Our Brands
iwata anest logo
airbrushes + compressors
iwata logo
airbrush accessories
medea airbrush logo
airbrush-ready paints
medea airbrush logo
airbrush beauty products
artool logo
templates, masking + tools
karajen logo
hanging +storage systems
anest iwata logo
spray guns + equipment

How-To: I Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day


I Got Sunshine On A Cloudy Day
A solution to ambient light and shadow

by Michael Cacy

Whether you are an amateur or a seasoned professional, if something seems wrong with your art, chances are the problem has something to do with lighting.


Step 1: Here’s a 12- by 18-inch painting of an odd little structure known on Bermuda, where I live, as a “buttery.” Small buildings like this once served as cool storage for perishable provisions before the age of refrigeration and many of them survive today. The painting is probably acceptable as is, but not nearly as interesting as it might be. How about creating some shadows that suggest dappled sunlight filtering through leafy foliage somewhere outside the area depicted?

Step 2: For this effect, I used acetate as a loose mask to form the top edge of the leafy shadow. To protect the dappled “lights” from paint, I rolled bits of kneaded eraser into small balls and pressed them onto the painting surface. They’ll stick to the art until I need to remove them later. Notice that the little balls of kneaded eraser vary in size and are positioned in erratic groups. The blue tape simply maps out the path of limbs in the cast shadow, and care has been taken to avoid placing bits of eraser over taped shapes. The blue tape is only used to determine where the limbs occur, and the tape will be removed before I begin painting.

Step 3: Painting commences using a mix of transparent ultramarine, violet, and a little black. (Disregard that some eraser shapes appear light grey and others dark. The lighter shapes are from a new eraser, and the darker ones are from a well used eraser.) After the first application of color, I removed a few of the eraser shapes and sprayed again. The effect I’m after is “dots” of light that vary in intensity (brightness).


Step 4: Could this technique be used for other airbrush applications, such as on bikes and automotive subjects? I don’t paint bikes and cars, but the eraser bits stick to my bike (I tried it out), so I don’t see why not. But do a test first!

Step 5: The finished painting.

Michael Cacy is a world-class illustrator whose career spans more than 30 years. A recipient of the 1997 Vargas Award, Cacy’s client list includes Iditarod, Nike, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, and many more. His video/DVD, Illustration Cheap Tricks & Special F/X, is considered one of the best airbrush instructional presentations ever made.


Michael Cacy’s 120-minute instructional video and DVD reveals timesaving and innovative “cheap tricks” and special effects from his 30 years of experience. Learn how to render orange peel texture, wisps of smoke, hair, feathers, fur, and tons more!

Reprinted with permission from Airbrush Action magazine.





Why are there no prices on your website?

Iwata Medea is the wholesale distributor of Iwata, Medea and Artool products in North and South America, and the UK, and does not sell directly to customers at this time. To purchase Iwata Medea or Artool products, please check our dealer pages for a reseller near you. Or call our customer service team at 503-253-7308 ext. 2000, and we’ll help you find a local reseller.