History of Airbrush
An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media including ink and dye, but most often paint by a process of nebulization. Spray guns were developed from the airbrush and are still considered a type of airbrush.The first airbrush, depending on the definition, was patented in 1876 (Patent Number 182,389) by Francis Edgar Stanley of Newton, Massachusetts. Stanley and his twin brother later invented a process for continuously coating photographic plates (Stanley Dry Plate Company) but are perhaps best known for their Stanley Steamer. No artistic images that used this 'paint distributor / atomizer' exist or are as yet known.
Characteristics:Airbrushes are usually classified by three characteristics. The first characteristic is the action performed by the user to trigger the paint flow while the second is the mechanism for feeding the paint into the airbrush and the third is the point at which the paint and air mix. Triggers: The simplest airbrushes work with a single action mechanism where the depression of a single "trigger" results in paint and air flowing into the airbrush body and the atomized paint being expelled onto the target surface. Great for one color backdrops or backgrounds. Dual action or double action airbrushes separate the function for air and paint flow so that the user can control the volume of airflow and the concentration of paintflow through two independent mechanisms. This allows for greater control and a wider variety of artistic effects. This type of airbrush is more complicated in design than single action airbrushes, although it my be a little more challenging the dual action if perfered. This airbrush provides much more capabilites when it comes to doing art or rephototouching. FEED SYSTEM: Paint can be fed by gravity from a paint reservoir sitting atop the airbrush (called gravity feed) or siphoned from a reservoir mounted below (bottom feed) or on the side (side feed). Each feed type carries unique advantages. Gravity feed instruments require less air pressure for suction as the gravity pulls the paint into the mixing chamber. Typically instruments with the finest mist atomization and detail requirements use this method. Side- and bottom-feed instruments allow the artist to see over the top, with the former sometimes offering left-handed and right-handed options to suit the artist. A bottom feed airbrush typically holds a larger capacity of paint than the other types, and is often preferable for larger scale work such as automotive applications and tee-shirt design.
Mix point:With an internal mix airbrush the paint and air mix inside the airbrush (in the tip) creating a finer atomized "mist" of paint. With external mix the air leaves the airbrush before it comes into contact with the paint which creates a coarser stippled effect. External mix airbrushes are cheaper and more suited for covering larger areas with more viscous paints or varnishes
Airbrushes are also suitable for painting murals.
Airbrushes are commonly used by scale modeling enthusiasts because finer coats can be laid down, as well as opaque effects, like weathering, adding stains etc. The fine atomization of paint in modern airbrushes also makes it possible to accurately reproduce soft-edged mottled camouflage schemes, which are very hard to do convincingly by hand-brushing (Luftwaffe aircraft are a good example of this).