AIRBRUSH: Learn the Basics of Airbrush Technique Part 7:  Painting a Flower

AIRBRUSH: Learn the Basics of Airbrush Technique
Part 7:  Painting a Flower

In this exercise you will learn a simple method of developing objects in space. A key to painting with an airbrush is to develop the subject matter from the background to the foreground (which is similar to traditional watercolor technique). Airbrushing - Part 7 - FlowerBy utilizing this system, you can develop images with a minimum amount of frisketing.

Draw the illustration below on a sheet of paper. Notice how the various petals come out from behind each other and exist on numerous planes. The closest object to you is number 1; out from behind it comes number 2; then the 3’s, the 4’s and the 5’s. NOTE: As a rule of thumb, objects that exist on the same plane that are not adjacent to each other are given the same number and can be painted at the same time.

  1. Cover the drawing with a sheet of frisket film. Cut around the objects to be painted starting with the closest object to you and then working on back into space: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. The reason for starting at the closest plane and working on back is that it orientates you as to where in space the objects or planes exist. NOTE: You will cut the objects 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. But when you airbrush, you will paint 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

  2. Load your airbrush with black opaque Com-Art. Remove the frisket film from the number 5 petals. Spray the black paint just along the edges that separate one plane from the next. Don’t fill in completely with black paint; allow the white of the paper to be used for highlight.

  3. Now remove the frisket film from areas number 4. What will appear is an exacting hard-edged line that separates one petal from the next. Repeat this process on numbers 3, 2, and 1. At this point, you have an achromatic black rendering that establishes the spatial relationships between one petal and another. NOTE: Once you establish an exacting hard-edged line in your darkest dark, it is virtually impossible to cover up.

  4. Now all the frisket film has been removed from the petals of the flower, but it remains on the background. Flush out your airbrush with Medea Airbrush Cleaner until all the black paint has been removed; then reload the airbrush with a color—let’s say red. At this point you can lightly airbrush back into your painting with the red paint, utilizing the black that you first sprayed as an underpainting to develop a value change of the red. Notice that you don’t have to worry about remasking areas to keep their definition. NOTE: With an airbrush, you have the ability to paint either transparently or opaquely, depending on the amount of paint sprayed onto the surface or the type of paint sprayed. So, hypothetically, you can first render your work using black paint on a white surface to develop an achromatic rendering and then go back over top of it with transparent layers of color to complete the final image.

  5. Once you have completed airbrushing, remove the frisket film from the background. The result is a flower that appears to be three-dimensional.

Remember, no matter what the subject, cut the frisket film from front to back visually and paint with the airbrush from back to front. Practice this method and keep it in mind as you pursue painting more complex images.