It is important to note that an airbrush should be used in a well ventilated area (for instance outside, in a garage or in a well ventilated studio) and that you, the user, wear a breathing mask when using and operating an airbrush. Fine paint particles when inhaled can harm or kill you, so cover up.
For quite some time I have wanted to purchase an airbrush and now I'm finally going to take the plunge. Having little to no prior first-hand experience with this tool, I started with the fundamentals: What does an airbrush do? I found a great starting place to be the Airbrush Wiki. After pushing through the fundamentals, I quickly discovered there were three airbrush characteristics that are very important to consider when purchasing an airbrush. They are;
- Trigger- There are two types of airbrush triggers:
- Single Action- air and paint flow are controlled by one trigger function.
- Dual Action- air volume and paint concentration are controlled by separate mechanisms in an airbrush.
- Feed Mechanism- There are three unique ways in which paint is fed into an airbrush:
- Gravity Feed (gravity)- A reservoir set on top of the airbrush which relies on gravity to move paint into the airbrush, as a result less air pressure is required. Gravity feed airbrushes are typical with finer atomization of paint particles and are usually relegated to finer detail work
- Bottom Feed (suction)- A sealed container attached to the bottom of an airbrush which relies on air pressure to pull paint into the airbrush for atomization. Bottom feed airbrushes typically hold more paint than a gravity fed airbrush and are typically used for surfaces such as t-shirts or automotive detail.
- Side Feed (suction)- A sealed container attached to the left or right side of an airbrush. This paint delivery system shares much in common with bottom fed airbrushes- the difference being the placement of the paint container.
- Mixing Point- Paint is mixed with air and atomized in two unique ways;
- Internal Mix- Paint is mixed with air in the tip of the airbrush which results in a very fine atomization.
- External Mix- Air mixes with paint after it has left the airbrush tip. This results in a very course atomization.
Mixing point is obvious: I want an airbrush that mixes the paint internally. Working with models, I want that level of fine atomization of paint and air.
So to recap (in other words TL;DR version):
To paint models and light graphic design applications I want:
- gravity fed
- internal mixing airbrush.
In my internet travels I discovered a very informative and helpful guide to airbrushes for beginners, like me. The website is called "The Airbrush Guru"- check it out.
Next I'm going to cover a few of the more popular brands and models of airbrushes currently available. Check it out!