Transparent, Opaque Airbrush Colors Practice Painting

Transparent, opaque airbrush colors practice painting covers blending colors, colors to use for shadowing, working on a complex airbrush project progression and shaping the skills we learn in our basic airbrush lessons. Written by Don Johnson,

I’m not real big on painting flowers but this is a great way to get you started understanding how powerful using an airbrush can be in painting your artwork. No other artist tool even comes close to producing the results you can get using an airbrush. The fades, transitions, blending, mixing colors as you will see is unbelievable and only limited my your imagination, creativity.

Airbrush Supplies Required:

Bristol board, Frisket film, Hobby knife and new blade,one of these airbrush paints –  Com Art or Golden airbrush colors, Createx Illustration Airbrush Paint , ETAC. The Colors needed – Yellow, Violet, Red. Card board, poster board to make airbrush free hand shield or a plastic airbrush freehand shield, tracing paper.


This is our flower design we will be airbrushing, very easy to draw with basic drafting templates you can purchase at any office supply store.


As we did some of the basic lessons please trace the flower on the back side of the tracing paper and tape in place on the Bristol board, trace the flower transferring the out line to the Bristol board.


Just as we did in previous lessons using frisket film go thru the flower and cut the out line out using your hobby knife and attach the flower to your easel.

As you can see I have labeled the flower pedals A.B, C; A being the pedals in the back, B being the middle pedals and C being the pedals in the foreground. In most case’s you will work your airbrush projects from back to front so we will start by removing the Frisket film off pedals labeled A first.


Here is what you should have at this point after removing some of the Frisket Film on the flower pedals.


Now using violet and staying back from the Bristol board about two inches apply color from where the Frisket intersects out toward the outer edge of the pedal just as I have done in the picture above. We are really just misting the violet in you do not want to add a lot of color just one light pass of your airbrush will do.

We are using violet to add a drop shadow here as it’s one of the best colors to use for changing the tone of an over laying color in areas that are in shadow. Using black to do this is not a good choice; using black to create any shadowy areas at any time is really not a good idea. Black will completely take over your painting it is such a strong color so stay away from black. Dark blue would be another good choice for this but we’ll stick with violet for now.

By adding the drop shadow here we will be creating the illusion this flower has depth and structure, much the same as we did in lesson #3 with the cube.


Now remove the pedals labeled B as pictured above.


Now mist in some violet stay about two inches from the Bristol board; half on the Frisket and half on the Frisket film.


Now remove the pedals labeled C from the flower.


This time we will mist in violet following the center of the circle; half on the Frisket and half on the Bristol board. This will serve to act as a shadow on the pedals from the center part of the flower.


Now remove the Frisket covering the center part of the flower.


Now to give the illusion our flat circle is really the round center of a flower we will use our violet to give the impression its round and has depth. Just as you did in lesson #2 with the sphere apply your color in very light layers following the shape of the sphere.


Now changing color apply a thin layer of red over the violet you just airbrushed in the center of the flower. Had we applied the yellow first and than the red the red would appear on the yellow where as the yellow we apply to the pedals will not appear on the red.

The beauty of using an airbrush is the ability to apply transparent colors and blend colors together right on the painting surface. Seldom will you mix colors in a cup but rather blend colors together to come up with your desired color right on your painting surface.

As you’ll notice even colors that say Opaque on the bottle spray pretty much as transparent colors. This is because as the paint atomizes and hits the painting surface it does so as hundreds, thousands of color dots leaving some of the surface color to show thru.


Important point to be made here: As it says above because your color cup holds X amount of color it does not mean you must fill it to the brim with color every time. In most case’s just a few drops of color will do. Filling your color cup up to the brim the tendency for most people is to use every drop of paint in the color cup, not good. In airbrushing there is a saying “less is more” meaning the less paint you use the better the outcome.


Ok, back to the flower and using yellow lets add some color the our flower pedals. Airbrush the length of the pedals not a crossed them please. Notice how over layering the yellow over the violet produces a great area of shadow on the pedals.


Complete the pedals in yellow, you can use just the air of your airbrush to help dry the paint if need be. Notice how any yellow you might get on the red center does not show up on the red very well. On the very outside of my center you will see where it started to turn a bit orange from over laying the yellow on the red.


Add a touch of yellow in the center of your flower, pull the Frisket off and there you have your completed first complex airbrush project. Be sure to keep this so you can look back at it in a couple months to help gauge your progress. Hope you found this fun..relax have fun with it…it’s only paint!

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