Painting Latex with Airbrush Questions

edited January 2017 in Painting
So I had my first go at using an airbrush and painting latex today after watching Tim Martin's tutorial and hit a few snags.

1) No matter what ratio of rubber cement/thinner/oil paint I used, it was always way too watery and felt like I was simply spraying water as opposed to a mist of color. Is this a ratio issue, or an airbrush/compressor setting problem?

2) When I finished, I was quite pleased with the results (even if it was a struggle), but a few hours later, I found that the paint had dried with a very dull look; like the colors became desaturated or the piece became coated in dust (it hadn't). When the latex was pulled or twisted, the paint "broke" a part, and became duller and even let some of the latex show through.

3) Also, are there any ways to seal the completed latex piece (while keeping flexibility)?

4) For the completed project, I'd like to have some of the skin appear slightly wet (again, while keeping flexibility). Will Tim's epoxy trick work for this, or does the epoxy crack?

5) Tim says to always use oil paint, while other videos the artist used acrylic. Is there a reason why someone who would use one over the other?

Any ideas of what I'm doing wrong? I can paint by hand pretty well, but the airbrush is still a mystery to me.

Thanks so much!

Post edited by Christopher Franklin on

Best Answer

  • Answer ✓
    Hi Christopher,

    On your first question, if the rubber cement paint is too watery you may be using too much thinner.  Getting that ratio right is challenging as the mixture will start a bit thicker, but then thin out as the thinner has time to dissolve the rubber cement into a suspension.  And over even more time the mixture will start to thicken as the thinner evaporates.  You'll find your right ratio, it may just take a few more attempts!

    For your second question, colors dulling is totally natural.  They will appear more vibrant when the paint is wet due to the moisture provided by the thinner.  You can get that vibrance back by sealing your work with a gloss or semi-gloss.  I recommend using "Liquitex Gloss Varnish"   Their varnish line is great, and ranges from dull to shiny, in this order:  Matte, Satin, Gloss, High Gloss.  They remain flexible and work great.

    If the paint is cracking or flaking, that means you need more rubber cement in your paint, which probably goes back to your first issue of the paint being too watery.

    For making parts look shiny you can use a high gloss varnish, or use non-yellowing epoxy.  If the area is super large, you will have better luck with a varnish.  The epoxy is easier for smaller areas where the rigidity it adds is not a concern.  Epoxy is great for eyes, teeth, wounds, etc.  For larger areas I would stick with varnish.

    For question 5, what paints you use are usually based part on personal preference and part on the techniques/materials you are working with.  In this case oil paints are recommended when making rubber cement paints.  In my experience acrylic paints don't work as well with rubber cement, but other folks may have more advice there.

    If you want to use acrylic paints you can make your own PAX paint which works on masks.  PAX is a mixture (roughly 50/50) of Liquitex acrylic paint and Prosaide prosthetic adhesive. Some folks prefer this method as it is not as toxic as working with rubber cement and solvents.  You just thin PAX with water down to what ever consistency you like.

    Best of luck!



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