How To: Use an airbrush

Use an airbrush

Learn how to use an airbrush. Marble allowed Michelangelo to create his David. An airbrush will allow you to draw a dragon on a conversion van.


Step 1. Sketch out painting

Lightly sketch out your painting on the hot-press board.

Step 2. Erase extra lines

Erase any extra lines and go over the ones you need to reduce them as much as possible.

Step 3. Mix paint with water

Mix some paint with water in the airbrush bowl or jar.

Practice this to find the right consistencies for the effects you're after

Step 4. Use airbrush on scrap

Try out your airbrush for a while on scrap paper to get used to the lever and button.

Step 5. Wash out airbrush

Practice washing out the airbrush by immersing it into the bucket far enough for the brush to cycle water through the paint bowl.

Step 6. Dry out airbrush

Then practice blowing the water out of the airbrush against your scrap paper or the rag until the airbrush is clean and dry.

Step 7. Mix a color

Once you're done practicing, it's time to mix the first color you'll use on your painting.

Generally, you'll want to work from the lightest colors to darkest.

Step 8. Paint general areas

Start painting general areas.

Step 9. Cover areas from the paintbrush

Use the craft knife to shape the frisket or copy paper and mask off areas from the airbrush.

Step 10. Move to a new area

When you're done with an area, move to the next.

Step 11. Seal the paint

When you're done with the actual painting, use a fixative to seal the painting in place.

Step 12. Wash out airbrush

Thoroughly wash out the airbrush when you're finished, particularly if you're using a paint that dries hard like some acrylics or enamel paints.

Step 13. Disassemble

Disassemble the airbrush to make sure you've fully cleaned it.

Step 14. Admire your creation

Admire your creation. Like Marcel Duchamp wrote, "Can one make works which are not of art?"


FACT: The first airbrush

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