This post will probably have no *single* meaning. Glean from it what you can. I’ve tried to help by putting important stuff in bold.
There are many airbrush for beginner videos available. There are many forum posts about it, too. Deciding on an airbrush can be tricky and expensive, so understandably you want to make the right choice. If that isn’t hard enough, you’ll probably suffer within the first hour of picking it up and using it when it all arrives. Sounds harsh, but I wish someone told me that when I first bought mine. At least I’d have prepared myself and realised that the many YouTube videos I had been watching were of seasoned pros and WILL NOT be anything like when I first try it out.
Don’t lose faith just yet…
I own four airbrushes:
SimAir SP35 (0.35mm needle)
Iwata CM-C (0.23mm needle)
Harder & Steenbeck Infinity 2in1 (0.4mm needle)
Chinese “Blue foam” (0.2mm needle)
I use them all for different purposes, which is why I’ve accumulated four over the years. From expensive to REALLY cheap – that Chinese one cost me £4.
Now, when I started I saw someone using the H&S Infinity and I felt I needed to get one as well because that’s what they were using – my thinking was that it must be great to get the results they were getting… This approach, of course, is all wrong.
There is no definitive airbrush. If someone tells you what the best airbrush is, they are really telling you what’s best for them. Everyone is different.
I really love my Chinese airbrush. I love it because I have some of the best airbrushes and this would be considered one of the worst, yet it still produces quality results. Go watch BuyPainted’s old videos on YouTube, he uses the same one and look at his results. The main difference between one that cost £4 and one that cost £400 (see Iwata) is mainly in the trigger action. It’s hard to temper the flow of paint in a cheap airbrush. The slightest pull on the trigger and it shoots what it wants to shoot. This can be hard to wrestle with, especially as a beginner. It’s part of the many reasons many people will say to buy the best first. That said, not all can afford to buy an expensive airbrush up front, especially if you’ve never airbrushed before. Who would buy an expensive car if they haven’t even been behind a wheel yet?
I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from buying a £4 airbrush if that meant them trying their hand at it…
There are many people who will argue this, but this is what I think: buy what you can right now and start airbrushing as soon as you can. It takes a LONG time to master and many people lose their confidence, direction and passion along the way because of it. I hope you aren’t one of those people, but for those that do fall prey to this at least you didn’t put yourself out financially and end up resenting the effort. From my experience, when someone doesn’t resent something most will revisit it somewhere down the line…
One thing I will advise to try to avoid that thorny pit of resentment: Buy Vallejo Model Air paints (as and when you need them) Yes, I know that probably means doubling up on certain paints, but trust me… they can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE. One of the biggest challenges with airbrushing is thinning paints. What to use? How to mix it? Where to mix it? So many lose their patience because the brush starts spidering or spattering… it’s frustrating and sometimes fatal for your passion. You want to be painting, not stopping and maintaining. Model Air takes the thinning element out of the equation – learn how to thin later down the road. It allows you to re-focus on the art itself. And you know what? I still go out of my way to buy Model Air now, even though I know how to thin paints.
Anyway – there is a plethora of information out there for beginners and it can be daunting. Don’t let it be. Buy the best gravity-fed airbrush you can afford, buy the best compressor with a tank you can afford, buy Model Air paint.
Start painting. Because it’s damn fun.
If you are still pining for what I consider a decent starting package (baring in mind most folks want to/can only spend £150 when starting out):
SimAir SP35 Airbrush
Braided air hose
Quick connect couplings