1. Acrylics 101: What are Acrylic Paints?
  2. Mixing Liquitex medium Viscosity Artist Colors for Airbrushing
  3. Airbrush Equipment: Compressors
  4. Maximizing Spraying Time
  5. Airbrushing interference/irrdescent Colors
  6. Safety
  7.  

  1. Acrylics 101: What are Acrylic Paints?

    Acrylic paint is an emulsion of water (the vehicle), acrylic resin (the binder) and pigment. An emulsion is a mixture of two immiscible (unblendable) substances like oil and water. In an unstable emulsion the two substances will eventually separate, however the addition of a surfactant can stabilize the emulsion and prevent separation. An example of a surfactant is soap which, when added to a mixture of oil and water, produces a stable emulsion.

    Acrylic medium is a stable emulsion composed of minute acrylic resin spheres suspended in water. Pigment is then added to produce a colored paint. The synthetic resin is composed of an acrylic polymer or blend of polymers which, through the use of surfactants, are suspended in water creating an emulsion. The resin spheres are separated by the water molecules and prevented from touching. As the water evaporates in acrylic paint, the resin spheres are drawn closer, until they touch and fuse together to produce a honeycomb like pattern. Pigment particles are trapped in the honeycomb thus producing a paint film that is highly flexible with great adhesion.
         - Adapted from the Liquitex® Web Site -

  2. Mixing Liquitex® medium Viscosity Artist Colors for Airbrushing

    As I discussed earlier acrylic paints are an emulsion which is stabilized by surfactants. Over thinning can have several consequences which include:

    1. Dilution of the binder to the point that there is insufficient paint film to adhere the pigment to the canvas, and/or
    2. Dilution of the surfactant causing the emulsion to become unstable.
    Most High quality artists colors contain sufficient concentration of the ingredients to permit thinning over a wide range of viscosities.
     
    Susannes's stock paint formulation for airbrushing.
    Paint (pre-mixed to desired color)  
    Airbrush Fluid Media  
    Slow-Dri Retarder  
    Distilled Water  
    To get the stock solutions to the final viscosity for airbrusing I find that thinning with a 1:20 solution of Flow Aid® and water works better than just water alone. My preference is to prepare a stock solution which is more concentrated and then I thin small quantities for spraying as needed. NOTE: Always use distilled water for mixing paint and other solutions. The chemicals in tap water can impact the longevity of both the paint film and pigments.

     

  3. Airbrush Equipment: Compressors
  4. Maximizing Spraying Time
  5. Airbrushing interference/irrdescent Colors
    Interference/irrdescent colors achieve their effect by mixing finely ground mica with the pigment. This has several ramifications when spraying these types of pigments:
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  6. Safety