Calling all airbrush paint masters!
August 31, 2017 9:18 PM   Subscribe

I would like some advice from airbrush artists on how to paint my cloth mache dragon with gradient layers of vibrant colors so that the colors merge nicely.

I have created a cloth mache dragon ( 4 foot wingspan) (see pic) and bought an airbrush kit. the trouble is, I've never done any airbrush painting before. Id like to have the dragon have the rich vibrant colors of the hair pic (see pic) , so I bought acrylic airbrush iridescent turquoise, deep blue, fuchsia and pearl grey as well as metallic gray for the airbrush. The problem is, I've never done any airbrush and I am agonizing over how to lay the colors down for best effect. I would be deeply grateful for any advice or techniques you may have to offer? thanks so much!
~Muther of mache dragons ;D

ps if you have any ideas about 3d flames that look good, I would also love to hear about that. I made some ok flames with worbla, but they are not very realistic
posted by ConnieL to Media & Arts (5 answers total)
Best answer: Whatever you do, try out on a hidden area, or make a test piece to try out techniques.

Depending on the opacity of the paint, you could start with a bright white or metallic undercolor before adding on the colors.
posted by nickggully at 6:10 AM on September 1, 2017

Best answer: For a similar project, I watched a lot of videos posted by guys who do custom paint jobs on cars, motorcycle gas tanks, etc. It's a huge world and many of these artists are very helpful.
posted by carmicha at 6:24 AM on September 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You need some masking/stenciling devices, I don't see it in your list of materials.
The surface for airbrushing is usually very smooth (like cars and motorcycles for example). This dragon has wrinkled wings, and airbrushing might accentuate the wrinkled look very much.
You'll need some practice with airbrush first on a separate pieces of paper to get some feeling for your tool. Do straight steady lines, dots of the same size, circles, bend lines...
There will be a cloud of sprayed paint right around you, please think about ventilation and some mask .
posted by Oli D. at 7:03 AM on September 1, 2017

Best answer: Look into airbrushing miniatures. Yes some "miniatures" are almost as large as your dragon. Use acrylic airbrush paints as they have a translucency which helps with the appearance of a blend. If you. There are great videos on YouTube from everything on how to set up & use an airbrush, to how to practice using an airbrush all the way up to painting & getting blends.

You may find this guy useful for learning the basics. But there are 100's if not thousands more videos out there.

The main tip I can give is practice. Don't start on your final piece until you are comfortable. I can strip paint off a mini & start again, it would be a lot harder with that piece. Practice on scraps of the same material with the same coating as your figure first to get the hang of it. The fumes etc from acrylic are a lot less dangerous than many other paints too and are easier to clean off when they get places other than what you are painting, which they will which are something you might like to consider.
posted by wwax at 8:38 AM on September 1, 2017

Best answer: For your fire, look into what diorama and war game modellers do with wool. GIS of miniature fires.
posted by Iteki at 8:50 AM on September 1, 2017

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