Product Recommendations

productThe airbrush is a tool that provides artists and artisans with enormous advantages and convenience. From illustrators performing at the highest level of realism, to make-up artists creating HD ready seamless applications, to T-shirt artists rapidly producing of eye-popping custom designs…the possibilities of putting an airbrush to good use are endless!

Purchasing new airbrush equipment should be a fun and exciting experience. However, with so many models available it can also raise a lot of questions for those not in the know. This can often turn the experience into one that is a bit confusing or even overwhelming. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the available features and specifications of airbrushes so that you can choose with confidence.

Painting by Meinrad Froschin


Recommended Airbrushes
Illustrations are typically small in size and use finely pigmented paints or ink. Therefore you have the option to use a very small nozzle size. However a very small nozzle may or may not be necessary depending on your painting style. Air control is key with illustration so consider using a MAC valve of some sort. Because only small amounts of paint are needed consider using a side-feed model or a gravity-Feed model with a small cup, as to not obstruct your line of sight.

Under $100: Iwata Revolution BR, Harder Steenbeck Ultra, Paasche Raptor, Sparmax SP-35F
Over $100: Iwata HP-B+, Harder & Steenbeck Infinity, Paasche Vision, Grex Genesis XGi

Recommended Compressors
Illustrations only require about 15-30 psi. Air control is key so be sure the compressor has a good regulator and or consider using a MAC valve.
Sparmax AC-501, Grex AC1810, Paasche D500SR, Badger TC908, Iwata Sprint Jet

Recommended Paints
You’ll want to use a highly pigmented color and paint line that provides a wide variety of transparent as well as opaque premixed colors.
Createx Illustration Colors, Grex Private Stock, Holbein Aeroflash

Chuck Close Airbrush circa 1970
Chuck Close at work circa 1970.

Fine Art

Recommended Airbrushes
Fine artists may deal with larger surfaces and thicker paints then illustrators. Consider using a gravity-feed airbrush with a larger cup or even a bottle-feed model for larger projects. (And make sure you have a lid for that gravity cup to prevent making a mess!) Select an airbrush that has a large or medium sized nozzle. Or better yet, one that offers multiple nozzle sizes.

Under $100:  Badger Patriot Paasche VL, Badger 360 Universal,  Paasche Talon,
Over $100:  Grex Tritium TG, TS,, Harder Steenbeck EvolutionGrex Genesis XGi, XSi,

Recommended Compressors
You’ll want to have a decent sized compressor ( at least 1/6 HP.) Consider purchasing one with a tank if you planning on running it for long periods of time or if your working in a humid climate.
Paasche DA400R, Badger TC-910, Sparmax TC-620X, Paasche D3000R, Iwata Smart Jet Pro


Recommended Paints
The paint you choose really depends on the surface you will be painting on. For porous surfaces like canvas, fabric or wood a paint with a high viscosity such as Createx or Golden Fluids will be more suitable than a thinner bodied paint.
Createx Colors, Wicked Colors, Golden High Flow

Model aircraft by Bryant Dunbar


Recommended Airbrushes
Again here we’re typically talking about small scale projects. However the scale of detail can vary greatly. If your just needing to apply broad strokes of solid colors to you model a single action airbrush with a wide nozzle will work perfectly. If your needing to achieve super fine detail on small scale models or miniature figures you will need an airbrush designed for fine detail.
Broad Stroke Recommended: Paasche H, Paasche SI, Badger 250, Grex XA, Revolution SAR
Detail Recommended: Harder Steenbeck Ultra, Badger Krome, Grex XGi, Iwata HP-CH

Recommended Compressors
Small scale projects require lower PSI so a small compressor will be sufficient. Some hobbyists are very concerned with the quality of their airflow and look for compressor models with tanks and good moisture traps.
Badger TC908, Paasche D3000R, Sparmax TC-2000, Grex AC1810, Sparmax TC-620X

Recommended Paints
The paint you choose really depends on the surface you will be painting on. For porous surfaces like canvas, fabric or wood a paint with a high viscosity such as Createx or Golden Fluids will be more suitable than a thinner bodied paint.
Badger Minitair, Mission Models



Recommended Airbrushes
Make-up artists, bye in large, prefer double-action airbrushes with medium sized nozzles, for a range of spray pattern sizes. And small gravity-feed cups, to prevent blocking their line of site.
Harder Steenbeck Ultra, Badger Velocity Jet, Grex XGi, Paasche Juvel, Temptu SP-35

Recommended Compressors
Airbrush make-up requires very little in PSI. In fact you will most likely want to use low pressure considering that you will be blowing this directly into peoples faces. Make-up artist also like to be mobile with their compressor and prefer something light and portable.
Grex AERIS I, Temptu S-ONE, Badger Zephir X-AIR, Iwata FreestyleIwata Silver Jet

Recommended Makeups
Using silicone-based ready to spray airbrush makeup is very reliable and easy to work with. If the client is allergic to silicone there are also water-based and alcohol-based formulas out there. Alcohol-based can also be used if you want the coverage to last for several days.
Temptu SB, Temptu Hydra-Lock



Recommended Airbrushes
This application involves a thin solution and large coverage. We recommend a bottle-feed airbrush with a large nozzle or using a mini spray gun.
Paasche H, Paasche 3000T, Badger 350, Grex TS5, Sprayit 3000

Recommended Compressors
This application requires low pressure yet a decent amount of CFM. We recommend getting a compressor that can provide at least 1CFM.
Badger TC910, Paasche DC600R, Sparmax TC620X


Body Painting

Recommended Airbrushes
Body painting is similar to make-up application but on a larger scale. We recommend an airbrush with a medium sized nozzle to cover a wide range of spray patterns. Gravity-feed works great but bottle-feed is faster in changing colors, which could be a benefit when working with a live model. Also consider using a mini gun to lay down you base color and using the airbrush for details. Also, to prevent pricking your model, leave your needle cap on!
Harder Steenbeck Colani, Badger Patriot, Grex Tritium TG, Paasche Talon, Iwata Eclipse

Recommended Compressors
You can use a medium sized (at least 1/6HP) compressor for doing one or two bodies. If you are doing multiple bodies or using a mini spray gun we recommend a compressor with a tank and that can provide 1 CFM or above.
Grex 1810A, Paasche DA400R, Badger TC910, Sparmax TC620X, Iwata Smart Jet Pro

Recommended Paints
You’ll want to use a paint that is FDA approved to use on skin. You could either go with a water-based or alcohol-based. Water-based poses the lowest risk for allergic reaction and is the easiest to wash of. However it does not typically last longer than a day and can have issues running off with sweat or rain. Setting powders can have it last longer. Alcohol-based (and alcohol/water hybrids) paints do last longer on the skin and are water-proof.
ProAiir Hybrid, Mehron Lux, Mehron Liquid Makeup



Recommended Airbrushes
Food coloring is mostly applied is wide gradients but also in finer detail for more advanced cake decorating. So keep your coloring style in mind when picking out an airbrush. Or if your not sure pick one with multiple head sizes.
Grex XGi, Badger Patriot, Paasche Talon, Harder Steenbeck Evolution

Recommended Compressors
This is low pressure application. A small compressor is really all you need.
Go easy on the PSI or you’ll blow the frosting right off the cake!
Grex AERIS I, Badger Zephir X-AIR, Paasche D500R


Custom Automotive

Recommended Airbrushes
Most custom automotive artists prefer a fine to medium sized nozzle, gravity-feed airbrush with a large cup. Likely reasons are that there is usually some amount of detail involved and at the same time fair amount of surface to cover. Those artist slated to paint hard to reach areas also find using a side-feed airbrush handy so that they can adjust the paint cup as needed. Iwata has the Kustom series specifically designed for the automotive artist.

Iwata EclipseHarder Steenbeck Evolution, Badger Krome, Grex XGi, Paasche Talon, 

Recommended Compressors
The compressor you choose will depend on the size of your project. Moisture and air pressure control are paramount here considering these are permanent application on valuable objects.
Sparmax TC-620X, Iwata Smart Jet Plus, Paasche DC850R, Paasche DA400R

Recommended Paints
Use an automotive grade paint that is properly thinned for the airbrush. You can either go with an old fashion solvent-based paint or a water-based paint with proper additives.
Auto-Air Colors, Wicked Colors, AutoBourne Sealers, Candy2O