Want to learn more about airbrush textures? This tutorial follows on from the original covering lateral textures, hair textures and micro-shapes.
The lateral figure 8 texture
The lateral texture is best suited to areas of an artwork that appear to have direction.
A good example of this is highlighted in the leopards face on the slideshow to the right.
Lateral textures appear to be moving in a given direction & tend to have some small lines incorporated.
First mastering the figure 8 motion will make airbrushing this texture a piece of cake.
Before you begin, take note of the direction in which your texture appears to be moving & slightly angle the airbrush to encourage overspray in that direction.
Now repeat the same action that you used to create the figure 8 texture but make a little addition to the movement;
Every now and then, flick off in the direction of the texture – like a miniature dagger stroke!
The linearity of the texture in the reference (if it looks like a bunch of lines) will determine how often you create the little flicks. The more often you flick off, the more lines you create, the more directional your texture becomes.
It is easiest to think of hair textures as a series of dagger strokes – moving backwards and forwards in one direction.
Before beginning, have a good look at the type of hair you are trying to create – is it beautiful, flowing, neat hair? Is it short and messy? are you creating stubble?
Airbrushed hair textures are simple to create, but there’s a few tips on how to get the best looking result, faster;
1. For long hair, messy or straight, always begin by airbrushing with flowing movements.
Whether you’re airbrushing the hair using lines or dagger strokes keep them long and slender.
Never overlap two lines if it is neat hair that you’re creating – unless the reference calls for it. The reason for this is explained in the next point.
2. Hair textures are easier to make messy than neat. For long messy hair airbrush exactly as you did in the previous point, but overlap only 3 or 4 out of all the lines you’ve airbrushed.
How messy is the hair looking after only these couple of overlaps?
3. Short hair textures are airbrushed using short dagger strokes. Pay attention to the thickness of the hair & how long you are to create your textures.
If the stubble is messy then have your baby dagger strokes airbrushed in slightly different directions.
Wrinkle Texture/ Micro Shapes
Some textures can’t be created using just one movement.
If this is the case then it is likely you are going to have to use a series of micro shapes.
The picture here demonstrates an area packed with wrinkles.
Examine their shapes closely.
Are they made up of one dominant effect that we have already covered?
How would you go about recreating these little lines using only an airbrush?
After careful examination it becomes clear that the micro shapes are little blending lines, however depending on their size you probably won’t have to use a blend.
So let’s introduce hand stenciling.
When you airbrush using your hand as a stencil you can create some pretty interesting effects!
For the micro textures here, let’s go in and use our index finger to shield the side of the wrinkle we don’t want any paint to get onto. This creates a highlight.
Now let’s see what happens when we create a series of these stenciled lines?
Voila! You now have a series of shadows and highlights.
Not all wrinkles can be airbrushed in this way, but it’s important to know that if you’re confused on how to airbrush an area – have a closer look and use the micro shape that you see to recreate the effect.
As you improve your airbrush texturing technique you may find that you no longer need to use your hand as a stencil but instead can pull off the whole artwork using only the airbrush. This gives a much cleaner look at the end of the day and adds to the realism of the finished piece.
Once you understand the basics, it’s up to you to figure out how to create other effects such as short hair/ stubble. As your control improves so too will your ability to be able to create these effects.