How To Use an Airbrush (Airbrush Lesson 1) - Airbrush Guru

Airbrush Lesson 1 – How to Hold and Use an Airbrush

Airbrush lesson one tutorial is the first in airbrush basic lessons you’ll need to learn to become proficient when using an airbrush no matter what it is you want to paint. Written by Don Johnson.

Here are all 5 Airbrush Basic Lessons

No matter what you want to airbrush be it finger nails, Harley’s, illustrations, helmet’s any type of surface the basic airbrush skills needed to achieve good results are the same. The following exercises will help you achieve good results by teaching you how to apply color where you want, when you want, giving you the desired affect. Put aside one or two hour’s per day for a week to practice these basic lesson’s and in no time you’ll be airbrushing like a pro.

What you will need to complete this lesson

  •  A good double action airbrush , either gravity feed or bottom feed,
  • air hose ,
  • air source be it a compressor or CO2 tank,
  • pad of news print ( this you can buy at most art or hobby stores get the largest size pad you can) ,
  • one bottle black airbrush color either Golden Airbrush Colors, Dr Ph Martins airbrush colors, Com-art will work the best for this lesson,
  • an easel or something to lean your pad of newsprint against ( you might find these easier to do standing up , an easel is a great help if you have one)

How To Use an Airbrush

Pictured above you can see Cody is holding his airbrush much the same you would hold a pen, relaxed and loose in his hand at this point.

While learning, please use airbrush ready paints like DR Ph Martins, Golden Airbrush Colors or Com-art will work for this. You will learn much faster and enjoy it more if you didn’t have to hassle with paint that’s hard to use. The paint mentioned above are the best to use. Craft paint, textile paint, hobby paint are all fine to use after you learn the basics. Make life easy on your self in this respect, trust me use the colors I suggest, please.

Relax and have fun with these exercises, by doing these you are training your mind, finger to control this tool called the airbrush . If I can learn to airbrush anyone can.

How to hold an Airbrush

Hold your airbrush much the same you would a pen but with your index finger on top of the trigger as pictured below.

You can drape the air hose over your forearm to keep it out of your way if it’s easier for you.
The airbrush should feel comfortable in your hand, don’t hold it real tightly, relax. Both your hand and upper body should be relaxed. For now always hold the airbrush perpendicular to your painting surface.

Pictured above Cody is gentle pushing down on the trigger of the airbrush. At this point you should only have air coming out of your airbrush. Get in the habit now of always leaving the air on while airbrushing, even between strokes or applying paint.

Pictured above you can see Cody is not only pushing down on the trigger but has also pulled the trigger back, at this point you should have not only air but paint coming out of your airbrush. With a double action airbrush the further you pull the trigger back the more paint you will apply.

So the amount of paint you spray with a double action airbrush is regulated by how far you pull the trigger back, the further back the trigger travels the more paint will be applied.

The amount of air or PSI as it’s often referred to should be regulated at your compressor, not the airbrush trigger; you always want your index finger to depress the trigger fully downward.

Summary: With a double action airbrush pushing down on trigger gives you air, pulling back gives you paint, do both you get both air and paint. While airbrushing always leave the air on trigger fully depressed, air always on.

How far away you should hold the airbrush

Now let’s look at how the distance from the surface you are spraying paint onto comes into play. If you have ever played with spray can’s of paint you know that the further you are from the surface the larger an area you cover and the paint pattern is very fuzzy or defused.

Move closer with the spray can to the surface and you will notice the paint covers a smaller area and becomes more defined.

The same holds true with an airbrush.

My airbrush is several inches away from the paper: notice how large the dot is I sprayed

My airbrush is half an inch or less from the paper; notice how small the dot is I sprayed.

Summary: The further you are from the surface the paint you spray thru your airbrush will cover a larger area and not be well defined. The closer you are with your airbrush the smaller an area you will cover and the pattern will be more defined.