Sunday, March 28, 2010

5 Airbrush Artists You Should Know About (but probably don't)

This isn't a list of people that are the best ever, or those that I think are better than those that are known. Most people know of Craig Fraser, or Mike Lavallee (who, by the way, doesn't just do realistic fire), or even Cory Saint Clair or Alberto Ponno but there are guys out there that should be more well known for what it is they do. Guys that do things with the airbrush that is just mind boggling.

Soap (A.K.A Grizla): I found this guy on accident when I was checking out the Airbrush Action Myspace one day. I saw an airbrush piece that blew me away. I clicked the link and realized I'd seen this guy before on YouTube. The thing with Soap that sets him apart is that he paint BIG. Some of his large scale portraits could easily be comparable to Cory Saint Clair's. The Louie Armstrong piece I saw has so much realism in his eyes it feels like he is staring right at you. It's easy to get caught watching all of his videos and I encourage you to do just that.

Tom Martin: I found Hyper Tom on Deviantart when I was frequenting that site often. I passed by a few of his paintings because I thought they were photos of fruit, not airbrush paintings. I saw a few of the airbrushed pieces he did of metal work out equipment, and again thought they were just photos. I still cannot fully wrap my head around what it is he does, or how he makes his airbrush work the way he does. Brilliant stuff.

Adam Haden: Another Deviantart user, this guy puts some serious paint on semi-trucks, as well as motorcycles and what ever else paint will stick to. What makes his work so phenomenal is that he can keep his images so crisp while combining different references to make one single piece. Portraits to nudie pin-ups, he can paint anything with a face and make it look great.

Matt: Yet another Deviantart user (do you see a trend here??) who paints on huge semi trucks. He specializes in large scale murals that depict everything from movie scenes to old fire trucks painted with so much care they look like an old newspaper print on someone tail gate. Great guy to talk to as well.

Denis Peterson: Dru who? This guy may not only be on Deviantart, but that's where I know him from and I again passed by his art thinking they were photos. And this guy doesn't just paint some close up portraits, he paints the WORLD. There really isn't much I can say about this guys work other than if you really want to see how real you can get with an airbrush you need to check this guys work out. There are city scenes so detailed that I'm pretty sure look more real than the photos do.

Well, that's about it. Why not a top ten? Well, I've had a long day, a long week, and if this post was ever going to see the light of day, then I'd better get it out there. As a bonus though, I'll toss in these two guys: Kalli Haun and Laurus both from Germany and both incredible aritsts. The first focuses on portraits of real people that capture their souls and the second uses graffiti spray paint to create unique and rich work's of art with an airbrush. Check em out. Do it. Now.

The Video of the Post comes from Soap:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

What It's All About

(the man of the hour, Willy)

Today I picked up my friend Willy's bike from being clear coated and cut/polished. I was pretty excited to pick them up because they were going to someone who deserved it and I'd never had the opportunity to do a bike like this. It was a project that really pushed me to my limits and gave a real challenge. On top of that I was able to do something for a friend that he'd only been able to dream of.
Willy has a hell of past. He ran amok in his youth and participated in violent, drug related crimes that landed him in prison. An in an out case, it was easy for the state, and people that knew him, to cast him aside as a waste. But something happened in his last stretch that put things in perspective for him and he realized that he didn't want to die in there.
Putting his life together wasn't easy, both inside and out. Inside, there was a set of rules that he'd lived by that weren't easy to cast aside. Outside, there was the challenge of functioning as a recovering addict in his 50's. The world changes faster for people at that age, and changes even faster when they are kept locked up. It hasn't been easy, but he's managed to do the right thing. He's managed to get straight A's on his way to becoming a drug and alcohol councilor while being active in his community and his family. He inspired me to go to school and to take life as it comes.
He told me once that his one dream was to get his Harley painted because he'd just never had the money. He talked about getting the money together to have me do it and when I realized the kind of strain that would cause him, I decided to pay for the materials out of pocket and do my best to make his dreams reality. In my eyes, I owed him and this was my way of paying him back. He deserved to have the work that was done. Every day I put into that project wasn't work at all, but something more. Seeing that Harley get finished, hearing his reactions on the phone and in his emails made every single minute sanding and airbrushing worth it.
Finishing that bike was one of the greatest feelings I've had. But it paled in comparison to the moment I was able to hand the tins over to him. Seeing a grown man moved, physically, by something I did made me realize that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. It makes all the anxiety of whether or not I can really make a living at this fade away. That moment is what all this is really all about.

The Video of the Post is brought to you by Alxgatorman Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I Think it's Tutorial Time!!

Here's a little something I whipped up:

How to Airbrush an Eagle on a Flame Background Using Auto Air and Wicked Paints

I show you how I airbrushed an eagle onto a flamed out motorcycle tank. I go over paints and color theory using Createx's line of Auto Air paint and their new Wicked colors.

Realistic flames are all the craze now days. Thanks to Mike Lavallee of killer paint, they seem to be on everything from cars to helicoptors. Lately people have been wanting to step those flames up by having graphics airbrushed over the top of them. This can prove to be quite a challenge when you consider all the different colors that can end up mixed together. You can always cut a stencil out or mask the area and spray some white on there, but that just leaves a cartoonish sharp image and high build up of paint. I recently had a bike to do for a friend that called for realistic flames and an eagle to be airbrushed over the top of that. Not one to shy aways from a challenge, I jumped right in: (there will be a tutorial on how I did the flames later)

Content Source: Bukisa - How to Airbrush an Eagle on a Flame Background Using Auto Air and Wicked Paints

Click the link to read the rest of the article! Enjoy!!

The Video of the Post is brought to you by: Ed Hubbs

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Wicked Paints Review

I ordered some Wicked paints the other day because I needed to try something new (I had been using Auto Air) and I had been hearing great things about the product. I went to Coast Airbrush since I found that they had a pretty good deal on a 5 color set that included the reducer. I went with the 2 oz semi opaque set figuring that I can always reduce it down. The website said that the semi opaque offers .5 micron binder size while the Wicked Detail Colors are sheared to .1 microns. The Wicked Detail Colors were supported by Dru Blair, which meant that they might still have some opaque properties to them, since I knew he was a fan of the opaques. What really interested me was that they were called water bourne rather than water based and have a mild solvent included in it.
When my set arrived it was a few days before I could bust them open, but luckily I had a project that was going to be perfect for trying them out. What I had heard the most about was the white and how it flowed, so I was excited to give that a try on some detailed work. The project was my friends red Harley that was due for some realistic flames and a couple eagle portraits. I started in on the flames with the semi opaque white and yellow in a reduced mixture that was similar to chrome yellow in euros. I was immediately impressed with how the Wicked paints flowed. Though there was some tip dry, it wasn't any thing like that found with the Auto Air paints. The white wasn't as chalky seeming either, leaving a nice smooth finish.
I worked through the flames, using the Wicked over the Auto Air and vice versa. I wouldn't recommend mixing them together, as they sort of gum up and don't flow right, but they seem to be perfectly compatible together.
Rinsing the paint out of my airbrush showed me that the solvent was very much there. Usually a couple dunks in some water, a few back flushes and some cleaner and it's good to go. The water seemed to react different, similar to how uros would, but the cleaner seemed to cut right through it. Once the brush was clean, I put a few drops of the reducer in there to get any of the paint that I may have missed.
It was time to paint the eagle and I was nervous. I had to put my Iwata aside since I had a needle issue to take care of and pulled out my Grex XN. I figured the real test of these whites would be to shoot them through the .2mm nozzle. I thinned the paint 1:2 (one drop white to 2 drops of reducer) and threw in a drop of yellow to cut any blue shift the paint might give me (since I was painting over flames). I had a stencil I'd cut out of paper to give me some proportions and got right to work. After the initial spray I went in for the details in the eye. I notice right away that though there was tip dry, the paint flowed super smooth. I didn't have any issues with the Wicked paints, regardless of the fact that my gun was due for some tune ups, and quickly moved through the portrait.
Now the black. After some Auto Air Root Beer to give the portrait some depth, I came in with some black. I'm not usually a big fan of the blacks, but heavily reduced black can usually give you a nice brown or gray similar to graphite. I reduced the semi-opaque black 1:2 like before. Then, after spraying it and seeing it was still opaque black and I reduced it 1:3. After some spraying, I realized that it was also, again, still opaque. Reduced 1:5. I ran out of room in my cup and gave up. It was just too dense and reducing it just wasn't changing that. That heavy black has it's place, but I'm not a fan. I ended up going with my Auto Air mixture of semi-opaque black, transparent purple, and a drop of root beer. Luckily I was able to mix what the black had done.
Overall, I was pleased. I liked the rich color that the paints gave me, even when they were reduced. The fact I could get the white to spray through my Grex XN has me sold. I have to get used to cleaning the paint with the cleaner rather than just water, but they are still a lot easier to work with than the uros. If I had a seal of approval, I would put it on these paints.

Here is what I was able to do with the Wicked Paints (and a little help of the Auto Air candys):

And here is your Video of the Post brought to you by Cisco2015:

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Interview

Wednesday I have a job interview. For the first time in my life I am actually excited about a job interview. The job is for a full time airbrush position with a prominent custom motorcycle painting shop. It's amazing to me that there would be such a job available anywhere, let alone just a few miles away (ok, like 116 miles, but it's not Miami). They saw my work and they really liked it. Well, they liked it enough to want to see it in person and to talk with me as well. This is probably the most amazing thing that has happened to me in a long time. Even if I don't get the job for some reason, I had an interview for THE job I am working towards. As much as I would love to start my own shop, and that is in my future, working in a shop would really put me in a position to work on my experience and work on getting my art on projects.
How did I do it? Well, I applied. That's pretty much it. I wrote a nice cover letter and sent them some of my work. I realized that this is a field much like the computer/tech industry, where most of it doesn't matter so long as you can prove your work is yours and you aren't a douche bag (well, that last one doesn't seem to matter when it comes to computers...). After some hesitation I sent in my stuff (at the urging of my loving wife) and after they got back from bike week in Miami (!!), they emailed me. I called and set up a time.
Other than to toot my own horn (TOOT!), I'm trying to illustrate that you can be some guy in an apartment, putting down some paint, but you aren't going to move much beyond that if you don't put yourself out there. If this is what you really want to do, then make some moves. Even if it means having to actually move to another city. People do in the hospital industry, even tech and sales guys if it means a better lifestyle and better career goals. Folks sell their worldly belongings so that they can go to Hollywood. Put yourself out there. Send some cover letters with a nice portfolio (use links and explain its to ensure safety, or use a PDF for slides). Just get out there. Painting the planet is going to take forever from inside your garage.

The Video of the Post is brought to you by Magik:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

How to Get Started Airbrushing: The List

Maybe you saw a video with some guy putting down the sickest skull ever with ease. Maybe you've seen that video of that one guy airbrushing that one portrait all sped up. Maybe you saw some pretty crazy airbrush graphics on some car or bike in some magazine. Maybe you saw these things or some other things and thought: I want to do that. Maybe you thought: I can do that.
Then you started looking through some sites or catalogs (do people look at catalogs anymore?) and started to feel a little overwhelmed. There are a lot, and I mean A LOT, of things to choose from in the airbrush world and it can be frustrating. Especially when all you want to do is airbrush.
Maybe I can help. I've put together a little list of things you will need to get started. This isn't THE list or top ten list or anything like that, but it is the bare bones equipment I needed to put down some of my first airbrush strokes. Maybe it'll clear up any confusion or maybe it'll just give you a starting point to some more.
1) The Compressor. Why is this before the airbrush? Because if you don't have air, then you just have a chunk of metal. If you are just starting out, then get a compressor that fits your needs and your budget right now. If you think this is something you'll want to do for a while, then look ahead to the one that you will grow into. Not all compressors are created equally and it will come down to how much air you need (your airbrush will tell you) and how loud you can stand it.
2) The Regulator. Ok, so it's still not the airbrush, but it's just as important. If you are going to have a compressor that pushes air, then you need to control that airflow. Find a regulator that has a moister trap because moisture is bad.
3) The Moisture Trap. I know, when the hell do we get an airbrush... trust me, this is important. Most compressors build moister due to heat under pressure and this moisture can get into the line, which can come out of your airbrush. That means water in bad places. Which, again, is bad.
4) The Airbrush! I didn't get into too much detail with the above, because there isn't much debate over what kind of this or that will be needed, but when it comes to airbrushes you would think that people were discussing stem cell research. I've seen folks run out of forums over this. Here is my input: get a gun that fits your needs. Will you be illustrating? T-Shirts? Automotive? People? Airbrushes are complicated creatures and there will be whole blog posts written about the many many aspects of this machined metal monster. For now, here's what you need:
- If you are just going to illustrate and don't ever plan on moving on get a gravity feed airbrush with anything lower than .3mm needle nozzle combo. Alberto Ponno uses the Paasche VJR. You can also get a side feed, though they are a little tougher to clean.
- If you plan to do just T-Shirts and don't ever plan to move on (at least for a while) get a bottom feed/siphon feed. Something like this.
- If you want to go straight for the automotives, really anything will work as long as the airbrush has teflon needle bearings (this will resist solvents found in auto paints and reducers). Some companies release these for their illustration brushes so that you can just change them out without getting a whole new gun.
5) Cleaning Stuff. If you have a gun, you need to clean it. Look for the pipe cleaning set up and some needles. Also, if you are using water based paint, get some Windex or other window cleaner. For autos or other solvent based paints, look to see what it is reduced with and that will be your cleaner.
6) Spare Parts. If you ever clean your brush, you'll end up smashing a needle or nozzle. Get a needle and a nozzle when you get your airbrush.
7) Lube. After you've gotten that airbrush clean you need to lube it up. Make sure you are getting a lube that will work with any type of paint. Superlube is an industry standard.
8) Surfaces. This is before paint in my book because you can't use paint if you don't have anything to paint on. As a beginner, I recommend getting something like pellon because it can take a lot of abuse and is fairly inexpensive. You can also get cheap water color paper since it is highly absorbent. I like the pellon because after you've painted on it you can still use it to make stencils and it mimics how it would be to paint T-Shirts.
9) Paint. I'll make this simple. Get Textile paint if you want to paint T-Shirts. You can use these for illustrations, but they are made thick so it takes more air to spray them. Get illustration paint for illustration (Golden, ComArt), or get watercolor paint and dilute it, or inks, or dyes, or... anything that can come out of that gun is pretty much ok as long as you can clean it up. Autos require a whole post their own, but to start I recommend Auto Air or Wicked.
10) Xacto Knife. You'll need this to cut stuff.
11) The Internet. If you want to make these things work together then you need to spend some time on YouTube and in the forums. People have done it and have been there and will show you the way.

Well, I hope that was helpful. I will be getting into greater detail on each of these items in later blogs, so don't worry. If you don't find your answers elsewhere, then you'll find them here.

The Video of The Post Comes From Tony D at Airbrush Tricks:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How to Market Your Airbrush Skills

If you are an airbrush artist for fun, then you aren't worried about this, but if you are hoping that you can make some sort of living from this hobby you've acquired, well then you probably want to market your airbrush skills a little. There are some pretty easy ways to market and pretty easy ways to fail. I, personally, am a little scared to market my airbrushing. I'm not scared of the act itself so much as I am scared that I wont have a chance in hell of keeping up with the business I would, or could get from it. Of course, it's better than the little to no business I am getting because I am not pursuing it.
That's just it. You have to pursue the work. I think this is important to most businesses, but even more so to the artist or, in this case, the airbrush artist. The work isn't going to just fall in your lap because you have a YouTube video up or a free website somewhere online. You have to go after it, and Craigslist isn't 'it'. It might not be cost effective to get a booth at a fair right now, and might seem like you're putting the chicken before the egg, but if you can afford it, do it. Get a booth at a swap meet, or a car show, or a bike show. Get one at a flea market or find a place that'll let you set up something outside somewhere. Set up a few things you've worked on and do a couple demos (with eco friendly paint mind you) so people can watch you work. Squirt some airbrushed tattoos onto some youngsters for free. The general public is fascinated by people that can do something like airbrush and they want to watch it.
Hand out business cards. You don't have business cards? Well, there are sites that can help with that. The cards don't even have to have your artwork on there, but it is preferred. Just get your name, your number, and your email in the hands of the masses. Marketing is a numbers game. You may already know this by the amount of people who have shown interest in your airbrush artwork only to never resurface. Get your card in as many hands as possible. Give them something to remember as well.
If you aren't in a shop, then start going to shops in the area. Start talking to these guys about what THEY do and see if you can work with them. After you decide you like what THEY do, tell them about what YOU do. You don't want your work associated with sub-par work other people have done. They will always assume you had something to do with it. Your work has to represent you when you aren't there and it wont do a good job of that if it's on crappy body work or under shoddy clear coat.
Start looking at the alternative sports and events in your area. If you are painting shirts and not autos, then see what it'll take for you to be able to be seen at their game. Do their shirts for them, do something that they will want to wear. Is there an MMA shop in the area? Tattoo shops? Roller Derby, or some other underground style of something? Get in with those guys and girls. They will be riding and driving the type of cars and bikes that will need good airbrush. Don't pay them in money, pay them in paint. Paint their wall or do the artwork for a flyer, or... use some creativity here. This can work with college teams (they have helmets, and someone has to paint those helmets) or even youth leagues that might not be able to afford getting some shirts with their name on it. Airbrushing some T-Shirts for underprivileged youth players will not only make you feel warm and fuzzy, but this then makes you a sponsor.
Get a web presence. Don't spend too much time on this unless you plan on focusing on people shipping you their stuff to paint. Which, if you think about it, isn't going to happen unless you get established. You have to have a track record before people will trust you with their goods. eBay doesn't count as a track record either. Get a decent website people can look at and start posting videos of your stuff. You aren't going to get a million hits off your posts, but you can refer people to this so that they can see your work.
Learn to take good photos of your work. If you can't do that, then hire someone who can. Find a student photographer that needs some paint. Whatever it takes, just do it. There are tutorials all over the internet to help with this. Again, these photos represent you, in a lot of cases, before they ever meet you. If you post fuzzy, low res pictures on your Craigslist posting, you will look like an amateur. This is bad.
There might be some more, but the most important one, the one that will probably make the biggest difference in whether you go anywhere with your work: NEVER CUT CORNERS. It doesn't matter what the deadlines are, a bad paint job is hard to recover from. A customer might be upset that his bike was a few hours or even a day late, but if it was because you refused to give him or her a bad product, I bet they'll get over it. Be honest with the people you are doing the work for, they will usually understand if you put it to them as a matter of quality. The saying goes (or at least my paraphrasing of the saying goes): you can paint 20 great paint jobs, but if you screw just one up, it's like you've never painted anything good in your life. Word of mouth is the THE most important form of marketing when it comes to paint or art. Again, Word of mouth is the most important. That means, put in every last ounce of whatever you have into your work so that your customer gets the best product you can give. You can do all the free T-Shirts in the world but it takes one bubbled clear coat or one T-Shirt that didn't set right and you're a pariah. This, also is bad.
Bootstrapping is the way of the world when it comes to guys just starting out doing this stuff. Finding the right type of marketing to do to fit into that bootstrapping is pretty tough. You'll get a million guys and girls who'll tell you that if you cut them a deal, the'll get you more business. Probably not. They'll get a great deal though. Here's how I look at this: if you go to someone else, say the little league, and offer to fill a need for them that wont cost them anything - that's a group that will promote you to their friends. But if someone is coming to you for this same need, well, then they probably aren't going to tell anyone.
Make sense? Well good, stop reading and get to it.

The Video of the Post comes from Steve Nunez, an incredible airbrush artist:
(Warning, contains airbrushed boobies)

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Good Stuff

I don't really know what the good stuff is, but I liked it for a title.
I read that if I was to start and maintain a successful blog that I can't personalize it. Well, luckily I'm not trying to create a successful blog about airbrushing so much as I am trying to chronicle the fact that I made it. I haven't yet, but I will. That, and I hope to do some interviews and showcase some other outstanding airbrushists around. I realized today, also, that using the word airbrushist isn't going to get me anything close to good web optimization since I am probably the only person to use it on a regular basis.
Oh well.
So back to being personal. Today I was supposed to put down some base coat on what will be my friends motorcycle tins. He let me mess around with them so I could put what, hopefully, will be my best custom paint job to date on there. In return, while he is out riding with his biker buddies and going to his many rallys, he will be dropping my card and my name around. Seems like a pretty good trade off if you ask me.
What he wanted (he's been wanting a job on his bike for a while but just couldn't afford it) was the brightest red ever and a flaming eagle on the side with his 100th anniversary emblem (Harley) in or around it's claws. I really liked the idea and I am hoping that I can make some true fire look like fire. I also found a paint called Red Hot Chilli Pepper (which is good, since he used to go by Chilly Willy) and should have my Wicked paints by then.
$50 into this paint and me and my paint guy find out that it has to be catalyzed. Ok, well, fine, we have some of that. Oh, and that it has to be reduced with the special paint reducer. A reducer the first paint sales rep didn't tell us we needed. In fact he told us we could use a totally different one. If my paint guy hadn't called, we would have ruined $50 worth of paint, and possible caused me another weeks worth of work. Not cool when Willy wants the bike before the 19th so he can take it to Cali. I can't miss an opportunity for the bike to be seen by people from here to Cali and at a rally.
But, I'm still high and dry. And the bike is on hold. I'm spraying the thing, so there is still a chance something can go wrong (I'm an airbrushist not a paint guy!). It's what this is all about though, from what I hear. Things happen and you have to be able to make them work. It'll still be done before the 19th and it'll still be the coolest paint job I have done. It'll just be a few days later and I'll have to work twice as hard on it.
But it's going to Cali for a rally with a bunch of other bikers. I couldn't pay for marketing like that. And the fact that I know Willy is going to be speechless when he sees the bike means even more. I'm looking forward to getting this thing done and I'm just antsy.
Just goes to show you can't rely on the sales guys, you have to read those data sheets. You have to do your homework, all the time. This is why guys have a hard time changing paint systems.

The Video of the Post is From Huntington Beach Body Work Skulls, from Kustom Shop

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Dream

I thought it would be a good idea to talk about what it is I am trying to do here. Not just with the blog, but, like all deep and stuff. Like HERE here. Well, maybe not so deep as that, but deep enough to cover my goals outside of being a really good husband. I'm a creative type. I have interests in all things art related, but I seem to be coming back to this airbrush thing more and more. Something always comes up when I'm doing something else that leads me back here. There's no getting away from the compressors and blow outs for me. At least not for a while. But I also want to be a film maker and an educator and I seem to be filling those roles, at least on a small level, while still focusing on the airbrushing I wish to do.
But that isn't what I really want. Ideally, and I know I'm not the only one, I want to make a living doing what I enjoy. I don't have it in me to be that guy who works a manual labor job for the rest of his life and tells himself 'it's fulfilling work'. Everyone I met that has been doing that type of work counts the days down till retirement like a lifer in prison. Can't do it. Refuse to do it. I, and my growing family, deserve something better.
So I blog, and I forum post, and I make free videos that I post on YouTube, and I talk to people, and I social network with other artists, and I do little interviews with artists, and I... well I airbrush. And I do this so that I can, eventually, make a living at it. I know there are a lot of guys (girls too!!) that want to this sort of thing for a living. They have talent, or at the very least, know how to market themselves. I have some talent and I'm working on the marketing. I keep pushing out the paint and keep posting it wherever I can in the hopes people will see it. And to get people to see it, I talk about it.
But, now I'm noticing that I want to airbrush more than I actually do, and I end up doing more elbow work than I want to do so that I can airbrush. It's quite the conundrum. I need to find that balance if I am going to make it at all in this. I'm not looking for super star status. I don't want to be the best in the entire world. I just want to make enough at it that it's my job. Actually, what I have decided is that I am going to open an airbrush studio that is similar is style to a tattoo shop. Why can't a bunch of airbrushists get together and work out of the same shop? It works for the tattoo guys (and girls too!!!) just fine. I don't even want to be an over seer or some grand designer. I do want a TV show because I don't think we get the recognition that other similar fields do. Why not a Portland Airbrush? I want the whole industry to grow and expand and I want to bring people with me as I grow as an artist.
But ultimately, I just want to pay my bills. I really want to be able to make enough my wife can finish school or stay home with our future babies (if that's what we decide to do. Day care is for the crazy). So yeah, right now I can't make a ton of money doing it, so I'll keep putting my stuff out there. I'll keep teaching what I know. I'll keep at it.
Paint the Planet.

Video of the Post is brought to you by: XZOTICINK and is proof that there are kick ass girl airbrushists out there. Even if they are all the way in New York. Enjoy!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Biggie Smalls Tutorials

So, I've been fiddling with my little webcam and some free editing software to put together some useful tutorials on airbrushing. I'm trying to cover a wide range of topics since it seems like everyday I am seeing more and more people decide to pick up an airbrush and start painting. Recently, I put together some beginners airbrush videos revolving around a portrait I did of the late great Biggie Smalls. YouTube, the nazi it's become, told me I could keep it at the 12 minutes it was, so I had to chop it up. That might be for the best as 12 minutes seems pretty long for most attention spans. If you just want to see me airbrush it, well theres a video of that as well. I'm trying to cater to everyone, you know? Please the masses while painting the planet. With that, I'll shut up: enjoy!

Part One

Part Two

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Alberto Ponno

I've been getting involved with some airbrush forums lately. I was cruising around YouTube trying to find myself some airbrush videos to watch in order to get ready to do some realistic flames with Auto Air paint on a motorcycle. I found this video by a guy named Tony D who runs this Airbrush Tricks website. That video really helped me out and I clicked the link to see if I could find out some more information. That's when I found The Airbrush Forum, which may well be one of the better airbrush forums on the internet. I've been doing my part to add whatever helpful information I can while learning a ton in the process.
Not everyone seems to feel that way. For some reason, when something is creative it collects egos. It's like art (all forms) is an ego fly trap and it's difficult to wade through all the garbage. I, myself, can get a little ego now and then, get my little arrogant feathers ruffled, but I'm aware of it and will usually apologize for my idiocy.
What this has to do with the price of Chinese food in China is that, for the most part, that airbrush forum is devoid of ego. Someone will trickle in with some interesting view points (I'm trying to keep this clean people) every now and then, but they don't last long. What will always amaze me, is when they do, and 27 people tell them "Hey, that was pretty douche-baggy what you said", they will still act as if they are perfectly innocent creatures. This sort of "world just doesn't understand me"type of, well, paranoia is a usual trait amongst the doucheetists.
Now, why that is important enough to warrant a blog posting that, for the most part, probably wont be read for a few months by anyone other than my wife, is this: I got an email from Alberto Ponno. Some of you may not know who this is, and that is why his name is all linkified, but some of you do and may be just as amazed as I am. He is, by far, one of the best airbrush artists in the world. I know, there are a lot of guys out there that have their favorites, but I'm serious when I say this again: he is one of the best in the entire world. Take a look at his work, I'll wait. Are you back? Pretty crazy right? Well, here is some more crazy, the man doesn't use anything but an airbrush. No pencil rough sketch, no trace outs, no stencils, no cut outs, no masking, no eraser, all freehand airbrush amazing goodness. He uses lacquer that you aren't legally supposed to spray here and his Passche, but that's it. That's all. Well, and a heap of talent and experience.
So this guy emailed me. At first, I seriously thought it was a joke. I'm just some guy in an apartment that can pull out a pretty nice airbrush painting every once in a while. Who was I to get an email from this guy? Do you know what he said? He thanked me for the kind words I'd said in a forum posting (which means he tracked my email down to write me) and that he liked my work. He, and this is amazing too, was just happy someone looked at his art. His English was a little choppy, but I'd heard worse out of people born here, so it was all good. I emailed him back with the help of Yahoo's Babel Fish, and figured that'd be it. I was humbled and amazed that he wrote, I saw that a great artist doesn't have to have an ego, and I was ready to airbrush the planet.
But then he emailed back. Here I was, all irked at some guy on a forum for being Mr. Ego, and I get another email from Alberto Ponno telling me that if I wanted to learn more about what he does, he'd be happy to share this knowledge. There was no link to a book coming out. There was no $Price$ for admission. This was an artist willing to share what he knows in a positive manner to another artist willing to learn it. One of the best airbrush artists in the world, willing to break it all down for another one.
That really showed me a few things. One: that you really don't need to be better than anyone in this game. Two: Italians are really as nice as people say they are. And Three: someone is your competition only if you make them out to be your competition. There just isn't any room for ego. If you want to be a better "than" artist, well, have at it. I just want to be a better artist.

Video of the Post:
This comes from mohse1971: