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This Summer's Airbrush Lesson
The Universal Tool
The airbrush, like the paint brush, has limitless applications and can be used wherever a fluid needs to be applied in a mist or spray (without brush strokes and without touching the surface). It is thought of as the artist's tool for illustration, acrylic painting on canvas, renderings on a flat, two-dimensional surface, or T-shirts. However, once an artist gets his or her hands on an airbrush, it can be used for many different applications; so many, in fact, that it makes the airbrush an essential tool in the studios of all artists, no matter what the discipline. Some examples follow:
Framer--The airbrush can be used to paint frames, apply varnish to frames, repair scratches and dings in metal frames, customize mats to specific colors or designs, add stenciled images to mats, or paint on the glass.
Sign Painter--Vinyl lettering has become extremely popular in the sign industry, and the sign painter has discovered how he can customize vinyl lettering with the use of an airbrush, making standard colored letters appear to be wood or chrome or neon. The airbrush is used to work on wooden, plastic, and metal signs, glass signs, and signs on the sides of trucks and buildings. The size of the sign determines which spray tool is used. Sign painters utilize an array of airbrushes plus various sizes of spray guns.
Hobbyist--Life for artists doesn't always begin and end at the easel. Most have hobbies. The airbrush is used in modelmaking to paint plastic models from Creature Features to Star Trek; toy train fanciers use the airbrush to develop not only dioramas, but individual train pieces as well to impart a realistic appearance of soot and rust. Remote-controlled airplanes and boats are also ideal objects for airbrushed designs or embellishments.
Silk Painter--The delicate spray of the airbrush is well suited for the spraying of silk dyes and can be combined easily with brush and resist techniques. Most silk dyes come in a state that makes them easily sprayable.
Wood Carver--The airbrush is a handy tool for the woodcarver, especially one that carves decoys. The luminosity of the Mallard duck's neck is developed with overlapping airbrush passes of metallic colors. When done properly, it is indistinguishable from the real thing. The carver who does fish decoys or bald eagles may have an airbrush at hand to aid in the development of realistic color or for clear coating an unpainted carving.
Sculptor--On metal, the airbrush is used for patina; on plastic, for color; on clay, for glaze. The airbrush lends itself to painting three-dimensional objects and will apply materials to these surfaces so their appearance is equivalent to those factory produced.
Printmaker--Whenever an even coat of ground needs to be sprayed to a plate, an airbrush or spray gun can be used. Stippling techniques can be employed to develop a pointillist effect. The airbrush can be used to spray tusche onto a lithostone or a silkscreen or to spray paint or ink through a silkscreen to add a vignette or create a monotype appearance.
Photographer--And let's not forget photo retouching and photo restoration, the original reasons for the invention of the airbrush in the 1870's. In today's world, a digital photograph can be taken, downloaded into your computer, manipulated and printed out on a color printer, enhanced and retouched with the airbrush, scanned back into the computer, and put up on the Web for viewing.
Once an artist knows how to use an airbrush, and it's easier than some may think, he or she will discover many uses for it; and none of them will be perceived as "airbrush art!"
For a complete tutorial on the basics of airbrush technique on the Internet, go to AirbrushTalkAir brush technique lesson written by Arttalk.com
This winter's airbrush tips
This spring's airbrush lesson
Handling and Care of the Airbrush
To most artists, airbrush maintenance basically means keeping the airbrush clean so that paint flow is uninterrupted. But another aspect of maintaining the airbrush deals with proper handling and care to prevent damaging the components of this highly sensitive tool. This can occur when the airbrush is dropped, mishandled, or sometimes lent to a friend. Let's look at the parts of the airbrush and how they apply to its proper performance.
The airbrush is a durable, precision instrument. But, as with any precision instrument, it is susceptible to damage if handled improperly, so handle with care.Air brush technique lesson written by Arttalk.com
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