No progression



So today is exactly one month since I picked up a brush (grex xgi) did all the exercises including the eye which wasn't great but not horrible either. That was all within my first week so I thought slowly but surely I would get better and better.
I have done a few basic paintings but whenever I try to do "the leopard" or "Cameron" it seems like I work for 20mins take a step back it is just absolutely horrible. Everything looks way off and has no dimension / 3d to it so I end up ripping it up and starting over but I'm not getting any better results. I would have thought after doing something many times you would see a slight improvement.

I looked online and to my surprise I found no airbrush class/course/school anywhere near NYC/long island so now im searching for some 2nd hand dvds, maybe actually seeing someone do it will help me more then reading it.

I completely understand I have only been at this for 4 weeks but I'm Just very frustrated at this point and done for the day
Keep going... have a look at my folder, the first dozen or so were done over 4 months not weeks... set realistic goals, practice well. Dots, daggers, fades, blends, lines, revers daggers... this is the bread and butter of the airbrush world in illustration work.

There is plenty of guidance on the Airbrushtutor website, I would recommend purchasing the video tutorial of Cameron he does, worth the coin spent.

A note on dimension, that is one of the last things that comes into a picture as you add the shadows. If you tear it up half way through of course it looks crap. A good way to learn good dimension is to do some simple shading exercises, draw a circle and shade it as a sphere. Mark Crilley (a pencil artist) has some good exercises as well. He's on youtube.
That tiger is beautiful...
Looking at your photos gave me some inspiration. Instead of going forward with more difficult projects I'm going to do something simple (eyes) and do it until I am very happy/comfortable with the outcome then proceed to harder paintings.

I thought by consistently doing harder and harder paintings I would become better, faster but now I'm looking at things differently since my first plan obviously hasn't worked lol.

Maybe tonight I will start doing eyes again then add a eyebrow then add a nose or add some color like the airbrushaction eye etc etc
That tiger is beautiful...
Looking at your photos gave me some inspiration. Instead of going forward with more difficult projects I'm going to do something simple (eyes) and do it until I am very happy/comfortable with the outcome then proceed to harder paintings.

I thought by consistently doing harder and harder paintings I would become better, faster but now I'm looking at things differently since my first plan obviously hasn't worked lol.

Maybe tonight I will start doing eyes again then add a eyebrow then add a nose or add some color like the airbrushaction eye etc etc
I just started 1week ago. the first pic I did was lightning, I then realized my paints were crap and everytime I would try to do anything I spent 10 times more time cleaning and unclogging my brush so I put in down. I now have better paints and am getting a top feed brush. I am looking forward to getting the new brush so I can continue with the finer things. right now I do line, dots, daggers, rev daggers, starting daggers from lines or dots, and connecting all my dots. I will keep practicing these technics until I can make the brush do what I wish when I wish it. then I will attempt more pics, this way I don't frustrate myself by not getting the desired affect while in the middle of a piece.
I keep all my practice stuff and date it so I can look back and say look at the improvement in a week (not by the day as you wont see the drastic change you might be wishing for) everything great took practice and time. and if you reverse the order and take the time to practice the hard things become a lot easier.
lol but I have only been doing this for a week... lol.... If anything I am moral support... lol... I wish you all the luck in this and may you practice and hard work pay off... keep trying...
Don't be hard on yourself @Lt4-396 and don't get discouraged, It's not easy to airbrush or else everyone would do it. We've ALL started out and gone through the same issues, doubts, highs and lows. When I started in the 80's there was no internet or any way to get information apart from a few and I mean a few hot rod magazines. It was pick up the AB and learn by doing it. There wasn't even airbrush paint as such. I sprayed paint from an aerosol can into its lid and thinned it with thinners to spray with. Then I found some Badger airbrush fabric paint which wasn't too bad to use. I was lucky thatmy mate was nice enough to show me a few things, but in those days it was like some sort of witchcraft or a secret society You couldnt get any information on how to paint stuff. No one was willing to give the secrets away. Nowdays you have the internet, and forums like this one with lots of great artists who are willing to help and make the witchery easier to learn :) It's not a few months learning and your good, accomplished artists still go through hassles and make mistakes but with experience they become lesser and you are also able to fix mistakes when you cockup. So practise and practise again, do the dots, daggers and lines but have a go at simple stuff too to break the monotony. It will come all of a sudden, you just seem to remember how to paint and you r muscle memory becomes second nature. Above all WE are here to encourage, advise and help when and if you need it. Always remember we all started not knowing anything. :) Keep painting mate.

unfortunately its all part of the learning curve. the responses from Mark and Lee are 100% correct. It will all come together with time. Even when you look at some of the great artists on here, (and I will use @Micha der Wolf and @musicmacd as an example), in the beginning stages the painting doesn't look great, looks flat, needs 'something' but as they progess it all comes together. Micha has done some great 'work in progress' threads and how he starts is as basic as you could get, but then it all slowly comes through.
You need to remember also that these awesome painting you see on this forum are not completed in an hour or two. Most don't bother counting a total but they seem to sit for a couple of hours, every day for a week or more. The devil really is in the detail, and that is at the end of the painting.

Airbrush tutor does have some great paid tutorials on line. that way you have instant access, no DVD to get scratched / lost in the post and they are highly recommended.

It takes awhile for it all to click and make sense. there are so many variables - paint , air pressure, technique, surface, weather. It can seem endless but slowly it will all start to work.

maybe next time you start on an eye, start a thread with pictures after every half an hour (or 15 minutes if you are slow like I was) so we can guide and correct any mistakes as they happen. The speed will come and you'll knock off the eye in no time ONCE you have been doing this a bit longer.

We feel your frustration. As Lee said, we all started at the beginning (and felt like stabbing ourselves in the eye with the airbrush.)

Embrace the learning curve, don't let it hold you back
You have been airbrushing for over four weeks and you still are not a professional airbrush portrait painter??? Imagine that. Really? Listen to JackEB and the other greats on this Forum it takes time and experimenting and reading and watching videos. Some videos are in foreign language, watch anyways just to see the technique. There are artists on this forum that have been painting for years and are still learning and questioning their abilities. You cannot do two or three pages of dots , lines and daggers and then move on to doing projects. We are talking thousands of dots ,lines,daggers at different intensities, different distances from the page 1/8" 1",2"4"8" can you hit the exact spot you are aiming for? at he exact intensity you want ? You want to paint an eye, if you did pages of dots, how about pages of eyes? Young baby eyes, Old eyes, oriental eyes, animal eyes. mouths? Lips? Hair? Monochrome,color mixing, different types of surfaces . Go slow grasshopper and enjoy the journey.
I've Been airbrushing about 3 years now and still have some things I can't get right in my book anyway, I started airbrushing to paint a few Fishing lures and help pay for gas so I could go fishing:D, Now I do some art and other things for people around here and People are starting to send there lures for Me to re-paint them now I'v been doing it enough To pay for the gas and buy a few more lures:thumbsup::thumbsup:. Don't worry about it so much and have fun it will make the learning go by faster and in a few months do That eye again and see how much you have Improved you will be suprised at It.
I totally agree with everyone else on this. After four weeks there are probably airbrushers still trying to figure out how to screw the hose on the brush!

One tip that I can give you is look at your work, and instead of saying "thats horrible", pick ONE thing that you aren't happy with... One technique, one problem whatever. Then practice that until you see progress.

Lather, rinse repeat :)
and we haven't seen your homework yet !! you really need to stop touring the countryside and buckle down and do some of the Mr. Miyagi skills !

But... but... I need the money for my airbrush addiction!
4 weeks self teaching is no time at all in ABing terms. Classes can really save a lot of time, but aren't a possibility for every one.

You just need to focus on the basics. Get those different strikes perfected. They are your foundation. When they are strong, you can paint anything, but if they aren't as good as they can be, your work wont be either. Just go back a step, focus on that, then try the eye again to compare. It's good to have proof that you are moving forward. Some people do that every few weeks to keep showing themselves they are coming along, it can seem very static for a while.
I go forwards and backwards all the time, check out the Coast airbrush TV videos / downloads the Cory StClair are awesome
Hey, I also feel your frustration.

I saw people using airbrushes online and was like, "That looks, cool. I will be able to do that after a few practices."

I've probably about 10-15h total of actual painting time. Maybe 10-15x that in watching videos etc, and reading up online.

One thing I got/am stuck doing was watching videos, thinking that was time better spent learning theory than actually using my airbrush. I guess watching a vid is way easier than setting up the practice space, getting the compressor all setup etc, mixing paints, and reducing, etc etc etc. And so I spent way more time supposedly learning the theory than actually painting. However, from my very limited experience, I far more enjoy actually picking up the AB than watching a video. It is just taking me a while to not be such a harsh judge on my paintings for the time spent learning...

One other thing I did do is I bought an "Artist's Sketchbook", and all my paintings are done in that. They are all dated, and I write the air pressures etc on the page when I'm working, so that I can make comparisons weeks later. Looking through the book at the times I'm not painting is a great motivator, and it also quantifies my times painting, and keeps a record of all the weird things I've been trying also. And it is also a great prompter for memories of doing the paintings too, which I find can help lots.

I'm totally new to this hobby, and have painted very limited stuff, so it is great to hear I'm not the only one going through these frustrations.


And never ever compare what you do to others its always a setup to disappointment. Just be acceptance of your limitations and learn every time. It takes 10,000 times to master anything so the journey is a long one
And if I can progress, anyone can. I am a slow learner. Probably took 6 months to do what some do in a few weeks. It was frustrating, but I'm not sorry, I think I got a good understanding of my paint, and working at different pressures, correcting mistakes etc, and got the different strokes down. I had a certain amount of 'how hard can this be' too, lol, but I think its made me better in the long run. If its too easy, there's no challenge :)