February 19, 2014

Yogi - colored portrait WIP

Ok after the testing of Com-Art paint in the yogi portrait, as mentioned in one of my recent blog-entries, I ran across Vallejo Premium paint, which I think I'll make my standard paint, also because it adheres to any type of surface and has a well balanced range of colors. This article will show a WIP (work in progress). Vallejo requires a slightly different approach than Com-Art; it is mega concentrated and must be diluted extremely to lose a little bit of its opaqueness, certainly in the beginning stages of multi-layered airbrushes. This is good - it means I will be able to do a lot of work with a bottle of Vallejo paint. The balancing of air pressure, mix ratio and adjustment of the Iwata HP-BH I found to be quite critical for artists who intend to spray ultra fine detail.

Vallejo's solvent is of such a good quality that the paint remains functional even after leaving it unattended in the airbrush for 8 hours after which the artist can continue airbrushing as if (s)he never interrupted his / her session. I did this recently (updated Mar 20 2014) on a fairly warm (19°C) spring day when humidity was low. It didn't clog and allowed me to spray lines equally fine as before the (unintended) break.

Airbrushing as a therapy in the attic.

Air pressure is just high enough to drive the paint out. I stopped checking my air pressure guage long ago, but did it for the sake of this article and the needle barely left the stop. The HP-BH has an adjustment screw on the airbrush which allows for easier fine tuning that is more difficult to do with the hose connector / air regulator combination, since air pressure control is a major contribution to spraying fine lines.

The mix ratio during set-up is Paint : water : reducer = 2 : 20 : 4. I use the Vallejo reducer, which is excellent. For the initial setting up of the portrait this is the mix ratio that works best. When adding layers and increasing accents there will be gradually less water and reducer in the mix. When spraying fine accents in later stages 1:1 = paint:water is enough and works almost similar to high mix-ratios - but slightly less forgiving. Diluting with water allows to easily erase highlights and hairs when working on paper; the reducer makes adherence too strong and erasing is still doable, but becomes more difficult.

Vallejo Premium paint - best waterborne available.

The needle rocker of the HP-BH is screwed out of the airbrush almost to the end, which gives best control over the amount of paint that is sprayed and makes the instant at which paint starts to flow predictable. I've finally come to the conclusion that gravity feed airbrushes work best; the HP-BH is capable of spraying fine lines like the Micron SB, but in addition it is more predictable and more stable in response to trigger action. And probably the slightly larger nozzle also helps.

Before starting to airbrush, it takes some time to find the sweet spot, which requires finding the right mix ratio, the proper air pressure and trigger position. Also the angle of the gravity feed airbrush relative to the ground sometimes makes a difference; tilt it forward and you'll just increase the paint pressure enough to spray a slightly thicker line, tilt it backwards and lines will become thinner. If you have a hard time finding the sweet spot, loosen the needle rocker screw and turn the needle slightly (1/4 of a turn), then push it forward and tighten the screw and try again. Repeat if necessary. Especially if the needle is polished (like mine) slight deviations from common center with the nozzle may occur - tiny differences can make a difference when spraying with such low air pressures and high mix-ratios.

Iwata HP-BH

Vallejo Premium allows the Iwata to have a sweet spot. most paints don't do this..., you'll never find the setting where it sprays ultra fine lines, no matter what you do. Sometimes you may find one, but it only lasts a few seconds. once you found it when spraying with Vallejo, the ultra fine lines will last you very long, up to 15 minutes or longer... The paint can also be sprayed with ultra low air pressures allowing artists to produce lines as thin as a hair even with mix-ratios that contain less reducer and water. It probably means that Vallejo found an extremely effective solvent formula. The different settings of each session depend on surrounding temperature and humidity. Only after the spray is fine and stable after shutting down the spray entirely and starting to spray again, airbrushing can be resumed. I always keep a piece of paper in my other hand close to where I am spraying and check the spray quality regularly).

Schoellershammer airbrush paper.

The cleaning of the airbrush is done with water - solvent thinner - water in that order. I will pump thinner in and out in the paint cup until the thinner contains no more pigments after which I am sure that there is paint residue in the airbrush. I will explain this effective and controlled cleaning method in a later blog entry with photos and perhaps short video clips.

The oldest photos will be at the bottom. Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs shot with an old iPhone G3. The different hues in various stages is the result of some pics being taken at night (with artificial light) while others are shot in daylight. From Mar 8 2014, I photographed with a Samsung S4 Mini.

Update Apr 15 2014.

Update Apr 13 2014.

Update Apr 11 2014. Balancing sharpness and accents.
Further detailing.

Update Apr 3 2014

Update Mar 31 2014

Update Mar 27 2014 - further detailing
of skin texture, hair and beard.

Update Mar 25 2014.

Update Mar 22 2014. Some
pencil erasing on skin texture

Update II Mar 16 2014.

Update Mar 16 2014 of freehand airbrush.
Further detailing of skin, eyebrows, beard
and some pencil erasing done.

Update Mar 15 2014.

Update Mar 14 2014.

Update Mar 13 2014.

Update Mar 12 2014.

Update Mar 11 2014.

Update Mar 10 2014.

Update II Mar 9 2014.

Update Mar 9 2014.

Update II Mar 8 2014

Update Mar 8 2014 - from this date forward photos
shot with Samsung S4 Mini instead of iPhone G3

Update Mar 4 2014

Update Mar 2 2014

Update Mar 1 2014 - II

Update Mar 1 2014

Update II Feb 28 2014

Update Feb 28 2014

Update Feb 27 2014

Update Feb 26 2014

Update II - Feb 25 2014

Update Feb 25 2014

Second update Feb 24 2014

Update Feb 24 2014

Update Feb 23 2014

Update IV Feb 22 2014

Update III Feb 22 2014

Update II Feb 22 2014

Complete paper - Feb 21 2014

Complete paper - Feb 20 2014

Detail - Feb 20 2014

Complete paper - Feb 19 2014

Detail - Feb 19 2014