Wrap your head around a fundamental idea, which gives you the biggest clue about how to build up and form a plan of attack for almost any artwork.
*The result of a practise piece taken from the UK Airbrush Course November 2013 class project:
Floating shapes are the most difficult of all airbrush effects to pull off accurately, especially if they are light tonal intensities. A floating shape can be seen in the finished image above in the area to the left of the eye, which forms the shadow to the right of the bridge of the nose. All other effects generally come from darker areas, which I like to refer to as ‘tonal buffer zones’.
In the above image the entire surrounding border is a tonal buffer zone in itself – you can take full advantage of starting your effects far off the artwork, this allows us to;
- Ensure that we are executing the effect at the right tonal value,
- Ensure that we are executing the effect at the right height,
- Ensure that our airbrush is working 100% correctly. We can do all of the above items before we actually begin to put any paint onto the artwork, it also limits any risk of spitting onto the artwork.
Can you spot the tonal buffer zone in the image below?
When you don’t have the option to begin your effect from the border of an artwork, you then need to look for and identify other tonal buffer zones. These areas are generally the darkest areas of the artwork and subsequently the areas that all other effects are birthed from!
Have a look at the image above and you’ll see that all surrounding effects and shapes in this area, come from the right corner of the eye. Notice how all other effects come from this? There really are no other floating shapes. This means that you can use the corner of the eye as a tonal buffer zone and pull all of the surrounding effects out from it!
This also reinforces what I say all the time, to build up your effects slowly! If your tonal buffer zone is at 90% opacity, then you need to make sure that you don’t go too dark with your combined effects! Hopefully this post has shed a little light on tonal buffer zones – it is very interesting to look at images such as the one above and notice that 95% of the effects in the image originate from just the one area!
Learn to identify these areas and you will boost your confidence incredibly. Just another way airbrush tutor is continuing to spread the love…