Airbrush Basics: Holding the Airbrush


Holding the airbrush… it’s a topic that
most people don’t put a lot of thought behind, but there’s a little bit more to
it than that. Wicked Art Airbrush Studio Airbrush Basics: Holding the Airbrush Just like everything that I’ve showed you guys in previous videos and even what I’ll show you in future videos, all this comes down to what works
for you personally. And more importantly, what is comfortable for you. That’s a big
part of this. There are many variations on how you hold the airbrush. For example,
I once had the opportunity to observe another airbrush artist that had a very
unconventional grip in my eyes because it’s something that I had never seen
before up until that point and I had never even thought about trying to use
my airbrush in this way. The artist would actually grip the bottom of the airbrush
where your air hose connects like a pistol grip. And that artist used the
thumb to actually work the trigger on the airbrush. That was completely
unconventional to me because again, I had never seen it before, had never even
thought of using airbrush in that way, but the level of control and what that
artist could do using that grip was extremely impressive to me. So again it’s
not the way, it’s a way. Find what works for you and what is comfortable for you.
So to begin I’ll show you guys how I prefer to hold the airbrush. The first
thing that I want to do is take control of the airbrush hose. When I’m
airbrushing I don’t want the hose whipping around hitting my canvas,
especially if I’m working on a vehicle. So the first thing that I will do is
wrap the hose around my arm. Now I’m right-handed. So the next step is I’m
going to place my thumb on the lower body of the airbrush, the portion that
contains the air valve assembly. I’m gonna place my thumb right there. Once I
have my thumb in place I’m going to take my middle finger and I’m going to rest
the forward portion of the airbrush body on to my middle finger like so. So the
airbrush is actually resting on my middle finger. Once I have my thumb
and the middle finger in place, my index finger falls onto the trigger and I use
the index finger to operate the trigger, both activating the air and moving the
trigger back and forth. That’s the method I prefer to use. Again, that’s what I
prefer. That’s what works for me. If you’re new to airbrushing and you don’t
necessarily have a good comfortable grip established yet, try that. See what you
think. If you need to make small adjustments,
make small adjustments. If you’ve been airbrushing for a while now and you
already have a good comfortable grip established that you like, I’m not
advocating that you change anything. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. I’ve
mentioned comfort a few times now. Comfort is huge when it comes to
airbrushing. Now before I go any further allow me to say that I have no formal
medical training in my background whatsoever, either
psychological or physiological. Everything I say is my own opinion. It’s
based on what I’ve observed and my own experiences over nearly thirty years of
being in this business. Having said that, there’s a lot going on when you’re
airbrushing, especially if you are new to this. Not only are you trying to figure
out a good grip, a comfortable grip, to use with the airbrush, but you’ve got to
worry about turning the air on, working the trigger back and forth to turn the
paint on and off while you’re painting whatever image it is that you’re
painting. You’ve got all this going on. You might be super focused on one little
detail at the same time that you’re trying to do all these other fine motor
skills. It creates a little bit of stress. And I’m not talking about high stress
because I’m sure some of you are thinking wait a minute, what are you
talking about stress? This is supposed to be my stress reliever. This is something
I enjoy. This is my hobby. I’m not talking about high stress, but it
creates low levels of stress in my opinion. The human body is pretty amazing
in that we have mechanisms built into our body that
help us to cope with different things, one being stress. Some of these
mechanisms we have absolutely no control over, others we can control through
repetition and training. So, one of the ways I think, again this is just my
opinion, that we sometimes cope with that low level stress when we’re airbrushing is
we’ve got so much going on that we start to over grip the airbrush. You ever had a
cramp in your hand when you’ve been airbrushing? I have. And the way that I got
away from that was I had to mentally tell myself, you can do it mentally in
your head or you can talk to yourself out loud if…I’d suggests doing that when
nobody else is around, but I would tell myself every few minutes hey, relax your
hand. Relax your hand. Relax your hand. Over
time, with enough repetition and practice it will become natural and you won’t
have to think about it anymore. And the hand cramps will mysteriously go away.
It’s kind of cool. So give it a shot if you’re having trouble with over gripping
the gun. When you start realizing that my hand is starting to hurt, just tell
yourself hey, relax your hand. Relax your hand. It really does work. So
now let’s look at a few other things that might be helpful to some of you
guys when it comes to holding your airbrush. So when you’re airbrushing
you should have more than just your dominant hand involved. If you look at
any of my other videos it’s pretty rare that you will see me airbrushing with
only one hand. I do airbrush with one hand on occasion. Generally, it’s because
I’m covering a large area or something that doesn’t require accuracy and
precision. You may see me filling in a larger area on something that I’m
painting with just one hand, but the vast majority of the time I’m using my
offhand as well. What I mean by that is… so we’ve looked at the grip where the
airbrush is resting on my middle finger. I use my offhand in much the same way. I
may place the front portion of the airbrush body onto my off hand as well.
That helps to steady the airbrush. That allows you to have better control than
just air brushing with one hand. So I can do lines or dots, whatever the case may
be and be very precise and accurate with that extra support from my off hand. Now
to take that a step further… If you’re working on something that requires even
more accuracy and precision you can do the same thing. Resting the front of
the airbrush on my off hand, the index finger of my off hand, I can kick my pinky
out and steady myself against the canvas that I’m actually painting on as well. That
gives me even more precision. Whether I’m doing a line… I don’t have to hold my
pinky in one spot. I can actually glide it along the canvas if I need to and
make nice… relatively straight, I don’t think anybody can actually paint an
exact straight line, but you get what I’m talking about. You can also use the
entire hand against the canvas if you really… if you’re in tight, really tight
trying to do something very minute, very detailed that requires high accuracy and
precision that even gives you more… it gives you a better… kind of like a tripod. If
you think about a tripod that has three legs. That tripod will be at its most
stable point when it has all three of those legs in contact with the ground.
The same thing can be said for your airbrushing. This is giving me
not just a small point of contact like my pinky finger is, but a larger point of
contact using the entire pretty much back side of my hand. It’s even
more stable. So if you’re in real tight working on very minute details, that’s a
very stable platform. Another thing that you get into with airbrushing is, it’s
not just your wrist movement. It’s pretty rare that you will be painting and
flicking your wrist like this. It’s a upper-body… get your entire upper
body involved. So if I’m doing something big, notice how it’s not just my arms
that are moving. I’m getting my shoulders involved. My
core is involved. I’m twisting at the waist. It’s all of these things together.
That’s what… that’s what will give you the ultimate and good control of your
airbrush. Now you still have to learn the fundamentals of actually operating the
airbrush. Remember keep the air on. Once you turn the air on you don’t have to
worry about turning the air on and off again. All you have to worry about is
activating the paint, turning the paint on and off. If you leave the air on it
also helps to keep tip dry at a minimum. But keeping the air on gives you one
less thing to think about when you’re actually airbrushing. That’s huge when
you’re starting out because it’s one less thing you have to think about. It’s
one less thing you have to focus on which brings that low level of stress we
were talking about a minute ago even further down. That’s my best tips and
advice when it comes to actually holding the airbrush and developing good control.
If you haven’t already spent the time to develop a good solid and comfortable
grip for your airbrush, work on that. Remember to remind yourself to relax
your hand occasionaly so that you don’t wind up with a cramp.
Remember to keep the air on. That is the number one rule in airbrushing. You guys
will hear me say that over and over again, especially in basic training
videos like this. It’s super important. As I’ve already mentioned, it gives you one
less thing you have to focus on so that you can focus your attention on whatever
you’re painting or whatever you’re trying to learn at the time. This
airbrush basics series will continue. I’ll do some other videos under the same
title in the future because there are still some other fundamental skills and
strokes that you guys need to learn and master if you really want to be
proficient with the airbrush. Take your work to another level. I hope you guys
got something out of this. I know a lot of this information a lot of you
probably already knew or have figured out on your own whether you realized it or not.
I hope that through this video some of you will pick up on some of this stuff a
little bit faster versus trying to learn it or figure it out on your own.
So I’m Trevor with Wicked Art Studio. Thank you guys for watching. If you got
something out of this remember to like, subscribe and share.
I’ll see you guys next time.

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