First airbrush practice attempts - dots and lines



Hello everyone! So I finally worked up the guys to start trying out this whole airbrushing thing properly, practising some dots and lines based on the tutorial videos and generally just messing about for the hell of it. :D I obviously still need a lot of practice, especially with starting and stopping my lines! practice01.png

But my main question atm is about the paint - I'm getting a lot of "spatter" around the outside of where the paint's supposed to be going. Here's a closer look at a section to better show what I mean:
I'm not sure what's causing it, whether it's just meant to happen, or if it's the paint consistency, or because I hadn't cleaned my airbrush properly (this is the second time I've used the airbrush), or some other reason. I was also getting a fair bit of spidering (I think that's the term?) on the larger dots if I pulled the trigger back further for more paint.

I was also finding the paint drying very quickly on the needle tip, and I had to keep cleaning it off before the paint would come out smoothly again.

I'm using an Iwata HP-CS Eclipse airbrush and AK Interactive Black Surface Primer (and a bit of the same brand of white primer while I was undercoating some miniatures afterwards). I tried thinning the primer with some Tamiya thinner, but it didn't seem to help any.

Any tips or suggestions? Thanks in advance! :D
The fuzz on the outside of the lines, as well as the spidering, have a few causes, but the main ones are too much air / paint too thin or a combination thereof.
If the spidering is occuring at the start of the line, reduce the pressure [ slowly ] until it ceases.
Once you have found the right pressure for the mix, your lines will appear cleaner with sharper edges.
Speed is the key here, moving faster will give you cleaner, crisper lines.
You'll find an inline MAC valve invaluable for this control, and you can get them cheap from ebay.
Tip dry is the bane of airbrushers, and we all battle with it constantly.
A piece of makeup foam doused in cleaner is my main tool for combatting this, and I constantly wipe it almost without thought now.
I'm not familiar with the primer you mentioned, but if it's water based, the addition of a drop or two of water will go a long way to making it more friendly.
In all, a really good start.
Well done and keep it up!:):):thumbsup:
The spidering you have here is a combination of a couple of things.
First is the reduction of paint combined with higher air pressure than needed.
If the spidering is happening straight up, reduce the air pressure until you can put down a 'clean' line consistantly.
It also indicates that the paint is too thin for the pressure you have, so either add a drop more paint to it or medium to 'thicken it up a bit.
This should clear up your lines, so they become clean and crisp.
As for the tip dry, well we all have our favourite ways of dealing with it. It is unavoidable with the majority of paint ,and a curse to all of us.
My method is to have a piece of foam doused with cleaner handy, and just dab it from the tip.
Works for me, and doesn't risk your needle.
I also use the Eclipse same as you, but I don't know the primer you mention.
If it's water based, then add a drop or 2 of water to it, rather than thinners, as this will reduce it better and give you cleaner coverage.
In all, a great start.
Relax, enjoy and create. That's what it's all about.
Oh, and I almost forgot - keep up the practice as well!.
The spidering has been coverd above.

In case with spatter you mean the black "speckles". This can have a few causes.

-Paint too thick or presure too low. this makes the pant not atomise (creating a fog of paint) nicely causing little drops of paint to "bind" together and being sparyed as little speckles.
-Damaged needle. If the tip of the needle is ever so slightly bend paint will build up there and is blown of as a little drop/speckle
-Tip dry (handles above, reduce more), basicly the same as a dameged needle, build up paint gets blown off. Also the psint covering the needle ruin's it's shape causing the same effect as a damaged needle.

ps from looking my first gues would be the paint is too thick, reduce more and play around with the airpressure a bit
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welcome to the first joy of airbrushing, figuring out what pressure / reduction you need to use, and just when you figure it out the weather changes and you need to adjust again.
If you haven't already found them, head over to and register there and then you'll have access to the free practise sheets which will help you learn airbrush control.
Im as new as new can be so I apologize ahead of time if I sound stupid. But it seems like you would dial it in the same way you would with a normal gun. Is this right?
Yes Jim, this is exactly right.
You will need to play around with air pressure and paint reduction, 'til you get it right.
It will take some time to achieve, and it varies from paint brand to paint brand, but it's worth learning to do it.
As hassje said, if the weather changes outside, you'll have to adjust your mix again.
Sorry to hijack but I've been having the same problem, especially worse with white. Now its been nicely explained I know what to look at :D
I'm totally saving this post! Thanks JackEb, hassje, and splasha for some great tips on detail.