How to Make Money at Airbrushing
It takes creativity and practice to create beautiful letters and graphical images through airbrushing. Whether you want to work full- or part-time, you also need business skills that help you promote your paint airbrushing artistry and identify the market most likely to buy your artwork. That way, you build a customer base that proudly displays your work and refers you to others willing to pay for the type of talent you bring to a project.
Gather your equipment, such as single- or double-action guns, hoses, compressor and paint. You also need an easel and a board to hold the material on which you airbrush your design. Request a free EIN number from the Internal Revenue Service, one benefit of which is buying supplies at wholesale prices. For instance, if you airbrush T-shirts, buy the shirts for a few dollars each by finding a wholesale dealer. Then mark up the shirts above the cost of airbrushing to come up with a per-shirt price.
The need for airbrushing skills varies from retailers that need custom messages on apparel to custom auto shops, or for making decals for motorcycle tanks. Or create artwork on canvas or glass, such as portraits and landscapes, and sell on consignment or at retail stores that sell artwork. Talk to retail and grocery stores about airbrushing murals for advertising on their inner or outer walls. Ad agencies that need illustrations or advertising murals for their clients are another potential market. If you enjoy working with people, offer face painting or temporary tattoos during summer festivals and flea markets, or provide private airbrushing services for kids' parties.
Find out what other airbrush artists in your area at your skill level charge for their services to start getting a feel for the fees you need to charge. If you’re new to airbrushing and feel uncomfortable charging the going rate, come up with a project fee rather than an hourly rate. Ad agencies and other clients who work on a dedicated budget may also require a project fee. Add the cost of paint and supplies to an estimate of the value of the time you expect the project to take to determine your project fee.
Network with people willing to give you referrals, such as automotive shops, party shops and event planners. Place an ad in the yellow pages, and list the types of projects you work on. Use your print portfolio, website and social-media pages to highlight completed projects with photos and descriptions. Make postings that tell people where you’ll be appearing next if you offer airbrushing at festivals. Bring flyers to public events, and hand them out to let people know how they can hire you for their own event or to implement their design ideas.