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Watch This: Airbrush for Beginners

Complete newbie to using an airbrush? Yeah me too, I’ve used Games Workshop’s sad attempt at making one to base coat some models but dream of doing more with a nice brush. This week’s Watch This returns to Orc Painter Nerd and his great tutorial on using an airbrush for beginners.

Watch This Airbrushing for Beginners

Double bonus for this week! This week’s Watch This is a two part video with the first going over the basics of how to use an airbrush and part two on using it to paint an actual model. So make sure to watch both videos and check out the notes.

Watch This: Airbrush for Beginners by OrcPainterNerd

Part 1: Airbrush Basics


Not enough time to watch the full video or just like text notes? I’ve broken down OrcPainterNerd’s tips below for handy reference.

  • Connect everything up before turning the compressor on
  • Turn on compressor and adjust pressure (he is using 20PSI)
  • Use thinned paint, smaller needle = more thinner needed
  • Add airbrush paint to paint holder in airbrush, only a few drops needed
    • Using 0.4mm needle so doesn’t need to thin the Airbrush Colors paints
  • To add air, push down on the lever
  • To add paint, pull back on the lever
  • Practice by spraying different shapes on blank paper
    • Trace lines and shapes to practice coordination
  • Clean airbrush by adding water to paint holder and spray into cleaning pot
  • Add a touch of Airbrush Cleaner and spray through as well
  • When finished
    • pull out the needle and clean with Cleaner on paper towel
    • Use QTips and small brush sets to clean out nozzle and paint pot
    • Resemble
  • Products he uses (note: I have note used most of these but going off his recommendation)

Part 2: Airbrushing a Model

Now that you got the basics of how an airbrush works down, let’s look at how to use it on a model.

Notes for Airbrushing Model for Beginners

  • Break down the model into separate pieces to make it easier to spray
  • Prime model, he uses Vallejo Grey Primer
  • Spray about 4″ away from model
  • If it looks wet, move to different area, too much paint can build up to obscure the details
  • Spray black lines to where shadows would be to ‘pre-shade’ model
    • Panel lines, recesses, overhangs, etc
    • Doesn’t need to be perfect, overspray will be cleaned up
  • ‘Pre-highlight’ by spraying white on the top surfaces
  • Spray main color, keeping it about 4″ away
    • pre-layers should slightly show through
  • Add highlight color
    • Focus on spraying it on upper surfaces
  • Don’t be afraid of overspray when adding browns for tracks as it can look like dust and dirt
  • Switching it up with some dry brushing can help bring out metallic areas or areas with lots of details
  • Break out the brush for details

Wrap Up

I hope this set of airbrush for beginners videos helps show how easy it could be to use an airbrush to paint your models. I know it has inspired me to get my compressor set back up and find a good airbrush.

Do you have any airbrush tips you would like to share? Leave them in the comments below and let us know!