Talent and Airbrushing?

As I have read a lot of airbrush tutorials and watched many videos I got the feeling that if you want to do airbrush you don’t have to be an artist nor talented at all. All you have to know is how to use airbrush and that’s it.

I Don’t Agree! Why?

Even if you know how to use airbrush and you know how to use masking and stencils to create some special effect but when it comes to art, the piece you just painted has no artistic value. Let me explain! Imagine you are doing real fire effect and following all the guidance  from professionals (dvds, books, etc.) and the harder you try the worse it gets. Even after long days (maybe weeks) you aren’t getting any further. It still doesn’t look like real fire. From my experience I was very bad in portraits. I always wanted to paint some of my friends or some famous person but every time I tried the result didn’t satisfied me. When I showed it to somebody, the first impression was “WOW!” ,”This is great!” but when I said who was on that portrait I heard only “Are You Sure?”. I could do nature, still life or even animals but when it comes to people (especially faces) I had no chance. Even trying to find out what the hell is wrong with my painting I couldn’t. Eyes, nose … everything was proportional and right  size (I think) but I’ve missed something that made that portrait to be named “Unknown”.

Nowadays artists are given some tools that make their job much easier. I know that a lot of them use stencils and some even projectors (mostly for flat surface). They are using it not just to speed up the process but to get it exactly as original.

Does Artist Need a Stencil?

Well, first of all I don’t think that real artist painting his masterpiece need to use stencils. Masking, yes, for airbrushing it’s really needed, but stencils are not. All right  there are some special stencils that are used just for masking (for example for real fire effect) but are still called stencils. What I mean here are stencils made with full shape of painted object (like skulls, dragons, etc.). So after all, everything you need are skills with airbrush but no talent. Talent comes only when you want that stencil object to look realistic and all that left after stencil is just it’s shape. So very important thing if you want to show your talent then you always have to make final look of the painting be your only one original.

Another thing to consider is your own stencils. In previous paragraph I meant stencils that you can buy on Internet or local shop. Now imagine that there could be thousands, literally thousands people who had bought the very same stencils you did. I don’t think that stencils make a good name for airbrushing. Yes it makes it easier, but have same shapes on hundreds of vehicles makes it look like the car wasn’t painted at all, it is just a sticker :(.

Here I want to mention one name Mike Lavallee. He uses stencils, and very often his own stencils but the final painting looks totally awesome and original, you can’t even see the trace of stencil. If you’ve seen any of Mike’s videos you know that always after stencil comes free hand (that belong to a real artist), that’s what makes it look awesome.

Can Airbrushing be Described as Art?

According to Wikipedia

Generally, art is made with the intention of stimulating thoughts and emotions“. Tweet This!

So if you bring to your painting your thoughts and emotions then you creating an art. Otherwise blind copying of the stencil can not be taken as art, in my opinion.

This isn’t an article where I’m trying to convince everyone that I’m right. This is only my subjective look and I’m curious what the rest of you are thinking. So please don’t hesitate and leave a comment with your ideas and opinions.

  • Joseph Jumbe

    i totally agree with you on that one.

  • well, the capacity to create art grows consistently by hard work and perseverance, and if you can evoke reminiscently thoughts and emotions in people, you are an artist. but i insist, it takes hard work and perseverance. thanks for your article and quotes.

    • No Jose, Thank you for reading it and leaving a comment, i appreciate it.

  • No Deborah, you don’t have to take it like that. It’s just my subjective look on the topic. If your customers or you, yourself are happy with the final result just continue to do what you’re doing and enjoy it… May I ask? Were your hand cut stencils designed by yourself?