My first project - help please



Hi! I finally bought paint for my airbrush - Wicked primary set. I realized I probably made a mistake by not buying Wicked Detail because I have 0,35 needle.. The paint wasn't flowing at all at beginning, but when I added a bit of reducer, it flows beautifully :) The reducer thins the paint a lot. Which is also why I came here for help. I'm drawing after this photo: I already did the background (blurry green+blue for trees+sky). I'll now start doing the feathers (I'll leave eye area and beak for later). I want to very slowly build the shading. But I don't know what to mix in my cup - only black + a bit of blue + reducer or do I add some white? I'm afraid the reducer will make the paint too thin, but if I add the white, I'm afraid I won't be able to build the shade as nicely as without it. Help, please :)
Wicked works fine through a .35, it's what I have, and as you have discovered it's all in the reducer. Paints who say they work straight from the bottle usually mean with a .5 nozzle and (I think) around 40 psi, but even then reducing and being able to lower the pressure gives better control. The detail range is what they call their transparent paints, while the others are opaque.

With regard to the feathers, I would do an experiment on a separate piece of paper to find what works best. This is where the detail paints may have come in handy as you can build colour density by adding more and more layers, where opaques reach their optimum density and then don't deepen in colour no matter how much more paint you apply (hope that makes sense:) ) Also just a heads up, if you are going to add white over a colour with a lot of black, you will get what is called blue shift (the white appears to have a tinge of blue) if you add a small drop of orange to the white it will eliminate this, again worth experimenting with so you are comfortable with it before you start.

If you find you are having to over reduce to the point the paint is becoming very thin, you will just need to make more passes to reach the colour you want and if it become difficult to paint/spiders lower your pressure, and/or maybe add some transparent base, which will give some body back without affecting the colour.
Thank you so much for the reply. The paints are semi opaque, except for white, which is opaque. I don't mind the blue shift since I'll make the shade a bit blue. But I'm a bit worried what kind of a shift would happen if I mix white and black in the cup. I want the black very reduced (I don't have much experience and it's safer to go slowly). I want the paint very reduced also because I'll have to go very close to get the details (it's easier to do a light spray from far). I don't have any transparent base and it would be hard to get it/would take a lot of time (I don't have any good stores nearby). So the best thing will probably be to do as you said - try different mixes to see which works best for what I want. Thank you again :)
You can also use the eraser after a lite mist of reduced black and bring out the feathers by leaving the mist where you want a shadow and erasing where you want feathers,Then paint the white of the feathers in where you erased letting some white overlap the lite black
The Createx line of paints are great. I used them exclusively. The Wicked reducer is just spectacular. You can reduce 200% no problem. For a substrate that is very forgiving, no problem. Before reducing your paints for all your work, first consider the process and the substrate you're using. I work on canvas and it's all freehand. That means I can't work at too high a psi because the canvas doesn't absorb the paint like a t-shirt. It's much less forgiving. If doing gradients, reduce the paint more and you can work at a lower psi. Not a problem since you're doing less detail work and can make multiple passes to build up the color. If needing thin lines, then you need a little less reducer at slightly higher psi because your thin lines need to be made in one good pass. If the paint is too thin, you have to repeat that line and that's tough to do if it's a real thin line.

There is no cookie cutter formula thinning. What you're trying to accomplish with the paint determines how thin you need to make the paint. What I do is prethin a few commonly used colors and keep them in bottles. Then I mix the color I need into the cup. I use an Iwata HP-C airbrush. If I need thinner paint, I add more reducer to the cup. All my paints are premixed in bottles for 40-50psi pencil line work. When I need thinner paint, I do it right in the cup. Hope that helps.