Airbrushes are a distinctive way of applying very thin colour to a multitude of surfaces. Inks and dyes can both be used in airbrushing, but most popular is very fluid acrylic colour. Many acrylic paint manufacturers produce fluid particular of the optimum viscosity for airbrushing, including AV and Golden.
Airbrushes work by passing a stream of fast moving compressed air through a venture (chamber). This creates a reduction in the local air pressure that allows paint to be pulled from an interconnected reservoir at normal atmospheric pressure. The high speed causes the paint to travel in tiny droplets. This is known at atomization. The airbrushes can control the amount of paint being applied by varying the amount of pressure applied on the trigger of the airbrush. All the airbrushes available from Simair are double action. A double-action airbrush offers much greater control and is essential when producing fine lines and thick-thin strokes (the classic "dagger stroke"). These are also known as "internal-mix" airbrushes because the air and paint mix inside the nozzle. The double-action airbrush has two trigger movements. As with the single-action, airflow is controlled by pressing the trigger down; however, the amount of paint can also be controlled by pulling the trigger back. The farther the trigger is pulled back, the more paint comes out. T-shirt lettering is much easier with this type of airbrush. Experienced, "freehand" (painting without the aid of masking materials) airbrushers can control a double-action to produce photo-realistic artwork.
The finer the atomization of the paint the greater the ability to create the smoothest blending effects. Airbrushing is particularly good for the following:
- Blending of 2 or more colours seamlessly
- Photo realist painting
- Bold shapes using stencils and masking (Frisket film)
- Colouring and decorating 3D models
- Painting Murals
- Decorating and colouring cars, motorcycles, helmets and other vehicles
Airbrushing was once the preferred method for correcting photos, before digital photography and imaging software.
What do I need to start airbrushing?
Below is a list of the airbrushing equipment we offer at Jackson’s Art Supplies, at what the function is of each piece of equipment.
Airbrush – The part of that the paint is dispensed from. It has the trigger which the user will apply pressure to in order to dispense the colour. It connects to the paint source and the compressor.
Compressor – A source of compressed air that forces the paint through the airbrush. Looks like a canister or an aerosol.
Adaptor - Connects the airbrush to a hose and its compressor. An adaptor must have the correct diameter and length for compatibility for your equipment, so please check before you purchase or order.
Needle Caps and Nozzles – The needle is required for fine line spraying. It fits into the nozzle which attached to the airbrush, reducing the hole that the paint passes through in order to leave the brush. The nozzle is the part that the needle fits into. The nozzle and the needle should be tapered in the same way.
Valves – A valve acts as an aerosol can regulator. The higher the air pressure the finer the ‘mist’ of paint, also known as atomization. In an airbrush with a fine needle, less pressure is required to produce good atomisation. The valve can regulate the air pressure supplied by the compressor.
Spray Away Exhaust Filters – These filters are for use in the Simair spraying booths. They help to protect the user from harmful fine paint particles, that could otherwise be easily inhaled and caused damage to lungs.
Uni-Booth – Uni-Booths are a studio extraction system for safe spraying indoors. They let light in from the top, so that your view of your work is not compromised and you can maintain accuracy when spraying. They possess a powerful centrifugal blower/motor with polyester intake filter and duel activated charcoal impregnated filter for the greatest possible solvent and odour removal.
Simair Double Sirbrush Stand – By using an airbrush stand you can avoid damaging your sirbrush and prevent it from clogging, as it may do if kept on its side when not in use. It also keeps your workspace tidy and organised. The double airbrush stand will clamp on to any surface with a maximum thickness of 2.5 inches.
Simair Face Masks – Another important piece of equipment, these face masks are as good for protecting your lungs from fine paint particles as well as for dust. They each have a little nose pincher to help stop particles getting through any gaps between your mask and your face. They are available in packs of 3.
Airbrush Colour – Viscosity is measured in centipoise. 1cP describes the viscosity of water. Airbrush colour has all been made to have the optimum viscosity for airbrushing techniques, primarily suited to illustration and fine art application, which is 40-60cPs. We sell airbrush colour by Golden and AV. Acrylic ink and watercolour dyes can also be used for airbrushing, but you may need to experiment with how much pressure you apply with these as they may have a finer viscosity.
Airbrush Mediums – allow you to achieve the right consistency colour for airbrushing. You can mix these mediums with regular acrylic colour, even heavy body colour, and providing the ratios are right you will be able to create your own airbrush colour mixes. Ensure that you follow the advice of the manfufacturers.
Frisket Film – Frisket Film is a fantastic tool for any airbrush artist for masking off areas of work in order to achieve crisp, clean lines and sharp edges in your work.
Resource – If you need a helping hand with getting started in air brush, we have a good range of books that introduce and explain this painting technique.
We also have this guide to help get you started in the wonderful world of airbrushing!