May 10, 2015

New kid on the block: waterborne Inspire H2O

When cleaning paint after the airbrush has (visibly) run out of paint, I always pour airbrush cleaner in the gun's paint cup, suck it up and blow it back several times with a pipette. It draws paint residue (paint particles and flakes) into the pipette that I blow from the pipette into the spray-out container so that paint particles and flakes will not clog the nozzle. I do this until no more particles and flakes are visible in the pipette. After that I blow cleaner through the airbrush and also draw back and lock the needle and put my finger on the tip of the nozzle to reverse the flow of the cleaner in the airbrush in order to release stuck paint residue from the airbrush. After that I blow cleaner and finally water through the airbrush.


When cleaning in such a way, it becomes obvious that most paints form particles and flakes that are left in the gun after the airbrush stopped spraying paint. Createx does it, Holbein Aeroflash, Illu-Color and Vallejo Premium all leave some type of residue inside the pipette and on the inner wall of the airbrush paint cup when cleaning according to the method explained above. However, this is not the case with the relatively new waterborne Inspire H2O. The pipette and paint cup remain almost entirely clean.... The first paint I used that has this excellent property.

I also noticed that while mixing the paint before spraying, for which I also use an other pipette to thoroughly mix the paint and reducer, Inspire H2O hardly left any residue in the pipette after the mixing was done. I think that is a sign that the pigmentation is very fine and the binder and solvent are doing a great job. Spraying with Inspire confirmed my suspicion; the paint performed miraculously well in my Iwata Micron SB. Below you see a test that gives an indication of how well this paint behaves.

The measuring scale is in centimeters

To spray the text shown above I used Inspire H2O in the following ratio: Paint : Reducer = 1 : 15 setting the air pressure just high enough to drive out the paint (somewhere around 7 psi or half a bar). But what is more amazing is that after leaving the airbrush untouched for 3 hours (with the paint still in the cup) it sprayed just as well as when I first sprayed it. And it gets better: same thing after 6 hours...., as if spraying with freshly mixed paint.

Inspire H2O 'Black Smoke' and Reducer I used for the test

Another positive property of the H2O paint is that it hardly leaves any tip dry. In this respect it is on par or better than solvent-based paints. And as you can see, the testing was done with black, which traditionally is a 'difficult' color (gross pigment, clogging and tip dry in most brands). Next week I am going to buy other colors of this type of paint and continue to experiment with it. No need to say I am quite impressed by this new paint for airbrush artists.

May 9, 2015

After 6 months of not airbrushing

After not having airbrushed for over 6 months due to a lack of time, I picked up the gun to spray at the Airbrush Services Almere 12.5 year anniversary in Lelystad, The Netherlands. I prefer to spray portraits of Native Americans, because usually there is a lot of expression and texture in the images. My trusted Iwata HP-BH sprayed awful in spite of cleaning regularly. Later after I returned home I found out that the needle packing leaked, which allowed paint to reach the needle spring all the way in the back of the airbrush.

Iwata HP-BH

I continued spraying with the Micron SB that I hadn't used for a long time. A kind of re-discovery of that gun. It sprayed magnificently and allowed me to shoot the Vallejo Premium paint exactly where I wanted. I used a mixture of 1 drop of paint and 20 drops of reducer and very low air pressure (just enough to push out the paint). Vallejo Premium has an enormous covering and adherence on almost all surfaces (paper, board, metal, plastic, wood etc.) so spraying very thin (transparent) in many layers allows to correct with an eraser. If sprayed too thick it is a hell of a job to remove the paint from the surface, if not impossible.

Iwata Micron SB

A peculiarity of Vallejo Premium brown (color number: 62.018) is that after spraying a while, you start spraying a greenish hue instead of brown. I suspect the green pigment is heavier than other pigments in the mix which causes it to sink to the bottom of the paint cup after some time. Sucking up the paint in a pipette and returning it to the paint cup several times returns the paint to its intended, original color. It is a thing to keep in mind for artists who use this paint, that is of an excellent quality - comparable with Holbein Aeroflash for half the price per bottle. The paint also tends to disperse somewhat - crisp lines become less sharp after a while and evenly and smoothly sprayed areas become textured.

Vallejo Premium 62.018

Below you see a sequence of my work in progress. The images were photographed with the camera of a Samsung S4 Mini at different times in the day / night, which accounts for the difference in lighting. The portrait is sprayed on 50 x 35 cm airbrush paper. At the very bottom you see a photograph of my airbrush workplace. The portrait is attached to my lightbox.

Photo shot with better cam than that of a
Samsung S4 Mini phone in daylight -
color differences are amazing

Rushed to finish to try Inspire H2O in next portrait

Vallejo paint dispersed. Attempt to correct with different brand.

10 drops Vallejo Premium

So far I used 9 drops of Vallejo Premium

The portrait on my homemade lightbox.