An airbrush is a small, air-operated tool that sprays various media, most often paint but also ink and dye, by a process of nebulization. Spray painting developed from the airbrush and is considered to employ a type of airbrush.
The first airbrush, called a Paasche, was patented in 1876 by O.W. Paasche in the United States. Charles Burdick, a medical illustrator, and his brother Edward, created the first airbrush machine in 1893.
While the airbrush was originally designed for painting, it has been adopted by a variety of other industries including cosmetics, cake decorating, and even auto body repair.
A typical airbrush set-up includes an air compressor, airbrush, and a medium, such as paint, which is fed from a gravity-fed or siphon-fed cup attached to the airbrush. The airbrush is connected to the compressor by a flexible hose.
The airbrush operates by supplying a stream of compressed air through a nozzle, which atomizes the medium into a fine mist. The user controls the amount of medium released by depressing a trigger which opens a valve.
The size of the droplets and the amount of paint released can be varied by changing the nozzle size, or by adjusting the air pressure. Lowering the air pressure will result in a larger, softer spray, while increasing the pressure will produce a smaller, harder spray.
Airbrushes are commonly used in beauty salons to apply foundation and other makeup. They are also commonly used by cake decorators to apply frosting, and by auto body shops to apply primer and paint.
Airbrushes can also be used for art, such as painting murals or creating illustrations. Many airbrush artists use their skills to create T-shirts, posters, and other works of art.