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Acrylics Airbrush painting

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Ferris, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Ferris A Fixture

    Hi All,

    Several of you have shown some amazing work with an airbrush in figure painting. To me it is clear that very smooth highlighting, shading and transitions can be achieved with an airbrush.

    I would like to try out the technique more, but my initial experiments did not give what Isee at PF. I'd be very interested in the specifics of this technique, and maybe others as well.

    Here's some things I'm struggling with:
    - dilution of the paint for highlighting and shading
    - air pressure used for HL and shading (not to the hundreth of a Bar, but is it low or high?)
    - what distance to spray from?
    - is this different for large and small scale figures?

    Hope some airbrush guys can help... Thanks in advance for any help!

  2. megroot A Fixture

    Have the same questions. But Pepa Savreeda is going to demonstrate at the Scale Modelling Challenge in Eindhoven this year.
    So you gonna be sure that I be there, maybe a good reason to come.

    Ferris likes this.
  3. Ferris A Fixture

    Hm, I should rephrase....:

    Hope some airbrush guys or girls can help... Thanks in advance for any help!

  4. bagelman1952 Well-Known Member

    I have been experimenting with the airbrush lately and treated myself to a new brush. I found the Miniature Mentor video of the Violinist to be very helpful. I worked out that it is best to keep the pressure as low as possible and work close to the figure. Paint should be diluted to the consistency of milk and the video gives a recipe for a very good dilutant. I have been using Vallejo and Jo Sonja paints but I also got a batch of Badger airbrush paint cheap on ebay and that works good straight from the bottle.
    Ferris likes this.
  5. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    Don't mention 'Airbrushing',... after spending silly money on kit! . I had about 6 months experimenting, then.. my hands went 'pair shaped', .. so I cannot use the buggers! ... (Nice to look at them though). .. Shading/Highlighting, IMHO, has little to do with the dilution ratio, .. purely the required colour. .. Ah, but pressure, that one depends on what air supply you are using, and if it can be altered. ..

    Distance, is relative to what you want to do!.. detail and fine line's = closer! .. which depends on the size of needle and Nozzle you have on the brush, and yes pressure does play a big part in how much 'Paint- to Air comes through'. .. Clearly priming is further away etc. ... As I said I had only 6 months, playing around with this kit. .. so I am no expert to say the least!


    Ferris likes this.
  6. Showlen Active Member

    I've been experiencing a bit with airbrushes for awhile and feel I'm sort of on my way to getting the hang of it :). What size tip/nozzle are you using? Mostly I use a .38 (it actually might be a .33 or .36). I almost always have the PSI set to 12 or 15 -this seems to always work for me when painting or priming.

    Now for finer detail, or "veils" (more like misting for a sort of toning change or glazing) I'll use a .25 needle/tip/nozzle but the paint will require a substantial amount of thinning. Otherwise, it flat won't come out of the brush or the tip will quickly clog. While I don't use the .25 too much, it does come in pretty handy at times, especially detailing some busts.

    When I began using an airbrush I was diluting various acrylic paints with water. Getting the right consistency is like learning to ride a bike (at least for me), practice and hope at some point it "clicks". What helped with better application and less clogging at the tip was using the paint's applicable thinner. I use Vallejo's 71.061 Airbrush Thinner for their paints and Andrea's Acrylic Thinner as well for their paints. I add water to the thinner, pre-making bottles with about 60%/40% thinner/water. I still deal with clogging a bit, but I think that's to be expected and I don't usually use a guard on my brush so I have a habit of just pulling the clog off the brush. This way of thinning helps me a lot and I like the results, but I know folks obtain the same or better results just using water.

    As far as how much to thin the paint, I feel like I thin a little more than I do when I use a paint brush. I pretty much just eye-ball the thinning of the paints, as all paints have a different consistency. What I did in the beginning, and still do today, is I purchased a few white project poster boards from Walmart and would prime a small area and just practice. I practiced control, base coats, shading, thin lines and detail etc... all while trying to avoid the spiderweb effect from the paint (not sure if that's the best way to describe). This helped me a lot.

    I also learned quite a bit from a guy on youtube that paints fantasy/GW models almost 100% with an airbrush. He has quite a bit of videos and gives many tips for airbrushing. He's also good about responding to questions. His channel is "Buypainted" (http://www.youtube.com/user/Buypainted)

    Recently I borrowed and tried a Harder & Steenbeck Evolution Silverline airbrush and man, this felt like the Bentley of airbrushes. It was just the smoothest airbrush I had ever tried (this is just my opinion). Although I do like my Paasche Talon, and have gotten to know it well, the H&S blows it out of the water.

    Hope this helps some... check out Buypainted's channel if you haven't already.

    Ferris likes this.
  7. Ferris A Fixture

    Thanks a lot for responsing to my questions Marc, Ken, Ron and Mark!
    Your comments are very useful to point me in the right direction.

    I have airbrushing experience (tank, planes, cars, whatnot), but not with figures. After seeing some excellent results here on PF I tried it with a figure, but somehow it did not look right. I think this is what I did wrong:
    - Paint too thin, so too soft an effect
    - Pressure and spraying distance too high, so the paint did not properly find the highlights and shades, but gave more general coverage.
    I hope to be able to try again soon.

    Any further comments from your experience is very welcome!

  8. Showlen Active Member

    I've only used one type of compressor, so not sure if they vary in PSI... I'm assuming they don't. 12 to 15 PSI works great for me. When I prime, I set to 15 and most painting is done at 12 PSI, however, you can go lower. For me, anything higher than 15 PSI gives rough results that I'm not looking for... others may have better results as higher PSI. As far as distance, I'm usually pretty close to the figure, but not so close that the paint runs.

    I'd give anything to sit down with Pepa Savreeda and learn some tips and how to's. In my opinion, Pepa has absolutely mastered the airbrush without question.
    Ferris likes this.
  9. Ferris A Fixture

    Thanks Ron, for the details!
    Sorry about my late reply!

  10. Meehan34 A Fixture

    I have a grex and keep it between 15 & 20 psi. You may not be getting the results because you arent giving enough layers of paint. It still takes lots of layers because the paint is so thin. I like the paint really thin, it sprays better at low psi. It is just a matter of messing around and practicing with it. Julio cobos has a nice book on painting pinups that goes through using an AB, if you follow it you cant eff it up.
  11. fabrizio1969 A Fixture


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