Volume 9, Number 4, November 2007
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Greeting Cards - For Holidays or Anytime
By Janean S. Thompson (Click on any image for a larger view.)
The creation of greeting cards has been simplified and made much more fun by the availability of many software packages and specialty papers. You can personalize cards to make the results completely your own; and you can create mini artworks with those card selections, making any occasion the perfect time to communicate with friends and family.
There are two alternatives for paper selection. You may purchase ready-made cards and then create the artwork and writing on them or you can begin with plain card stock and make the entire package yourself. Either way you have an open palette upon which to create your images. My preference is the latter because I love the options it offers. There is no limitation as to paper texture, color, design or thickness and you can do whatever you feel like doing. I love that!
I will use my trusted Iwata Eclipse BCS, ECL 2000, one of my all-time favorite creative tools; a sharp stencil knife (I used my Artool knife); acrylic airbrush paints of your choice; metallic gift wrap cut to the size of your card; glue stick and stencil material. But, first comes the design.
Keep in mind the cuts, shapes, stencil openings, etc., that you will employ in that design when you purchase your blank card or card stock. For my cards, I will use common card stock available at any art material retailer or office supply. Color is entirely up to you, but I wanted to use white as my background tone. My layout allowed two cards from each 8½ x 11 sheet of card stock, which fits envelopes that are easy to find. You could use a lighter weight paper and fold it in half and then half again to fit the same envelope. All art supply and office material dealers sell multi-packs in a variety of colors. The holiday season is a good time to stock up because they have the best selections at this time.
This layout is my old standby favorite holiday design - the Christmas tree. I begin by creating a positive cutout of the tree shape that I’ll use as a mask that will keep that area white. The background color is applied over the mask shape.
The use of a carefully cut mask as a stencil will also create the negative shape of the tree. This negative could be used when you airbrush the tree shape, but I choose to do it a bit differently. After the background is completely dry I cut, leaving a tiny connection at the top and bottom. I gently fold the tree shape upward and then cut a slot in a piece of scrap and slide the scrap over the background with the tree shape on top. The result is a fast, very neat way to tone the tree shape which will remain curled above the background color.
With the background and subject airbrushed, it is time to do the finishing touches. Line the inside of the front of the card with metallic gift wrap, cut to size. (Attach with a glue stick.) That will give some illumination. Add details to the tree shape if desired. I love to use metallic markers or small glitter spots to give pizzazz to the finished card. Add a star or other embellishments and you have a tiny art card that will delight any recipient.
With all the choices you have and the different designs you can create, card making is fun and can become addictive. Start creating today and have a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!!
Leave it to Cleaver
By Wes Hawkins (Click on any image for a larger view.)
For Halloween this year I decided to put my airbrush to good use and repaint a plastic meat cleaver to look more menacing and realistic. I wasn’t looking for a new off-the-shelf cleaver, but a dirty, rusty tool that had been used for decades without being cleaned. Below is a pic of the cleaver as it was purchased. I decided to use an Iwata Eclipse HP-CS airbrush and about 5 to 10 pounds of pressure. Due to the low pressure, a gravity feed brush was needed and the paint had to be thinned down at a ratio of about 10/1.
I began by masking off the edge of the blade and spraying the edge with gloss black. Next, I sprayed a few light coats of Alclad lacquer chrome. This was in following the instructions. Alclad is airbrush-ready and requires frequent shaking to keep the color suspended in the paint.
After the Alclad had dried, I pulled the tape off and began noodling several metallic colors on the rest of the blade to help break up the base color and give the piece a metallic sheen. I used brown sable metallic, rust, flat black, gunmetal, and just any color that might help this piece look like a derelict. Normally one would spray a color until the brush empties, then spray some cleaner through the brush, reload with a different color and continue. On this project, I learned that by reloading the brush without cleaning first, I was able to make the color changes look much more subtle. Below is the result.
I wasn’t satisfied so I added a coat of rust to help darken the entire piece. Now it was starting to look like what I was looking for. A neat side effect of the Alclad chrome is the overall rustiness of the blade really made the chrome stand out. In addition, the chrome only appeared when the cleaver was held at the right angle. This is also noticeable in the prior pics. Now my cleaver was starting to look freshly sharpened!
To finish up the project, I had some custom paint mixed at the hardware store and splattered this along part of the blade. I hated to cover up the airbrushing I had already done, but the project dictated that I “break some eggs” to make my “omelet.” I decided to spare the Alclad. I know this is not consistent, but somehow it just looked right.
Please feel free to contact me if you should have any questions at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!!
Bringing Out the Beast
Using Vinyl Stencils to Make Your T-Shirts Come Alive!
By Thomas Adams (Click on any image for a larger view.)
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Now the design is ready for the shirt. Use a fabric pen to mark the midpoint of the shirt and the design and then line them up. Next, put a piece of masking tape in the center at the top and bottom of the design. Carefully peel the right half of the design off the backing. Cut that half of the backing paper and remove it. Lay your design carefully on the shirt ensuring that it stays straight and wrinkle-free. Repeat this step on the other half of the design and smooth it out. Finally remove the mask tape, being cautious not to lift the design off the shirt. You should be left with a perfect stencil of the design you want to airbrush.
Once you mask the rest of the shirt, lightly go over the stencil with a heat gun and use a brayer to press down the design. Heat shrinks vinyl and causes it to pull tight to the shirt. Next use your imagination and come up with a funky fade or cool fill for your design. Experiment with freehand stencils and household items like lace and screens, or pick up one of Artool’s many freehand stencil sets. They come in all kinds ranging from mild to wild. Since I started doing this I have tried many different fills, such as flames, skulls, chrome, wood grain, and outer space. Use your fill in such a way that it will complement your design. For example, I made the area around the tiger’s eyes and teeth red to accentuate these features. Your main goal in this step should be to have fun.
To airbrush my design I am using an Iwata HP-C. The HP-C is a great brush for both beginners and professionals. With it, you are able to achieve very fine lines without giving up the ability to do larger fills. This makes it a well-rounded tool for jobs such as this.
When your shirt is finished, go over it thoroughly with a heat gun. This does two things: 1. It ensures the paint on the shirt and the vinyl is dry. 2. The heat causes the vinyl to become stretchy and in turn eases its removal from the shirt. Now to remove the vinyl, peel from one edge to the other while it is still warm from the heat gun. Make sure to get all the inside pieces of your design and lettering. TIP: If you did happen to get some overspray under the stencil, dab it lightly with Murphy’s Oil Soap; then heat set and wash. At the end you should be left with a crisp design that has an eye catching fill.
Finish by heat setting your shirt according to the directions on your paint.
|Medea Com-Art Colours|
|All airbrush colours are not the same. Com-Art is considered to be one of the finest and most versatile professional airbrush colours in the world. Because of a common hydro-carbon base binder, Com-Art transparent and opaque colours can be used together without bleeding between colours. This non-toxic, ready to use paint is specifically formulated for use with an airbrush and never needs to be filtered or strained. Com-Art colours are heavily pigmented and light fast, allowing for accurate 4 colour separations. They provide superior atomization, smooth spraying, and they dry instantly.|
The Learning & Product Expo in Pasadena, CA, was held on the weekend of Oct.12 – Oct.14. This event gives attendees the opportunity to see all of the top art material manufacturers’ wares and speak with qualified representatives who could explain the nuances of the product lines on display. The incredible discounts offered on product purchased at this show made it a must attend event for any artist or art supply buyer in Southern CA. In addition to the great deals on everything from paints to easels, there was a plethora of classes being taught by the best instructors in the U.S. Oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, airbrushing, drawing and art business classes are only a few of the offerings that the show attendees could attend to help them succeed in their quest to be better artists.
|Airbrush competitors begin their “Pumpkin Challenge.”||Completed pumpkin projects ready for judging.||Halloween pumpkin contestants work fast as the announcer checks the time remaining in the challenge.|
In addition to the wonderful shopping and learning experiences, there was a new twist added to this show. Attendees were eligible to sign up for the “Top Artist” competition. Styled after the Top Chef and Iron Chef television shows, “Top Artist” challenged the participants to complete art projects in a very short time span. The projects were kept secret until the contestants were onstage so no-one had an advantage. The format made for great drama because it required quick thinking and fast hands. Once the subject matter of the challenge was revealed, the artists had ten minutes to render their personal versions of it. Versions could be literal, abstract or anywhere in between. The Day 1 medium was Watercolor, Day 2 was Pastel and Day 3 featured Airbrushing.
|Judges remark on the artists’ methods as the challenge progresses.||The judges (standing on the right) confer about the qualities of each entry.||The crowd is awed by the fast work of the onstage attendees/artists.|
The large crowd that witnessed each daily event was transfixed while watching each contestant furiously working on his/her painting as the panel of three judges scored them for style, composition, color and creativity. The onstage antics earned all of the contestants nicknames, such as “Drippy” or “Paint Hands.” Their bravery was rewarded with prizes ranging from a $25 Blick store certificate and North Light Books to an airbrushing kit from Iwata/Medea, complete with air compressor, airbrush and a huge assortment of airbrushing accessories worth over $500. Much to their delight, all competitors onstage earned a prize for their efforts.
Watch for “Top Artist” competitions at future Learning & Product Expos in 2008 (www.learningproductexpo.com) and sign up early to insure a place onstage to show your stuff and win big prizes!
|WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.|
Zazzo USA is pleased to announce the release and availability of the new Makeup FX Templates and DVD (MFX DVD 1) by Brad Look. Makeup artist Bradley M. Look will take you behind the scenes of Hollywood makeup artistry to demonstrate not only beauty applications using the airbrush, but also how to create alien characters. Using the newly developed Makeup FX Template Series he created for Zazzo, The Beauty Ensemble (MFX1) and The Character Troupe (MFX2), Brad shares valuable information along the way which will help makeup artists airbrush more effectively in the growing age of the High Definition format in the entertainment field. Top makeup artists such as Michael G. Westmore, Todd A. McIntosh and Allan A. Apone all agree, “It’s about time someone finally designed airbrush stencils with the makeup artist in mind and shared their award-winning experience. Thank you, Brad!”
The new Zazzo Makeup FX Airbrush Templates and DVD by Brad Look are now available at your favorite Iwata-Medea-Artool-Zazzo supplier. For a complete catalog listing on the Web, go to www.ZazzoUSA.com; E-mail: info@ZazzoUSA.com.
Iwata-Medea Inc. is pleased to announce the release of the new Triple Action Handle invented by Gentry Riley. The new handle gives you instant access to the needle for quick and easy replacement of your needle and fast-full flushing. A unique pre-set handle feature actually holds the needle back from the nozzle instead of limiting trigger movement, allowing for more consistent spray time after time. An added bonus to the Triple Action Handle is a threaded needle knob on the rear of the handle to store your needle cap! The handle gives you an effective solution to your airbrush cleaning process.
Iwata-Medea’s Triple Action Handle is sold as a set with one silver handle/accessories or a set with five colored handles (silver, orange, blue, red and green)/accessories.
You can find the new handle at your local Iwata dealer. Visit www.iwata-medea.com;
Artool Products Co. is proud to announce availability of the new Artool Wrath of Skullmaster by Craig Fraser. In the Wrath of Skullmaster the fantastic and weird skulls are back—and they are fightin’ mad! With Mr. Potato Bonz, Original and Stuph #1 & #2, Burial Ground, Kalaveras and Bonz III, you’ll experience some of the most wild ‘n twisted Artool Skullmaster creations from Craig Fraser’s mind-bending arsenal of skulls. These bad boyz can be had in the usual 8” x 10” sizes, as well as the new Artool Mini Series, 5” x 7” sets.
“Have fun, and remember: a day without Skullmaster is like any other day—just not as bright ‘n shiny!” —Craig Fraser
Also available are the new Artool Nano Series Freehand Airbrush Templates by Craig Fraser. When we started to make the original stencils in the Artool lineup smaller for, well…smaller jobs, the prospect came up that we should design a specific series for the smallest of projects out there, namely the RC car market, 1/8—to 1/25 scale models and for those tiny kustom automotive painting needs, so the Artool Nano Series was only natural! Craig Fraser has created the first Nano Series sets in this business-card size powerhouse: Skullophenia (FH NS 1) and Draco (FH NS 2). There will be more!!! Each Nano Series set features 4 wickedly kewl Artool Freehand Airbrush Templates, which are joined together by tiny tabs that you simply cut and separate with an art knife.
“Whether you are painting your kid’s micro rods, giving your hamster a full-body tattoo, or just making your cell phone look truly evil, the Artool Nano Series rules…carry some in your wallet!” —Craig Fraser
The new Artool Wrath of Skullmaster and Nano Series Freehand Airbrush Templates by Craig Fraser 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 www.ArtoolProducts.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|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.|