Have you been considering buying an airbrush system, then you look at the price tag and you just about faint? Or have you been doing research and you feel lost in a sea of products? Well hopefully I can help you to decide if there is money in the air for you or if you should stick to your paint brushes.
“Airbrushing is no doubt awesome”
With one airbrush you can paint a mural, paint nails, spray tattoos, decorate a cake, tan a body, paint a car, paint a body, paint a face, and the list goes on. The main difference between painting a cake and painting a person, is the type of paint you will use. So on a big scale, airbrushing is versatile and can be extremely practical. On the flip side, the one thing you will need to consider before investing in any system is that Airbrushing involves using and taking care of equipment.
Airbrush equipment requires maintenance, setup, and take down. When we face paint we open and close our kits and can be set up in 5 minutes. After your gig you go home and clean your brushes and sponges and leave your kit until you need it again. With airbrushing, you will need to clean, unassemble your guns and blast caps, and store them where they wonâ€™t rust or get ruined. Airbrush equipment is just that, equipment. You will need airbrush guns, hoses, bottles and blast caps, an air source (either a compressor or CO2 thank), a manifold, paint/ink and a set up. Silly Farm Supplies carries a wide variety of airbrush supplies and equipment.
It takes me about 20 minutes to set up and 20 minutes takes down when I am doing an airbrush job. The thought of equipment scares some people. When I first started airbrushing and my guns clogged and my CO2 tank froze, I was almost in tears. Once you learn the basics of equipment, then airbrushing is like riding a bike.
I live in sunny south Florida and our summers are miserably hot. The face painting business dies off during the summer because face paint sweats right off. I started airbrushing because, depending on the paint you are using, tattoos can be waterproof. They are a great sell for adults, teens, and for water events. I also find that they are excellent for breaking into the Quince and Bar/Bat Mitzvah market. Teens arenâ€™t always into face painting, but they love tattoos. I also charge more for Airbrush Tattoos because they involve more set up and maintenance.
So if you ask my professional opinion, Yes I think airbrushing is worth it. You can do more volume and you donâ€™t have to be a skilled artist to airbrush because it involves stencils instead of free hand ability. However, It will only be rewarding if you are willing to invest the time in learning maintenance, troubleshooting, and willing to clean your equipment after each use. Otherwise, I can almost guarantee you will get frustrated and I will see your system for sale on craigslist.
“What do I need to get started and whatâ€™s the difference between brands and guns?”
If you are planning on offering just black or single color tattoos then you can start off small with one gun and a small compressor. If you are a color junkie like myself then you will want to consider starting off with multiple guns so you can offer variety. As a rule of thumb you will want one gun per color. As the paint flows through your airbrush, paint remains inside the barrel, and if you are switching colors you will need to clean out the paint before you change colors. You can do this by spraying alcohol through the gun in between colors, but cleaning guns in between colors can be time consuming and if you are doing a tattoo with three colors, itâ€™s not easy to clean colors and still hold the stencil in place. If you are using multiple guns then you will need a larger air source, either a compressor or CO2 tank, and you will need a manifold so you can run several airbrush guns simultaneously.
I know it seems like a lot, but itâ€™s not. Once you get the gist of it, itâ€™s quite simple. Having multiple guns means you can run several colors and you can work faster. You cannot just lay your airbrushes on a table like we do with face paints, they will slip off, the hoses will tangle, and generally cause more frustration. You will need some sort of holster or case to hold your supplies into place. Silly Farm Supplies carries several cases and holsters for airbrushing.
When considering airbrush compressors, you will want a compressor that has an automatic shut off control and one that is light weight. Some of the compressors you can purchase at a hardware store are loud and the motor continuously runs. You want to look for a quiet, lightweight compressor, and preferably one made for airbrushing. Silly Farm Supplies carries several airbrush compressors, all made by top brands and exclusively for airbrushing.
“Typically airbrush face and body artists use two kinds of paint”
Water based make up or alcohol based tattoo ink. Ink is waterproof and make up is not, since it is water based. For airbrush face painting I suggest make up, for tattoos I recommend ink. Ink has alcohol in it, so I avoid using it on the face as it can be hard to get off, especially for children. Make up is very similar to our face paint, the difference is itâ€™s in the liquid form and typically contains a little bit of silicone to make it dry faster.
Top feed or bottle feed brushes? Both serve a purpose, so ask yourself are you looking to do volume or will you be doing make up/ body painting. If you are going to be doing a day of tattoos it makes sense to have a bottle feed airbrush because you will have to reload the brush faster. So, having a bottom feed brush really is beneficial when you are doing airbrush tanning, airbrush tattoos, large areas of body art, or airbrush face painting then you will most likely use a bottom feed brush. For airbrush make up, fine details, t shirts, cake decorating, and nails you will like using a top feed brush because you can use minimal amount of paint at a time.
To sum it up, airbrushing can be a great addition to your services. You can expand into new avenues of business, you can save money by tanning yourself, and you can put your teenager or spouse to work as an airbrush artist because you donâ€™t have to be a Picasso to be able to airbrush. If you need more info please feel free to contact me anytime at Heather@sillyfarm.com. My next blog will discuss the different brands and pricing of airbrushes and the proâ€™s and conâ€™s of compressors and CO2 tanks.
Happy Painting! -Silly Heather
Silly Farm Supplies carries a wide variety of airbrush supplies and equipment, you can find all of our airbrush items here.
FabaTV offers online classes for everything face and body art. Take an intro to airbrush class from a experienced professional right fom the comfort of your own home.