Airbrush shading techniques lesson covers airbrushing a sphere practicing our airbrush shading techniques and skill. This is a very important airbrush technique to get down so it’s 2nd nature as this will come into play no matter what you are airbrushing. Written by Don Johnson, airbrush artist
Airbrush Supplies Required:
Double action airbrush, one sheet of Frisk Film masking material 8 inch by 11 inch, Com-Art or Golden Airbrush paint any color, one sheet of Bristol Board or Water Color paper, of course your air source, compressor running at about 15 to 20 psi with a good gravity feed airbrush, compass or like I used a roll of masking tape (something to make your circle with), X-Acto hobby knife.
In this airbrush how to article we’ll touch on the basic use of the masking material commonly called Frisket Film.
Frisket is a transparent plastic like film with a low tack adhesive on the backside. Its main use in airbrushing is as a masking material for illustration type work. It does not conform well to any surface that is not flat; it is not solvent proof and should not be used with solvent-based paints. Because it’s transparent it allows you to see your line drawing on the painting surface giving you the ability to cut different sections out of the Frisket with a hobby knife. This of course would leave some areas accessible to apply color and others areas masked to avoid getting color in those areas.
Here we will just do a basic sphere and practice your shading skills.
# 1 ) Apply your frisk Film to your painting surface. Do so by pulling the backing paper off the Film and laying it on your painting surface. Starting from the middle of the film and rub the film down, working the air bubbles out towards the sides of the film. You might find it easier to do with a drivers license or credit card, using the edge to work air bubbles out.
# 2 ) Pictured above: My roll of masking tape I will use to transfer the circle outline onto the Frisk Film the tape is laying on. I used a pen to trace the outline onto the Frisk film (so it will show up when I scan it) but you can use a # 2 pencil.
# 3 ) Pictured above: Our sphere drawn on frisk film with your out line drawn on the Frisk Film use your X-Acto knife to cut the circle out. Remember your hand (the X-Acto knife) will follow your eyes. Use a new blade in your knife please. You don’t have to apply much pressure to the knife blade to get it to cut the Frisk film, with a new blade. Apply to much pressure and you will cut your painting surface, this you can’t cover up, hide with paint so be careful.
4 )Pictured above: With the sphere cut out and removed we will now add color to our sphere. In this painting the light source is coming from over our head as we face the sphere. We will be airbrushing with the flow of our design the sphere in this case, as arrows indicate. Where the little arrows are on the side’s of sphere you should be reducing the amount of paint you are spraying until in the white area on top of the sphere there is no paint flow, just air. With each pass work your way towards the center of the sphere following the shape. Build your color up slowly as you can see I have done from the left side picture to the right side picture. It is always easy to go back and make your object darker in color almost impossible to make it lighter. So again build your color up slowly. With ever few exceptions you always want to airbrush keeping in mind you are taking a flat drawing and trying to make it look as though it does in real life. Giving it form, depth, shadow and highlighted areas. So sense this is a round object, sphere you want to have a slightly heavier shadow area at the bottom and fading your color in to the center, towards your light source (top in this case).
# 5 ) Pictured above: Continue to slowly build your color up always following the shape of our sphere. No hard lines withing just nice soft application of color fading it in from the outside edge’s into the middle.
# 6 ) Pictured above: This is what your sphere should look like with the frisk film removed from around the out side; I have just added a small shadow area.So please keep in mind that it is always easier to go back and darken an image but almost impossible to lighten it up once you have applied to much color. Build your colors up very slowly.