The airbrush techniques are essential to achieve desired and just different results. To present you with a wide range of possibilities, the following not only contains the most critical processes but at the same time an airbrush stencil step-by-step, which in this case is shown with a masking film.
Why are airbrush techniques essential?
The different airbrush techniques are essential for many reasons. Airbrush beginners should definitely study the subject to avoid getting into the wrong methods.
Basically, the following applies: Either the technique dictates what result you want to achieve, or you are technically limited, so you can’t use each of them.
Every artist will have to go his own way at some point and find the correct application for himself, which will mostly depend on the desired goals, style, and speed, after all.
He will argue that one technique is better or more realistic than the other. However, the methods below have their advantages and limitations, as you will discover as you read on and later yourself at some point in practice.
Airbrush techniques are explained simply.
To explain the most essential techniques and types of use, the corresponding explanations. A rough distinction is made between freehand technique, masking technique with stencils, and a mixed approach.
Technique 1: Freehand technique
The freehand technique you may see again and again at airbrush or other special fairs. Bodypainting or freehand designs on a canvas are sprayed there, for example, without masking on the painting surfaces. It is mainly about the fun, the speed, and the showcase effect that the airbrush technique conveys.
However, with the freehand technique, it is not possible to produce completely photorealistic images. When they’re made in a smaller space and viewed more closely, you’ll notice this. Exceptions may be, for example, pictures on large walls that you look at from a great distance.
The freehand technique also requires a lot of experience, so you will usually only dare to do it without stencils at an advanced stage.
Technique 2: Masking technique
The masking technique involves the use of all kinds of stencils. For example, loose-plastic masking is similar to a ruler, paper, more stable plastic film, cardboard, milky transparent architect paper, or the adhesive airbrush masking film.
Here you can use it exclusively alone, or the mixing technique explained below. The masking supports the error-free guidance of the airbrush gun and enables sharp edge representations.
The masking technique is also particularly suitable for the nail area so that tiny motifs can be applied quickly and cleanly to this small space.
Technique 3: Mixing technique
The mixed technique is actually the status used by the advanced airbrush artists who want to create photorealistic images. In this, you will apply both freehand and mixed methods.
Other painting utensils will be added as supplements and count as a broad mixed technique. Watercolors such as acrylic watercolor with brush application, pencils, colored pencils or felt-tip pens, and small erasers are no longer taboo, but grateful help.
The portrait may be the best example of why you need the mixed technique here, especially as an advanced artist.
For the hair, for example, you use various colored pencils to make the fine lines visible. The freehand technique is in danger of making more mistakes in guiding the gun without sufficient practice. More extensive or even in detail, you then spray the shadows of the hair with the airbrush gun.
For the sharp-edged to the soft transitions, such as you find between the chin and neck, you need to mask and also additionally freehand spray.
Eyes often have sharp-edged light reflections like from windows, which you need to mask, and additionally soft and misty reviews like from the sun or lamps, which you will only spray freehand.
The alternative to a good technique: Step-by-step stencils
Especially as a beginner, you lack the experience to always represent everything the way you want it. In addition, as already briefly mentioned, more mistakes occur with the freehand technique alone without sufficient practice. To avoid these, templates will help you.
Subsequently, you will now be explained pictorially using an airbrush step-by-step how you use airbrush masking film in practice. This is perfectly aligned for the painting base pure drawing cardboard, which was also produced specifically for the airbrush technique.
Airbrush stencil step by step with masking film
- Step 1: Prepare all the materials. For this, you need a beamer, airbrush pure drawing cardboard, the airbrush masking film, a soft pencil, and an airbrush scalpel.
- Step 2: Hang the desired pure drawing cardboard securely on a wall or preferably on your easel and darken the room.
- Step 3: Use the projector to project your selected image in the appropriate size onto the pure drawing cardboard.
- Step 4: Use a soft pencil to trace the sharp lines you will need to cut out later on the masking film. Between 4b to 9b is the best mark.
- But make sure that the pencil is sharp and stays sharp; otherwise, the lines will be too broad.
- Step 5: Now apply the airbrush masking film, wipe over it with the flat of your hand and pull it off again. This will leave a visible part of the pencil hanging.
- Store the masking film on the surface from which you removed it. It is also essential for any intermediate storage. Therefore, never throw it away.
- In any case, don’t leave it on too long so that it doesn’t bond with the cardboard (most often in warm temperatures) and damage it when you peel it off.
- Step 6: Now, erase the pencil drawing and stick the masking film again to the final position.
- Step 7: Now, you can cut out the respective small areas and thus the individual templates.
- Step 8: Now, you can start with the airbrush gun. Always unmask and mask the areas that you want to spray or cover.
- Step 9: To copy the original as best as possible, or at least parts of it, you should always have it in mind. That’s why you throw the original image back onto the wall with the beamer, look at it on your cell phone, or print it out in slight color.
Why should beginners, in particular, study airbrush techniques in detail?
The beginner should look at several techniques and try them out. Then he sees very quickly which approach leads to which results. Not everyone is suitable for everything, and even with some practice, the other can be bypassed if you prefer one. To be on the safe side, he should definitely familiarize himself with all masking techniques.
Can you create beautiful airbrush images without the proper technique?
The answer is a simple “yes.” Helpful are always the stencils, which are essential for beginners and continue in the future for professionals. It is necessary to use the airbrush mentioned above masking film (see Airbrush Stencil Step by Step) or the loose prefabricated and sometimes very differentiated stencils. They simply give very realistic results and avoid mistakes or spray mist where it simply does not belong.