As a amateur settling on your very first airbrush is usually a discouraging exercise only because presently there is so much specialized vocabulary involved with the device. This article explains the specialized words and phrases you have to know to help with making an educated decision regarding which airbrush to shop for.
Essentially there are two basic varieties of airbrushes; the single-action as well as the double-action (in some cases labeled as dual-action). The “action” being referenced is the mechanism needed to dispense paint through your brush. A single-action airbrush just simply consists of a single action to spray paint – pressing downwards on the trigger. Pressing downwards the trigger using a single-action airbrush activates the air flow along with the paint flow from your airbrush. Single-action airbrushes perform a lot like citadel colors only with a smaller sized scale because you’ve got minimal control over the flow of the paint.
A double-action airbrush will require two motions: pushing the trigger all the way down and pulling the trigger back. Pushing the trigger straight down initiates the flow of air within the airbrush and drawing the trigger backwards initiates the flow of paint. The two actions provide for customizable combinations of air and paint supply through the airbrush which generally gives you greater control. A double-action brush is effective at painting very thin lines to very thick lines.
The next aspect to consider are the varieties of of airbrushes of which there are three: Gravity Fed, Siphon Fed and Side Fed.
Gravity feed brushes have a cup or reservoir at the top of the brush for you to put paint inside. The paint drips directly down into the airbrush by the force of gravity precisely where it comes in contact with the air supply and sprays out the front of the brush.
Siphon fed brushes have a reservoir (a bottle) that is secured to the bottom part of the tool. The reservoir has a tube that stretches from the bottom part of the container to the airbrush. As air flows through the airbrush paint is siphoned (or sucked) up through the pipe and inside the airbrush where it then sprays out. Last of all the side fed airbrushes are a combo of gravity fed and siphon feed.
A side feed brush has the simplicity of use of an open reservoir much like the gravity feed, but it’s positioned on the side of the airbrush out of the artists view. As air goes through the airbrush it siphons the paint in the side reservoir into the air stream and, again, sprays it out the front.
For a amateur airbrush artist it is highly recommended to buy a dual-action, gravity feed airbrush as they are the most versatile yet most basic of the three designs.