I get a lot of emails from people who are interested in Airbrushing but have no idea how to get started, so I thought I'd write this post to answer some of those questions; This is a very simple explanation that tells you the basics, there is so much information on Airbrushing I could write a book about it, but for now I'll keep it simple.
The first thing I would recommend is finding out what type of Airbrushing Technique you will be doing; There are many Airbrushes out there, and although you can use any Airbrush for any type or technique (T-shirts, Automobile, Illustration) some are more appropiate for certain techniques, so you have to decide or have an idea of what it is you will be Airbrushing.
Another important item is the air supply, will you be using a CO2 tank or a compressor?, and if you will be using a compressor, is it an industrial compressor, or a silent compressor?; The CO2 tank is the quietest of all, it makes no noise because is filled with compressed air but you have to keep refilling it every time it goes empty, you can chose two different sizes: 20 lbs. or 50 lbs the bigger one lasts a lot longer, but is not as easy to carry around when you have to fill it.
Silent compressors are great to work with because they don't make a lot of noise, but are more expensive than regular compressors, so if you don't mind the noise and are on a budget you might be better off with a regular compressor.
There are a lot of different types of paints, some of them are already mixed to be used on the Airbrush, and some are not, there are Textile Paints for T-shirts, Urethanes for Automobile Airbrushing, Acrylics for Illustration on board or canvas; These different types of paint have different thickness and diffenent size pigments so you have to learn how to use them and at what air pressure each one works best; Also if they are not pre-mixed you have to learn how to mix them so you can Airbrush with them.
When you have an idea of what it is that you want regarding materials, then you can start by trying out the Airbrush to do some Artwork, most people have a hard time learning how to control the trigger so you can control the flow of the paint, and the thickness of the line; The pressure of the air is very important as well as what type of paints you'll be using; but when you do figure it out and feel comfortable with what you will be working with, then the only thing left is practice, and then more practice, and after that more practice.
Once you are familiar with the Airbrush and how it works, you would have to start focusing on what it is you want to Airbrush, if you want to paint motorcycles then you have to learn how to prepare the surface where you will be Airbrushing, figure out which paints to use, and how to prepare them, also how to protect the Artwork once it is finished; Some techniques are more elaborate than others, for example to Airbrush on a T-shirt all you have to do is place the shirt over a flat board to have it flat and Paint on it your image, and when you finish just heat press it for the Artwork to last longer. On Automobile Airbrushing however, you have to sand the surface you will be painting, and this has to be done after the paint job is finished (unless you have experience with body work and paint) then you Airbrush the Artwork and then have to shoot a Clear Coat to protect it. or have someone else do it.
Well I think I covered the basics, I don't know exactly what kind of experience you may have on your own Artwork, but the Airbrush is just another tool that you have to learn how to apply to your own skills and experience. Let me know if this helps you out, and I'll try to answer any other questions you have, feel free to ask. or leave a comment here and I'll read it.