Airbrushing is the act of using an airbrush tool to mix air and paint to create a fine mist that can be applied to nearly any surface. A compressor or can of air is needed to create enough force to push the air through the airbrush and mix it with the paint. Airbrushing can be used for applying a background or base coat, painting fine details, and achieving smooth gradations in colors. For help choosing an airbrush, see our Airbrush Selection Chart.

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Common Questions
Single Action Airbrushes and Airbrush Kits
Sets and Kits

Depressing the trigger on a single-action airbrush delivers air and paint simultaneously. These airbrushes are useful for larger area coverage in hobby, craft, stencil, and mural applications. Read our Q&A section below for more info.

Double Action Airbrushes and Airbrush Kits
Sets and Kits

With a double-action airbrush, you depress the trigger to deliver air and draw back on the trigger to release paint. These airbrushes give the user greater control and precision, which allows for more artistic paint application. Read our Q&A section below for more info.

Airbrush Accessories
Air Hoses, Connectors, and Adapters

Airbrush Accessories enhance your airbrushing experience. These products offer useful solutions for storing, cleaning, and maintaining your airbrushing supplies, as well as options for customizing or adapting your airbrush.

Airbrush Auto Colors

Airbrush Colors are paints created specifically for application with an airbrush. Compressed air atomizes the paint into tiny droplets which is then carried to the surface being painted. Airbrush colors are formulated to atomize finely without drying on the airbrush needle tip. Most airbrush colors can be used straight from the bottle when using larger airbrush tip-sizes, however for smaller tip-sizes and lower psi settings, thinning airbrush colors with mediums and additives, such as "Reducers", is necessary.

Airbrushing Questions and Answers



  • Which airbrush should I use?

    This is the most common question that we are asked. The information in our Airbrush Selection Chart is intended to answer that question and others you may have. Please take the time to look it over before you place your order.

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  • What can an airbrush spray?

    Any liquid that can be thinned to the consistency of milk can be sprayed through an airbrush. However, if some liquids are thinned too much, they won't perform properly, so some judgement should be used in selecting the right airbrush for a particular job.

    Generally, thick liquids such as textile paints or ceramic glazes should be thinned cautiously, and a simple type airbrush such as the Paasche H or Badger 350 should be used. In the case of textile paints, the Paasche VL-5 could be used. Thicker materials should be sprayed with higher pressure than thinner colors. If the liquid is thin (dyes, inks, etc.), or if it thins well, then a double action airbrush and/or lower pressure may be used.

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  • What is a single-action airbrush?

    A single action airbrush is the simplest type. When the finger button (air control) is pushed down, color is sprayed at a pre-set rate. This rate is easy to change — simply stop spraying for a moment and turn the color valve slightly. Single action airbrushes are useful mostly for area coverage in such activities as hobbies and crafts, stenciling, and mural work. Such things as acrylics, ceramic glazes and auto paint (lacquers and enamels), are commonly sprayed with a single action brush.

    Most single action airbrushes are external-mix types. They mix the air and the color outside the tip and are therefore less likely to clog if heavier materials are sprayed (such as ceramic glazes). All double action airbrushes are of the internal-mix type. The liquid must be thinned more in these because the air and liquid are mixed inside the body of the airbrush. Internal mixing produces a finer spray.

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  • How is a double-action airbrush different?

    Only one difference — but a big one! Slowly pulling back on the finger button will gradually increase the amount of color sprayed. Thus, you are able to control such things as the width of the line of area of tone, the intensity of the color or the gradation of value, all while you continue to spray. Obviously, that type of versatility isn't necessary for every task, but for artwork, it's great.

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  • How are liquid and air mixed?

    Liquid is fed into the air stream either by siphon action or gravity. Siphon-feed airbrushes work just like sucking a milkshake up through a straw, and it takes one or two seconds to get it working. Gravity-feed airbrushes are quicker because the color cup is located on top, and the fluid flows directly down into the airstream. This is a nice advantage when making a lot of color changes.

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  • Are there any other types of airbrush?

    The only other type is the Paasche AB. We actually stretched the truth when we said that all double action airbrushes are interal-mix types. The AB would have to be described as a double action, external-mix type. It doesn't look or work like any other airbrush. For sensitivity and control of spray it has no peer. This sensitivity limits the area coverage, but the AB is not intended for area work. Buy it for its detail capability — you can even retouch photo negatives with an AB.

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  • How much air?

    Most airbrushes will work just fine on clean, dry air at 1/2 to 1 CFM flow and 20 to 45 PSI, depending on the fluids being sprayed.

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  • Will I need a moisture trap?

    Yes. A moisture trap that attaches directly to your compressor will effectively reduce the amount of moisture in your air line. This is particularly important in warm and/or humid conditions. Moisture can also accumulate in your airbrush hose overnight. Spraying air through the airbrush for a few minutes before you begin to work will clear condensation from the line. See Compressors and Accessories for a selection of moisture traps.

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  • Is it necessary to use a pressure regulator?

    It's not absolutely necessary, but once you use one, you'll never want to work without a regulator again. A pressure regulator and gauge combination controls air output to the airbrush and becomes a necessity when your techniques and/or paint viscosity require you to control the airflow. Having a compressor that gives you a wide range of pressure to regulate allows you to experiment with a wide range of paints and techniques. See Compressors and Accessories for a selection of pressure regulators.

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  • What happens after you buy an airbrush?

    Airbrush artists always need replacement and add-on parts: nozzles, tips, needles, color cups and jars, hoses, couplers, and adapters. Will you be able to find more color cups as your technique improves? Although an airbrush body may last years with proper care, airbrush parts wear out from the abrasive and caustic action of pigments, inks, and colors. Where will you find replacements?

    Dick Blick has been selling airbrushes since 1913, almost since they were invented. We carry parts and accessories to support you after you buy the airbrush.

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  • "When all else fails, read the instructions."

    This advice is especially good for anyone who has just purchased an airbrush. Most instruction sheets are written to help the user get started without any problems.

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  • The Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata
    The Blick Complete Airbrush System by Iwata

    The Blick Complete Airbrush System contains everything beginners need to start airbrushing including an Iwata Eclipse CS gravity feed dual-action airbrush. This video details all the components and provides a great demonstration. A Blick Exclusive!

  • Iwata Airbrushes - An Introduction
    Iwata Airbrushes - An Introduction

    Iwata airbrushes are some of the best performing airbrushes available. We'll take you through this extensive line series by series explaining the features and differences so you can select the right airbrush for your needs.

  • Iwata Compressors - An Introduction
    Iwata Compressors - An Introduction

    This video shows each of Iwata's Studio Series Jet Compressors and explains the features and differences of each so you know exactly which one is right for you.


Visit our YouTube Channel: Blick Videos  to watch our full selection of videos!

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