Volume 9, Number 3, September 2007
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Airbrushed “Etched” Glass
By Janean S. Thompson (Click on any image for a larger view!)
Etched glass techniques usually require the use of an etching compound that is fairly toxic and can sometimes be difficult to locate in art supply stores. But it is possible to create the look of etched glass on items that are flat (or nearly flat) and that will not be used to hold beverages or other fluids. The requirements are simple and the materials are probably already in your supply box.
Before we discuss the actual technique, let’s consider the item we want to “etch.” If it is flat, or almost flat, it will do two things. First, it will provide a nice area to work on and, secondly, it will be easier to use a design mask successfully. My project will be done on a piece of clear photo glass that will be placed in a picture frame with one of my Georgia O’Keeffe postcards. You could etch a plate or platter that will be used for display only or a clear vase or glass that will be used for silk flowers, rather than fresh flowers with water. Or perhaps you would like to frost a window in your home, which is a great way to create a privacy window. (Special care should be taken to protect surrounding areas, but since the “etch” is placed on the inside of the glass, it is possible to do our technique on any window glass in your home.)
You will need your airbrush (I use the Iwata Eclipse BCS, ECL 2000); stencil or masking material (I use FriskFilm ); a sharp blade cutter such as an X-Acto knife (I used my Artool knife); an opaque white or other appropriate acrylic airbrush paint; and paper towels or rags for cleanup. (Photo 1) Don’t forget protection for surrounding areas if you are doing work indoors.
Begin by creating a design that you will cut from your stencil/mask material. (Photo 2) Peel and lay the mask material onto the surface of the glass and press lightly for proper adhesion. (Photo 3) Lay the design under the glass (or stand inside the vase, etc.). Cut away the areas that you wish to “etch.”
After you cut away the “etch” areas, pull off the mask material within the design (or the area around the design for a negative area “etch”). To begin the removal, it might help to use the tip of your sharp blade tool to lift an edge of the mask. (Photo 4) Next, simply spray on a light covering of airbrush acrylic. Allow this first application to dry completely and then repeat. The second coat should be light, too, and as even as possible. The resulting coverage should look like a lightly frosted surface on the glass rather than a thick coating. This will help create the illusion of etched glass because light can transfer through both the unetched and etched portions of the glass.
Once the second light application is dry, very carefully remove the mask material. (Photo 5) The resulting image will look just like etched glass.
To complete the project I selected, it will go into a picture frame. To bring out the etching, I included a colored mat under the glass. The painted surface is turned over and goes to the inside on this project, as shown in this finished, framed art object. (Photo 6) With a vase, the etching would be applied to the outside. Windows are also “etched” on the inside. Plates and platters would be painted on the bottom rather than the top so the surface is more protected when displayed.
It is possible to create many different gifts and décor items with faux “etching.” Explore some of your own possibilities and see what you come up with. As long as the item is clear, whether glass or plastic, it can be “etched.” Wonderful holiday decorations and more are just a spray away!
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
By Wes Hawkins (Click on any image for a larger view!)
Recently a customer of mine showed me a model from his collection that had been painted by hand and asked if I could improve on it. Here was an opportunity to illustrate the advantages of airbrush over painting by hand, which will be the subject of this article. The workhorse of my airbrush arsenal, the Iwata Eclipse HP-CS was used on this project.
This kit represents Robert DeNiro as the Frankenstein monster from the film “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.” All in all, this kit isn’t painted too badly for a hand painted job; however, there is room for improvement. The shadows and highlights weren’t addressed and the colors do not fade into each other. This is where the fun begins!
After soaking in stripper for a few days, the original paint job was removed, which revealed a lot of details such as skin folds and sutures that had previously been hidden, as the original paint was brushed on very thickly. The previous painter even base-coated the kit in gold, to which I confess I have no idea why. Nonetheless, the paint scheme I’m looking to reproduce is the same as the character in the film. Try checking the Internet for images of your subject matter or watch the film that the piece is based on for ideas. In this case, the character’s skin tones were very pale with highlights and shadows. If one is looking for a challenge of highlights and shading, this kit is a fine example.
I sprayed a primer coat of white and followed this with a noodling of a light brown color to break up the base color and begin the process of making the flesh look dead in accordance with the film.
Next, I noodled a purplish-blue to simulate bruising and poor circulation. You’ll also notice I sprayed this same color directly into the incision leading from crotch to neck. We’re in need of some serious bruising in this area. If you’ve ever had an operation, you know what I’m talking about here.
Shadows were added using rust, thinned down to a water consistency and about 5 pounds of pressure. Next, to even things up a bit and to balance out what I’ve already sprayed, I noodled some fleshtone mixed with yellow onto the entire figure with a hazing of the same color overall at a distance of about three feet.
Painting this kit was certainly a challenge, but painting with an airbrush requires a lot of patience and a willingness to go out on a limb and try new techniques. Try turning down your air pressure and spraying with a very thin consistency. You’ll be surprised at the results and how much more control you’ll have over your line work. This is very handy when one is working on a small subject or when a tight spot must be colored.
Please email me with any comments at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!!
The Ultimate Air Affair
By Donn “Too Tall” Shanteau
The premier airbrush instruction event for 2007 would have to be the “Ultimate Air Affair” hosted by ASET at their headquarters in the Salt Lake City, Utah, suburb of West Valley City, Utah. ASET (Automotive Spraying Equipment Technologies) is the U.S. distributor for Iwata airbrushes and air-guns along with Artool brand handheld shields and masking materials. PPG, DuPont and Sikkens were on hand to support the event.
Class dates were 8/29 – 8/31/07, but many of the artist instructors arrived a few days early to begin painting their art panels that will be displayed at the show and eventually reside in ASET’s awesome airbrush art gallery in suburban Salt Lake City. As the artists began airbrushing their panels, the fun started. Whenever another artist arrived the party just got bigger and more rambunctious. After a day of preparation for the classes, all of the artists and ASET staff members partied hardy. Hosts Bill Williamson, Sheri Candland and Ray Odette know how to put on a first class event and keep things interesting. Between the art, food and fellowship, it is and will be a time to remember.
In the past this event was held after the SEMA show in Vegas, which starts at the end of October and runs into the first few days of November. The Ultimate Air Affair dates usually fell in the days immediately following the close of the SEMA show. For 2007, the date for the Air Affair was moved up to August. Workshop instructors included, Craig Fraser, Dean Loucks, Steve Vandemon, Bob Soroka, Deborah Mahan, Bones, Paul Quinn, Pamela Shanteau, Ron Gibbs, Mike Lavallee, Jason Doll, Gerald Mendez, Fonzy, Dennis Mathewson and Steve Driscoll. Each instructor demonstrated their specialties in hands-on classes for the show attendees.
Day 1 of the classes included an introduction and welcome from Sheri Candland, followed by Deb Mahan teaching the class The Basic Airbrush Strokes. Dennis Mathewson showed his method for painting wood grain before the grand luncheon for which the Air Affairs are famous.
The afternoon session kicked off with Pamela Shanteau’s Dragon Eye project. It featured the use of transparent paints and sgraffito tools to render details and highlights. These are the main topics of her new book (Custom Automotive and Motorcycle Airbrushing 101) that was just released from Iwata/Medea. These painting methods are unique in the custom automotive world and most of the attendees were amazed with this new way of airbrushing.
Following Pamela was Dean Loucks, the highly successful artist from Elkhart, Indiana. He demonstrated his barbed wire effects for the eager class. Batting clean-up was Ron Gibbs, demonstrating his method of flame layout on a car hood. Ron’s rock-solid instruction made it possible for a novice to get professional results.
Day 2 of the Ultimate Air Affair began with Steve Driscoll teaching his method of fantasy portraiture. After transferring the design to the metal panel, the students were off and painting. Steve’s expert instruction made what seemed to be a complex operation into an easy-to-accomplish painting that guaranteed professional results.
Fonzy followed Driscoll’s class with a lesson on monochromatic painting. His beautiful fantasy portrait was a study in color value that emphasized how to get the most effect spraying with just one color.
After another super lunch provided by ASET, Deborah Mahan showed the group how she paints pin-up art using freehand airbrushing methods. Since this session was a demonstration only, the students had only to watch and absorb the wisdom that Deb was imparting.
A biomechanical art class was next up with instructor Bob Soroka. The purpose of the class was to explain how to combine freehand painting and handheld shields, which is something Bob is very proficient at doing. The attentive class gleaned quite a bit from this class.
Florida’s “Bones” was the next instructor and he pulled all of his “Old School” designs and painting styles out of his bag of tricks for the pleasure of all in attendance.
Mike Lavallee’s tru-fire class was a must-see for all of the students. His world famous method of rendering flames with his signature Artool shields is always a big hit with everyone in attendance.
Day two wrapped up with a bunch of happy campers with plenty of information to digest along with the awesome food, drink and snacks provided by ASET.
Ultimate Air Affair Day 3 began with a bang! Steve Vandemon taught the class how to do “Ultimate Shreds” in his unique style. Steve covered the do and don’ts of ripped metal effects. As with all of the classes, some of the instructors make themselves available to assist the students during the classes. Craig Fraser, Bones and Pamela Shanteau were on hand to aid Vandemon’s class stay on point and move along smoothly.
Freehand 3-D effects were the subject of Jason Doll’s workshop. His “Bone-Kabob” exercise was designed to illustrate how he paints his multi-dimensional renderings.
After the lunch break, Master pin-striper Paul Quinn demonstrated his expertise with the dagger brush along with advice on paint, brush selection and design layout. His easy way of communicating with the students made for a very productive lesson that everyone benefited from greatly.
Gerald Mendez went out of this world for his class. His outer space lesson plan incorporated many airbrush special effects and hand-held found objects that could be sprayed through to render other-worldly images.
For the Ultimate ending to the three day workshop, Craig Fraser led the class through one of his classic stretched skull paintings by combining freehand painting with the skull master hand-held stencils.
After three days of intensive classes, the students were just as geeked as when they started. Many of the attendees made great strides towards improving their airbrush skills and surprised the staff with the huge leaps made; and many wanted to sign up for the next Ultimate Air Affair before they left the show. All in all it was a very successful event and everyone left with a smile and a greater level of confidence.
Day 4 featured the inaugural Ultimate Air Affair Car and Motorcycle show. The classes ended on day 3, which enabled the instructors to finish the projects they started earlier in the program or had yet to start. A 2008 van was donated by Chrysler for the Ultimate Air Affair and had a film strip graphic design painted on its sides and tailgate, compliments of Dean Loucks and Kindig (ASET’s painter). The filmstrip had numerous individual cells that were airbrushed with classic movie scenes by the instructors, each of whom chose his/her subject matter that ranged from “Gone with the Wind” to “Godzilla.” Many of the instructors had to wait for day 4 to paint the cells on the van.
While the artists airbrushed inside, there was a world class car and cycle show going on outside. ASET had the road closed to traffic and filled the boulevard and adjacent parking lots with custom vehicles. Many of the students from the three-day workshop stayed for day 4. The van was moved into the “VooDoo Swing Lounge” so the artists could work their magic while the attendees watched and asked questions. The day ended with all of the instructors having airbrushed their classic images onto the van that would eventually end up being displayed in Chrysler Corporation’s 2007 SEMA show booth in Las Vegas.
All in all, it was a great show and a win-win situation for both the artists and the students. The positive energy flowed in both directions with both sides benefiting from the good karma of the other. The good folks at ASET really know how to put on a first-class event that reflects the quality of the people involved in the preparation and implementation of the 2007 Ultimate Air Affair.
Artool Freehand Tribal Master Template Set
By Steve Vandemon
Artool Products Company has announced the release of the new Freehand Tribal Master Airbrush Template Set by Steve Vandemon. This has been a highly guarded top secret mission as Steve worked with Gave McCubbin at the Artool Chemtox Labs to fine tune his first signature series Artool Airbrush Templates. You’ll now have the opportunity to work alongside Steve to easily capture the unique styles and intricate contours which he has perfected throughout his career as a professional artist. Tribal Master is sold as a set only and contains 42 (!) positive and negative templates in various sizes with two incredibly creative concepts: TribalNometry and CirqueDuTrible. Pick up a set and be blown away by how many Kewl Kulture FX can be achieved with these babies!
The Freehand Tribal Master Template Set is available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool supplier. Visit www.ArtoolProducts.com.
New York artist/teacher Robert Paschal returns to Milwaukee for two six-hour hands-on airbrush workshops. Learn the fundamentals of airbrush technique plus work with color, stencils, frisket, development of highlights, glazing and more. Double-action IWATA airbrushes and all other materials are provided for use in class.
Artist and Display
For information, visit http://www.artistanddisplay.com/classes.htm
Or call: From Milwaukee area: 414-442-9100
Freelance Writers/Airbrush Artists for AirbrushTalk
AirbrushTalk is looking for experienced/accomplished artists who use airbrush in their works, enjoy writing about compatible materials and techniques and wish to share tips and information with others. The ability to photograph and transmit electronically is necessary. We are interested in all airbrush genres including but not limited to: fine art, illustration, decorative art, cake/pastry decoration, makeup, tattooing, arts/crafts, wood carving, nail art, pottery/ceramics, and particularly auto graphics. Familiarity with Iwata-Medea-Artool products is a plus.
Please send a SHORT resume or letter of interest along with 3 examples of your ORIGINAL artwork that incorporate airbrush technique (included IN your email, not attached) as well as a link to your home page, if applicable: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for your next issue of AirbrushTalk in November 2007!