Monday, 7 December 2015

Airbrushing for Card Makers

I have finally got around to making a short video on basic stuff for people who may want to airbrush for the first time, mainly those who want to use it for card making, not modelling or fine art.

Now I have 3 airbrushes. An Iwata for the more serious stuff, one dedicated to food dyes and another for what I would describe as 'dirty' paint. Stuff like acrylic or enamels.

In this one I am talking about the middle one. A cheap brush but perfectly adequate for basic usage.
I have a small air compressor that I keep under my desk, it's pretty quiet and after a few minutes I forget about the purring!

Now a few things I did not go into on the video.

Protect yourself and your surfaces. We're talking highly atomised paint here, you have no idea how far this stuff can travel!  I usually wear latex gloves when painting because otherwise I end up with multi coloured fingers for a few days. I wear old clothes too, don't want to wreck your decent stuff on this.

To keep the paper in place, I use some adhesive, like Zig that is temporary. It grips enough but not too much. I have masking tape but it ruins the edges of my paper or card.

Always refer to the manufacturers instructions for full clean up. It only should need to be done occasionally, but if you are using paints with solids in it, you need to keep things REALLY clean or your needle and nozzle will get dirty and paint will not flow.

I find an occasional clean out with dilute window cleaner does a great job - but not if using your brush for food use!

If you do have to take your brush apart, have a nice soft towel on the table to catch the bits. You don't want to drop anything as it will most likely damage it.
Again, refer to instructions on how to take apart and reassemble, not all brushes are the same.

Quite often I will spend an entire morning or afternoon making backgrounds. You can make lots of different ones to store and use as necessary, saving money on coloured or patterned card.

Now there are ways of using your markers with a converter -  Copic make one that is in several forms, some for use with a compressor, some with canned air. However, canned air is not going to be a cheap option if you do much. There is also an e-Brush, similar but with it's own tiny compressor and used with various markers. I have not tried these. While they avoid clean up, I can't help thinking they must shorten the life of your marker rather a lot - great for those selling refills!

So it is a matter of choice but whatever you choose, have fun with it!


  1. There's debate about whether the marker ones decrease the life of your marker. In some ways the air blowing over the nib might do, but the amount of ink used is often less than colouring a background directly with the marker. The airbrushed effect can give a smooth uniform coverage with less dense ink laydown than by using the marker directly.

  2. Hi Lucy, I agree on that - but then I wouldn't use a marker for a background, I'd either use watercolour the old fashioned way or possibly and ink pad...I just wonder if the ease of use would encourage it as a background filler, where it may not otherwise be used.