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How Do I Become an Airbrush Artist?

By A.M. Boyle
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Airbrushing is an art form, and for you to become an airbrush artist, you will need a combination of skill, education, training and practice. Although there are no specific degrees required to become an airbrush artist, you should have at least a high school degree or an equivalent certification. Depending on the type of airbrushing you would like to do, some relevant college classes or workshops might also be helpful. Some employers seeking airbrush artists will require previous on-the-job experience, and others will provide the opportunity for training. Having the proper tools also is important to your success as an airbrush artist.

Airbrush artistry varies greatly in scope, and the type of airbrushing you are interested in will determine the types of classes and workshops you should pursue. For instance, if you would like to become an airbrush artist specialized in the alteration and touch-up of photographs and film, you might consider taking college courses in photography or film processing. Similarly, if you are more interested in decorative airbrushing, you might consider taking workshops or classes in drawing and painting. Numerous colleges, universities, vocational schools and trade schools offer classes such as these, and some might even offer specific workshops for airbrush artistry.

Your real training to become an airbrush artist probably will not come from classes or book knowledge but rather from training and mentoring. Airbrushing is a skill that should be learned in a hands-on manner, preferably with an experienced airbrush artist by your side. Although you can pick up tips and tricks from watching videos or through your own trial and error, having an experienced mentor available to offer guidance is the best way to develop your skill as an airbrush artist.

In addition to education, training and experience, if you want to become an airbrush artist, you likely will need to obtain your own tools. The tools required will vary based upon the type of airbrushing you will be doing. Aside from the actual airbrush, compressor and paint, you might need to obtain other basic items, such as stencils, mixing tools and cleaning supplies. Depending again on the type of airbrushing you will be doing, you might also need protective gear, such as goggles, a respirator and gloves.

In the long run, becoming a successful airbrush artist will involve plenty of patience, practice and persistence. Although you might have the talent and the desire to pursue such a career, the skill required will take time to develop. Further, the airbrush industry has continued to grow and change. This likely will require a continued effort on your part to keep up with the advancements and new techniques through seminars and workshops specific to your chosen area of airbrush artistry.

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Discussion Comments
By bythewell — On Dec 16, 2013

@umbra21 - It's still used a fair bit in various places. If you want canvas art it looks better to airbrush than to try and print out a computer generated image, in my opinion.

And a lot of people will use airbrushing for pictures on cars or murals, because it produces a better result than using brushes.

It does need a lot of practice though.

I don't think it's a bad field to go into because there aren't as many talented airbrush artists around these days as everyone goes into computers or more traditional art.

By umbra21 — On Dec 16, 2013

@KoiwiGal - It can be tough when you are first learning how to airbrush and control the paint, but it's the same as any other skill and eventually it becomes second nature.

Airbrushing doesn't actually seem as popular now as it used to be, because the same effects as just as easy to achieve with a computer but it used to be one of the most used commercial art forms, because the results were so smooth and didn't have the same painterly look that a lot of other techniques do.

By KoiwiGal — On Dec 15, 2013

It's actually really difficult to work with an airbrush. I didn't like it at all when I tried it at art school. I thought it would be fairly easy because it seems like a gradual kind of building up of color so you would be able to correct your mistakes without too many problems.

But the tool itself just seems very counter-intuitive the way it works.

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