With so many airbrush models, it can be difficult to know which one is most suitable for artists, illustrators or any other project. Flooding by imitators can make the task extremely difficult. That’s why we made this guide to tell you what artists, illustrators and everyone else should look out for and to list the best airbrush artists from leading manufacturers like Iwata-san, Badger-san, Paasha-san and many others.
By using the airbrush for almost everything from adding realistic stripes to scale models and artistic illustrations on paper, nothing has improved the visual quality and realism as much as the airbrush settings. In the beginning I became interested in airbrushing out of curiosity and tried to create a new environment. For a long time I used paints and brushes, but also pens and markers to make illustrations and works of art, and I wanted to develop my skills.
I started looking for the best airbrush I could find, but I soon realized that there was still a lot to learn before I could stop at one of them. After a lot of research I have a better idea of what to look for in the many airbrush systems. This knowledge was invaluable, but I had to know as much about airbrush techniques and styles as I did about the airbrush itself.
One thing you should know is that airbrushing takes a lot of time and practice. This should not discourage you, because it is very beautiful and pleasant as soon as you take it off. It is also great fun to learn airbrush and to experiment with many artistic techniques.
There are many different things to consider when looking for a better airbrush system. Each of these elements, such as the ability to easily obtain a large coating compared to small parts, will have slightly different requirements. However, read the guide below to find out everything you need to know about airbrush systems, as I have covered all the entrances and exits that should make your choice a little easier.
How to choose an Airbrush: Purchasing guide
There are different types of airbrush systems and there are many features and peculiarities of the airbrush. Not all airbrushes are made with the same capabilities, if the illustration airbrush can’t handle all colors, because it is made for finer inks and printing inks. It is important that you get an airbrush system that is compatible with the type of paint you intend to use, whether acrylic, enamel or fine ink.
The other aspect you will certainly take into account is the price. The best airbrush models for artists and illustrators can be among the most expensive. You get your money’s worth, but you can certainly find a very good and powerful system for less than $200. The three most popular brands you should know are Iwata-san, Badger-san, Paashe-san, Harder & Steenbeck-san and Grex-san.
Unless you buy an airbrush kit with various accessories, you will eventually need an airbrush compressor to power your airbrush system and various other items. But the air compressor is perhaps the second most important device.
Types of airbrushes
There are several aspects of using an airbrush. You must understand how the airbrush process is controlled, how the paint gets in and out of the nozzle, and how the paint is mixed or sprayed with air before landing on the designated surface of.
Airbrushing is carried out by combining different types of control, spray methods and paint supply systems. I will work out the airbrush technique that best suits artists and illustrations, but in the end it is the artist’s preference.
Trigger/ single action double action airbrush
The airbrush effect simply describes how the paint and airflow are triggered by a button or lever/ trigger. This also determines the control you can have when drawing illustrations.
- SINGLE ACTING AIRBRUSHES: With this type of airbrush, the user can only open and close the air valve by pressing the trigger or button. The ink flow rate will not be adjusted if the button/kitchen is pressed during operation. Instead, the depth of the needle in the nozzle is adjusted. To make adjustments, you have to stop drawing, or while drawing, but this can be difficult. The advantage is that it is better for beginners because it is easier to learn and maintain. I have noticed that some artists tend to go into double action pretty quickly.
- DOUBLE-ACTING AIRBRUSH: With this type of airbrush you can control both airflow and paint flow with the trigger/knob. The first action, when the trigger is pushed, lets the air flow through the airbrush. The second action, which consists of pushing the trigger back, regulates the flow of paint. The more you press down or backwards, the more paint or airflow you get. This allows for continuous adjustment, but requires much more practice to improve this method, but is more versatile.
Consider the amount of air and color flow you need to adjust when choosing between the two. This is where these two methods will have the greatest impact. Any style you choose is just as suitable, in the end a double action is just a little more effective.
An important feature when choosing an airbrush is the way the paint is delivered. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but you need to assess your needs and choose the feeding method that suits you best.
- GRAVITY AIRBRUSH: With this method of ink distribution, the ink fountain is located on top of the airbrush pen. The paint is only pulled into the airbrush spray chamber by gravity. Gravity chambersprovide a lower working pressure, which can be advantageous when painting fine lines and parts in illustrations, avoiding overspray.
- A possible disadvantage of the gravity style is the small size of the paint pot. If you have a small can of paint, you may need to refill it more often, depending on the project.
- AIRBRUSH WITH SIPHON SUPPLY: Airbrushes with siphon feed attach a bottle of paint under the handle of the brush, which guides the hose into a paint container that connects the feed to the mixing chamber. When air passes through a pipe in the mixing chamber, it sucks up the paint.
- Airbrushes that work with a siphon generally make it possible to store more paint. This can be advantageous when large areas are painted with the same colour. Trap feed units generally use a little more paint and need a little more time for cleaning.
The amount of paint supplied and the amount of compressed air used to draw finer lines and quickly cover larger spraying surfaces are matters to consider. Cup sizes range from 0.9 ml to 15 ml with siphon feed.
Airbrush with internal and external mixing
There are two methods, in which the paint is mixed with air or sprayed. When the paint is mixed, it has a certain influence on the surface. In addition to the effect on the surface, the internal mixture also requires an additional cleaning step, but this is minimal.
- AIRBRUSH WITH INTERNAL MIXTURE: The paint enters the airbrush chamber and is mixed with air, this is called mixing internally. This internal spray paint generally gives a smoother, finer finish, which is preferred by some artists.
- EXTERNAL AIRBRUSH OF MIXTURE: If the paint is mixed from outside, it will not enter the airbrush. Instead, the paint flows out of the nozzle and is sprayed with air as soon as the air flow leaves the nozzle.
- External mix-airbrushes generally produce a flatter coating that is not as smooth. You can easily correct this by experimenting with mixing your colours until you get the right result.
Parts and accessories of the airbrush
Your airbrush experience can be greatly enhanced with the appropriate parts and accessories supplied with the airbrush or used internally that affect performance. Parts also wear out or may be interchangeable to obtain different properties in the airbrush, so it is best to choose a reputable brand that has spare parts available.
The needles of the airbrush determine the width of the lines of your airbrush. With smaller needles you can draw thinner lines, but only up to a certain point, because the effect decreases as the number of needles decreases.
Thin needles have a tendency to clog up even thicker paint mixtures, such as varnishes and acrylics, if they are not diluted properly. The best needles are generally most suitable for illustrators who use ink. In general, an airbrush needle with a size of about 0.2 mm to 0.3 mm is most suitable for illustrators, as it is fine enough for detail but not too limited for the creation of universal lines.
By practicing and making appointments, you will eventually find out what is best for you. You can also adjust the needle, and if you remember , the combination of needle and nozzle will determine the final effect. Large needles (0.5 mm and larger) for painting large models and small needles (less than 0.5 mm) for parts are a good rule, but skill can often overcome these limitations.
The nozzle is another element that influences the image of the spraying effect. Short nozzles tend to produce a wider image that can cover a larger area. If you need precise lines, longer narrow nozzles produce much narrower ones. Most sprinklers come with a compatible needle, but if you buy the sprinkler yourself, make sure it is compatible.
There are many sources of compressed air that can be used, whether it is a large compressed air cylinder, a disposable bus or a compressor. The most reliable and convenient source is usually an airbrush compressor. It is probably one of the most important devices outside the airbrush itself.
The airbrush of the compressor must ensure a reliable and stable air supply with a constant pressure and a constant flow rate. This is important if you want to spray the smoothest and most accurate colour line. Any vibration, whether it’s a drop in pressure or an impulse, can cause your ink to malfunction.
It’s also a good idea to use a silent compressor. Nothing is as disturbing when drawing as turning the compressor on and off, or working continuously while it’s supplying you with air.
Basic Airbrush Accessories
Thorough cleaning of the airbrush is one of the most important things you can do to ensure a long life. Below is a general list of the items you will need to keep your device operational for many years.
It is also important to retain moisture in the device by means of a moisture trap. This minimizes corrosion in the airbrush and the destruction of moving parts.
- Airbrush cleaner
- Airbrush cleaning
- Moisture separators
- Fittings and connectors
- Miscellaneous parts
In addition to maintaining the cleanliness of the unit and the availability of the above accessories for working with the airbrush, the availability of a set of spare parts for the airbrush ensures minimum downtime in the event of a problem. These kits usually have different seals, rings and springs that form the inside of the airbrush. It is highly recommended to have them at hand. Last Tip – buy a cheap ultrasonic cleaner to clean the airbrush after every painting operation
The advice in the video should help you choose the right path to the basic techniques for successful airbrushing.
Now you need to be ready to choose the airbrush model and features that best suit your needs, whether it’s illustrations or models.
6 Best Airbrush for artists and illustrators
These are the best airbrushes on the market, well adapted to inhaling almost anything. Don’t forget that the prize can be good leadership, but you don’t always get twice the result for twice the money. Tune the price to your important needs, which must be met largely or completely with the best airbrush model under $200.
Whatever model you choose, as long as it has the properties you like or can be used comfortably, you need to find success in your art or any other object to which you can apply a layer of paint.
IWATA HIGH PERFORMANCE HP-C PLUS AIRBRUSH OVERVIEW
Best Airbrush for artists and illustrators
If you want the best, and money is not an option, this is your airbrush. Iwata High Performance HP-C Plus is the best airbrush for artists. It’s the airbrush for those who need absolute precision, and that’s what the HP-C Plus high-performance model excels at. The only Iwata series that can handle the small details is the custom Iwata Micron , but the HP-C Plus meets most of the artist’s needs.
The need for detail and precision is usually required for artistic illustrations, which is why HP-C Plus is one of the best for artists. Every aspect of the design of this model is focused on precision and comfort, allowing a longer and more detailed use without fatigue.
This is a professional model, so you can count on the best quality construction and durability, and it outperforms any other model on the list in every respect. Most people who have already sprayed smaller models and then switched to this model, can immediately notice the difference when spraying. Again, this model may not suit most people, but if you are a professional or prefer the best, this is the right model.
Iwata HP-C Plus Main Features
- Press releases on two shares
- Optimal working pressure: 15-25 psi
- Spraying range: 0.15 mm to 1 inch
AIRBRUSH REVIEW IWATA ECLIPSE HP CS
Best airbrush for textiles and models
Eclipse HP CS Iwata is another high-end airbrush with a special high paint flow design that allows you to spray thicker and heavier inks likeacrylic. It is therefore ideal for builders of large scale models and for those who spray the ground or other surfaces that need thick paint. The possibility to spray these thicker inks gives a structured appearance if desired, which can enhance the realism of projects such as Locality.
Thicker inks like Medea textile inks made for fabric are ideal for artists who want to make designs on T-shirts or really any other fabric project you could do. For some, the ability to spray fine lines with thicker paint is highly desirable, and this brush is superior in this respect. A truly versatile device whose quality and durability is the goal of the Iwata.
If you need the versatility of spraying many different types of paint and you can’t afford a system that performs, Eclipse is one of the best options for this price below $200. Its full capabilities make it a real workhorse for airbrushers.
Iwata HP CS Darkening properties
- Press releases on two shares
Optimum working pressure: 25-35 psi
Spraying range: 0.2 mm to 1.5 inches
OVERVIEW OF THE AIRBRUSH REVOLUTION IN IWATA
Best Airbrush Body Paint
Iwata-san’s revolutionary airbrush can be described as a perfect balance between quality, performance and value. At less than $100, the Iwata Revolution is probably one of the best universal airbrushes for anyone on a tight budget.
Although this is a double-acting airbrush, users of all levels, including beginners intending to use a double-acting tractor, will find this model superior. The large nozzle and the combination of 0.5 mm needles make this machine versatile and enable the processing of different lines with thicker inks. It is also easy to switch from solvent-based to water-based inks, as it is equipped with a solvent-free PTFE packaging, which can also be replaced. It is perfect for bodyshops who need the versatility of switching from permanent to non-permanent paint.
If you need an airbrush and only want to buy one, it is definitely worth it. Combine this with a second set of needles and nozzles for very fine lines, and you can change any image you can imagine. If you’re interested in Revolution but want a lower channel, take a look at Iwata Revolution BCR .
Iwata Revolution CR Main Features
- Press releases on two shares
- Optimum working pressure: 20-30 psi
- Spraying range: 0.25 mm to 1.5 inches
Best airbrush starting with budget
Iwata-san’s NEO-CN airbrush is the cheapest choice on the list. Anyone who is not sure of his or her investment in the airbrush world can buy this device at a very affordable price and be sure to get a quality product for the economic consumer.
It is a valuable universal device that any beginner can take and begin to learn. The nozzle and needle are capable of spraying the widest end of fine and medium lines and offer artists a universal range of spray patterns. It also has the ability to replace small coloured cups with larger ones.
Finally, NEOs are extremely easy to clean and maintain, so newcomers are not afraid to take care of the airbrush. Take this highly affordable NEO unit as your first step into the world of airbrushing when you don’t need fine lines of high-end models, and money doesn’t matter.
NEO CN Principal characteristics
- Press releases on two shares
- Optimal working pressure: 08-20 psi
- Spray results: Medium thin and medium wide
ROOF 200-20 AIRBRUSH OVERVIEW
Best solo airbrush
The Badger 200-20 Airbrush The Badger Airbrush is a unique device configured to spray small parts. This makes it the best airbrush for illustrators who need very fine details with a hard hand. You can ensure that the paint flows evenly while only adjusting the airflow.
The Badger 200-20 is also a re-liner, which allows you to spray large areas without having to reload the paint often. Like any tie, it is easy to care for and only slightly harder to clean because it is fed a trap. If you need simplicity, this is one of the best.
BADGER 200-20 Main features
- Lower spring
- Single version
- Optimal working pressure: 10-30 psi
- Spray balance: fine to medium
ADHESIVE TG2L AIRBRUSH REVISION
The Paasche TG is an excellent airbrush for spraying fine, detailed lines. Another American-made airbrush, the soft double-acting tractor, is emphasised by Paasche users, as well as the quality of finishing and assembly. The TG2L is equipped with a needle stop that allows the ink to run off evenly, which can be useful for anyone starting with a double-acting model.
It can be easily sprayed with enamel-based paint or other thicker paint blends, even when combined with thinner lines, which is good news for textile artists, fashion designers and thicker body colours. If you take care of this airbrush, it will serve you as long as you own it and you will probably never have to replace any of the parts.
For those of you who are already familiar with Paasha’s airbrushes, you probably don’t have to convince them. If you have chosen Paasche, he will not disappoint you and will work as you expect, at a very affordable price.
Paasha TG2L Main characteristics
- Press releases on two shares
- Optimum working pressure: 20-75 psi
- Spraying range: 0.4 mm to 1.25 in
As always, evaluate your needs and choose an airbrush that suits both your budget and the type of plan you want to use to express your art. From there you should be satisfied with the decisions you make.
After all, these systems are very durable, and as long as you take care of them and keep them clean, they should last forever, without much maintenance and with few replacement parts. Rest assured and let us know if you accept it and how you find it in your comments, we are happy to hear our own experiences.
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