What type of airbrush do I use for tonal gradations?



I'm a photo-realist painting in acrylics and would like to use an airbrush to achieve the gradual tone change of a sky fading to the horizon or similarly in a water scene. I achieve good results now with my brushes but would like to achieve even better results with an airbrush. Which airbrush would work best?
How big are your paintings? The reason I'm asking is that if it is up to 30" big, use any airbrush up to .6mm. Bigger than that get a small touch uo gun.
I am using 30" x 40" canvases at present but the sizes do vary. The little bit of research that I have done indicated, that for tonal gradation, I should use a dual action, bottom feed, internal mix type and was wondering if there was a brand name that performed better than others for what I needed. I don't expect to use the airbrush for anything else other than tonal gradation.
Hi Getreal..

What is your budget and what equipment do you already have?

I would personally suggest the H&S infinity 2 in 1 it is a great brush and you get a 0.15 and a 0.4 nozzle. But then most of my stuff is much smaller than yours. H&S also have the colani I with a 0.6 nozzle.
any other well made AB will also do the trick, but they normally all have a range of nozzles smaller than 0.4
Iwata, badger - all good makes :)
What do you mean by internal mixing?
I guess the next question would be, how much do you want to spend? Do you want a high end brush? I use a Paasche VL just to fill in large areas. It serves my purpose but i could go for an Iwata or a Badger 360 if i could afford it. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and budget. Hope this helps.
Good info. Thanks. The internal mixing was a descriptor for several models of brushes so I'm not sure what it means. As far as budget, I am willing to purchase whatever model does the best job. I need to purchase all the equipment including a compressor so I'll be starting from scratch. I'm mindful that I will need to expend quite a bit to accomplish my goals but am determined to succeed. My paintings are intended to look like a photo so every assist is a bonus. I also know that I will need to practice to get it right!
I would like to get a high end brush as well as the best compressor etc. in order to get the best results. I'm prepared to develop the skill to match the investment. Thanks for your info.
Hi again getreal - I don't think that the description 'internal mixing' refers to two colors, I think it refers more to the paint and air - thus the atomization of the paint. I have a feeling (easier on a bigger canvass) that you are going to need to fade the colours in yourself. There are others here with more experience that might shed more light, but my feeling is that you will enjoy the learning and have fun playing, whichever way you go.

I would suggest you find a good supplier near you and spentime with a knowledgable sales assistant, or even find a custom vehicle Airbrush artist, (big 'canvass' :) ) and chat with them. Where are you from?
Internal fix is definitely not two colours mixing. It is the air and paint that mixes inside the gun. Paasche and Badger makes external mix guns but they are not popular with artist. They will still work 100% for basic back grounds but like Flycatcher said, the blending still needs to be done by you.
I have a few suppliers here on the west coast of B.C. Canada so hopefully there is some expertise amongst the sales assistants.
Hi getreal,
I would think an Iwata Eclipse like the HP-CS gravity feed or the HP-SBS (which I have) side feed would be great for what your asking. It's a general all round airbrush which is a workhorse for amateurs and professionals. It has a 0.35mm needle/nozzle set up which is fairly forgiving of different paints so it's great for beginners too.

I love mine and you really can't go wrong with the Eclipse. It's internal mix (paint/air) and dual action which will give you very good control once you've done your practise, practise, practise :)
cheers Mel
a lot of the finest photo realistic painters I have seen use the Iwata Micron.
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a lot of the finest photo realistic painters I have seen use the Iwata Micron.

He is talking about doing large areas only with his brush, shouldn't he be thinking about a nozzle bigger than 0.35? Or what about a 2 in 1 ?