Airbrush Step-by-Step

How to Airbrush a Native American Princess

Painting is not magic but, it is a lot like mathematics where as you would need to do things in steps and in order.  Mixed with your imagination, dreams and the right art tools, anything is possible.

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Step 1:  Using a stencil blade, I cut out the areas to be shaded in and painted black like the eyes, nostrils, hair and anywhere black will be painted.  This is a very important step but, it is also the most time consuming.  Take your time and carefully think about what needs to be cut away and what needs to stay to “mask” important parts of the painting.
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Step 2:  Using a spray adhesive, sparingly spray the back of your stencil.  Remember you will be using the cut stencil to mask the areas that will not be painted black.
Step 3:  Now you can start up the airbrush.  Here I am using a transparent black to spray the shadows in and dark areas. I use a transparent black in order to build up these areas gradually,  as opposed to just spraying everything black.  Have fun with this step.
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Step 4:  Now comes time to render the flesh tones.  I imagine my princess with beautiful dark skin and I take my time building up the tones.  I started with a beige tone.   Even at this stage you will want to build up the facial and muscular structures.
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Step 5:  Then, I add a dark Sienna to define her more. Next, I painted on an dark Umber color to further define the dark shadows and muscle tones.  To add, just the right tone, I used a transparent red “wash” over her skin.
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Step 6:  When I am satisfied with the skin tones, I move onto the hair and headdress by painting black around the stencil.  I also paint the background in using a “blur” effect with the airbrush. This also allows me to “cut out the detail of the outlining of her arms and body.
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Step 7:  Note the hair, after I sprayed black, you will notice that I have built up the textures of the hair as opposed simply spraying a flat black.  In this step I also decide to add water and paint her reflection in the water.  This is a very fun step, so take your time and make it beautiful.
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Step 8:  When dry, I take the time to add more highlights to the water like gleams and sparkles.  Also, more black is added to add more depth to the reflections.
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Step 9:  Now I add the details to the headdress, feathers and her hair.  I use a very fine paint brush to achieve this because I want to carefully build this up, line by line and stroke by stroke.
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Step 10:  Here is a super fun technique where I use the airbrush and a piece of fur as a moveable stencil to create the fur on her vest.  I am spraying around the fur then I move up as I go, creating the illusion of over laying fur.
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Step 11:  I then top off the fur with some white accents.  Painting is really just pushing back shadows and pulling out highlights.  I then add any needed last touches before I call it done. The painting really comes to life in this step.
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Thank you for joining me on this painting and leave me you thoughts or questions below and happy painting.


Artist’s Tool Box:

Airbrush, Compressor and paints- ABD KIT-G44T-MASTER


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