Ever since I learned that one of my favorite illustrators, K.Y.Craft, uses airbrush to lay down her initial color in a painting and then paints the details in oil paint with traditional brushes, I have been fascinated with this idea. Ms. Craft's work is fine and detailed and I love trying to emulate her (not copy. ) Although my style is different, we both orbit around the same star. Problem is, I've never attempted airbrush before and it requires all this expensive equipment. (Sheesh. Making art can often be such a costly enterprise.) So I've had the idea rolling around in the back of my brain for a while.
Then, Eureka! I went to a yard sale recently and for $20 found a Paasche air compressor! It's an older one without a moisture trap (but I can buy one on eBay for $18) and it works fine. Good for a starter machine. Later I will probably want to buy a larger machine with the requisite bells and whistles.
I spent the weekend investigating what kind of airbrush to acquire and have settled on either an Iwata Eclipse BCS or and Iwata HP-BCS. I will try to buy one used on eBay before forking out another $150 for a single new brush. (later: I DID win an auction for the Eclipse BCS for $58. Yay!) I also bought on eBay that moisture regulator, a roll of frisket and a clamp-on airbrush stand. I found a used manual on Amazon, read it, and am excited to start experimenting. Now all I need are some extra airbrush bottles for paint. I already have a respirator. (So far I've spent $118. Had I bought all this new, it would have cost me $420 and if I'd bought a better compressor, it would have been more like $700. There's nothing like getting a deal. )
I think adding airbrush to my paintings to smooth out some background areas will work well. (Don't worry, I have no intention of creating airbrush-only paintings. They are too slick looking for my taste.) Just take a look at Craft's work to see what I mean about adding softness to the underpainting.