Air Sources

Airbrush Paint





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picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

picture airbrush magazine cover art

airbrush paint

Airbrush Paints

By Don Johnson

Here is a brief run down on the different types of paints most commonly used in an airbrush. Most of the following can be purchased in most art stores, craft shops. A few of the paints listed must be purchase at specialty shops like automotive paint suppliers.

A great source of information about these products and what other airbrush artists have to say about their use is my Consumer Airbrush Product Review check it out for further detailed info.

As you begin to learn "How To" airbrush its best to use a paint made specifically for airbrushing. A few good ones are DR PH Martins, Golden Airbrush Colors. The pigments in these colors are ground finer than those in craft paints allowing for easy use in an airbrush. Craft, textile paints are fine to use after you learn the basics but when first learning to airbrush using an airbrush ready paint will make the learning process much more enjoyable believe me.

Most of these paints fall into two categories either Transparent or Opaque. For learning purposes it really does not matter which you use, although because transparent colors are generally thinner than opaque colors you might find them easier to use.

Opaque - is defined as "not transmitting light" or "impenetrable to sight ". In simple terms spraying an opaque color other another color the second color applied will cover the first color, not blend well. Opaque colors generally have more pigments in them than transparent colors making them more likely to clog up your airbrush and dry on the tip of the needle.

Transparent - is defined as "allowing light to pass through so that bodies can be distinctly seen" or "easily seen through" Transparent colors blend much easier to produce a new color. Yellow over red should give you an orange color for example.


WATER COLORS - As the name states these are water based colors well suited for use in an airbrush. Available in pre reduced form airbrush ready or in tubes. Water colors best reduced in most cases with distilled water and are very transparent type paint.

GOUACHE - All so sells under the name Tempera is also water based but with a white pigment added to make it more opaque. Because of the white pigment added you might find it a little harder to use in an airbrush than water colors. Gouache like water colors can be reduced with distilled water.

ACRYLICS - These come in both opaque and transparent colors. There are many manufactures but you will find it much easier to use these if you stick with a brand made for use in an airbrush. Usually can be thinned with water or if the manufacture makes a reducer that should be used. Acrylics can be cleaned up with water or a cleaning agent if the paint manufacture makes one. Long lasting on just about any surface, be sure to read the manufactures tech sheet on surface prep, best uses before you use them. As with the above Gouache do not allow these to dry in your airbrush, clean right after use. One category of Acrylic paints is textile paints made for use of course on textile products like T Shirts, jackets, sweat shirts. Most require heat setting to be permanent again please read the manufactures tech sheet as to use for best results.

OIL PAINTS - A solvent based paint can be thinned with turpentine, minerals spirits and cleaned up with same products. Oils can be either opaque or transparent depending on how much you thin them. Oil paints have a very slow drying time.

SIGN PAINTS - One Shot is one such product. Be very careful using these products, use in a well ventilated area, wear a mask. Again a solvent based product. There are other manufactures of these products. Care should be taken with these products to follow the manufactures tech sheets.

For infomation on Automotive lacquers, enamels, and urethanes please check out my "How To Custom Paint" web site which deals with using these products.

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