//Copyright IWATA AIRBRUSHES | Watercolors and Acrylics
Thursday, 13 May 2021
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Watercolors and Acrylics
Using acrylic paints in an airbrush is actually quite common in the arts-and-crafts fields. Noted artist, author and airbrush instructor Robert Paschal uses the HP-CP, coupled with an IS-925 Iwata Power Jet compressor, for creating illusions of shadows, adding highlights and creating special effects.

Since acrylic paints are heavy-bodied by nature, they need to be thinned a bit before spraying, and typically require an airbrush with larger tip/needle combinations. When working on small areas, the Eclipse gravity-feed ( HP-CS, HP-BS) and side-feed ( HP-SBS) brushes are great for details, while the bottom-feed HP-BCP and Eclipse HP-BCS are ideal when doing background work or when larger volumes of paint are required.


Custom Micron Series: CM-C
Hi Line Series: HP-CH
High Performance Series: HP-CP
Eclipse Series: HP-CS, HP-BCS

““When airbrushing on canvas, artists’ acrylic colors are a preferred medium. They can be thinned easily to a sprayable consistency. They dry quickly so you can work fast. They are flexible and have good adhesion. And they work well on raw, gessoed or prepared canvases.

Acrylic colors are waterproof, permanent and will not fade. When spraying acrylics for small, detailed areas, I recommend the gravity-feed HP-CP. And for spraying larger areas, I recommend the bottom-feed Eclipse HP-BCS.

The airbrush is an excellent tool for casting shadows. It delivers the soft granular spray required for creating the illusion of objects floating in space. I recommend the gravity-feed Iwata HP-CP to achieve these effects because the softer the spray, the better the illusion. The airbrush is also ideally suited for the development of a hard edge when painting with acrylics – simply airbrush along a masked area to capture the spray.

The tighter the mask is attached to the work surface, the harder the edge will be. Acrylics can be sprayed along stencils and masks without fear of bleeding.”"

Robert Paschal


Watercolors are one of the most natural mediums for use with an airbrush because it’s a transparent media and airbrushes apply colors in a transparent fashion. Respected artist, lecturer and avid golfer Kirk Lybecker says, “Airbrushes are often used to enhance places where watercolors are weak like in washes.”

Lybecker, who often works with watercolors, prefers the Custom Micron CM-SB and CM-B because of their phenomenal control and powers them with a quiet Shark compressor. Lybecker sometimes uses a CM-C for slightly larger areas and an RG-3 mini spray gun for blocking in larger background areas.

Casual airbrush users painting with watercolors may prefer the gravity-feed HP-CP or HP-BP, which allow for spraying at low air pressures to maximize coverage and minimize over-spray. Both of these airbrushes work extremely well with the IS-850 Smart Jet or IS-925 Iwata Power Jet compressors.


Custom Micron Series: CM-CP, CM-C, CM-B
Hi Line Series: HP-CH, HP-BH
High Perfomance Series: CM-CP, HP-BP
Eclipse Series: HP-CS HP-BS.

“Using an airbrush in a watercolor painting is a natural marriage. Watercolors are thin and flow easily even through the finest of airbrushes. If you are tired of drab washes, enhance your washes with the use of an airbrush to fortify the color, such as getting deeper blues in the sky. You can also accentuate details like picking out smaller shadows. And, most importantly, you can build layered colors so that you can get the depth and intensity of an oil painting with watercolors.

I use Iwata Custom Micron airbrushes because they are a perfect blend of the capacity to do extremely fine details and subtle blending, and for their easy cleaning and maintenance. The low air-pressure use allows me to do a lot of work without having to use frisket film or similar masking mediums.

The RG-3 mini Spray Gun gives me excellent control for large sprays, allowing for even, subtle background sprays.”

Kirk Lybecker

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