What to paint on?



I'm new to airbrushing and looking for that 80s illustration look. Figured, something as simple as water color could do the trick. But most of my ideas are full of detail so I'd need a rather big surface to paint on, A1 is absolute minimum. Most watercolor papers seemed to come in sizes between postcards and A2s and the paper is mostly rough, probably not so good for airbrushing when I need details or sharp edges. If this is the media, what should I paint on? Do you have suggestions for specific online shops or brands of products that would suit? Or do I need to compromise with the actual media?

Well being you are new to airbrushing it would be best if you first learned to use the airbrush and gain the control you need for fine detail.
That being said it is also nice to know where a person is located (country wise) due to knowing what vendors are available in your area or which online site would best suit you and not cost a arm and two legs for shipping.
I use illustration board
30x40 , 40 x 60 , but I get mine through the vender I deal with at work with a nice discount.
Also when you say water colors what do you mean?
most of us use a water based paint Wicked , Createx Illustration , E-tac , Com-art.
But not sure what you mean by the way you use it.
A nice introduction would have answered a lot of the question I just asked you.
I have been using water color paper with no issues. It fairly cheap so if you screw up you don't feel so bad. Illustration board is expensive.
I dont have either lol. As a matter of fact? I seriously wouldn't know how to AB on paper? Lolol I did once for paint pal 2...mine are all metal panels, plastic, ya know..all the good things lol. I have a Honda motorcycle in the garage right now, waiting for paint.
Hi Riku,
You might want to look at rolls of paper like in this link; Canson XL Mix Media Rolls - BLICK art materials

I've never used this paper so I have no idea what it is like. I'd contact the art supplier on the website and ask if it is has a smooth surface which would be suitable for airbrushing or if they would recommend something else.

I agree with Mr Micron you have to learn the airbrushing skills first :)
Cheers Mel
Thanks Melbee – I actually came across the Canson mix media paper in sheets last week; It sounded good online but when I felt it at a local store, it had a strange vertical grooving to it, probably not the best for straight lines and small details, I guess?

rab3rd – are you using rough or smooth water color paper? I had a hard time finding smooth-surfaced hot press paper in decent sizes! Which are you using, or do you settle with smaller sheets?
The paper matters when working with water color because the paper is supposed to stay unwrinkled even when wet, and it must have its special feature of being able to lock in the color without fading... Oil and acrylic painting is different because the paint doesn't absorb to the surface the same way, but by the names they sound like something that would clog an airbrush... Am I right?

Sure, but typically there's various sizes of the same material available, I'd want to start out test-painting on smaller sheets, knowing that I could upgrade to bigger sheets eventually; It'd be quite disappointing to find the perfect small painting surface just to find out later that there aren't big ones available when I want to upgrade to doing something for real. So I'm trying to find some kind of, line of products so to say.
Painting surfaces aren't the kind of stuff that might be illegal in some countries (like some paints can be harder to get), and if there are surfaces that professionals love, I don't think it'll be a problem to find out who sells a specific brand in my country – the greatest hits are the greatest hits, and they're usually available. It's Finland by the way, and I don't think someone who doesn't understand the language could track much of it for me, I'll have to do it myself once I know which brand to hunt for. If I was to buy online anyway, suppliers would ideally be in places like UK, France or Germany, to avoid silly extra fees. As long as it's what I'm looking for and it's not insanely expensive, I don't mind though.

With water color I was mostly referring that I'm not looking to airbrush with heavy paints such as the ones you use for car and motorcycle bodies. Sure I'd love to work with all those special luminous things but I have to sleep in the same room, so water-based colors are probably the least toxic to live with and, they also provide the look that I'm looking for.
I am using Strathmore cold press watercolor wet media paper. Its acid free and heavy weight for finished art work. Biggest I am using so far is 11 X 15 but the make it a lot bigger. This painting was done on it with Com Art water based paint.