Here are the basics you need to know in order to airbrush miniatures for the first time. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems.
Airbrushing miniatures is a fantastic way to elevate your hobby. But if you’re just beginning, it can be a lot to take in at once. If you’re a beginner venturing into the world of airbrushing, this guide is tailored just for you.
Here are five essential tips to help you get started and make your airbrush beginnings as smooth as possible.
Invest in the Right Gear
The foundation of a successful airbrushing experience lies in acquiring gear that suits your needs.
The important keyword here is ‘right’, we’re not looking for cheapest, not looking for fanciest either. Nor is it a good idea to buy every doodad under the sun. Think about what you want to achieve with your airbrush first.
Are you only looking for primer alternative, or a faster way to do base coats on your army? Or perhaps you want to take your art to the next level with OSL and other fancy techniques that are much simpler with an airbrush.
Your needs dictate what constitute the right airbrush to get started with, as there are many options.
Choosing the right equipment will make the learning process smoother and help you achieve better results.
Assemble and Disassemble
Before anything, once you get your airbrush, take an evening to disassemble it and put it back together a couple of times. This serves many purposes, and the reason to do this before anything else is quite simple: it’s not gunked with paint.
You don’t need to disassemble your airbrush every time you use it, only when something’s not going right or when you want to deep clean it. The former is not the moment to disassemble your airbrush for the first time, and question what piece is doing what wrong.
The other reason to do this is that understanding how everything works and how pieces interact with one another takes a lot of the fear and complexity of this fragile thing that is an airbrush.
Understand Thinners and Ratios
To achieve optimal results, it’s crucial to understand the correct paint consistency. In fact, some may argue it’s the only one of two skills you need to master when it comes to airbrushing.
Miniature paints are typically thicker than what can be used in an airbrush directly. To achieve the right consistency, you’ll need to thin the paint using appropriate thinners. Different brands and paint brands may require varying ratios, so it’s essential to experiment to find the ideal consistency and play with different thinner options to see which you like best.
Remember, until you master thinning: too thin is much better than too thick.
Practice Trigger Control
Besides thinning, airbrushing is all about trigger control.
Spend time practicing basic techniques to build your confidence and improve your skills. Of course, this comes with time and practice, but you can speed this learning curve with deliberate practice, rather than just winging it.
Try spraying even and straight lines on a sheet of paper. Thick ones first, and as you get better, practice making them thinner. This practices not only trigger control when it comes to keeping the line the same thickness all the way, but also movement control in making the line as straight as possible.
One method that helped me a lot when I was learning was filling out squares on graph paper. It also works with children coloring books, or logos on cans from various drinks.
Airbrush Miniatures with Basic Techniques
Before trying any of the wild advanced techniques, focus on the basics: layering on base coats.
Start by applying a base coat, and focus on building up layers gradually. This is where you can experiment with different angles, distances and spray patterns with little to no risk. All you are looking for in the end is an even color on your miniature.
By slowly building up your base coats, you not only get to practice trigger control, you are also setting yourself up for success when it comes to the next steps, layering. Layering requires more control and is much more frustrating to get wrong, because it means restarting from the base coat.
Focus on the basics first. Once you master them, every other technique to airbrush miniatures will be much easier to learn.
Beginner’s Guide to Airbrush Miniatures
Embarking on the journey of airbrushing miniatures is an exciting endeavor that opens up a world of creativity and possibilities.
By investing in the right equipment, learning the parts of your airbrush, mastering airbrush control, understanding thinners and ratios, and embracing basic techniques, you’ll be well on your way to achieving stunning results.
Remember, practice is key, so don’t be discouraged by initial challenges. With time, patience, and perseverance, you’ll develop your own style in no time!