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Airbrush Lesson


Date: Thu Mar 21 2002 - 21:04:08 PST

Sorry it has taken me so long to post these airbrush lessons. This is the
assignment for Art IV. I use the book The Complete Airbrush Book by S. Ralph
Maurello. I also use Badger airbrush colors. Our school is on block
scheduling, so students have four 84-minute classes to complete the

Day #1 Create a graded wash using a rectangular stencil. (pp. 40-41)
Attach the rectangular stencil to white drawing paper using masking tape.
Airbrush horizontal strokes of black paint from the bottom toward the top,
creating gradual shading rather than an abrupt transition from black to
white, and leaving the very top of the space white. Repeat from the bottom,
but not painting as far up the paper. Repeat at least six times until the
bottom of the paper is solid black.

Create a 9" X 9" checkerboard on white drawing paper. (pp. 44-45) Leave a
margin of white paper all around. Lightly draw a series of 3" squares, three
across and three down. Use two strips of tagboard to mask the bottom and
right sides of the top left square. Airbrush the bottom right corner,
grading it to nothing in the center. Repeat in each square until the lower
right half corners of all squares have been airbrushed. Turn the layout
upside down and proceed to paint the diagonally opposite corners in the same
manner as before.

Day #2 Cut a simple stencil from tagboard, keeping both the positive and
negative parts. Use both parts of the stencil to create a design on paper.
The design must include shading and may include more than one stencil, or
some freehand airbrushing.

Sketchbook. Outside class, create at least three thumbnail sketches for your
final airbrush project. These can be in pencil, or they may be in color.

Project. Create a piece of artwork that is at least 11" x 14"; is a picture
or a design or a pattern; uses a stencil or Frisket; uses freehand
airbrushing; and includes shading.

You will have four class days at the airbrush. Your project is due three
days after the last day. Some students need to use study halls or after
school to complete their projects.

Students in my Crafts class generally have no previous art experience. They
decorate a T-shirt with the airbrush using paint formulated for use on
fabrics. I do not specify a subject. Most cut a stencil from clear Contact
paper, using a drawing taped to the contact, and cutting through both
together with a craft knife. I allow them to use commercial letter stencils
if they wish. Most students cut several stencils, one for each color of
their design.

Interesting things to use as stencils: a feather, paper doilies, a ruler
(paint a horizontal line along the edge, move the ruler down a quarter inch
and paint another line, repeat several times, then turn the ruler and paint
vertical lines over the horizontal ones, creating plaid), a head gasket,
lace, string dropped randomly on the paper, a loosly woven basket, an egg
whip, a French curve, an egg beater, a spring-type potato masher, or just
plain masking tape.