Volume 9, Number 5, January 2008
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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.
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.
Triple the Action!
Part 1: Getting a Grip on Iwata’s New Triple Action Handle
By Thomas Adams
|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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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.
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.
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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—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!”
—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 www.ArtoolProducts.com. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
—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 www.iwata-medea.com.
—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 www.iwata-medea.com. E-mail: email@example.com.
|WatercolorTalk.com features informative articles on Watercolor paints, brushes, paper, techniques, tips and products.|
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.|