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uses: airbrush and compressor


Which Airbrush and Compressor are Best for Me?

To answer this question many different factors need to be taken into account. Finding the right airbrush for the right application can help make your project turn out perfectly.

Below are some suggestions for airbrushes and compressors for different applications. Product combinations are based on typical techniques, and basic assumptions are made for type of paints being sprayed and at typical operating air pressures for each application.

Please note this is just a starting point and may not indicate the personal preference of certain users or professionals in different areas of expertise.

Illustrations are typically commercial and designed for eventual reproduction. These artistic renderings are often done on illustration board, paper or similar substrates, most likely using thin paint, inks or dyes.

An illustrator like Michael Cacy uses the CM-B or CM-SB for the finest detail work since they perform well at extremely low air pressures. The CM-C, HP-B and HP-SB can be used for detail and general rendering purposes, while the HP-C is good for some detail and background coverage. These models are all good for working on small- to medium-sized work, which is typical for illustration.

Professional illustrators often rely on powerful, yet silent compressors with air-storage tanks for consistent and uninterrupted airflow like the Power Jet, Mako Shark and Tiger Shark. Illustrators can choose the Hammerhead Shark and Great White Shark for setting up multiple stations in a studio.

Acrylic Painting
Using acrylic paints in an airbrush is actually quite common in the arts-and-crafts fields. Noted artist, author and airbrush instructor Robert Pashcal uses the HP-C, coupled with a Power Jet compressor, for creating illusions of shadows, adding highlights and creating special effects.

Since acrylic paints are heavy-bodied by nature, they need to be thinned a bit before spraying, and typically require an airbrush with larger tip/needle combinations. When working on small areas, the Eclipse gravity-feed (HP-CS, HP-BS) and side-feed (HP-SBS) brushes are great for details, while the bottom-feed HP-BC, HP-BE and Eclipse HP-BCS are ideal when doing background work or when larger volumes of paint are required.

Watercolor Painting
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 CM-SB and CM-B because of their phenomenal control and powers them with a quiet Shark (Mako or Tiger) 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 or HP-B, 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.

T-Shirt/Textile Painting
Textile colors, like Medea Textile colors, that are used for painting T-shirts are made with heavier-bodied pigments similar to acrylics and require larger tipneedle combinations, as well as powerful air compressors.

Mark “The Shark” Rush, textile painting guru and designer of the Great White Shark compressor, prefers his “fleet of 15 Iwata Eclipse” HP-BCS and his own Great White Shark compressor. The Eclipse HP-CS proves to be a good choice for spot details and highlights.

World-renowned artist and instructor Jurek is an avid HP-BC user when painting textiles.

The only other compressor recommended for textiles is the Hammerhead Shark. While others may do some light duty such as home T-shirt painting, they will burn out if subjected to long hours at higher air pressures.

Auto and Motorcycle Graphics
Individualism and creative expression turn the vehicles of today, cycle tanks and custom auto painting into works of art. Artist, author and instructor Craig Fraser of Kal Concepts is at the leading forefront of this artist movement that’s rapidly growing in popularity. The HP-C is the workhorse of his studio, while the CM-C allows for the greatest details.

The new side-feed Eclipse HP-SBS Autographics version is quickly becoming a mainstay in the field because of its 1 oz. side-mounted cup, which allows for greater vision of the work since you can see directly over the nozzle. The Power Jet, Mako Shark and Tiger Shark compressors lend themselves well to casual workloads. TheHammerhead Shark and Great White Shark are designed for a serious working professional.

Iwata’s arsenal of various Spray Guns rounds out the offerings for this type of work. Fraser is also the designer of the haunting Skull Master’s and Son of Skull Master’s airbrush templates from Artool.

Sign Making
Because of Julian “Mr. J” Braet, Bob Bond, Butch Anton, David Shaw and Jay Landsberg, using an airbrush in sign making has become a popular tool for creative solutions. The Eclipse HP-BCS and the Power Jet compressor are the preferred choice of most sign-making professionals.

Special effects on vinyl signs like fades and color blends are easily achieved with an airbrush. Sign makers also like the HP-C and Eclipse HP-CS for highlights and quick special effects, and for touching up plotted images.

Both of these airbrushes run well with the Smart Jet compressor for light applications, but serious “power users” prefer the Mako Shark and Tiger Shark, while larger shops may use the Hammerhead Shark and Great White Shark.

Model and Hobby
The resurgence of plastic-model-kit and resin-kit building has created a need for new advances in airbrush technology. No more slapping on paint with a brush – realism is the goal and an airbrushed finish is the answer.

An avid resin-kit builder and a contributing writer to many hobby magazines, Tom Grossman frequently uses the Revolution CR, powered by a Smart Jet air compressor. The gravity-feed Eclipse allows for excellent detail with modestly heavy pigments, yet also allows for large background coverage.

Master model makers and model train enthusiasts find that they prefer the finest details and often use the CM-C and even the HP-SB in their work. Subtle shading and weathering are common uses for these two airbrushes, especially when powered by the Sprint Jet, Smart Jet or Power Jet. Advanced users want the flexibility of a Mako Shark in their studios.

RC Models
Novice users and children will be well suited with a single-action Revolution HP-SAR and a Sprint Jet or Smart Jet compressor.

Iwata now has two new airbrushes made exclusively for the new user and part-time airbrusher – the Revolution Series. The new Revolution airbrushes include all of the quality and performance that made Iwata famous and are affordably priced. With the quality, performance and value of both gravity- and siphon-feed models, hobby and model builders will appreciate the fantastic finish achieved with these new models.

Taxidermy and Woodcarving
Taxidermists use airbrushes for all different types of works from patterns on fish to subtle shading. Typically taxidermists prefer the HP-BCS and HP-CS because of their versatility. They also use the HP-C and HP-B for subtle details. Users with a preference for single-action select the Revolution HP-SAR.

Because of the style of work more control of the air compressor is usually required. The powerful and reliable Power Jet is great for casual taxidermy uses, and the high-powered Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead and Great White from the Shark series are popular choices for larger, busy shops.

Professional woodcarvers often compete for tremendous cash prizes. They require the ultimate in precision and fine-tuned control. The Custom Micron series (CM-B, CM-SB and CM-C) airbrushes are the best choice for these users. These airbrushes are easily powered by any of the inexpensive Iwata Studio Series Compressors (Sprint Jet, Smart Jet or Power Jet) or with a Mako or Tiger Shark compressor.

Stenciling and Decorative Painting
Sponges used to be the only choice when it came to stenciling, and decorative painters stuck with their bristle brushes. When artist and instructor Sharri Hoeger (the infamous Mad Stencilist) began using an HP-C airbrush and then craft guru Lindy Brown became enthused about her Eclipse HP-BCS and gravity-feed HP-BS, the airbrush has become a tool for modern times.

Brown powers her airbrush with an Iwata Studio Series Smart Jet air compressor. Craft makers, stencilers and decorative painters will also appreciate the virtues of the Eclipse HP-CS for spraying heavier paints and compressors, like the Sprint Jet that makes airbrushing affordable. Professionals with studios or shops might prefer a Power Jet, Mako Shark or Tiger Shark.

Fingernail Arts
While most fingernail artists prefer the easy use of the HP-A, award-winning fingernail artist, writer and educator Laura Morgan prefers the HP-B since she likes to mix her own colors. Artool Nail Master paints flow through both the HP-A and HP-B with ease. Laura, like many other nail technicians, is using the new Smart Jet compressor.

Larger salons and studios prefer the two-station Power Jet or one of the silent Shark series compressors (Mako, Tiger, Hammerhead). Artool also makes a handful of great nail art stencils to go with its colors.

Body-Art Painting
The newest craze to hit the art scene and the professional beauty-care industry is body art. While Artool Temporary Tattoo’s are fun and easy, the dynamic and multifaceted artist, author and instructor Pamela Shanteau is running the gamut in her creativity with airbrushed body art. Using a combination of airbrushes including the Eclipse HP-CS, the HP-BS and HP-BCS and powered by a Power Jet compressor, she rides the cutting edge in her body-art designs.

Artool Body-of-Art airbrush colors are made with FDA-approved ingredients and are safe to use on the skin. Shanteau also maintains a Hammerhead Shark in her studio.

Other Uses
Every day we discover new and unique uses for airbrushes from our customers. Here are a few other suggestions:

Mural painting is typically done with airbrushes that have larger fluid capacities and with spray guns. Designer, mural painter and artist A.D. Cook prefers the RG-3 and W-100 spray guns, and uses a variety of other airbrushes, including the HP-C’s and Custom Micron’s like the CM-SB. He powers his wares with a Great White Shark compressor.

Cake decorators like Francis Kuyper, the infamous Cake Lady and the founder of the Cake museum, use the HP-B and HP-C.