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How-To: Airbrush Flash

 

Airbrush Flash

by Ryno

Although I’m a died-in-the-wool airbrush artist, I’m also a devout fan of the tattoo. There’s a sexy, mystical, and even taboo allure to it. It’s in some ways, the forbidden fruit of art, if you will. And lately I’ve been heavily influenced and inspired to experiment in bridging the gap between tattoo flash and airbrush painting. In terms of shading, strokes, and motion, there are similarities between the two. Many years ago I apprenticed as a tattoo artist for about three months or so and decided that my canvas of choice is cold, dead steel. Afterall, it doesn’t talk back, cause physical pain, and you can’t sand down someone’s skin if you make a mistake! The possibilities are endless, and I’m very committed to exploring and developing new approaches to this most viable and distinguished art form. This step-by-step is my first attempt, and study, of a tattoo-inspired airbrush design.

STEP 1
I prepared a black metal blank by scuffing it with a red ScotchBrite pad, and then used waxand- grease remover. Next, I applied Automask (available from Coast Airbrush) to the panel and used a squeegee to remove any bubbles. I sketched the image on the Automask with a #2 pencil followed by a Sharpie pen, and used a razor knife to cut out the heart section.

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STEP 2
Using an Iwata CS Custom airbrush, I applied HOK (House of Kolor) lemon yellow, reduced one part paint to one part RU-311 reducer.

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STEP 3
I added Euro Red (equal parts, approximately) directly into the Lemon Yellow to make orange, and airbrushed the shadow areas.

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STEP 4
To achieve a dark brownish red, I mixed a drop of black into straight Euro Red, and airbrushed shadows underneath the banner and the heart.

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STEP 5
I airbrushed highlights with straight white base (HOK BC 26)—first, mixed 1-to-1, and then I added 20% more reducer to make it easier to flow through the Micron C airbrush. All basecoats require more thinning than kandies, which are thin enough.

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STEP 6
Adding more black to the red-black mix, I established darker shadows over the red to make it stand out more. Next, I cut out the perimeter of the wings and the banner.

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STEP 7
I back-masked the heart using ½-inch tape and 1/8-inch tape. Notice that above my hand I applied a piece of tape with a pointed end that will help achieve the effect of a torn banner.

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STEP 8
With the airbrush, I roughed in the fleathers with HOK BC26 white.

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STEP 9
Using black basecoat (1-to-1 ratio), with an added 20% reducer to make it more transparent, I airbrushed all the definition, shadows to the wings, and separation of the feathers.

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STEP 10
I used a freehand shield to establish separation from the bottom edges of the feathers for further definition.

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STEP 11
I lightly sprayed violet kandy over the whole wing. Also, I randomly added white highlights— primarily to the outside perimeter of the wing—for depth and dimension, and to complete the wing.

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STEP 12
I back-masked the wing and opening of the banner. Be sure to mask high enough (about three to four inches) to protect the wing from overspray.

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STEP 13
I airbrushed HOK white base tinted with a drop of Spanish Gold kandy and a drop of Rootbear Kandy for a more antique white, and airbrushed the open area.

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STEP 14
I added more yellow and brown to the mix to achieve a darker, richer color for the shadows.

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STEP 15
I mixed Rootbeer Kandy and Spanish Gold Kandy (Rootbeer KK by itself has an orange tint to it, and Spanish Gold or Pagan KK is used to brighten the
brown or cancel out its orange hue) with a couple drops of black to attain a dark brown to shadow the furls and overlaps of the banner. Never follow the same shape throughout the contour when rendering shadows. For example, the farther away the perspective is, the larger the shadow.

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STEP 16
I added highlights to edge and furls of the banner with white basecoat (again, a 1-to-1 ratio, plus 20% extra reducer). That finishes the banner.

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STEP 17
I cut out the crown with a sharp razor knife.

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STEP 18
I airbrushed the crown with HOK Gold F/X. Then I airbrushed shadows with the Spanish Gold/brown mix.

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STEP 19
I used 1/8-inch tape to mask the perimeter of the crown to establish detail in the crown.

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STEP 20
I shadowed the one side of the vertical tape using an Artool freehand shield with the same brown. I also shaded the inside of the crown with the yellow/brown/black mixture for added dimension.

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STEP 21
I airbrushed white highlights to the front and center of the crown for, you guessed, added depth and dimension.

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STEP 22
I unmasked everything to expose all the painted areas.

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STEP 23
With a freehand shield I added smoke with basecoat white, from the heart to the crown.

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STEP 24
I dusted the smoke with Pegan Gold.

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STEP 25
I cut a “Freedom” stencil with a Roland GX-24 plotter, and sprayed through it with the same dark brown mix.

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STEP 26
I removed the mask.

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STEP 27/ FINAL
With a 0000 X-Caliber pinstriping brush and HOK lavender pinstripe paint I striped the perimeter of the crown, the wings, the heart, and banner. I applied three coats of clear and it was done.

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Check out Ryno’s official website at www.blast-of-air.com

Reprinted with permission of www.airbrushaction.com

 

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