Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Airbrushing 101 - What every cake artist needs to know!

One of the things I love about teaching, working for the Canadian Cake Decorator’s Guild and being present on social media, is the visibility I have to the Cake Decorating community.  As a teacher by nature, I am usually pretty giving with information and willing to answer pretty much any question.  In a recent class, my students were working on their sugar flowers and we were talking and the topic of Airbrushing came up.  In my opinion, I would say this topic comes up a lot.  Airbrushing is one of those topics that people love or are intimidated by.  I figured the blog was a perfect place to “air it all out” so to speak.

I remember my first airbrush experience like it was yesterday (maybe because 7 years later I am still finding red airbrush color every time I mop the kitchen floor).  My parents bought me a badger airbrush that I hooked up to my compressor that we around the house (tire inflations, nail guns, etc).  I had done a 3D car and wanted to airbrush it to get a truer red.  I hooked it all up, turned the compressor on and filled the reservoir with Super Red airbrush color and had at it.  The cake looked great!  My beige kitchen was now pink!  Walls, floor, ceiling….everything was covered!!  I spent more time washing everything than I did working on the cake in the end.  Lesson learned – protect your workspace.

I put the airbrush away, but took it out every now and then to play.  I just never seemed to get the control or ability for fine detail the way some of my cake heroes did, despite watching and reading countless tutorials online.  I was feeling defeated – I usually pick things up easily this way, but I just wasn’t getting it.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that my feelings for airbrushing changed.  I was at Icing Inspirations taking Rick Reichart’s Discover Your Innner Artist Class 2.  Icing Inspirations brings in the best of the best when it comes to instructors.  Rick taught us about the “anatomy of the airbrush” and how to control it.  It was then that I fell in love with my current airbrush by Grex (but that is a whole other conversation).  Taking the class just because of the airbrushing component was the best thing I ever did to hone my skills!

The reason I never took a class for airbrushing before was that I have to travel to classes, and to bring my airbrush with me would be a major pain.  The nice thing about the classes at Icing Inspirations is that the classroom is equipped with an airbrush for every single student!  That’s right – no need to bring one with you.  And if you don’t have an airbrush and have been on the fence about making the investment, then taking a class at Icing Inspirations would be ideal – you could give it a shot before making the commitment. 

 I know they have Lisa Berzcel – an acclaimed airbrush specialist – coming in May to give a series of classes for all levels on airbrushing techniques.  There are 3 different classes total each building upon skill set, and the classes are reasonably priced too.   Lisa is probably the best person to learn from when it comes to airbrushing – her work is bar none!  I am totally jealous that I can’t make this set of classes, but she is indeed on my bucket list of instructors to learn from.

 So the moral of the story is don’t think that by reading, following an online tutorial, or practicing on your own is the best way to learn airbrushing, since you will more than likely end up frustrated.  Do yourself the favor and take a class.  Invest in yourself and the skills will come.  I have gone from feeling defeated and intimidated, to being a lean mean airbrushing machine!  I airbrush pretty much anything  I can now J