kandy, and violette kandy, all by House of Kolor.

Step 1.  I first place the negative shield in a slant because I want to place her in a martini glass; this will place her back and legs in the right position.
Step 2.  I make the fleshtone base by combining white base with about 20% root beer kandy and a few drops of pagan gold kandy.  Then I spray it in the shape and coat it fairly evenly. I will need to hold the shield down to keep overspray to a minimum.
Step 3.  I place the detail shield on top of the negative shield, line up the head and feet, and then I will know everything will fit right. When it is placed right, I make a mixture of root beer kandy and violette kandy to shade in the details. The great thing about using kandies is they get darker almost to black as you layer them.
Step 4.  I spray the brown kandy mix on the eyes, nose, and lips fairly dark, but then I only lightly dust all the other details I want.  That makes it easier for me to control my lights and darks on the painting.  At this stage I work lightly, so if I change my mind about anything it is an easy fix.
Step 5.  I only spray some of the details, because I decided I wanted my pin-up to be holding a great big playing card. So I painted in the face, hair, top of the bust line, the arm and hand, and the legs and feet.
Step 6.  The card shield is one of Craig Fraser’s new ones from his Kustom Kulture series, and it is going to work great to give my pin-up a bit more flirty modesty!  When I get it placed right, I lightly spray in the details, which will give me a visual to work from.


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Step 7.  Once I get the card where I want it, I start shading the pin-up with my root beer and violette mixture. With the brown color I shade the body and render the hair.  When I do this, I shade all the edges first.  This creates the illusion of a contoured surface because what is bright seems to jump forward and what is dark drops back.
Step 8. I then remove all the shields.  First I work the face. It takes very little work to make the face have definition--a small soft dot of color on either side of her nose, next to the eyebrow and a small hard dot in the eye for a pupil, and just a bit of shading to create a cheek bone and then the end of her nose. After that I darken in any area that I think looks like it is in shadow.
Step 9.  Now I am ready to make the card white, so first I mask off the edges of the card shape and the hand; then I spray in the color.
Step 10.  My next step is to use base red, and I like to use Euro red. I reintroduce the detail on the card, and I give the pin-up rosy cheeks, red lips and red anywhere else that I feel the urge to add a little red to the figure.
Step 11. No pin-up is complete without a nice manicure.  This set includes fingernails, so I don’t have to struggle with something so small. I spray them with Euro red.
Step 12.  Now I will be using black. The hair needs to be deepened in places; I very carefully add dark pupils and eyelashes in black. I spray black on her legs to give the look of sheer stockings.


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Step 13.  With the hot rod stencil I place a flame detail to her stockings. At this stage you can see how important it was to add the brown to her skin because you can see it through the black, it adds a lot of depth.
Step 14.  I am finally ready for white highlights, and this will be the last color. I add white to the eyes and anyplace that I want to jump forward, like the end of her nose, I also add a few white highlights to her stockings.
Step 15. I use some ¼” fine line tape to make the shape of the martini glass, then mask it off and spray white at the edges. I make a couple of soft dagger strokes down the glass shape to make the glass look shiny.
Step 16. After I remove that tape I make the stem of the glass, using two pieces of tape, I mask it off and spray very close and tight; this gives the feel of light caught in the glass stem.
Step 17.  I then remove that tape and lay out tape for the base.  Again I spray in the edges, and I make a few dagger strokes running across the glass. I remove that tape, and all that I have left is to make some blow-out bubbles for fun.
And there you have a very sexy martini girl! I hope you see how simple it is to use the Girlie Girl Pin-up stencil by Artool.  Next month I will show you how to do a standing Pin-up using the Girlie Girls, Part 2.


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Airbrush Workshops

Artist and Display
Milwaukee, WI
“Basic and Intermediate Airbrush Complete”
With Robert Paschal
(6-hour class)
Choose April 28 or 29

Robert Paschal, MFA--artist, author and publisher--returns to Milwaukee to teach this popular six-hour hands-on workshop.  This class is designed for the person who has no airbrush experience or for those that have used an airbrush but want to learn more:  how to handle, hook up and maintain an Iwata double action brush; how to render in black and white and in color and more.  Through a series of pre-printed exercises students will learn glazing techniques, paint reduction, development of highlights, color mixing, working with stencils, templates and frisket, plus more.  All equipment and supplies are provided for use in class.  For further information, call 414-442-9100; email; features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Learning & Product Expo:  ART!
This popular art event has been expanded to three dates for 2007, so mark your calendar:

Washington, DC
Metropolitan Area
Marriott Inn & Conference Center
June 1-3
Classes begin May 31
Registration opens March 30

Chicago, IL
Place to be announced
July 13-15
Classes begin July 13
Registration opens May 1

Burbank, CA
Burbank Airport Marriott
Hotel & Convention Center
October 19-21
Classes begin Oct. 18
Registration opens August 1

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.  Learn new techniques from some of the most popular instructors in the country; experiment with new materials; stock up on art supplies at great prices; and see free demonstrations!  Visit for more information and to register.

...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 2007!