AIRBRUSH INFORMATION Page 1
How to airbrush tips, with airbrushing information, and parts ofairbrushes for training how to paint
Hello, My name is Dave Keleher, I am the owner of Custom Airbrushing. I have borrowed some of the information listed on this page from off the internet. Most of this info is very helpful and I would like to share it with you as well.
Before making a purchase, an artist must first decide why he or she is buying an airbrush, and what applications this new art tool will be needed to perform. These are questions only the artist can answer. For beginning airbrushers, the best choice is to buy an airbrush for one main function, and worry about other functions later (see Airbrush Types below to help select the kind of airbrush needed for different applications).
Be sure to give these questions careful consideration. The time spent researching will be well worth it. Many airbrushes now sitting in closets or on shelves aren't used simply because they were not exactly what the artist needed. The researching process can save the artist many dollars in the long run.
Purchasing an Airbrush
As overwhelming as this may be, keeping focused on one's individual criteria narrows the choices. The two trade magazines available to the American market, Airbrush Action® and The Airbrush Magazine®. We suggest getting art catalogs and comparing prices and available models to those of local art stores.
Seek Professional Advice
Single-Action vs. Double-Action Airbrushes
"Single-action" and "double-action" refer to the way the air and paint flow of the airbrush is controlled. Single-action means that it sprays much like an aerosol can: just push down the trigger to get it to spray. The amount of paint that comes out is controlled by twisting a knob or screw located near the tip. This type of airbrush is also referred to as an "external-mix," because the air and paint actually mix in front of the needle. There are fewer moving parts that need cleaning, therefore it is an easy airbrush to maintain. The single-action airbrush does not have the precise control offered by a double-action; however, a single action is a great beginner's brush that will always have uses no matter how advanced an artist becomes. Smooth gradations are easily accomplished, and for many artists, this will be the only airbrush they will ever need.
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.
Siphon-Feed Vs. Gravity-Feed Airbrushes
Siphon-feed (or bottom feed) means that the color-cup attaches from underneath the body of the airbrush. Air suction pulls the paint from the cup to the nozzle area, where it comes in contact with the air. This type of airbrush is useful when spraying for extended periods of time because the color-cup (typically 1/4 ounce capacity) can be taken off and a bottle can be attached, normally with a capacity of 3 fluid ounces or less.
Gravity-feed essentially means that the color-cup is on top of the airbrush body. Most models have an immovable color-cup. Although larger models can have paint reservoirs of 2 ounces, gravity-fed airbrushes are made for detail, where small amounts of paint are applied at one time. Because the paint is in an open color-cup, some models offer a separate cap to keep paint from drying out in the color-cup. They have a tiny hole in the center of the cap to prevent a vacuum from developing. It is essential that this hole be open to maintain proper paint flow. Siphon-feed bottles also have this hole on the cap for the same purpose.
My Tip : For new beginners... Single action airbrushes suck! if you want to really learn how to airbrush right, then get a double action. I first started out with a single action and I went nowhere for a long time. Spend your money on one airbrush with the most to offer, that's double action. I don't suggest you get a top of the line IWATA airbrush either. Although IWATA is probably the Cadillac of all airbrushes and the best on the market, the part replacement $$ for these airbrushes are insane!!! nozzles alone are around $60 to $75 to replace, needles are around $25.00. ( I own 1 of these brushes).
My Story: "I Think learning to airbrush is like learning to drive a car".
My Advice and #1 Choice for learning: I would suggest getting a Thayer & Chandler "Vega 2000" kit , but they just went out of business (thanks for nothing Badger airbrush). I would still grab one if you could before they are all snapped up, and buy a few needles and tips for it (#3 med ) they go for about $5 dollars each!! You can use these airbrushes for anything. They go for about $75-$120.00 per kit.
My other choices would be:
A Badger double action bottom feed brush kit, $80.00-120.00 per kit.
BADGER MODEL 150 ( I own one of these)
Paasche kit . $70.00-$100.00 per kit
Paasche VL MODEL (I have 3 of these)
Paasche (Millennium Airbrush)
DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY on Aztek Airbrushes (mostly plastic and to dinky for real airbrush artists). (I never owned one).
NEEDLES AND NOZZLES
The Airbrush Needle and Nozzle
All airbrushes work on the same principle; air and paint meet at an exact point in space. At that point in space there is a tapered "needle" that projects the combined air and paint forward. This simple concept was used by Neolithic man on the walls of his cave. He would orally grind up the "pigments" (anything from charcoal to berry juice) in his mouth, using saliva as the "binder". His lungs were the air source, his mouth was the nozzle and his tongue was the needle. Fortunately, the airbrush was invented around 1900 A.D., making the modern airbrusher's life much easier.
Obviously, a human tongue is a very blunt, tapered needle that will not allow an artist to spray fine lines. Fine line spraying requires very delicate needles tapered to a delicate point. The finest detail airbrushes have a nozzle size of .18mm. Large commercial spray guns, such as those used for automotive painting, have blunt needles that do not have much of a taper. However, they are made to fit into large nozzles that are meant to deliver much greater amounts of paint.
The nozzle is the part of the airbrush head assembly in which the needle rests. It is tapered exactly the same as the needle it holds. On a single-action airbrush, when the screw is twisted, it widens the space between the needle and nozzle by moving the nozzle. In a double-action airbrush, when the trigger is pulled back, it moves the needle back as well. The farther back the needle moves, the larger the space between the needle and nozzle.
Note: In most airbrush kits (bottom feed, side feed), there are usually three different size nozzles and needles that can be used depending on the work & surface you are painting they are fine,medium, large.
What is "Atomization"?
While there is nothing that one can do to alter the baffling of a given airbrush, the air pressure and paint thickness (or viscosity) can be adjusted to suit a particular need.
Paint Thickness Differences
The viscosity of the paint to be sprayed is also equally important. Viscosity is measured in Centipoise (cPs). One (1) Centipoise is the resistance of water, hence water has a viscosity of 1 cPs. Golden's ready to spray Airbrush Colors have a viscosity range of 40 - 60 cPs, making them ideal for illustration and fine art. Most textile airbrush colors range from 100 to 400 cPs. A typical house paint is 3000 - 6000 cPs.
If the airbrush is set to an adequate pressure and spattering still occurs, the paint is too thick to be properly atomized. Sometimes raising the P.S.I. can eliminate the spattering, but the correct procedure is to thin the paint. Overthinning can also have adverse effects, therefore switching to a larger needle/nozzle airbrush is also an option the artist must consider.
Matching an Airbrush to the Proper Pressure & Paint System
What is an "Air Source"?
Often, an air source can be a bigger investment than all of the needed airbrush equipment. If an artist is just exploring the possibilities of an airbrush with the least amount of investment, renting the air source may be a better initial investment.
Dave Says: "Use a credit card" and buy a compressor paying an installment every month using your "customers" project money to pay it off, rather then throw your money away on renting something you can't keep!
Buy a good used /second hand one ...flea markets are full of small compressors and nubilizers.
"COMPRESSORS DO NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE!"
Selecting the Proper Air Source
The type of spray equipment one is using: has a great impact on what air source to obtain. If an artist's airbrushing consists of an occasional decorative spraying of food coloring onto a birthday cake, then the aerosol cans of compressed air found in many art stores would suffice. If an artist plans on airbrushing t-shirts in the local mall, he or she will require a source that can deliver a constant 100 P.S.I. all day long, and probably a very quiet one to prevent the personnel at the next door clothes store from issuing a formal complaint.
Below is a Quick Reference Chart showing the pro's and Con's of the more popular air sources
The Cheap & Easy Way Out
For beginners, The point is one does not have to invest hundreds of dollars in order to try airbrushing. If there is a good local art store, ask them to demonstrate the models of airbrushes they have. Be wary of the cheap $99 compressors that seem like a good deal in the store, but couldn't spray water evenly (these would be the cheapy silent diaphragm ones). Most art applications of airbrushes require steady air pressure, which means that the air should be stored in a tank first. If a model does not have an air tank, the artist will most likely be fighting to maintain adequate pressure. Airbrushing is hard enough to get a handle on without having an air source complicate the matter further. Try and get a compressor bigger then 1/6 hp.
MyTip: If you can handle the noise of a oilless non-silent compressor, run a hose from one room (where the compressor is located) to another room where you are/will be airbrushing (no more than 50 feet of hose), I find you can buy a non-silent oilless compressor for about $100.00 that work just fine.
[ My Story: I used an oilless, piston driven "tankless" Sears 1/4 hp compressor everyday painting for about 14 years straight (sometimes running it for 24 hours non-stop)!!!
MyTip: I used a large moisture trap between the 1/4 hp compressor and airbrush that acted as a temp small tank to smoothen out the sputtering of the piston and it kept the pressure up in the hose..
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