Thursday, October 23, 2008

Airbrushing Part 4, Sketch markers

Sketch markers are the most popular style of Copic markers not only for their wide variety of colors, but also for their ability to airbrush. Unlike the original Copic marker, Sketch markers will give you two different airbrush spray patterns. This simple variety helps make your airbrushed areas look a bit more exciting, as if airbrushing wasn't exciting enough.

Basic Airbrushing
Once you have set up your ABS, insert either a Sketch or Copic marker's chisel end into the air grip. Make sure the point is up (see photo) for the best spray pattern. Push it until you feel it snap into place. Now you are ready to go. (Later I'll get into troubleshooting your spraying patterns, but today I want to cover fun stuff).

Here I'm picturing the ABS-2 that I mentioned yesterday, shown with a Copic marker inserted properly. Also note how they are holding the unit with the pointer finger activating the spray button, and the hand wrapped around the aircan, or for the other set-ups it would be around the air adaptor (This is an old photo that Japan gave me years ago, and I just noticed that the person in the photo seems to be either missing a finger, or they have a spare finger hidden behind the air grip- ETA: now I look at it this morning and the finger is there- weird).

The marker will spray slightly in front of where ever you think it will spray, so unlike the photo, aim STRAIGHT DOWN until you feel comfortable with where the spray is hitting your surface (I've been sprayed a few times by people wondering where their spray is going since they're not aiming down).

Airbrushing with Sketch Markers
Many people have asked me "Why does the Sketch marker even come with a chisel end? I like the brush, but the chisel is useless." This is because these people have gotten used to the smooth coloring and blending with the brush and now the streaky, chunky chisel marks don't seem as nice. It's really hard to fill in a large smooth area with the chisel (or the brush) without a lot of effort and ink.

This is where airbrushing comes in handy.

If you look at the comparison on the left, the medium broad, chisel nib allows you to smoothly airbrush. This is great for filling in backgrounds, adding soft color blends, or coating irregular shaped objects. The chisel end disperses the spray in a very uniform, fine-particle way (if you are using the original Copic markers, then the spray patterns are almost identical between the Sketch chisel and the Copic Chisel).

Note that when you compare the marker drawn straight onto the paper and the airbrushed examples, the airbrushing is a shade or so lighter than the marker would normally be. Especially on pale colors you will see that the airbrushing is very light, sometimes you won't even be able to see it at all (I had to increase the contrast on my scan to get the light blue to show up better here). Keep this in mind and try to airbrush with darker colors for more vibrancy.

Sketch markers, unlike Copic original markers have two ends that work in the airbrush. The chisel end gives smooth, predictable spray patterns, but turn it around and the Super-brush nib gives you a larger, irregular speckle pattern. This is more apparent on darker colors, or if you are spraying very lightly. The results are not as predictable however, and I strongly suggest testing and practicing to see what pressure and which colors will give you the best results. Juicy markers will give you better speckles as well.

Look at this pale blue masked example. The stars were created from Spellbinders Nestabilities Star dies placed on the paper. The stars on the left are from the chisel, the star on the right is from the brush end. Either way looks good, but like I say, the chisel is easier to get a predictable even coverage, while I had to work a little harder to find the perfect spray on the brush.

Used in conjunction with the even coating from the chisel nib, and you can achieve a neat duo-tone effect.

Here is a copper die-cut star from the same Spellbinders dies I've been using to mask with. At first glance the star looks like a nice dark red. Clock on it to see up-close and you'll see that it's not flat red, rather I added darker speckles of purple to darken up the vibrant R29. This helps add to the antique feel. The nice thing about airbrushing on metal is that if you don't like it, just wipe off the marker with some hand-sanitizer and you can start over.

How I most commonly use the two together is shown below on these paper flowers from Kaiser Craft. I pick a lighter color as my base color then with a darker marker I add accents of color that are more subtle. This is how I got the egg to look speckled a couple days ago and this is how I like layering my airbrushing on most projects.

You can see that with the airbrush it becomes much easier to color irregular shaped items, unusual surfaces (in the case of the metal star, if I had tried to color the red directly it would ahve probably been streaky and look uneven). When I buy embellishments, ribbon, or lace, I tend to always get clear or white/pale colors, since I can color them to match whatever I'm working on. If you have an airbrush you should try spraying something unusual- you might be surprized at your results (more on airbrushing tomorrow).


Laurel said...

Your blog is awesome, I visit it daily! I have to tell you now I NEED some airbrushing tools too!

Janet said...

I've been carefully reading your instructions on airbrushing since I bought the ABS1 and have not yet had the courage to use it. I think I'll give it a try this weekend. Can I spray at my workstation or should I put it in a box or something? Thank you for your wonderful blog. I read it every day.

Keri Lee Sereika said...

Very Very Cool! thanks again Marianne!

Holly Young said...

I see five fingers.

marianne walker said...

Ok, that's weird, because I stared at that picture for a while last night and I'd seen it for years. Last night it had 4 fingers. I swear, because I was trying to hold the aircan so that only 4 fingers were visible and figure out how they took the picture. maybe my home computer is editing the truth??

Lilian said...

This question may sound dumb but when you say hold it "straight down" do you mean the metal nozzle should be facing straight down or the chisel/marker? I get so frustrated with spraying everywhere else. I keep looking where the "color" went lol!
I have the D180 (40-45 mins of continuous use) What does that mean? I know I won't use it for 40-45 mins straight so do I add up the minutes I use it every time? The aircan gets cold after awhile must be because I spray everywhere.. :( How long do I wait till I can use it again? I have more questions I think but these will have to do for now. Sorry for the long post.

Susan said...

Great tips! Thanks for all your help. I hope to become braver with my ABS system. I did air brush a metal pail which was totally cute. It's on my blog.

Carolyn King said...

Thanks Marianne--You make everything sound so easy--your tutorials and instructions are fabulous!

Sandy Knecht said...

Thank you for the fabulous information. I didn't know you could use both ends. I have a compressor and have yet to use it.