Airbrushing Fine Lines - Airbrush Guru

Airbrushing Fine Lines

In this How To Airbrush article we’ll go over airbrushing fine lines and detail using different airbrushes, needle, nozzle sizes. Written by airbrush artist Don Johnson.

One of the most common questions I have heard sinse I stated helping people learn to use their airbrush is “which airbrush with what size nozzle, needle is best for rendering detail, fine lines”.

One of most common problems I hear about from those just starting out is “this airbrush just won’t do fine lines, detail work”

With the many different airbrush’s, needle, nozzle sizes available on the market these days, its easy to understand the confusion surrounding rending fine lines, detail.

Unfortunately there is not magical trick I can show you to make your journey easier or shorten the length of time it takes to learn the skills necessary to render fine lines, detail.

I would like to encourage you to not get frustrated during your journey, I taught myself how to airbrush which means you certainly can.

“Well how long will I have to practice before I can accomplish rendering (painting) fine lines, detail art work?”

That I know was your next question, right?
Again there is no magical trick I can show you, no pat answer to this question. The best answer I have is if you apply yourself to mastering the basic lessons on this web site, you will be looking back sooner than later smiling, knowing at one time not so long ago you thought you never would master fine lines or detail with your airbrush.

The length of time it will take is directly related to how you approach learning the basic lessons, apply yourself, practice everyday and in no time you will have mastered it.

Below are four example sheets I did using four different airbrushes to drive home a point I believe will help you master rendering fine lines, detail with your airbrush.

Each of the airbrushes had different size needles, nozzles most were gravity feed, one was a bottom or siphon feed but as you can see by the size of the lines I was able to create, they are very similar in size (they were thin).To give you some prospective I drew some loops with a pencil on each sheet to help you realize the size of the airbrushed lines.The airbrushes I used just happened to be the ones connected to my compressor at the time I did these examples. They could have very well been a Paasche VL or Badger 150 instead; my goal was to use four different airbrushes the model, brand was just what I had on hand at the time no more than that.

The same paint straight out of the bottle was used in all four airbrushes, Golden Carbon Black.

The four airbrushes I used were:

  1. Iwata BCS Eclipse – 0.5 mm needle, nozzle combination
  2. Iwata HP-CS – .35mm needle, nozzle combination
  3. Iwata Micron B – .18 mm nozzle, needle combination
  4. Sata 3 – 0.25 nozzle, needle combination

See if you can guess which set of loops was created using which airbrush. Did the needle and nozzle size determined my ability to keep all the sets of loops similar in size, thin lines? I don’t believe it did, do you?

As you can see it’s very hard to say which size needle, nozzle created which set of loops.

These examples illustrate the point it’s not the airbrush brand, model, needle size or nozzle size that makes rendering fine lines, detail possible. What makes rendering fine lines, detail possible is mastering the basic’s it’s that simple. If I can do it you surely can.

Below are the answers to which airbrush created which set of loops. Click on the images to see a bigger view.

Iwata Micron B created panel A

SATA 3 created lines of panel B

Lines on panel C created with Eclipse BCS

Iwata HP-CS created panel D