Volume 9, Number 5, January 2008

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.

Decorative Computer Screen Surround

By Janean S. Thompson

I don’t know about you, but I get pretty bored with the look of my computer screen frame.  My monitor has a narrow, flat silver gray surround.  It isn’t shiny; not even a distinguished black.  So I am about to do something about that by creating a decorative surround.  The extra space around the monitor can be used to post notes and reminders, too.

Photo 1: My mat board surround, paints, texture items - ready for decoration.
I will design a neat, personalized, three-sided “mat” to dress up my screen.  It is really easy to do from the materials you probably have around the home or studio.  You’ll need your 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); a scrap of corrugated cardboard or mat board that has a window cut to the size of your computer screen; acrylic paints to complement your design; textural elements to add zip to your surround; a design idea or two (doing two would give you a change-out surround for later); paper towels or rags for clean-up; and silk blooms.  (Photo 1)

The design I want to create will be one with some implied texture, some rich dark tones and bright light colors.  After working on a couple of ideas, I came up with some overlapping color splotches with overlaid texture that should work very nicely.

My actual surround is made from mat board because I do a lot of photo framing.  The window opening is 10-3/8 x 10-3/4.  However, because I don’t want to cover the speaker perforations and some of the screen controls, I want to leave the bottom edge of the monitor uncovered.  So this is a three-sided cover which works for my monitor.  However, you might choose to cover your entire monitor surround. 

The edges of the surround will be 3 inches wide.  That should be plenty of width to lay on some design and patterning and yet not interfere with other use of the desk around the monitor.  Since I cut mats all the time, I have access to a mat cutter that automatically bevels the window edges.  You could just as easily cut with a box cutter or X-Acto knife yielding a square edge.  That is not a crucial issue. 

Photo 2:  Base colors set the under-tone for later textural additions.
With the shape cut, it is time to start decorating.  I begin by layering on a nice combination of light colors.  Brights showing beneath textural elements will give the finished look I want.  (Photo 2)  Solid colors, stripes, lines or wavy lines…anything you like can be used and would look great.

Photo 3:  Textural elements I selected included the use of a doily.
Textural additions I selected included an inexpensive plastic doily (easily cleaned and reused) and a piece of plastic canvas.  (Photo 3) You might also use plastic mesh bags (like cherry tomatoes come in), tulle netting, the irregular edge of torn paper, silk flowers or wads of fabric sprayed and pressed onto the surface…you can come up with lots of cool textures.

Photo 4:  Voila! The finished surround attached to my computer monitor.
I love metallic paints so I finished my surround with wiggly lines that shimmer.  If desired, you could add small photos or create an airbrush collage with scraps of airbrush practice exercises and found objects.  There are hundreds of ways you can make your surround a personal “art” statement.  Have fun and help make the world a more beautiful place – at least the world around your computer monitor. (Photo 4)




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Triple the Action!

Part 1:  Getting a Grip on Iwata’s New Triple Action Handle

By Thomas Adams

If you are anything like me, art and airbrush supplies are always at the top of your holiday/birthday gift lists.  Perhaps one of the most innovative and desired new items is the Iwata-Medea Triple Action Handle.

This amazing handle setup can be tacked onto almost any Iwata airbrush to create the ultimate airbrush.  The Iwata Triple Action Handle has three main benefits to save any artist time, money and headache.  First off, it has a quick needle release that’s great for fast and easy cleaning. Secondly, the spring loaded chuck on the back of the handle operates as a quick flush.  Lastly, and probably most impressive, is the pre-set feature. The handle can be “dialed out” to create a fine, consistent spray pattern.  The handle also includes a spot on the back where you can screw on the airbrush’s needle cap when not in use.  I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent looking for mine. This invention is one of the most innovative and valuable tools to hit the market in years, yet it is one of the simplest airbrush accessories around.  In this article we will spend some time setting up and testing the Triple Action Handle, and then in Part 2 we will put it to the true test on a fine canvas painting.

Fig. 1 – The new Triple Action Handle from Iwata includes 5 cool barrel colors. Fig. 2 - Remove the handle and needle chucking nut and put them in a safe place.

When you get your own Triple Action Handle, the box will contain five triple action barrels in five awesome anodized colors.  You will also receive a needle knob, needle chucking knob, needle knob chucking spring, and an Allen wrench. (Fig. 1) For those of you not technically inclined, don’t worry--I will explain what all of these parts do.  If you are familiar with your airbrush setup, there should be no problem. First remove the handle and needle chucking nut from your airbrush. (Fig. 2). This is the nut you would normally tighten to secure the needle in your airbrush. Store these in a safe place because you can always convert back to your old airbrush later (although I do not think anyone would want to after they got a taste of the Triple Action Handle).  Next, simply slide the needle in the airbrush until it stops. This is called seating the needle.


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Fig. 3 – Slide the needle knob into the brush with the Allen wrench still in the set screw.  Tighten with the Allen wrench against the barrel. Fig. 4 – Install the needle chuck into the back of the barrel, tighten all the way and then back off a turn or two. Fig. 5 – Place the spring over the new needle assembly and carefully slide it into the needle chuck.  Be cautious not to damage the tip of the needle!

Now for the fun part, spend some time choosing from the five fabulous colors of barrels; red, blue, silver, gold, or green.  I am partial to green myself.  Once you have chosen your favorite color barrel, screw it onto the body of your airbrush, checking again to make sure the needle is seated.  When you look at the airbrush from the side, the end of the needle should be sticking out about a sixteenth to an eighth of an inch. Next it’s time to get out the needle chucking knob.  This is simply a new needle chucking nut like you removed before, only this one gives the Triple Action Handle the quick release ability. Before you slide this piece in, place the Allen wrench in the screw and loosen it, leaving the Allen wrench in it. Now slide over the needle and make sure the needle knob set screw is backed out enough to allow the needle to enter.  Slide it in until the Allen wrench comes in contact with the barrel. (Fig. 3) Now tighten the set screw, being careful not to over tighten.  Once you have tightened the screw, remove the needle with the new knob attached.  Now install the needle chucking knob into the barrel on the back of the airbrush. (Fig. 4) Screw it in until it is almost tight and then back it off a turn.  Place the spring over the new needle assembly and slide it into the barrel. (Fig. 5) As you push the assembly tight against the end of the airbrush, simultaneously tighten the chuck to lock in the needle assembly.

Fig. 6 – Pulling back on the needle chuck allows you to easily spray out without removing the handle.

But enough of all that; lets see what this thing can do!  One good thing about the triple action handle is that it counter balances the airbrush, but it leaves the grip virtually the same, so it does not take a lot of getting used to.  When you start spraying with your brush you will notice it’s virtually the same except for the fact that now a slight tug on that needle chuck will give you a hearty spray out. (Fig. 6).

Fig. 7 – Slightly unscrewing the barrel gives you a very fine spray pattern.  Unscrew about ½ turn at a time and practice your lines. Fig. 8 – The new Triple Action Handle turns your airbrush inside out, giving you the power to make all the adjustments you need without removing the back of your airbrush.

This is incredibly useful when spraying T-shirts and other fast-paced projects where a clog can put a damper on your performance.  If the clog is more serious than that or you wish to clean the head or needle itself, simply give the chuck a twist and the needle assembly will pop out completely. Now let’s get down to business!  With your finger off the trigger, slowly unscrew the barrel about one turn. You will notice that it takes about ½ turn to get the barrel to start pushing the needle back. One turn should give you a nice small, consistent pattern. (Fig. 7) I cannot express how much this has helped out in some recent spots where consistent line thicknesses were necessary. If you want to go larger or smaller just experiment with screwing the handle in and out and seeing what you get.  The great thing is you never lose the ability to make the pattern larger on the fly using the trigger action. (Fig. 8)

Great work! It looks like we have become familiar with our new and improved triple action brush, but the real test lies in Part 2 of this article (March issue). We will bring out the “Big Guns” on a WWII bomber/pinup painting. There are plenty of special effects, textures, and fine line work involved that will force the triple action handle to earn its wings. So stay tuned.


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Automotive/Motorcycle Airbrush Stenciling Choices

By Donn Shanteau

Fashioning stencils is a good way for anyone who already knows the basics of airbrush painting to create professional looking artwork. The stencil affords the painter more control over the paint and eliminates much of the variables of freehand airbrushing. I must reiterate that one must first know the correct way to spray with an airbrush! If the painter uses the airbrush in a fashion similar to spraying a can of Krylon or Rustoleum, you can forget about getting predictable results. Without the ability to feather the paint at the stencil edges and modify the paint flow through the airbrush as you are painting, a stencil will only aid the painter in making a bigger puddle of paint. With that said, stencils are your friend when it comes to rendering painstaking details.

You have a plethora of materials available to stencil with; I will address the most commonly used in automotive applications. The first is regular copy paper. I prefer the coated versions since they are less absorbent. Multiple copies can be printed and windows cut out with an x-acto knife to expose each separate area to be airbrushed. By registering each window accurately with the previously sprayed details, a very respectable image can be built with limited artistic ability. Low air pressure (15-18 psi) should be used to deter under-spray.  One drawback to this method is that copy paper will absorb paint, so spraying the paint in light coats to build it up slowly is imperative.


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Another popular method that is seen all too often in magazines and television is the use of vinyl transfer tape. This sticky material comes in rolls of various widths and was designed to lift computer cut letters from their backing and transfer them onto the sign or vehicle surface. At some point someone figured out that if it was applied to a painted vehicle’s surface, a design could be cut out of it and PRESTO, you have a masked area that is ready to paint once any residual adhesive is cleaned from the exposed areas. This is the fastest and simplest way to mask and stencil for sure, but it has some drawbacks. First, it doesn’t cut very cleanly; the cut edge is ragged when compared to some other stenciling agents. Secondly, it requires you to cut on the paint. Cut too deeply, and your knife mark will be apparent after the clear coat is sprayed (the sign of a true amateur). You see this done all the time on TV, but the camera doesn’t focus close enough to expose the shoddy knife work of the painter. The good part is that it is fast; the bad part is that the work will not pass close scrutiny by anyone who can recognize quality.

1. This custom burned stencil was fashioned with a stencil burning tool and drafting film.

I prefer using drafting film to fashion custom stencils. (Photo 1) It will accept repositionable adhesive to hold it firmly in place to guard against under-spray, and it is stable enough to be lifted and repositioned if necessary. It is non-absorbent, cuts cleanly and comes with one side that is smooth and one side that is matte finished. The matte side holds graphite, so I can draw on it, cut it on a cutting mat, apply adhesive to it and place it on the surface as many times as needed. It might be slower than the other methods, but I like it the best, since I am all about quality, not quantity.

2. Themed pirate booty stencil is produced by Artool. 3. Artool Pirate/Skull stencil.

Lastly, you can purchase precut stencils/templates from a number of manufacturers and some are better than others. I would recommend the Artool brand. (Photo 2) You hold them up to the surface and spray through the holes. These are super for the novice or pro who wants it done right now or can’t draw a lick. (Photo 3) When I find that I must use them, I combine freehand airbrushing with the hand-held shields to modify the look of the art and make the artwork more custom.  And no matter which method of stenciling you choose, remember that you still have to know how to use the airbrush properly to get good results.


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New Products

New Templates from Artool

—Artool Products Co., Inc., has announced the release of the new Artool Intro Series Freehand Airbrush Template (FH IS1) sheet designed by Robert Paschal.  Consisting of seven shapes, the Intro Series comes attached together by tiny tabs in one convenient sheet.  Each template shape has a variety of edge configurations: large and small sawtooths, wavy edges, half-round scallops, fish-scale shapes, square-edge teeth, plus seven circle sizes!  As an art and airbrush instructor, Robert wanted a way for more people to easily enjoy the art of airbrushing, so he primarily designed the Artool Intro Series for entry-level airbrushing.  However, the Intro Series Template is useful for all levels of airbrush applications, from illustration, fine art and hobbies to custom automotive painting applications and so much more! 

“Getting started with airbrushing has never been so easy!”
                                                      —Robert Paschal

—Also new from Artool is the Signature Series Artool Pirate Girlies Freehand Airbrush Templates Set (FH PG1) by Deborah Mahan.  This is the third series in Deborah’s Artool Pin-Up Girlies lineup, which is also available in the Artool Pirate Girlies Mini Series (FH PG1 MS).  All of the Artool Templates designed by Deborah can be interfaced with each other to create any combination of Girlie delights your heart desires.  In this new Artool Pirate Girlie lineup you’ll find five high-seas damsels: Pirate Girlie, Shanghaied, Girlie Chest, Girlie Girl and Mermaid Girlie.

“I hope you have as much fun using these new Pirate Girlies as I had drawing them up.  Now get to painting, maties!  ARRGH!!!”                                       —Deborah Mahan

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

New Micron Case and Work Station from Iwata

—You asked for it, you got it! Iwata-Medea Inc. is proud to announce the release of the new Iwata Custom Micron Series Case.  The new red case for the Custom Micron is constructed of tempered aluminum, which provides a sturdy enclosure for the most professional airbrush available.  Your Iwata Custom Micron is held securely in place with high density constructed foam for ultimate protection of your precision instrument.  PLUS, they have included an Iwata Pistol Grip Filter (F A450), the last and essential defense against moisture.

You can find the newly packaged Custom Micron’s wherever Iwata-Medea and Artool products are sold.  For a complete listing of the Iwata-Medea and Artool catalog on the web, go to

—Iwata-Medea is also pleased to announce a new addition to their existing Airbrush Accessory line. The new AIR-PORT Airbrush Work Station by Karajen Corp.  is exclusively distributed by Iwata-Medea. The AIR-PORT Airbrush Work Station is a simple and convenient way to keep your Airbrushes and airbrush supplies organized. Easily mount your AIR-PORT to most metal surfaces with its sturdy mounting magnets.  Made of 18 gauge steel construction with a powder-coated finish, it will last, guaranteed! At 9′w X 5′d X 2.5′h, the AIR-PORT holds all your airbrush supplies. Use the new AIR-PORT wherever you work. Keep focused on your work and stop wondering “where did I put that…?”

The new Air-Port Airbrush Work Station by Karajen Corp. is available at your favorite Iwata-Medea distributor. For a complete listing of distributors in your area and for more information on all the Iwata-Medea Airbrush Accessories, visit  E-mail: features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.

Airbrush Workshops

You’ve asked for them and now they’re back!  Workshops in Basic Airbrush Technique by Robert Paschal are now in the planning stage and will be held in Beacon, NY.  This location is 65 miles north of New York City and is on the Metro North Railroad’s Hudson Line from Grand Central Terminal; Stewart-Newburgh International Airport is also a short distance away.  Check for information as it becomes finalized; 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 2008!