Watercolors are one of the most natural mediums for use with an airbrush because it’s a transparent media and airbrushes apply colors in a transparent fashion. Respected artist, lecturer and avid golfer Kirk Lybecker says, “Airbrushes are often used to enhance places where watercolors are weak like in washes.”
Lybecker, who often works with watercolors, prefers the Custom Micron CM-SB and CM-B because of their phenomenal control and powers them with a quiet Shark compressor. Lybecker sometimes uses a CM-C for slightly larger areas and an RG-3 mini spray gun for blocking in larger background areas.
Casual airbrush users painting with watercolors may prefer the gravity-feed HP-C Plus or HP-B Plus, which allow for spraying at low air pressures to maximize coverage and minimize over-spray. Both of these airbrushes work extremely well with the Smart Jet or Power Jet compressors.
* High detail, for more experienced artists
** gives the flatest pattern, most important when using transparent colors
*** ability to control specific airpressure
“Using an airbrush in a watercolor painting is a natural marriage. Watercolors are thin and flow easily even through the finest of airbrushes. If you are tired of drab washes, enhance your washes with the use of an airbrush to fortify the color, such as getting deeper blues in the sky. You can also accentuate details like picking out smaller shadows. And, most importantly, you can build layered colors so that you can get the depth and intensity of an oil painting with watercolors.
I use Iwata Custom Micron airbrushes because they are a perfect blend of the capacity to do extremely fine details and subtle blending, and for their easy cleaning and maintenance. The low air-pressure use allows me to do a lot of work without having to use frisket film or similar masking mediums.
The RG-3 mini Spray Gun gives me excellent control for large sprays, allowing for even, subtle background sprays.”
– Kirk Lybecker