Interview with Dale Daniel – 2018 International Airbrush Competition

Our next interview is with Dale Daniel, who placed 2nd in our Hobby / Model category with his entry: Hand. Although highly skilled in all manners, he prefers working freehand. Read about his winning piece and his 20 years of airbrush experience. You should also check out his website and social media, links at the end of the interview!


Sparmax (S): Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what is your background? When did youstart airbrushing and what was the learning process was like for you?
Dale Daniel (DD): I have been airbrushing and custom painting for over 20 years. Past projects include walls, RV’s, Motorcycles, and Automobiles as well as odd items like prosthetic hands, a 5 foot tall dough mixer, and many, many more. I am mostly self-taught over hundreds of projects. I continue to learn something on every project. Currently I stay very busy with a 3-4 month backlog of projects waiting to be started.

S: Can you tell us a bit more about your winning entry piece? How / why did you
choose it? How long did it take, and what inspired you?
DD: The winning piece was one of my most challenging projects. It is a prosthetic hand a
customer brought to me. He wanted it to look as realistic as possible to be like the
“Terminator” hand. I studied images and references for hours, and then determined a
freehand approach would be best on the surface. I lightly airbrushed the shapes, and then used my Iwata custom micron to paint in as much detail as possible all freehand. I believe I had about 30 to 35 hours in the project.

S: What does airbrushing mean to you and what drives your passion for airbrushing
and creating art? Also, how do you find the ideas for your other works?
DD: Airbrushing has always fascinated me since I first learned to use one in school. I always thought it looked like magic to see the paint appear on the surface as if it is almost invisible as it leaves the airbrush. I fell in love with the softness of the medium, as well as the speed you can paint. Also, I love the ability to do very tiny freehand detailed work, and then use the same airbrush to paint in a large gradient. I strive for very clean detailed artwork. Ideas mainly come from my customer’s requests. I then take that request and come up with renderings and sketches to start a project.

S: What are your goals / targets for airbrushing? What do you want to achieve?
DD: My goals for airbrushing are to continue to improve my quality as well as efficiency and continue to operate a successful business. I want to achieve the approval of each client I paint a project for with good customer service and quality. I strive to provide a final project they can be proud of, because that is the essence of custom painting. It’s all about helping the customer’s idea come to reality on a project that is dear to them. Whether for their own enjoyment or as a gift to honor someone in their lives as in the many helmets I paint for retiring military pilots.

S: Do you specialize or prefer to work on a specific surface?
DD: I prefer freehand airbrush work instead of complicated masking techniques. My preferred surface to paint on is sanded automotive clear coat because it is very smooth and forgiving. I do at times use complicated masking and multiple steps depending on the desired result.

S: How would you describe your style(s) in airbrushing?
DD: My style is very detailed, clean, and accurate.

S: Any advice to beginners looking to start airbrushing?
DD: Beginners should practice all the time just as if you are doodling in class with a pencil. Get to where you can draw with an airbrush as good as with a pencil. If you can draw well, you can airbrush if you learn how to control it. Practice drills to help learn how to control the flow of paint and line thickness.

S: Do you have a website or blog? How can people reach you on social media?
DD: My website is
I can be found on Facebook under Dale Daniel Art & Design and Instagram is dale_daniel_art

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