For this airbrush tutorial I’ll show you how I painted the flag shown above, which is MUCH cooler than my previous flag! It uses the same technique of layering transparent paints, but, is a little more realistic.
For this project you will need the following:
- your airbrush equipment
- red, blue and black TRANSPARENT paints
- exacto knife
- black marker
- scrap paper
- a surface to paint on
Scroll down when you are ready to start!
To start the airbrush tutorial, use the masking tape to make a border around your painting surface – this won’t work without the border. Also, using a pencil, very lightly draw some diagonal lines on your surface to guide where the flags folds are going to go….
… notice that I left a small area at the bottom right corner to place a little sky … this helps with the realism. In the photo below the sky area is masked off and the pencil lines are erased to near invisible.
Using really heavily reduced black transparent paint (reduced with water) place some soft shadows in the lowest areas of your furled flag. This gives the furls (is furl even a word??!) a rounded effect.
Then, to make the folds more pronounced, fold a piece of paper as shown below and place it along side each of the fold areas. Spray the diluted black paint on to the edge of the paper letting the overspray create the soft edge….
When you remove the paper it should look something like this…
Now what we want to do is deepen the effect with some freehand work…. lightly spray over the fold lines making them gradually darker and darker.
This is the part of the airbrush tutorial where you may make a common airbrush mistake …. it’s called “chickening out” …. “chickening out” is when you are so worried about ruining a good thing that you stop short of the goal – this is not the time to be hesitant! Just Go For It! It only looks really dark because you are 10 inches away from it.
Now, place a big piece of frisket over the entire painting surface.
Then break out your black marker and redraw all your lines on the frisket (I like this method because it makes the cutting SO much easier!). At this point double check your design and make sure that you have the right number of stripes in each fold. I actually went through and marked out which ones were red and which were white (with W’s and R’s shown below) just to double check.
(can you tell that I have made that mistake a few time?)
Using an exacto knife cut the frisket along all the black lines. Then remove all the stripes that are going to be red.
Now load up your airbrush with transparent red paint and spray away on the exposed areas. DON’T worry if it looks pink at first … the color will deepen the more you spray.
Once you get all the red placed, remove the frisket covering the blue area of the flag.
Critical Step in the Airbrush Tutorial !!!
BEFORE you start spraying the blue area, take extra special care that EVERYTHING else is protected from overspray! Blue is one of those pigments that just seems to get everywhere!
Here I have used extra frisket to cover the area right next to the blue and then scrap paper to cover the entire rest of the piece…. I even taped down all the exposed edges – just to be safe…
When you are done covering everything, spray blue transparent paint over the area. Layer it on slowly – letting the color deepen as you spray.
Then remove all the frisket and paper to reveal this…
Notice that there is still a little bit of frisket in the bottom right corner – that is where the sky is going to go – which I totally failed to take pictures of! SORRY!
All I did was remove the frisket to expose the white canvas underneath, then I used more frisket to mask off the area and mixed a pale blue sky color and applied.
Again, Sorry I forgot to take photos of that! My bad!
(some airbrush tutorial, eh?)
…. remove all the tape and VOILA …. one completed flag.