A review of one of the most well-known, best selling brands of airbrush paint.
A friend of mine (Kevin Cordy of the orange airbrush forum) recently handed me 2 small bottles of com-art paints. I’ve heard good things about them and they are regarded as being in the same category as Createx Illustration paints and Etac Efx paints, each of which have sterling reputations.
For this quick project I was using a micron CM-C, this is the gravity feed version with no mac valve, so the detail it provides isn’t the best of it’s class, but it’s damn fine. Without any reduction the paint flows smoothly and accurately with surprisingly little tip dry.
The image displayed above is completely freehand and is around the size of a penny and the detail was easy to achieve with this combination of products.
The picture above is a good result of the detail lines you can achieve as such soft intensities WITHOUT any reducer. This is straight out of the bottle. The eye lashes have been done with the aid of frisket, however shadows and more subtle lashes can be done freehand with a bit of care and cleaning the tip regularly. I was amazed that we could get these sort of results with water based paint, normally you have to do alot more erasing work. Also notice the hard line at the top of the image, this line is around 2mm wide and simple to achieve freehand with this combination of materials!
While the textures of this image have been created using erasers and such, some of the darker areas in the iris, such as those to the left have been reinforced using freehand airbrushing. Normally you’d need to clean the tip after every pass, however if you have regular paint flow (i.e. if you’re moving fast), then tip dry isn’t much of a problem at all and allows you to get into the tighter areas.
While I love the quality of the paint and it’s erasibility, the only downfalls I can throw at these products are these two pesky items;
1. The bottles aren’t big enough. For such a great quality product, I’d really like to have more. These particular bottles are only 28mL. If you’re doing full color portraiture and heavy color mixing, then you may find yourself going through this paint fast. In saying this, the paint is priced competitively and you’ll find that two bottles may be worth 1 of another brand of the same quantity.
Since the time of writing I have been made aware that these same com-art paints are available in 4oz, 16oz and 32oz sizes! This means that you can purchase larger quantities of the colors you use most often. The larger the bottles you purchase, the better value for money also!
2. The paint is too thin. However I also feel that this is one of the paints strengths. If you’re working on an absorbant surface, even paper, then using this paint at low pressures is going to deliver the performance you need for a great quality finished product.
Also having the paint this thin, means that you have better flow straight out of the bottle, hell if it didn’t come reduced I’d be reducing it anyway. And here is the finished result.
After using a low-tac border tape to mask the image, i removed it all, backmasked the artwork and put the transparent black into the airbrush. I mixed it with around 50% water to test adhesion and see how the flow was. Adhesion is great on poster board (a semi-gloss finish) for illustrative work and the flow was excellent.
Since urethanes, I must say this is one of the strongest performing water based paints I’ve used. This entire image was done using transparents (royal blue and black) and I’d love to have a go with the opaque. While I didn’t have any to perform this test, I have used them briefly and can vouch that they are also very thin and smooth-flowing. If this is how all com-art paints perform, then they easily get my tick of approval, I just want to get some more so I can get cracking on a color artwork!