Monday, November 18, 2013

Craftsy Class Review: The Art of Airbrushing

The Art of Airbrushing was taught by Lisa Berczel, and was actually worth the cost. I learned some technical stuff about airbrushes, so I'll be able to decide whether to upgrade to a better one when my little one dies.

For someone like myself, who used to live in Florida and who has seen a lot of airbrushed t-shirts and vans, The use of "airbrush" and "art" in the same sentence is a bit of an oxymoron. This class approaches airbrushing for cakes as an art in that you have to devote some time to learning the tools and techniques before you can get a good result. I still think that "art" is a stretch, but I can't get the images of the unicorn vans out of my head.

In any case, this class actually did teach me some things, mostly technical stuff about the equipment itself. It's very heavy on the technical stuff and a bit light on the specifics of the actual painting, other than how to use stencils, but the information that she does give is enough to get a solid start. This is the kind of thing that you have to practice for yourself. If you pay attention you'll be able to go practice and have a decent idea about what you should be doing, even if you've ever used an airbrush before.

There's also a good section on troubleshooting, which is important. Since airbrushes have very specific things they can and can't do, it's important to know if problems that you're having are because of the equipment itself, or because of something you're doing.

As far as the painting goes, she demonstrates the basics, plus some techniques taken from painting (with actual paints) which are used with cocoa butter in this case. The only thing worth mentioning is that she does everything on an easel with icing sheets, not on actual cakes, other than showing some all-over color techniques. If you're specifically looking for tips on how to airbrush patterns and designs directly onto cakes, this might not be it for you.

The one gripe that I have with this class is that she mentions toward the beginning about respiratory problems that can come from inhaling the particles that the airbrush puts out, then never really covers it again. There's a section on fans, which I think is when that would be covered, but she didn't really bring it up then. Just be aware that when you're inhaling particles of anything it isn't good for you. There's an actual condition called "baker's lung" that results from inhaling particles of flour, sugar, etc, and anyone who's used an airbrush knows that you inhale the color when you spray it. I would set up an airbrushing station outside, or at least in a garage somewhere, and use a mask when you do it. I use a box to catch the overspray and wear a mask, and that helps a lot.

My final review:

Skill level: A beginner could benefit from this, and if you've used an airbrush but don't know much about the machines themselves, it would also be worth it (on sale).
Equipment you have to have: Airbrush equipment and colors.
Sleep-inducing level: I had to take a nap in the middle of the painting section.
What it assumes you already know: Not much.
Unnecessary Difficulty Level Of Methods Demonstrated: Nothing much, it's pretty easy to follow.
Annoying Host Habits: Not a habit so much as a warning...she's very dry in her delivery, which is fine if you like matter-of-fact and solid information without a lot of giggling. For people who like cheerleaders for instructors her delivery is going to be too staid for you.
Level of Helpful Hints Learned: There's a lot of information about the airbrushes themselves, and basics of how to do some different techniques to get you started.

I'd say that this class it totally worth it for people who haven't used an airbrush before and who want to see what they're all about. I've done very basic airbrushing for years but I still got a lot out of it as far as technical information goes, so I'd say that it was worth a look. I don't know why it's in the "Master Class" section, because it's not something that a beginner couldn't do.

Click here for my Craftsy pattern shop, which has a bunch of freebies in it: A Cake To Remember On Craftsy


Kara Buntin owns A Cake To Remember LLC,  online cake supplies at  www.acaketoremember.com and www.acaketoremember.etsy.com

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