Hello guys,

I am planning to buy a new airbrush machine to paint my puppets and props, can anyone recommend a good quality machine?

My budget would be up to $ 500 USD. Also, I need some tips on what to avoid and how to clean it because I heard pax paint sometimes destroy the nozzle.


Thanks in advance!



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Amen to all you said, and yeah, I'm in Florida.

 I don't mind painting in front of people, until the middle of the season, then I start feeling like a stripper or something worse, "look, it's Bart, and he's doing something!" ( Simpson's reference ). It starts to feel like the whole world is on vacation, even though I know it's not true, It's hard to get past.

16 years working on a short, and I'm still not done with pre production. Gotta make a living, and stop mo gets expensive. I make "art"  to enable me to make the art I want to make, and I just keep getting older. But I know I'm lucky to a certain degree, so I really shouldn't whine. I'm living by the choices I've made, and I still hope it proves to be worthwhile. I ain't about to change horses in midstream, if one has to suffer for art, then so be it.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Excellent! Yeah, sometimes I wonder what my life would be like if I had stuck with it. Do you charge extra if you have to design a shirt for somebody? 

Yeah, you are probably lucky that you quit this crazy stuff. It's been drilled into my head that art is only worth pennies, and must be created in 5 to 35 minutes, and then you get to paint pom-poms for Buffy the cheerleader, or to commemorate the fact that Bobby loves Susie with 2 hearts with a beach scene in it, or the big buck deer that Randy Redneck likes to shoot...

Mostly it's for little kids, though, and it is totally fascinating to them. I had a kid tell me once that he had just seen Jurassic Park. I said I hadn't been able to see it yet, and asked him how it was. He said it was good, but he liked his T shirt that I had just painted for him more. I figured that ain't bad, considering how much it cost to make JP.

Of course the kid was wrong, I'm not trying to say something stupid. But the point is, the kid wasn't lying. He just had something hand made, just for him, right before his eyes.

As for me, I want to make things that take considerable effort, and pour all of my ability into it, and pray that my sense of the art of movement, sculpture, drawing, writing, editing, photography, and meaning come across to a mass audience, while being true to what I feel is the real meaning of art: communication and expression. 

It's gonna happen, or I WILL die trying. Just remember, they can only kill you once, and for the time being, at least, everybody's gotta go sooner or later.

Go Nick. Go Ron, Go Justin, Go Strider, Go all you cats, Peter Montgomery, Castle Gardener and everyone else here on this site, or even not on this site. Go all you crazy talented Luddites before Google becomes a false synthetic God and runs us all like a cattle farm in a trans-human hell on earth.

God, I gotta finish this OCD  short film.

Oh, yeah, I charge extra for custom stuff, when I actually agree to do it.

The kid wasn't wrong -  like you say, it was custom made just for him.  That's becoming a rare experience.   JP, like damn near everything, was made for a mass audience, one size fits all.  

They even mass produce little add-ons to stuff so you can express your individuality and "customise" your plastic doo-dad with exactly the same cliched stereotypical cookiecutter bits as 10 billion other consumers.  

But, yeah, do get back to work on that short!   (And remind me to make some damn progress on mine instead of stuffing about and putting it off, while you're at it.)  

By the way, is your film about OCD, or a symptom of it?  Or both?  

Wow - that was inspiring!! I feel like painting my face half blue and shouting while wearing a kilt! 

To be clear, I was never really in the T-shirt thing professionally - not the way you are. I made a bunch of them in my basement, from comic book pictures, Frazetta paintings and the like, and then got them hung up in a local comic book shop and and a shirt printing shop - they kept my name and number behind the counter to give anyone who was interested in contacting me. I got the occasional call every now and then, and I had a portfolio of images I would have loved to do, but nobody ever wanted to use one of them or to even work from an existing image, they just mumbled some incomprehensible nonsense and thought I had a clear image of exactly what they wanted. After a few months the calls slowed down and I pulled the shirts out of the shops and officially quit. 

Oh, and I also tried my hand at caricatures briefly, but learned the hard way how important it is to always flatter people - especially when you exaggerate their most prominent features! I felt so bad when I brought in this shirt to work with a gigantic image of a girl with a huge nose whose eyes were a little too close together (in real life) and I instantly saw the horror on her face. That was the last caricature I ever did or will. I Literally wanted to sink into a hole as she handed me $20 like she was signing a contract with the devil and wadded the shirt up - probably went straight home and threw it in the trash. Luckily she no longer worked there - I don't think I could have faced working with her every day after that! 

Well, first off, I want to apologize for not being more upbeat and positive, like Justin and Shel. They are just so inspirational and genuine, and the world is better with them in it.

For me, animation is a Sisyphean task that I sacrifice my life and well being for, and not something I really enjoy so much. That's not to say I don't enjoy it, it's a total obsession for me, but it's not the kind of fun like drinking margaritas on the beach, chasing bikinis around, or even finding a wife and having kids. All that stuff has been left behind many years ago, so that I can live in isolation in an old school building in the middle of nowhere, where it rains inside and leaks outside...

I'm sure I've already mentioned I wouldn't have it any other way.

No, Nick, it's not a film about OCD, but that makes me think of Mary and Max being about Asperger's syndrome. I'm trying to think how I can describe it without saying too much too soon. I'm not sure that I can...I think pretty much all I can say for now is that it is an atypical caveman movie. That's terribly vague, I know, and I'm really sorry about that, I would love to just gush it all out, but I feel I have to maintain my resolve. I will say that I believe story is paramount, and everything else is there to make the story stronger. Being a visual artist, I approach it from that side, I think it has to bang on all cylinders to work, and Justin's work is the best example of that, to me, from story to design, to editing, humor, staging, and the 12 principles. I'm not trying to slight anyone else, and to me that's the real beauty of stop motion, individuality, a sense of personal style that comes through every time. I can recognize Nick from Ron from Uncle Ray to Jim Danforth to John Dods just by seeing a single frame, and that is not what CGI seems capable of. It seems easier to guess what software package was used to create CG than the artist that created it.

I will say that I have built some enormous sets, 6 foot tall trees with millions of paper leaves, and I have developed a really cool water technique. I have a waterfall, a whirlpool, rivers and lakes. I finished resculpting my main character and making a GI 1000 silicone mold with 5 sections to accommodate the fact that he was sculpted with bent elbows and knees. I'm experimenting with a lost wax variation to create seamless puppets. 

Again, I'm gonna be only too happy to share my exact processes once I have done them myself first. 

Okay, back to what you said, Strider. When I was a teenager and in awe of the guys in the big shops, I too loved copying Frazetta. I was looking at some of his stuff online a few months ago, which I hadn't done in years, and I kinda freaked when I realized just how many of them I had copied on shirts back in the day. But I never really made any money from them because they would take me anywhere from 6 hours to 30 hours to paint, and there is a ceiling to what most people will pay for a shirt. I just did them for myself, really, but what ever happened to them, I can't imagine. The thing about custom stuff like that is that they become more valuable to have hanging around to impress people into buying # 42 or #67 because they can say, "wow, this kid can really paint!"

As far as charactures, they are not in my arsenal. I had a friend, a really big guy who called himself 'cartoon man' who was amazing at it. I babysat his cart while he went to get some sweets from the bakery, and a woman came up and asked me if I could do a characture  of her daughter, and I shook my head slowly and said, "no, I can't. You need cartoon man for that". He would bust out a killer drawing in 3 minutes, with the flattery, style, skill, and a likeness that you described. I just don't have that in me.

Okay ya'll can tell I don't get out much, or online much, and I'm rambling on like this is a blog or something, so I'll will wind it up here.


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