Triple the Action!
Part 2: The Triple Action Handle Earns Its Wings
by Thomas Adams
There are few hunks of metal that become legends, and though the new Iwata Triple Action Handleis carving its place in the Airbrush Hall of Fame, our tools will never mean as much as the things we use them to create. I mention this because my Triple Action Handle is flying its maiden voyage in a painting called Ace in the Hole, a pinup-clad B-17 “Flying Fortress.” This painting commemorates the aircraft not only as a weapon that helped liberate Europe and win WWII, but more importantly it salutes the brave men who flew, worked on, and painted these powerful giants. I just want to remind everyone that our art is not just a chance for us to create something new and out of the ordinary, but it is also an opportunity for us to pay homage to the people who have done extraordinary things in this world and changed our lives.
That being said, lets get to painting with our new Triple Action Handle. The pinup I chose was one done by another artist of the period. The name and likeness of this fighter does not actually exist; I made it up, but I used a lot of inspiration from real aircraft of WWII. I learned a lot of interesting things researching for this painting, and I encourage all artists to use your art as a way to learn about and experience new things.
Once the pinup is drawn out, choose the areas you want to paint first. On a pinup I usually start with the skin because it sets the tone for the whole piece and lets you know the shape of the body. I cut the mask and remove these areas to lay the base skin tone.(fig.1) Herein lies the first use for our new Triple Action Handle, the preset handle. You can unscrew the barrel
of the handle pushing the needle chuck back to achieve a preset spray pattern, kind of like an old single action airbrush. When spraying large areas this keeps you from cramping your fingers by having to hold back the trigger.(fig.2)
After laying the base skin color, we get to business shading and toning the skin. For this you will definitely want to pick up some Artool Freehand Stencils, which allow you to create the little curves and lines in the shading without having to mask off. When doing this fine tone work you want to use a transparent pigment over the skin tone. A transparent color begins light and builds to dark as you go over it more. For example, in the photo I am actually using a dark brown transparent paint but it appears a light caramel pinkish; as you build on it in the
darker areas, it becomes more shadowy brown. (fig.3)
With many hours of airbrushing behind me, I finally get to move on to the garment my pinup is wearing. I chose to do this in violet because I have this beautiful vibrant transparent violet that really sprays amazing for a job like this. I re-covered the areas that were unmasked to spray the skin on the pinup; then I cut out and uncovered the area of the dress. After basing it in white I lightly started working in the shadowed areas and darkening the folds and crevices. (fig.4) As you will notice, I am still using my Iwata HP-C, because this is probably the most versatile brush on the market. The HP-C can spray large areas and has great coverage, but it can also handle this fine hairline work like a champ. You may also notice
that I mostly spray with the cap off, and that is because on these brushes it concentrates your spray to a thinner pattern, allowing you a finer line. This brings me to another awesome feature of the Iwata Triple Action Handle. On the back of the needle chuck there are threads to hold the needle cap while you spray with it off-which eliminates the time spent previously looking for this tiny cap when it was misplaced. (Fig5) With the clothing done I replace the mask that I cut and pulled out, and I now move on to the hair.
Hair is challenging in any photo realistic project. It is everywhere and it is nowhere, meaning it has no true definition strand by strand, but you must use the illusion of coloring and shading to makeup its form. I go back to the transparent brown and mix it with transparent red to build in the waves and curls. Another tip you need to remember is work light to dark. Leave your light areas alone and work up your dark areas; you cannot go back and spray the highlights with too much white because it will make them look fake. I also used a very fine brush to let
some of the hair drape to the arm and paint in the eye and eyebrow. Though I think this could have been better achieved with an Iwata Micron, this is a superb brush for ultra fine jobs like hair strands, but I just don’t own one yet.
Finally, we will use the Triple Action Handle one more time to put some blush on the cheek. I wanted a consistently light mist of blush, so I unscrewed the handle a tiny bit and tested my spray. (fig.6) Then with a single light swipe of transparent red I finished the face of my pinup. (fig.7) After some touch-up and a brush-painted Ace card, this girl is ready to take to the skies just as soon as I finish her plane. (Fig.8) Until then, so long everybody, and get out there and paint!
Finish by heat setting your shirt according to the directions on your paint.
Reprinted with permission of ARTtalk.com