November 30, 2012

Iwata CM SB cleaner mod

Iwata's are great airbrushes, but they don't fit well in many cleaning pots, because the air duct kind of slopes into the front end that is partly outside of the cylindrical main housing. Most cleaning pots are designed to accommodate cylinder shaped airbrushes that have no protruding parts outside the main housing. There's a simple solution to modify them.

Left side of the Iwata CM SB

November 28, 2012


Erasing is part of many airbrush artist's skills. When spraying with waterborne acrylics, there is a distinction between easily erasable and difficult to erase paints. Easy to erase paints (to my knowledge) are:
  1. Holbein Aeroflash
  2. Lukas Illu-Color
  3. E'tac
  4. Createx
A difficult to erase paints are Auto-Air and Wicked. There are also different types of erasers. In this blog entry I will discuss the manual type eraser pencils, which are often used by artists who create detailed fine art.


OK, after being stupid to spray uros without precaution I am recovering from inhaling the fumes and / or some kind of flu, I am airbrushing with bloody waterbornes again (for the time being). It is an old project that I postponed several times due to circumstances. This is a double portrait of the parents of a good friend. Here is the reference photograph (which is not really that good).

Reference photograph

November 27, 2012

DIY Isocyanide extraction system

After starting to spray with Uros again as can be seen in this post, I was having problems with my respiratory system and I am not sure if this is caused by the careless neglect of not using a fume extraction system or by seasonal influences in which humankind is periodically bombarded with pathogenic viruses or both. Just to be sure I am in the process of building an extraction system.

DIY extraction system under construction

November 23, 2012

Modern style management

It may have escaped the attention of a number of comatose people, but today's world is brutally being managed to shreds by a new breed of 'managers' that mindlessly apply all imbecile crap that was drilled down their dysfunctional brains in expensive bogus courses where they can get yet an other certificate to glue to their office wall for not falling asleep during a carnival of passing on useless bunkum conducted by some arrogant clown dressed in a three piece suit.

Congratulations to Karl here, who actually
picked up his phone and spoke with a customer.
This might be a breakthrough for our company!

November 22, 2012

Prevent image deformation of analog projector

Airbrush artists often project a reference image onto the surface on which they are airbrushing to trace the image with a pencil before they begin to spray. Many use an analog projector that radiates light on the image that is reflected by mirrors to a lens. Besides a flood of light, this lamp produces a lot of heat. This heat deforms the photo or printed reference image that gradually expands as a result of the energy induced to it. These deformations often show in the completed art work; most notable is that one eye is placed higher than the other. Tracing fast minimizes the image deformation but it almost always shows that an artist has been using a projector. There is a simple solution to this.

Glass plate supported by foam strips

November 20, 2012

Giger(ish) guitar WIP

Still in the process of becoming familiar with Inspire paints. I prefer to prepare decently, because I hate to mess up property of other people. So trial and error is performed on my own guitar that I bought when I still had money for 100 Euro. First wet sanding with 2500 grid (because the original clear was still in mint condition), then several layers of white base coat. The base layers behave pretty well, they're strong and provide a good surface with enough grip to spray fine detail. Below is the result of a few hours of spraying a Giger(ish) inspired image. I'm not copying Giger's fabulous art accurately. Unlike portraits this type of work allows me to use my intuition, without having to focus on likeness, which is nice.

All except the top image are pixel editing of an analog airbrush (with real paint). The image at the top is pure vector and shows an intermittent phase (i.e. not yet finished) that I am currently working on. I will show the various stages of this vector work in a separate future blog entry. The vector image can be used in a hydro dip process or - easier and faster - skin wrap application, that both allow multiple use and or replacement of a damaged customization image. Vector images can be made a lot more crispy than pixel images, although programs like Affinity Designer and VectorStyler allow to blur edges that make those images look close to realistic. When I have finished the vector customization, I will place a link here that leads to its creation showing the various stages of creation.

Vector image work in progress that I currently am working on


Further digital edit

Giger(ish) phase 02 digitally edited

Phase 01 digitally edited

Initial analog airbrush

Still fiddling about with how far I can go with diluting Inspire paint. With the black it is quite extreme actually; I fill the paint cup of my Iwata Custom Micron SB for 2/3 rd with thinner and then dip the tip of a pipette in the bottle of black paint for approximately one centimeter twice and then stir the mix. If you dilute it even more the risk of blowing away the base layer underneath your image becomes too big if you stay in one spot too long. As you can see coverage is still good, glitches are very easy to repair while the diluted paint allows to spray very thin lines and gradually build an area or line to the desired intensity. As a bonus incorrectly applied lines and areas or unwanted over-spray of thinly diluted paint can be ...erased... accurately with a soft eraser. The underlying base layers hold up extremely well!

Air pressure is important; Inspire allows to use extremely low pressures. I tune it so that paint and air just come out of the airbrush, then up it a notch (1/8 th of a turn or so) and this will make the airbrush spray lines as thin as a hair. Using low air pressure requires building an image in several / many layers. This is the best way to paint (in French, but best description around); not only can you get the exact right nuance, but the thinly diluted paint and low air pressure allows to work extremely accurate.

Art work consisting of many layers results in light breaking very differently from applying paint in one or two passes - the painting's palette is more color rich and more vibrant while it gives a sense of depth as a bonus, similar to glacis techniques often used by the old master painters. All in all I am starting to like Inspire paints more and more as I become more familiar with them. It beats the crap out of all waterborne blubber. And using extremely low air pressure allows me to use it in the house (attic) without having to revert to expensive safety measures.

I don't have a lot of time, since I also spend time and effort on my other project, which is my main aim in life - allow every person to grow healthy food independently. Stay tuned and visit regularly however to see if I made any progress. I will describe every detail of the handling of Inspire urethane based paint. Once I am familiar enough with it, I will probably focus more on spraying guitars with uros or solvent based paints.

The kunt for whom I was supposed to airbrush this guitar cheated on my daughter, so I quit working on this project. Years later I heard that the chick with whom he cheated on my girl cheated on him as well, which was good to learn. Karma is a bitch. Years later I decided to continue the work on my PC and the Affinity Photo program to see that the result could have been if I would have had a reason to finish the project.

While working on this, I wondered if this now digital image could be used to hydro dip images to transfer them onto basically any guitar, provided I would give the bleed margin the required width. After the image is transferred several clear coats must be sprayed over it to protect it from scratching. I think this may be worth investigating. Not just for the ease of applying the image, but this technique could also be used to replace damaged images on guitars. This would make custom images cheaper than actual airbrushes within a shorter time. There could also be a choice between exclusivity, limited production runs or generally available images.

November 16, 2012

Custom paint cups for Iwata Custom Micron

My Iwata Custom Micron SB is a stunning airbrush. Excellently suited for ultra fine detail and is useful to spray larger areas as well with excellent control. Only problem is that the standard paint cup does not have the capacity to spray larger surfaces without frequent paint refills. But, being a siphon feed airbrush that allows the paint cup to be taken off, provides the solution for spraying base layers and backgrounds that require relatively much paint.

Custom paint cups for Iwata Custom Micron SB

November 12, 2012

Things I hate to airbrush

Almost from the instant I became capable of coherent thought, I have felt an alien in this world. As if I was accidentally sent to this planet as a result of an administrative error made by some temp angel who could not care less about the consequence of his efforts. I really must have a chat with this chum if ever I will meet him. This alienated mindset applies to all occurrences in my life in which I am involved. That of course includes my efforts to achieve a decent level of creating airbrush art. One of the things I never felt drawn to, is to spray portraits of perfect, flawless faces, that exist only in imagination. I made several exceptions to that.

The stunningly beautiful and smart MM

November 7, 2012

Next project - Giger Ibanez

Preparations for the Ibanez guitar with Giger design. Messing about with various options. Gathering reference material, positioning, moving, scaling, composing images, whatever is necessary to come to a good design. Meticulous preparation is everything. Below you see one of the trials. I'll probably use Inspire uros for this one.

Concept Giger Ibanez guitar

Click the pic to see it big.

November 6, 2012

Everything is different here

Everything in this blog is different; most of the topics on this site are different, the way of airbrushing, the techniques used and tested, the way the airbrush classes are conducted. If you are looking for what everyone else is doing, you won't find it here. I don't care for what is hot, fashionable, popular or whatever else mindless masses chase without ever wondering why. I care for quality, sharp wit, compassion and empathy - I'm not in love with things or trends, but with human nature and talent that anyone has in his or her unique way.

November 5, 2012

A note on storing water

In an earlier blog entry I wrote about the treatment of water in a Reverse-Osmosis system. I feel I have to add a note on storing water, whether it is specially treated or came straight out of the tap. It is certain that the quality of water can be improved in such a way that it flows better and is better capable of dispersing paint particles, provided the paint is also treated which I also described in a previous blog entry. Water, however, is a living organism of a unique and powerful kind. 

November 4, 2012

Particle dispersion by high voltage field

As I described in the paint's pigment particle dispersion blog entry, the agitation of the liquid can be done with any type of energy. This particular article is about agitation of the paint by inducing a high voltage electric field of 20 kilo-volt. The field is created by a small generator that can be bought on sites like Ebay. A photo of the device is seen below.

High voltage field generator surrounded by paint bottles - 1

Shake, baby, shake!

Most airbrush paints are thixotropic, which means that they are quite viscous while not in motion, but become less viscous (having a capacity to flow better) when agitated or stressed - in other words when they are vigorously shaken. In the automotive business, before spraying, paint cans are shaken in a paint can shaking machine for a few minutes, sometimes up to half an hour or more. Many of the better quality airbrush paints are contained in a bottle that also has a ball inside of them to improve the effect of the shaking process. Also empty bottles for airbrush artists to mix their own paints should contain a kind of ball bearing (making them not empty in a literal sense) to make paints less viscous when shaken.

Empty (well, almost) paint bottle with ball

November 3, 2012

Ficticious vision

We have all heard about optical illusion. It refers to the perception of visual images (by the brain) that differ from reality. Illusions can be false perceptions of shapes, (intensity of) colors, and dimensional misinterpretation. They are things humans perceive but rarely become aware of, such as subliminal images hidden in moving visuals as (illegally) used by the advertisement business. Subliminal images are recorded by human eyes and brains, but the person observing the image(s) does not become consciously aware of what (s)he sees.

Animation by Edward H. Adelson

November 1, 2012

Ultrasonic dispersion of organic pigment particles

I continue to stumble into methods that have the potential to improve the handling of paint. In 1989 BASF (one of the big paint manufacturers in this world) filed patent 4929279 in which an invention is contained to improve the dispersion of pigment particles by irradiating it with ultrasonic waves. The optimal frequency range is between 40 Kilohertz and 2 Megahertz. These can be generated with relatively simple and low cost devices that use very little energy and are commercially available, more in particular with pond foggers... Below you see one of those.

Ultrasonic pond fogger