Long have I been eyeing an airbrush. While I’ve been deployed over the years I have spent many hours watching hobby videos for tips of the trade and when doing actual painting to have some background noise. Over the years the use of airbrushed has creeped more and more into my viewing time. I’ll be honest, the idea of using an airbrush is very intimidating when you don’t know where to start. Compressors, needle size, thinner, cleaning, and air pressure are all just some of the many questions that arise when using them. More importantly though, how do you sneak them into your hobby life without questions from the family?
Usually when a new hobby project shows up its easy to hide it away in the pile of shame so there aren’t too many questions. An airbrush and all its accoutrements is something that I can’t just dump into a bin and let it fade away from the family memory. With the compressor, brush, hoses, and spray both, we are talking noticeable real estate on my desk/painting area being eaten up. To insert the airbrush into mainstream hobby use, it was essential to get buy in from the family. By proving its use to the family it would help me stay away from certain questions about price. Now I know some people out there will insist that I should have been just honest about it and discussed it as a family, but if I brought up the cost of my miniature gaming I would have some explaining to do.
Anyhow, how to get the family to feel like we need to have the airbrush? Like most people who watch home improvement shows, my wife had made a rather large purchase of mason jars. I’m not sure what the original craft idea was to put them to use, but we ended up with a couple of cases. My daughter and wife hand painted a couple to use as brush/comb holders in my daughters bathroom, but the heavy coats of cheap paint left them looking less than desirable. When my wife suggested she wished to use some of them for ‘Thanksgiving/Fall’ flowers, I surprised her with some appropriately themed jars.
I kept it simple and after a couple of layers of matte and gloss varnish I was able to surprise my wife with three lovely themed flower holders. They where a hit! My wife immediately asked if I could make some piggybank jars for my daughter. This next project was a 2 in 1. First, it made my daughter a huge fan because she was able to help pick out the colors that she wanted. Second, I was able to justify my use of Green Stuff World color shift paints. She loved the idea of paint that changed colors and I was really eager to try them out. After multiple thin coats and some gloss varnish they were a hit with the whole family.
My daughter picked out the carboard color tops and after the hobby knife made some cuts saving money never looked so good! Hands down I highly recommend Pinky Blue, a fantastic color. With my mission of subterfuge accomplished and the airbrush now a welcome member of the family, it was time to put this thing to use. So why did I get and airbrush?
I’ve never been happy with painting human skin tones. I feel I’ve done okay with abnormal colors, but when it comes to the run of the mill humans I’ve never been pleased. I feel that my main hang up is I use too much contrast on the skin which makes it look to me as being not realistic. Especially when it came to female skin I could never capture the subtle changes in tone. With the equipment in hand and no excuses on why not to try it, I rounded up a couple of models that were showing off a lot of skin and got to work putting them together.
As you can see it was just a small collection of models I had sitting around. It was daunting to see this massive pile when it was finally put together, but the beauty of my madness was that most of these models are showing predominantly skin. If this airbrush could knock out a huge portion of my work then I could see a sizeable chunk of work knocked. The only question that remains is do I know what I’m even doing?
Part two of this series can be found here!
“More importantly though, how do you sneak them into your hobby life without questions from the family?” So true about this hobby life. ha!
Why does your skin tone chart say “normal” and “exotic”? Gross.
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Sorry, that was rather poor on my part, I was jus looking for a spectrum of skin colors and didn’t see the text. I appreciate the heads up and took the image down.
Good idea to get buy in. And airbrushes do have a variety of purposes. I use mine in the garage, but don’t have a venting system, something I should probably get at some point. I do wear a respirator, but looking at the filters after awhile gives me a good indication of just how much paint would be in my lungs otherwise! Can you link to the vent you ended up getting, I’d be interested.
I’ve only really used my airbrush for priming. I had hellish troubles with rattle cans, and it was around the time we had our baby…so I couldn’t afford time for mistakes. That’s what pushed me into purchasing one.
I’m curious about your part two and using the airbrush for skin tones. Normally I just prime a light color if there is lots of Caucasian flesh, and then work off that base.
I need to get a respirator. The spray booth does a good job collecting particles but I doubt it’s 100% effective. The only complaints I get from spraying indoors is complaints of a smell in the air after the fact.
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Yea, it’s a bit smelly. But we’ve also noticed a layer of paint dust covering our car after a bit too. So I should really be venting it from the garage.