How to Paint Airbrush Foliage and Leaves


For this project I will show you how I painted the airbrush foliage shown above.

or this project you will need the following:

  • your airbrush equipment
  • a selection of paints
  • a spray bottle of window cleaner
  • paper towel
  • a surface to paint on (preferably one that can handle a little moisture – so not paper)

Scroll down when you are ready to start!

Step 1

To start, mask off the area that you want to create foliage in – I kept it very simple and plan to paint the whole surface as leaves, but if you have an outline of trees and a skyline, you can just mask off the skyline area.


Step 2

Paint the surface the lightest color in your foliage using transparent paint, I have chosen yellow.


Step 3

Lightly spray window cleaner on the painted surface then very quickly blot the window cleaner off. This process lifts the paint, exposing the surface underneath and creates a great texture.


Step 4

Add some more of your lightest color…


Step 5

Then spray and blot again. See how the transparent paint is building up in value? Notice how nice and random it is? This is exactly what you want.


Step 6

Now add a medium color in a random pattern. Here I have left some yellow holes to try and simulate sun shining through the leaves.


Step 7

Then – you guessed it – spray and blot. If you are really quick with the blotting, you can often remove just the top layer of paint exposing the lighter color underneath. The longer you let the window cleaner sit, the more it “eats” through the paint, resulting in more paint removed when you blot it.


Step 8

Continue spraying and blotting until you have achieved a pattern or texture that you are happy with.

Add a few branches here and there, and voila, a great leafy background.


The technique of spraying window cleaner and blotting is also great for sand, dirt, rocky landscapes, planet surfaces and much much more.

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