This article will give you some basic tips for airbrushing with Copic markers and a little more detail about hooking up and using an air compressor, for an unlimited supply of air for your airbrushing needs!
Things you can airbrush:
Buttons, canvas, chipboard, Craft-a-Board, Clear Plastic, Dew Drops, fabric, hair, paper or silk flowers, lace, metal, paper, ribbon, wood . . . well you get the idea -- just about anything!! I'll show you a few of these items that were airbrushed in my project below.
Airbrush System Sets:
1. ABS-1 (air can connected): Air Grip, Air Adaptor, Aircan Hose, Air Can 80, Air Can Holder - Everything you need to get started airbrushing with canned air. The Air Grip , Air Adaptor & Aircan Hose can be used with an air compressor.
2. ABS-2 (air can direct-connected set): Air Grip, Air Can D60 - The D60 can of air has a built-in regulator. Once you've used this can of air, the ENTIRE system can not be used again (Ellen usually doesn't stock this option).
3. ABS-3 (air compressor connect set): Air Grip, Air Adaptor - Required to use with either the Sparmax AC-101 Windstorm Airbrush Compressor or Sparmax AC-100 Airbrush Compressor Ellen carries (or suitable aircompressor you may have).
1. The Copic airbrush system is made for Sketch markers and Copic Original (square) barrel markers only.
2. Make sure the "tallest" part of the Copic marker chisel tip is on top (slanting downward) and the oval Sketch marker barrel is vertical, when inserting into the air grip:
3. If you aren't getting a good spray (or none at all), make sure marker is inserted into the air grip all the way. If the marker is inserted correctly, try GENTLY pulling the chisel tip out of the marker barrel just a little.
4. Make sure the slanted silver nozzle of the airbrush tip (the part that blows out air) is pointed straight down towards your paper -- you'll feel like you are overcompensating your aim. The end of the air adapter/handle (where the air hose connects) will be pointed up:
1. Air Can D60 (comes with the ABS-2) - Contains about 7-8 minutes of air; has built-in regulator, therefore does not need and air adaptor.
2. Air Can 80 (comes with the ABS-1) - About 20 minutes of air; needs an air adaptor.
3. Air Can 180 - Lasts about 40-45 minutes of continuous use; needs an air adaptor.
If you've quickly gone through several cans of air, or feel like you need to hoard your cans of air, then it may be time for an air compressor! Here is some information on the ones Ellen carries, along with instructions on how to connect one, and some tips:
An air compressor's air pressure should be between 20-50psi (optimal is 40-50psi). Under 20psi will make the ink spray pattern rough; over 50psi has the potential to break the air grip. Both air compressors Ellen carries are quiet-running, zero maintenance, oil-free, 1/8 hp motor:
1. Sparmax AC-100 Airbrush Compressor - Approximately 8 lbs.
2. Sparmax AC-101 Windstorm Airbrush Compressor - Approximagely 9.9 lbs. Key difference between this model and AC-100 is this one features an automatic shut-off. When you are no longer spraying, the motor will automatically shut off.
And look how small the Windstorm Airbrush Compressor is -- not much larger than a standard A2-sized greeting card (1/4 sheet of 8.50" x 11" paper)! This sits under my desk, ready to go whenever I need it:
1. Attach the Pressure Gauge/Regulator (silver unit on the far right of the photo below) to the compressor:
2. Attach one end of the curly air hose to the air outlet (black cylinder on the right in the photo below) and the other end of the curly hose to the air inlet (silver cylinder on the left in the photo below):
3. Connect the straight hose to the air outlet on the end of the silver cylinder (on the left in the photo below) and the other end of the straight hose attaches to the end of your air adaptor hand grip (ABS-3):
When Finished Airbrushing:
1. Pull the marker out of the air grip and replace cap.
Prolonged pressure against the parts of the air grip and joints can cause damage; therefore:
2. If using canned air, unscrew (counter-clockwise) the Air Control Screw on top of the canned air and then bleed the remaining air from the line (by depressing airbrush trigger).
3. When finished using the air compressor, turn the machine off and bleed air from the line.
Now, what can you do with your airbrush system & air compressor? Here's a little sample:
I started by cutting a 7" piece of Ellen's Crystal Clear Plastic, to create an airbrushed frame "overlay". I selected a piece of Webster's Petite Papers that I wanted to work with and placed it under the Clear Plastic. Then I die cut butterflies from Eclipse Masking Tape and placed them where I wanted (the Eclipse tape is white but I had already used these butterflies on another project that got airbrushed blue!):
I wanted the airbrushing to be on the reverse side of the Plastic, so the shinier surface of the Clear Plastic would be on the front of the frame. So I turned the Plastic over and lined up more die cuts:
Here's what my Clear Plastic now looks like, with the masks removed:
Next, I wanted to make a scalloped overlay for the front side of the frame, to cover the photograph (which is attached to the top side of the frame). So I scallop die cut a piece of Crystal Clear Plastic, cut a circle mask from more Eclipse Tape to place in the center of the scalloped circle, and then airbrushed it with BG45 & YG63. The center circle mask ensures the center of my circle overlay will remain clear, allowing it to cover and protect my photo, without adding any additional color to the photo:
To attach the patterned paper to the back of the Clear Plastic, I used Glossy Accents under the photo and a tiny bit on each corner of the patterned paper:
Glossy Accents was also used to attached the scalloped piece over the top of my photo (on each of the scallop petals, not touching the photo). Here, I discovered you need to have the airbrushing facing up, because the Glossy Accents will remove the airbrushed color if applied to it!
White Prima Flowers were customized and airbrushed to match the rest of my project -- R81 Copic marker was used to tip the white flowers and YG63 was used to color the smaller green flower:
White or cream accessories are wonderful to keep on hand so they can be airbrushed to match whatever project you are working on. A clear Dew Drop was also airbrushed and added to the center of the flower group above.
Don't have a button that matches your project? You can airbrush white, ivory or pearl ones any color you'd like! Here, I used my same BG45 marker to airbrush a pearly button:
To finish, I printed and cut out some journaling and attached it to the front of the frame, using Mini Glue Dots. Martha Stewart's 3-in-1 Classic Butterfly punch was used to punch patterned paper and accent the airbrushed butterflies:
The butterfly wings were bent up and attached in the middles with rolled up Mini Glue Dots.
You can find another example of airbrushing with an air compressor on this frame I created and posted over in the CLASSroom (the frame started out white!):
Ellen has several other products that are airbrush compatible and assist in airbrushing your projects. You can find these listed in the Manufacturer category in the store, under Essentials by Ellen. These include:
1. Art Magnetic Masking Material - This lightweight flexible magnet sheeting is white on top. You can use it to create your own unique reusable masks, by die cutting it in most die cutting systems, dies and electronic cutters. You can also cut stencils by hand or use the shape of a rubber stamp.
2. Craft Assistant - The perfect companion to Art Magnetic Masking Material. This product is black enameled metal that assists in holding your magnetic masks in place while you airbrush! It should be available in the store in about two weeks. You can keep checking the Essentials by Ellen category in the store to find it. I'll be showing you how to use it in my projects in the next two weeks.
3. Craft-a-Board - Ellen's chipboard-like material that is thin enough to be used with most low-profile and regular die cut systems and is a soft white color that takes airbrushing beautifully.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be showing you several more airbrushing projects over in Ellen's CLASSroom, so I hope you'll join me there on Thursdays!
Paper: Webster's Pages Petite Papers-Postcards From Paris
Ink: Copic markers R81, R85, YG63, BG45
Tools: Sparmax AC-101 Windstorm Airbrush Compressor, Copic ABS-3 Airbrush Kit, Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher, Zutter 1/2-inch Corner Rounder
Essentials by Ellen: Crystal Clear Plastic 8x8
Dies & Punches: Spellbinders Butterflies 2, Classic & Classic Scalloped Circle Nestabilities, Martha Stewart 3-in-1 Classic Butterfly punch
Accessories: Eclipse Masking Tape, Prima Flowers, Prima Lace, Dew Drops, Button, Ranger Glossy Accents, Glue Dots