Airbrush mistake #3: The hardest habit to break.

    Stopping paint and air at the same time. This may not qualify for number one, but it is by far the most common mistake airbrush artists make...ever! It is also one of the most difficult habits to break.  It is actually more common among more experienced airbrush artists, especially if they are self-taught.

    If you cut off the air and the paint simultaneously, wet paint will remain on the needle just waiting for you to engage the air again, and when you do.... guess where that paint will go? All over your artwork, making your day less than optimal.

    The solution: try to keep the air going, even when the paint is not flowing. It's normal to want to stop the paint and air at the same time, because who wants to waste air? However, leaving wet paint on the needle will eventually wreck your painting, so its best to get into the habit if keeping the air on after you stop the flow of paint, even if it is just for a millisecond. This will ensure that your needle stays cleaner, and you will experience less tip dry. ;-)


    Leave a comment


    March 03, 2016

    Dru, thank you for helping fellow airbrush artists. I appreciate your revelations and knowledge. You a great artist and my inspiration to become even better. I’ve been an airbrush artist for over 25 years now, painting wall murals and canvases. I get inspired to do even more amazing work when I see your amazing work. Keep being amazing. If I can ever be of service to you, please let me know. Thanks. JoeBAM

    Robin Bittner

    March 03, 2016

    It’s a difficult habit to overcome. Especially when you are used to spraying with aerosol cans.

    Gunner Hilliard

    March 03, 2016

    Wow this is something I learned early on from my own experience! I have a habit of spraying air into my hand every time I stop paint flow and air!!! I picked this habit up watching a tee shirt artist do this after every spray!!

    De Anne Lamirande

    March 03, 2016

    Guilty of this, painting for 24 years and aware of my mistake, yes breaking the habit is hard. Thanks Dru

    Gary Hammer

    March 03, 2016

    Dru, you are right, but hard habit to break. When we think stop our brain says stop everything! If I don’t remind myself all the time to stop the paint and leave the air on I will end up cleaning the tip constantly especially with white! Is there a way to set my brush so I can never shut the air off completely and only control the paint. Design a brush so us creatures of habit cannot ever shut the air off completely. Gary

    Gary Hammer

    March 03, 2016

    Dru, or make an air brush with a delay on the air at shut off, or an extra step to shut the air off. Any ideas? Gary


    March 05, 2016

    hey dru i wish you would put out some lessons on dvd streamin anything i would love to learn from you for me its inpossible to get out to youre school im a mortician that runs a small enbalming svc im the only worker and work 24/7 in between i love to airbrush im shure theres plenty of airbrushers out there that are in the same situation more or less that would pay anything to learn from you … thanks dru

    Artur Hildebrandt

    March 07, 2016

    Dear Dru,

    there is a great, extremely simple exercise to address this change of behavior. Paint many dots and LISTEN to the sound of the air. If you have painted 10000 dots and the air did not turn off, you got the desired change of habit!

    I do this always as the first exercise in my airbrush classes in Munich, Germany.

    Kind regards


    Gail Hendricks

    April 09, 2016

    Thanks for this reminder! Being self taught, I too suffered from this bad habit. I now keep the air on and it has been difficult at times to remember to do so but it certainly has made a difference in how many paintings I no longer mess up and have to spend time on fixing. Thanks for all the great tips Dru!

    pablo aguilar

    November 06, 2016

    Thank for the information. Really Helps..
    Can you explain on the issue of why when I press down on the trigger, The paint continues flowing and eventually stops on its own or unless I pull on the trigger to stop the air flow?

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