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Shattered Glass



Having taught a whole lot of airbrush getaway courses over the years, the most frequent grumblings I’ve ever heard from those artists who are accustomed to freehanding everything is that frisket are a pain in the #.#. It doesn’t seem to be the masks so much as having to wrestle with placing them perfectly in position before being able to move on with the painting.

Sometimes the process of producing an airbrush painting can resemble having to put together an elaborate puzzle. Patience is required with almost every masterpiece created with an airbrush, regardless of how it is accomplished. But, here’s a project that ( while it still demands that pieces be removed and replaced) doesn’t require painstaking registration or precision when replacing frisket masks. In fact, positioning pieces to mask off register is the whole idea.

I began by shooting a snapshot of broken glass as reference. I lightly pencilled the shapes onto a piece of smooth hot-press illustration board. Though I plan to accomplish my painting primarily with frisket film, I photocopied my drawing just in case the need should arise to use paper masks along the way. Note: Due to the dimension of the glass, as the edge of one shard passes under another, the edge will often stagger. This observation, if you, too, have photo reference as a guide, will lend credibility to your art.


The perimeter was then taped off, and frisket film was applied to cover the surface. The frisket fil was then cut along each pencil line in the drawing. Since I have the luxury of the snapshot as reference, I have referred back to the photo and removed pieces of mask which represent shards of broken glass, and replaced them deliberately off register. The object is to leave exposed gaps along certain edges. Some gaps are wider than others. I use my photo as a guide. Into these gaps I have painted a mix of Com-Art Transparent Black and Ultramarine. Many of these gap shapes represent dimensional edges. Once the color has been painted, some lighter refraction shapes maybe achieved by gently scraping with a knife blade or by erasing by hand ( an electric eraser might shred the edge of the mask).

Note: As with any art produced with masks, do not throw away any pieces of mask until the painting has been completed to your satisfaction. Shapes cut from the frisket film in this piece are cut one time only.

As some gap shapes are painted, the frisket shape is repositioned to create a painted line along another edge of the shard. Once edges have been painted, the mask is repositioned and adhered in its original position on the art.


The painting continues, and as you can see in this photo, I reveal edges of several shards at a time. There is no need to tediously paint edges on one shard and then go on to another. By painting details into several non-adjacent areas, the project develops quickly.


Once all the edge detail paintings was completed, I reveled the masks from every shape representing a glass shard, leaving only the white background concealed, and sprayed a light overall tone of a mix OF Ultramine and smoke. I scraped with a knife blade to create highlights along some edges. ( if you project entails working on a surface where scraping is not an option, you could reposition frisket shapes which you have saved and spray white to create crisp highlights.) The completed art is shown in this view.


  1. Airbrushing Shattered Glass - September 22, 2013

    […] of one way to airbrush Shattered Glass by Airbrush Action Mag. Very nice work and handy to know. Shattered Glass These guys are great. […]

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