advice on using iwata hp please



Hi guys, as some of you know I purchased a hp-cs the other day. It feels great but I'm really struggling with the detail side of things.
I can't draw, will never pretend I can, Forever trying always failing. I was really hoping this brush would allow me to maybe move on past the infant ability level I had a go at some fine detail this afternoon and Im crap.
I'm using auto air paint
Auto air 4011 reducer
The triger feels a lot more heavier than what I'm used to with my cheap knock offs. This means when I take the tip off I go in for fine detail I get nothing nothing SPLODGE of also getting quite a bit of spidering and tip dry....

I am a proper green noob any form of art and maybe these are the learning steps everyone must go through but, today I must admit I felt defeated and really deflated. Even the wife asked what was wrong.

Cheers for any input given

Auto air is really ment to go through a full size gun. The air brush paints by Createx are wicked and wicked detail and the new illustration paints.

I recommend paints that flow easy for new air brushers. Try com-art. I can not make Createx work in a AB so I'm no help but I do know you will need some of their brush restorer to clean the paint out.
Auto air color is realy thick, so you have to reduce it heavy. Svee Wheeler made a real good youtube serie about reducing paint, this one is with the autoair color.
PS.: when it's hot outside you probably have to reduce it even more.
I think the AA states 3:1 as a guideline on the bottle. Sometimes I use it straight. Most times I use a 4:1 reducer to paint ratio. Metallics and pearls will be thicker so more reducer will be needed. It's all bout learning what works for you, temp and pressure, and tip size can alter this, but after fighting it for a bit you will be able to adjust on the fly with any airbrush.

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Remember, whatever you are putting through your ab needs to be like milk.
Remember, whatever you are putting through your ab needs to be like milk.

For me, with detail work, its more like skim milk. I usually use 50-50 paint / trans base, then reduce until I get a consistent line at a somewhat low PSI(20 or so). I found that my HP-CH needs higher PSI than my Krome or Infinity, but it will still get ultra fine detail without spidering.
Thanks guys... Err I thought the ratio recommended on the auto air bottle was 3:1 paint to reducer!!!! DOOOOOOOOOOH

So on that video he goes for 35psi. I thought we dialled down the pressure for detail?


Great stuff :)
I sometimes go as far as 10 or 15:1 reduction to get detail, especially with a CS. Also remember that if you go that detail, the paint will look darker as when you spray a blob from a distance.
Is that called "blob art"? If so, I'm better than I thought.
I can do blob art! Haha
Think I best get another bottle of 4011 then if you're heading towards 15:1 :O
I guess I'll have to have a play. The airbrush feels lovely and I get a random glimpse of It's potential.... Before I spider my line into oblivion!
So today has just been super frustrating for me (to the point where I nearly slammed my iwata down with no needle cap on)
What would you guys recommend for in terms of black paint for fine detail?
I like to purchase my paint from
Airbrush Paint | Airbrush Courses | Buy Online |
Seems like you lot aren't really a fan of auto air.

Thanks so much for everybodys input... Tomorrow is a new day

Hello mate, lots of great advice already given on here, I have an HP-c+ and for a beginner I still recommend getting yourself a little set of com-art paints, for £20 you will get a little set of 10 bottles, ready made for iwata's. they are designed to be used straight out of the bottle, they are quite thin so that helps you get used to reducing your psi and working up close. Black and white will give you the most problems so you could try a transparent black that comes in one of the sets. You are making life hard for yourself diving right in to auto-air, that's fine if that is the paints you want to use in the future, but struggling early on can really put some off and they give up because they are fighting the brush instead of having fun with it! Com-art are easy to use and let you get on with mastering the control and airflow of your airbrush and above all having fun, they are not too expensive and really have some great transparent colours. My favourite paints to use are Etac and I don't mind the Createx illustration but never have been a great fan of Createx.
Everybody has there own favourites but try not to jump from paint to paint without learning each brands in and outs first, they all have + and - to them and it is about what works for you, you can end up spending a shed load on paints because one person says "this paint is awesome" then another says exactly the same about another brand.....I know I have just done that with com-art, but they probably are, in my opinion the easiest to use for beginners:)
Hope I have not confused you even more mate, oh and the trigger does feel pretty heavy at first and compared to the Krome it is heavy, but you get used to it with use.

Awesome reply mate!
Thanks for taking the time to write that. I didn't realise that even the good paints can be bad/hard to use. I figured if I invested in autoair (which I have roughly 10 different colors of) then I wouldn't struggle so much. Just part of being a noob I guess.
I can show you lot how to do a fast lap on a race bike but I can't paint a thin line aaaaarrrggghh lol
I'll take your advice on board and try the recommended paints to see how they change the way I work.
You're definitely right about it not being fun. I had to force myself to sit and practice and it just pissed me off.

Thanks again guys..... Anyof you folk coming to KKBO? :)
DOTS,DAGGERS LINES different directions Shading practice. and on and on and on... the CS is a great brush and you do not need to be able to draw to get great results but unfortianatly control is the biggest issue and to get control you have to practice.. You will get air pressure and reducing down as a side benifit of doing it over and over again to train your muscle memory I think we all get the dreaded fed up thing . It will come hang in there
I use com- art black for practice it does work great right out of the bottle. I do not like there white though
I use a lot of AA but as mentioned above it takes getting used to DO NOT GET RID OF IT LOL
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I use wicked paints for everything, as it's very versatile. All I have are opaque black and white, the fleshtone set which is detail (transparent) plus a blue detail to give me all the primary colours, (I can mix practically any colour with this). I use it for automotive mainly, as it is lightfast, but have used it on paper canvas and leather. I generally reduce 3:1 or 4:1 depending on colour, at 20 psi. That is my basic ratio, which I tweak as needed, but I find I can do pretty much everything I need to with those settings. But everyone has their own way of working, you just need to try out a few ratios until you find one that suits you, just don't play darts with your new shiny until then Lol! You just need to get to know each other a bit, then you'll be away! You may consider making your trigger taller too. I only have small hands so I don't need to, but I believe people find it more comfortable and easier to control a taller trigger. AndreZa recommends putting some hot glue onto the trigger then shaping it with your finger before it cools, which I think quite a few people have done. There's a thread about it somewhere if you do a search.
So do you have a practice routine of lines dots and daggers KO? Just wondering if tou work to any kind of program or freestyle? I don't mind putting the effort in as It's part the fun. Just couldn't see an end goal yesterday. I tried a 5:1 reducer : paint yesterday after the advice given and found the gun to be a lot more compliant so finished on a positive.
Squishy I have massive hands so could you explain the glue trick please. I love how confident you are in the way you throw your paint together... Awesome :)
DB the thing is with practicing the basics, dots, daggers, lines AND fades, is you are learning "muscle memory". Your brain says, heck yeah, this outta be easy... your hands and fingers are going WTF, you want us to do what?!
It comes with trigger time. You will eventually get that "AhA!" moment when the mind and fingers become one and it becomes automatic. It takes time and LOTS of trigger time to accomplish this. A very good friend of mine and an excellent teacher and airbrusher has suggested that when starting out and to keep from going crazy bored, invest in a couple color books. The lines are already there you just, well, practice by coloring in, tracing, etc.
Another good point is to practice with the paints you will use the most. Learn the in's and out's of the system you've chosen to use. Don't go bouncing around like I see alot of noobs doing, from one paint system to another, looking for that ever elusive "perfect" paint. (It don't exist). Instead learn and become adept at using one system. Whichever you choose. If you want to stick with hard surfaces and automotive go with paints designed for that purpose. If you are going for more art and illustration go for ones designed for that... you get the picture.

Oh and on the stiff trigger thing... if you remove the back end of the brush you'll notice that there are two knurled nuts, one is the needle chuck and the other is the needle tube. On the needle tube one, you can adjust the stiffness of your trigger action by twisting that one in or out depending on if you want stiffer or softer action on the trigger (holy crap just went back and read that..... PG-13 ALERT!!).:angel::barbershop_quartet_
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Cheers squishy I am going to give the gluegun trick a go tomorrow after work :)BG you're rigjt, practice makes permanent. I played with reduction and pressure this evening and found the gun so much more forgiving. Loads less tip dry. Finer lines achieved. I have been blowing over a stencil and then outlining and shading etc. I best take my gun apart and get to know it :)Thanks guys
i am no expert ( mostly noob) but if i remember correctly spidering is caused by the air pressure/paint density ratios basically you can have the thickest paint that will go tru an AB and still get spiders if psi is too high for thickness on the oposite you can also have spidering if the paint is too thin even if psi is low . now you also need to factor in medium absobtion. fibers and canvas mediums absob alot of paint so does thick papers. but if you spray on paper its absorbtion ratio is very low if you ask me
i use comart and i still spider sometime . also make shure "air on THEN paint on , paint off THEN air off " otherwise your AB will splater beyon that it all goes with experience this paint at that density this psi this medium etc...

perfect practice makes practice perfect . or something like that :p "cent fois sur le metier remettre l'ouvrage" personal quote from grand-pa " a hundred time on the job do the labor" (roughly translated)
The bad news- there is no substitute or short-cut to learning to airbrush. Practice, practice, practice, and more practice. That's the entirety of the big secret to learning to airbrush. Craig Frasier's "Automotive Cheap Tricks & Special F/X 2" book has some really great learning/warm up excersizes in it. Plus there's enough other useful info in the book to make it actually worth the price (a rarity among airbrushing books and videos). On the upside, not being able to draw really isn't going to be any obstacle when learning to airbrush. Learning the basics of art and color theory (I typically stick with Dru Blair's Color Buffer Theory or Split/Buffered system), as well as observation skills, composition, etc will help a great deal. The very-overly-general rule-of-thumb is to reduce your paint to the consistency of milk (which kind is personal preference, I guess. Just like on my cereal, I tend towards 1% or 2%) and 35 psi WITH the air on. But, that's just a very basic starting point. Different airbrushes will work better with more or less pressure, different paints will behave differently, even different colors within the same paint line will require some tweaking. For instance, white paint of any brand is a notorious problem child. The pigment used (titanium oxide) is larger than most others, which makes it more prone to clogging, tip dry, and general mischief. For now, I'd say pick a paint (AA isn't my favorite, but it will do) and stick with it for now. Trying a bunch of different brands right now will just complicate things. Eventually, you'll get to the point where you actually have to TRY to get your paint to spider. The whole process just becomes automatic with practice.