Sunday, January 11, 2015

Using an airbrush: more information

A few weeks back I posted a brief overview of the value of airbrush use, and recommended several instructional books which I think do a good job (you can read it at: ). In a comment to that post, Colin ’t Hart gave strong support to a book by George Dent, which he felt does a great job too.
     I decided I needed to look through that book, so ordered it from the publisher, The Crowood Press, in Ramsbury, Wiltshire, England, via their website. The page which gives details and ordering info for this book is here: . The cost is similar to the other softbound books I described in my earlier post (the online price is £15.99, £3 below the retail price), and the delivery to me in California, all the way from England and over the Christmas holiday to boot, was really pretty prompt. Here is the cover:

It’s a 224-page book, 7.5 x 9.75-inch page size, very nicely printed and sturdily bound, all in all quite a good value for the price.
     What’s inside? Like the fine book by Tim Shackleton I reviewed awhile back (read my review at: ), the examples are nearly all British outline models. But as with Tim’s book, the value is in the clear depiction of techniques and results. And I have to say this for Dent’s book: it is the most complete of any book like this I have seen, consistently clear, thorough, and sensible.
     I will just show a single interior page to illustrate what I like about the book. It is part of the chapter about cleaning the airbrush, and makes its point clearly.

     It’s not a coincidence that I chose the page above, because I want to add a couple of points in response to email questions I received. The gist of these queries was along the lines of, “what aspects would you primarily emphasize to a beginner?” My first point is that you must become unfailingly diligent about cleaning the airbrush every time it is used, even for clear finishes. Paint can linger in small passages in the brush and give you bad results next time, so do expect to spend those minutes after painting that are needed to clean up thoroughly. Make it a habit, and you will always get it done.
     But my second point is equally important. You simply have to experiment to see what works for your own style of painting. A revealing and instructive section of the Robert Downie book (How to Use an Airbrush, 2nd edition), which was reviewed in my first airbrush post, is a photo gallery at the back of the book, each model by a different modeler, complete with details of how each modeler got his results. You will see a variety of preferred airbrushes, air pressure values, paint types, practical advice, and so on. And these are skilled painters. You too need to find what works best for you, and you can only find out by trying different things. Dent’s book recommends that also. Don’t expect to simply read a formula for how to proceed, and then have immediate success.
     Thanks again to Colin ’t Hart for the comment he provided. I am really impressed with George Dent’s book, and heartily agree with Colin’s recommendation of it.
Tony Thompson

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