Beginners Airbrush… For Complete BeginnersHope Varnes
“Which airbrush is inexpensive and good for beginners” is the eternal question every airbrush beginners ask. We hope to answer it here, unfortunately if you’re looking for a £20 beginners airbrush, we won’t be able to help. Not that they don’t exist. We just haven’t experienced them for us to express an opinion.
There are a lot of airbrushes in the market, with prices varying from very cheap (around £10) to very expensive that can knock you back a few hundred pounds. Some are great all-round work horses and others produce super amazing details.
For beginners, we suggest you avoid the extremely amazing airbrushes. Why? Simply because they’re expensive, have features you don’t need, and complicated to handle. This will make your learning process more difficult, and may put you off airbrushing all together.
As a beginner, you’ll need a beginners airbrush that is easier to use and more forgiving of mistakes. Most problems with airbrushes like fluid leaking, clogging, and bad spray patterns are user related. Improper cleaning, parts not put back together correctly, wrong paint consistency, or lack of fine motor control affects the performance of an airbrush. But they are common mistakes for beginners. Airbrushing skills and knowledge will come with time and practice. An all dancing all singing airbrush can’t teach you these. It is better to have an airbrush you can use to learn and practice your new skill, but doesn’t need you to have in-depth technical knowledge to put together.
Best Features for Beginners Airbrush
Experienced airbrush artists use different airbrush for different purposes, and they will have preferred features. However, for general purpose airbrushes, we recommend to look for these three features:
Mix refers to how the air mixes with the fluid you are using. This makes a difference in your paint finish. An airbrush can come as an internal or external mix. An external mix means that the air and fluid are mixed outside the airbrush. It produces a course and round pattern. It is best for painting bigger surface. An internal mix means that air and fluid are mixed inside the airbrush. This creates a very soft, fine spray pattern ideal for fine lines, shading and colour gradiation. So, unless you want a course finish, always go for an internal-mix airbrush.
Action refers to how you control the airbrush. An airbrush can be ‘Single Action’ or ‘Dual Action.’
A ‘Dual Action’ airbrush has one control button to control air and fluid. You press down for air, and pull back for fluid. ‘Single Action’ airbrush, on the other hand has an on/off button that releases air and paint at the same time. To adjust the paint flow, you need to twist a knob.
Most airbrush enthusiast would suggest that you use a dual action airbrush, as it is more versatile and gives you more control for detailing and fading. ‘Single Action’ airbrushes are more suited for painting solid colours with no blending.
Feed refers to how the fluid is fed into the airbrush. An airbrush can be gravity feed, suction-feed (a.k.a. bottom feed) or side feed.
Suction-feed airbrushes are good if you need to use a lot of paint. But this needs more air, so you may need a more powerful compressor. Side-feed is a cross between gravity and suction-feed. It’s very versatile, but more expensive than a straight forward gravity-feed airbrush. A gravity feed beginners airbrush is good enough and is more forgiving when it comes to paint consistency.
Based on these features we’ve put together a list of high quality beginners airbrushes. They will have other features but we’re only including the necessary details. Also, keep in mind that you will need an air compressor with your airbrush. And different applications will need different air pressures. Fabric painting, for instance, is efficiently done if you use a higher pressure with up to 65 psi. Nail art, on the other hand, needs an air pressure as low as 10 psi. If you need help, don’t hesitate to call or email us.
The prices we mention here are RRP from the manufacturers so you can expect to pay less, depending where you shop.
Neo for Iwata CN – RRP £79.00
- Gravity Feed with interchangeable large 9ml & medium 1.8ml cups, which is included
- Dual Action
- Internal mix
- 0.35mm needle and nozzle combination
- Funnel shape cups for easy clean up and efficient paint flow
Iwata Revolution BR – RRP £125.00
- Gravity-feed with 1.8ml cup
- 3mm nozzle
- Can create a fine detail from 0.3mm to 25mm spray pattern with the one size nozzle
Iwata Revolution CR – RRP £125.00
- Gravity-feed with large 9ml cup
- Larger 0.5mm nozzle suitable for thicker or heavier paints
- Creates fine detail from 0.5mm to 38mm spray pattern with the one size nozzle
Badger 100 Fine Head – RRP £145.00
- Gravity Feed
- Dual Action
- Internal Mix
- Non-slip, one-piece trigger
- Winged back lever design – This feature makes it easy to re-assemble and smoother to control
- Fine (F) – pencil line to 2″ (51mm) spray pattern
Iwata Eclipse CS Airbrush – RRP £175.00
- Gravity-feed with large 1/3oz (9ml) cup
- 0.35mm needle and nozzle
- Fine detail to 2″ (0.35mm to 50mm) spray pattern
- Funnel shaped cup for ease of cleaning and efficient paint flow
- Drop-in, self-centering nozzle – This feature makes it easy for you to remove and re-assemble the nozzle during the cleaning process. As nozzles are delicate and fiddly to handle, this is a big advantage for Eclipse CS, and it’s reflected on its price.