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The works in our issue definitely are, yet the degree of realism and the proportion of fantasy are very different – that’s what makes this mix so interesting: In the fairytale-like illustration by New York artist Jeffrey Martinez, the fantasy element clearly predominates. However, its reduced, monochrome overall composition makes the work particularly impressive. Marissa Oosterlee’s mermaid portrait is a perfect example of how fantasy and realism can artistically merge. Unlike what we are used to from the Dutch artist, the work is very realistic, but not photorealistic. Even the mermaid does not correspond to the prototype of this fantasy genre – in the overall impression of painting style and motif, however, the fantasy impression becomes perfect.

The New York patissier Alexey Ivanov has taken an example from the post-impressionist art of Vincent van Gogh in designing a breathtaking cake. As a tribute to the famous artist, he transfers van Gogh‘s world of art and painting styles into a „fantastic“ edible piece using airbrush technique and sugar modelling. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum from fantasy and realism is the work of US artist David Nunez. He shows a realistic animal illustration that he painted in grisaille technique and then coloured. Brian Jones furthermore takes us into the almost extinct discipline of technical illustration with the airbrush technique. For 40 years, the British artist has been illustrating mainly steam locomotives and jet planes for museums and industry.

The contributions in this issue thus show that fantasy and realism need by no means be opposites. The techniques used are as broad as the range of designs: Watercolour mixed media, Grisaille technique, erasing, scratching and masking techniques on cardboard as well as cake decoration techniques show the whole range of our beloved painting tool.

Speaking of painting tools: We devote this issue to a piece of airbrush equipment that leads a bit of a shadowy existence in the industry: the compressor. Conveniently hidden under the table, it rarely appears in the hype about the „best product“ discussions as they exist about airbrushes and paints. But without it as an air source, nothing works in airbrushing. So in this issue, it gets the attention it deserves and you, the reader, get the most important features, criteria, facts and tips you should know about it.

We hope you enjoy discovering, trying out, being fascinated and inspired!

Your ASBS Team



Step by Steps

Ocean Eyes – Effect portrait

Marissa Oosterlee’s love of the sea and nature is as great as her passion for art. With „Ocean Eyes“ Marissa shows a diverse mixed media of airbrush, watercolour and etching techniques.


Tawny Owl – Animal Illustration

The US artist David Nunez has created a design in Procreate from various references and painted it in grisaille technique with airbrush and brush on a gesso board.


Sweet Van Gogh – Cake design

New York-based patissier Alexey Ivanov has designed a Van Gogh 3D cake at the request of a client. Alexey explains not only the airbrushing process, but also the complete construction of his sugar work.


The last unicorn – Fantasy illustration

A fairytale motif has been „conjured up“ by New York artist Jeffrey Martinez : With only two colours, stencilling and freehand work, he created a monochrome fantasy illustration with a unicorn and a princess castle.



Compressors 101 – Features, types, models, connection, maintenance
The most important features, criteria, facts and tips about the air source compressor compiled and interview with the leading compressor manufacturer Sparmax.



Steam locomotives and jets – Technical illustration by Brian Jones
British illustrator Brian Jones specialises in technical illustrations for museums and industry. In this interview he gives us a brief insight into his work and his working methods.