Capture the radiance of sunflowers with airbrushed art.
Sunflowers are full of movement, which makes an airbrush an ideal tool for capturing their beauty. The wide variety of sunflowers available for you to paint makes them an exhaustive subject on which to hone your airbrush skills. Start out with basic airbrush moves on a piece of paper, and after you’ve mastered that, move on to airbrushing sunflowers on T-shirts, canvas bags and jumper dresses. All you’ll need to get started is a few basic airbrush tools and art utensils.
1. Place a large newsprint art pad on an easel. Hook up your airbrush to an air hose and compressor tank. Attach a jar of airbrush-ready yellow paint to your airbrush hose.
2. Hold your airbrush like you would a pen. Place your index finger on the small trigger button in the top center of the brush. Drape the air hose over your arm to keep it out of the way of your paper. Position the airbrush a half-inch away from the paper on a large newsprint art pad.
3. Pull the trigger down and back while holding the airbrush a half-inch from the paper. Draw a large circle with a diameter of 4 to 5 inches in the center of the page. Move the airbrush so that it’s 3 to 4 inches away from the paper. Start at the left, pull the trigger down and back halfway and slowly move to the right of the circle. As you approach the middle and right edges of the circle, depress the trigger further to allow more paint to hit the surface of the paper. Repeat this process until you’ve shaded the entire circle, which will form the center of your sunflower.
4. Remove the yellow paint and replace it with brown. Spray the airbrush on a scrap piece of newspaper until the color coming out is brown and no longer yellow. Hold the airbrush 1/4 inch away from the surface of the paper. Position it at the top center of the circle. Pull the trigger down to release brown paint. Hold the airbrush gun steady to create a brown dot in that spot. Move the airbrush to the right and create a second small dot. Repeat this process until you have filled the sunflower head with seeds.
5. Change out the airbrush paint from brown to orange. Clear the brown color on a piece of newspaper. Hold the airbrush a half-inch from the surface of your painting and draw a narrow oval on the top center of the circle to form the first petal. Make the oval about 3 inches tall and 1/4 inch wide. Repeat until the entire perimeter of the sunflower head is filled with petals.
6. Keep the airbrush a half-inch from the paper and depress the trigger fully. Draw a small triangle between the tips of the petals to give the impression of a second row of petals and to add depth to your painting.
7. Hold the airbrush 1 inch away from the paper and depress the trigger all the way down. Follow the outline of each petal, all the way around the flower. Release the trigger to stop the paint flow. Move back to the first petal at the top center of the flower. Hold the airbrush 1 inch away but depress the trigger only halfway down to fill the center of each petal with a light coat of orange paint.
8. Switch the paint color from orange to yellow. Hold the airbrush 1 inch away from the paper, depress the trigger halfway and make a light yellow line down the center of each petal for depth and color.
9. Switch the paint color from yellow to green. Clear the color on a piece of newspaper until green comes out. Hold the airbrush a half-inch from the paper. Pull the trigger down all the way. Draw two leaves coming out from either side of the base of the sunflower head. Release the trigger. Hold the airbrush 1 inch from the paper and pull the trigger down halfway to fill the leaves with green.
10. Hold the airbrush 1 inch from the paper and create two vertical lines running down from the leaves to the base of the paper to create the sunflower stalk. Position the lines 1 inch apart. Hold the airbrush trigger halfway down to fill the stalk with green paint. Allow the paint to dry for at least 30 minutes before removing your airbrushed sunflower from the pad.