So spraypaint. What can we say about spraypaint that people don't already know... It comes in a can under pressure with solvent and is propelled out though a nozzle at the top onto surfaces. But I can probably guess you guys know that already without being too wrong. Below is a cut away diagram of a spraypaint can; The important parts for the artist to know about are the air(/propellant), the caps/s and the ball.
The ball is the easiest to talk about is the ball, it's there for mixing the paint. Simple as that really, but importantly you have to shake the can. If it's the first use of the can, or first in a ling time, then you have to shake that can like Miley Cyrus twerks. The more you shake it the less likely you are to block your valve/cap. I've found that some brands take a hell of a load more shaking than others, particularly anything that has 'great coverage/opacity' on the can, and for some reason light colours need more agitation than dark.
Propellant varies from can to can but is usually butane or a variant there of. Highly flammable and certainly not healthy for you to breath. Hence all of those warnings on the cans to only use them in well ventilated open areas; Which I understand is not always possible, and that is where respirator masks come in (and there is another article in of itself, check out the internet/local hardware store tonnes of different models out there
Now caps; Again this could, and may be, another article but I hope to cover the basics here. There are dozens of different varieties of cap for spraypaint cans, some specific to certain brands only some universal. The main division is the type of valve, male or female. The caps on the front row in the image below are male caps to go with a female valve. The nomenclature is fairly obvious the male part fits inside the female part. So if your cans valve sticks out you need a female cap (this tends to be the case with most non-arts spraypaint cans) and if the valve is inset then you need a male cap. The other distinguishing aspect from cap to cap is the size/shape of the nozzle, needless to saw the smaller the nozzle the smaller the area covered and vice versa. But also the smaller the nozzle the faster the paint covers an area. Also different effects can be achieved with various shapes on the nozzles.
Now this is many people will argue and moan and fight; The brand of the spraypaint does not matter. Repeat after me; The brand of the spraypaint does not matter. It is the skill of the artist using the paint that matters. Having said that you get what you pay for, pound/dollar store paint is a good stop gap/practice paint and sometimes cheap paints are a bargain. A lot of the time however they are too high in solvent (so they take forever to dry, leave drips), not very opaque and come with rubbish caps (which are usually female ones and thus hard to replace).
There are many spraypaint brands and all of them have different pros and cons. Some are limited to only half a dozen colours, some hundreds. It would be pedantic and pointless to list all of them here, and I can also admit I've not tried all of them myself... yet. So I will just list a few here with a few details about each.Montana (Spanish):
This is the original company to hold the Montana name and they produce a variety of paints. Their MTN 94 range has over 100 colours/shades, a matte finish, extremely quick drying time and low pressure for fine detailed work. It can however take a great deal of shaking to get the colour mixed. They also do a slightly smaller range of colours in a gloss finish called Hardcore 2, which has excellent coverage but does take a lot longer to dry and is prone to drips/clogging of caps/valves. They do other ranges and speciality paints for a full list visit their website here MTNcolours
This is the second company to hold the name Montana and they also produce a variety of paints (the story of why there are two companies with the same name is a protracted one and best told another time and place). Their three main ranges are classified as White, Black and Gold. White is their bargain range with only a few dozen colours and a gloss finish. Black and Gold however are the premium cans in there range with a matte finish and a much wider range of colours. For a full list of colours/makes visit their website here Montana cans
This an Australian company which produces a nice range of colours all in a gloss finish with an extremely high coverage. It can be a hard paint to master in that it's thickness is inherently prone to clogging like hell and it does take a while to dry. It does however... have one of the nicest smells in the world. Not necessarily the deciding factor for choosing a paint I know, but sometimes these little things can be what sways us
For more details on this brand and their range visit their website here IronlakMolotow:
This is the company that gave us the Belton spraypaint range. With it's 251+ colour range (including transparent and neon ones), matte finish and amazing coverage it is by far the best paint available on the market. It is however one of the most lethal in that they contain ******* which does not get filtered out by respirators. But for outside use, preferably with a prevailing wind, they can be used to immense effect. For more details on this brand and their full range visit their website here Molotow
Again this is only a short list of the brands available out there, the only way to be sure which suits you is to get out there and try a few for yourself. Remember it's not the paint but how you use it that matters.
Can control.Now this one is a bit more difficult to write about as really it can only be learnt by watching/doing. So to that end I have scoured
YouTube for some suitable videos and if you are serious about using spraypaint I suggest you do a little searching of your own. Watch some videos of people painting, but most of all try it out yourselves as no amount of watching/listening/reading can teach you the reflexes you need to perfect your techniques. They can however stop you from making the most basic mistakes.
Spray caps Tips and techniques Guide to can control How to tag Further can tips
One final thing that no one seems to mention in any of the videos is this; When you have finished spraying turn the can upside down and spray until only propellant exits the cap. This helps stop paint drying inside the cap and valve and will save you a fortune in caps in the long term
Hopefully this has been instructive for those beginners out there.
Any questions just drop me a note.