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These Five Things Will Up Your Airbrush Control and Enjoyment.
- 1. Keep Your Airbrush Clean
- 2. Proper Lighting
- 3. Detailed Reference Photos
- 4. Proper Viscosity
- 5. Set Aside Time
1. Cleanliness is Next to Godliness
Keeping your airbrush clean is one of the most important habits you can ever have when you are an airbrush artist. Nothing will diminish your airbrush skills more than using a dirty airbrush.
I don’t mean taking your airbrush apart after every use. All you need to do is flush it through with water or airbrush cleaner, wipe the cup and repeat the process until the water sprays clear. I also remove the needle and clean that as well. This helps your airbrush to work perfectly the next time you sit down to airbrush.
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2. Put More Light on the Subject
Always make sure that you have good lighting. If your hand is casting a shadow on your artwork it will affect your accuracy and airbrush control. I like to use two studio lights at the right and left of the easel or desk. The lights are in front of me and not behind, so as to not cast a shadow on my working area.
3. Better Reference, More Detail, Better Painting
These days we work more from digital files than actually photographs. For me, it is always a good rule of thumb to use image files that are no smaller than 800×600 dpi. Anything smaller than that and the details will become pixelated and blurry. A tiny reference image is like stepping into the batter’s box with 2 strikes already. Set yourself up to succeed and have better reference photos.
4. The Milkshake Rule
Airbrushes were not invented to work with thick acrylic paint. They were initially designed to spray thin mediums such as inks and dyes. Acrylics are great to shoot through the airbrush but first thin them to the viscosity of an ink or a dye. If whatever you are spraying through the airbrush is too thick, you will not have proper control of the airbrush and it will soon clog. If you raise the air pressure higher and higher to compensate, this will further lessen the control you have over your details.
I know we all have responsibilities and commitments but if we set aside only one hour per day for 5 days each week; that equals a substantial 260 hours per year. That is 32.5 8-hour sessions. Could you imagine the control you would gain with all that experience each and every year?