In the very early 1990s, I was fortunate enough to grab copies of the vaunted Aliens book 2 series that were four issues long, illustrated by the excellent Denis Beauvais who has inspired me at the time with such vivid colors and masterful use of lighting. Before that, Dark Horse Comics brought out the first ALIENS comic done in black and white by Mark Verheiden and Mark Nelson which I also loved. But it was the second volume that cemented it as a masterpiece of tone, grit, and horror with ‘cinematic’ flair.
At the time, I didn’t have an airbrush until a very talented neighborhood friend of mine showed me his Iwata brush which opened my eyes on how it worked. He explained to me that Denis’ work was airbrushed and hand painted which perplexed me at first until he demonstrated its use while connected to a large floor air compressor that was silent. I was hooked and eventually got an Iwata airbrush from my parents as a holiday gift which I’ll never forget.
It was to my amazement that Beauvais had a recent interview at an AVP Galaxy site which fascinated me and confirmed the use of his medium of choice while discussing his views on digital versus analog. Not only did he do the series, but was also responsible for the famous Dragon magazine cover showing ‘Bridge of Sorrows’ which I also own an issue of.
And to this today, that very same airbrush I own still works intact, originally made from Japan. I do want to stress that it had been years since I last used my airbrush in the 1990s up until recently earlier this year painting two fencing masks. I had to rebuild my airbrush set up from scratch with a new air compressor and new paint.
I plan on doing more of it in the future since it’s such a fun medium to work with, in my opinion, that digital airbrushes don’t come close to in terms of texture and quality.
Old school never dies.