Airbrush Lesson Three

Airbrush lesson three we are going to render a palm tree and island using the dagger strokes and other basic airbrush techniques you have been practicing. The dagger or rat tail stroke is a very important technique to master in helping you reach your goal of controlling your airbrush so paint goes where you want, when you want and with the desired affect. By Don Johnson, airbrush artist

Airbrush Supplies Required:

pad of news print, double action airbrush, compressor and color of your choice (black is what I use here).


palm tree picture 1

Step 1 – To start we will render the two palm trees. In the middle of your paper put a dagger stroke going from fat on the bottom to thin at the top. Make the stroke 4 or 5 inches long.


airbrushing palm tree 2

Step 2 – Now to the left of the first dagger stroke let’s put another dagger stroke. These will serve as our palm tree trunks.


airbrushing palm tree step 3

Step 3 – Now at the top of each of those dagger strokes add small dagger stokes going both right and left of the palm tree trunk.


airbrushing palm trees 4

Step 4 – At this point your painting should look similar to mine above with the small dagger strokes at the top of the palm tree.



airbrush island

Step 5 – Now at the bottom of the palm tree put a dagger stroke going from fat at the base of the tree to thin away from the tree. This will serve as our ground or top of our Island.


airbrushing island step 6

Step 6 – Now do the same going to the left.


airbrushing island step 7

Step 7- Pictured above we will add small dagger strokes going from fat at ground level to thin in the sky. These of course will serve as our grass on the island.


airbrushing island step 8

Step 8 – You might want to add a few mounds of grass else where on your island as I’m doing above. These are painted by using small dagger strokes.


airbrush island step 9

Step 9 – Now we can add our water line where the waves will be breaking on the beach.


airbrushing waves, water

Step 10 – With the water line in place we can now add some waves by using big fuzzy lines going across the page.


airbrushing tree shadow

Step 11 – Above add a shadow for your trees going down the island and out into the water.


airbrushing a sun

Step 12 – To airbrush a sun or moon which ever you prefer to call yours we will use the top from a can of spray paint.


airbrushing a sun 2

Step 13 – Hold the can top in between the two palm tress add a little color all the way around the can top.


palm tree’s, island

Step 14 – Pull the can top off and your painting should now look like mine above or better.


airbrushing birds

Step 15 – Now within your sun or moon using small dagger strokes add some birds. Start at the center fat and go out thin on the right side. Come back to the middle and do the same now going left. Add a little curve to the birds wings makes it look more like a bird in the distance.


airbrushing island, palm tree’s

Step 16 – And there you have it your first completed painting in less than 5 minutes. Please continue to play around with this lesson adding different colors more trees maybe even a boat. I hope you enjoyed this. It’s accomplishing simple little paintings like this that will give you the confidence to move on and try more complicated paintings.
Below is a video version of airbrush lesson three above, I hope you find it helpful.

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