How Do I Start To Airbrush?


BARTSHARP Airbrush – Ensuring You Get The Right Products, First Time


There are now many different styles of airbrushes which can be used for a multitude of applications and mediums. Artists may start airbrushing with one airbrush but will, through time and development, purchase several different types. These could include internal or external mix as well as gravity or siphon feed all of which lend themselves to different styles and disciplines.


Video: Airbrushes Explained

An airbrush is only part of the equipment required by artists to start painting. The airbrush will need an air supply which is most commonly provided by an airbrush compressor or, less commonly, from compressed air in a can.

There are many differing styles of airbrush compressor, associated equipment and paint options; all of which can make selecting the right products seem quite overwhelming.

There are a wide variety of different models to choose from – please read our guide to airbrush compressors.


Don’t worry, we too went through this learning process!


Compressed air is sent from the compressor to a water trap/manometer/pressure regulator which removes any water vapour contained in the air (water vapour is commonly present in compressed air which is a by product of placing air though a mechanical process: compression). The artist will use the pressure regulator to define the pressure of the air being sent to the airbrush. Compressed air is delivered to the airbrush by means of an air hose which connects directly to the air outlet on the pressure regulator and the air inlet on the airbrush.

Video: How To Set And Adjust An Air Pressure Regulator


Paint is delivered, either by gravity or siphon feed, to the airbrush needle which sits within an airbrush nozzle (the needles and nozzles are available in different sizes). At rest the needle is pushed forward by a small spring which keeps it seated within the airbrush nozzle and prevents paint from passing through.

BARTSHARP Airbrush 0.3, 0.5 & 0.8mm nozzle

When the airbrush trigger is pulled back it draws the needle out of the small opening in the airbrush nozzle creating an opening for the paint to travel through. The paint travels along the needle, through the aperture in the nozzle and towards the pointed needle tip.

When the airbrush trigger is pressed it allows compressed air to travel through the airbrush and past the needle tip. With internal mix airbrushes the paint and air is mixed prior to being propelled out through the tip of the airbrush. With external mix airbrushes the paint and air is mixed outside of the airbrush tip and then propelled forward.


We have put together a number of guides to help save you time, avoid common mistakes and to get you started with airbrushing and the enjoyment it brings.

These guides will help you understand the words and phrases commonly used to describe airbrushes, airbrush compressors, associated equipment and paint.

They will also provide you with a firm foundation of knowledge so that you can select your products with confidence.


If you are looking for a bit more information then please take a look at the article at Model Space:

Model Airbrush Techniques - Scale Modelling Tips


Would you like the definitive on airbrushes and want to know the full history of how they were invented and developed? Take a read of the Wikipedia definition... be prepared for a long read!

Wikipedia - Airbrush


Our guides:


Airbrushes And Associated Terminology Explained

We explain commonly used words and phrases and walk you through how an airbrush actually works.

A Guide To Airbrushes

Which airbrush is best suited to a particular application?

Guide To Airbrush Paint

Airbrush paint explained.

A Guide To Airbrush Compressors

How does an airbrush compressor work and which one is suited to my needs?

Frequently Asked Questions And How To Avoid Airbrushing Problems

Tips and advice on how to avoid or overcome issues common to those new to airbrushing.


We also have an ever growing selection of Airbrush Advice Videos which will help you avoid common mistakes and to also get the best from your airbrush equipment.



Right Products, First Time