Years ago, I got into airbrushing during the time I was in art school and owned the classic HP-C Iwata airbrush. This thing was an engineering marvel which never broke down on me The Paasche was the other I had and it worked pretty well except for the certain times I had difficulty creating thin lines. The problem, at the time, was that I had a small air compressor which was a single motor without a tank and it was quite loud. I had to pull the plug every time it got hot and waited for it to cool off in order to resume the work.
But I enjoyed the airbrush process and how the paint flowed onto the surface was fascinating to me.
I got into it when an old neighborhood friend of mine, who's a talented artist, purchased an airbrush with a huge silent compressor. When I first saw it, I was stunned to see the incredible details he was able to pull off and the medium was new to me. I owe it to him for opening my eyes on this incredible tool, among other techniques.
After I finished art school, I stopped using the airbrush and went into other media. I moved around a lot back then and lost two air compressors. The loud motorized one and the other was a pitch black box from Aztek, I believe, were the only ones I had. When I moved to Vermont, I lost both of them in the process and could'nt locate the items.
But the Iwata still remained in my possession. Until now, when a friend of mine privately hired me to custom paint his HEMA (historical european martial arts ) fencing mask based on the heraldry of the design I did for him over a year ago.
All of a sudden, it was my chance to get back into it. So I had to get a new compressor and start all over from scratch. My Paasche then broke down due to the nozzle tip that snapped. I couldn't use it again and had to buy a second hand vintage Paasche V from a local person. This brush was much older from the 1980s and surprisingly, it worked.
But the Iwata is still my favorite workhorse which had not failed me over the years. And that needle which was inside of it was still there since the last time I used it in the old days. It was in perfect condition that shocked me because ordering airbrush needles are not cheap, let me just say.
My Iwata HP-C airbrush. A solid classic revered by many.Zeny airbrush compressor with a motorI had to order new Wicked Color paints from Createx so that they would flow better through the airbrush than the opaques which were causing problems to the needle and nozzle areas. The new air compressor from Zeny did the job perfectly well for the level and scale of my project. Especially the new paint had to adhere to the apparel surface of the mask which was important. And best of all, it's got a tank with the moisture trap which was badly needed.
Worked out the visuals on the Concepts app on my iPad ProI then got to work on my iPad Pro to visualize on the Concepts app of how the mask would look and the way his creature's mane would flow. I swear by Concepts for many things and made things more streamlined. It took several iterations to get it right. The final results can be seen below.
Front of the maskThe side of the maskThe back of the maskIt took me a few days to complete it after some re-adjusting to the compressor and getting the paint volume right. This was a lot of fun and my client is very please with it. Especially since it's part of the SCA form of fencing that's partly related to my interests. As an epee fencer myself, it's really a great way for me to run wild with this and learn from this experience on how to airbrush again.
Now the thought of doing a large scale airbrush illustration intriques me especially if it's something for the Art of Horror group exhibition in October. I think I may buy one more airbrush along with a few other necessities to complete the kit and add more colors for future projects.