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Illustration Lifeline Colors Part II

Illustration Lifeline Colors Part II

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Illustration Colors are Createx’ s flagship airbrush paints designed for refined atomization and flow through the smallest of airbrush tip sizes, at low psi settings, without a stippled pattern when faded from a tint to a saturated color.

Illustration Colors dry to a matte finish. Illustration Colors, Bloodline and Lifeline are transparent paints with no filler added and made with a saturated pigment volume for coverage out of the bottle. Illustration Opaque Colors have a higher pigment volume to create a more saturated color for increased coverage compared to other Illustration Colors.  All Illustration Colors color-types are made with the same resin, perform similarly, and are collectively herein referred to as “Illustration Colors”.

Soft Erasing

Illustration Colors are unique in that the final cure is delayed for 48 hours, during which the colors may be “soft erased” for subtle manipulation. After this open cure window, Illustration Colors cure to a hard coating.

Originally developed by artist Dru Blair, Illustration Colors work excellent for some unique reductive techniques and manipulation of the paint while it cures. For exceptional airbrush technique instruction, visit

When mixed with 4030 Balancing Clear or 4050 UVLS Gloss Clear, Illustration Colors do not soft erase.

Airbrush & Spray-Gun Settings

Illustration Colors spray out-of-the-bottle through any tip-sized airbrush at a wide variety of settings. Although most artist will lower the paint’s viscosity by thinning with 4011 Reducer 5% - 20% per volume, Illustration Colors spray well without thinning.

Airbrush: Any tip size
Spray-Gun: 1.2mm – 1.3mm
Mini-Gun: 0.8 – 1.2mmFollow spray-gun manufacturer’s psi recommendations.

Mixing & Thinning

Illustration Colors may be sprayed out-of-the-bottle or thinned with 4011 Reducer or 4013 Reducer.

  • 4011 Reducer is the standard thinner. 
  • 4013 Reducer is a compliant thinner with jurisdictions including South Coast AQMD Rule 1401.

Airbrush: Generally, colors are thinned 5% – 20% per volume.

  • Add reducer in small increments of about 5% per vol., until colors flow & atomize into fine droplets of color.

Spray-Gun: Add reducer 5% - 10% per volume.

For hard-surface & automotive application, mix colors with 4050 UVLS Gloss Clear or 4030 Balancing Clear 10% per volume, then thin with reducer.

  • Adding 4050 or 4030 creates an acrylic-urethane paint better suited for hard-surface & automotive painting.
  • Improves flow, adhesion & mar resistance.

Allow reduced paint 10+ minutes to acclimate before spraying for optimum flow & leveling after drying as reducer breaks down water surface-tension in paint.

Deionized or distilled water may be used as a thinner up to 10% per volume. Exceeding this may result in loss of adhesion and extended drying times.

Drying Times and Humidity

Dry Times & Curing are set to a constant temperature of
70⁰F / 21⁰C and 50% Relative Humidity. Extend drying times in colder temperatures down to 60 F⁰ / 16⁰C. Painting in lower temperatures not recommended.

Generally, colors dry to the touch in 10 – 15 minutes.

Use air movement, not heat, to assist drying. Force drying with heat may result in adhesion failure.

When painting in humid conditions, mix 4020 Reducer with 4011 Reducer for a quicker-flashing thinner. Mix in any ratio.


Illustration Colors are a fluid acrylic paint.  They may be applied with a brush, airbrush, or spray-gun.

Colors are made with lightfast pigments and an acrylic resin which is durable and non-water soluble after its completely cured. Final cure is after 48 hours drying time.

Taping & masking: Colors work well as an automotive, transparent color when mixed with 4050 UVLS Gloss Clear or 4030 Balancing Clear.

  • Refer to Hard-Surface & Automotive Guide for more information on process to hard-surface.
  • Allow for extended times when masking onto colors not mixed with 4030; ~ 4 – 6 hours min. dry time.

Strain colors prior to use. Once opened, dried paint inside the bottle & cap may go back into the paint.

For application onto hard-plastics and other hard-to paint substrates, apply 4050 UVLS Gloss Clear as an adhesive primer, then apply Illustration Colors after 4050 Clear has dried. 4050 adheres to any substrate except silicone.

5092 Adhesion Promoter is a water-based clear used to make Bloodline and other water-based paints stick to latex.

  • Also works as an adhesion promoter for flexible plastics, leather, vinyl and more.
  • Apply 2 medium coats direct to the surface, allow each coat to dry 10 – 15 minutes then apply paint.
  • Avoid applying dry or overly wetter, adhesion is best applied as a medium coat.
  • May also be mixed with colors and applied direct to the latex. 5092 is added about 25% per vol. to colors, which are then thinned 5% - 10% with 4011 Reducer. This is Tim Gore’s technique, creator of Bloodline & 5092. Please experiment with mix ratios and drying times.

Top-coat with a durable clear such as Createx UVLS Clears for exterior applications, for a gloss or satin finish, or to protect from repeated, direct handling & contact.

  • Compatible with a wide range of clear types, including solvent-based, catalyzed urethane automotive clears.
  • Sanding not required prior to applying clear.

Cleaning after Illustration Colors Cure

Colors should only be cleaned after the paint has thoroughly dried, best 72 hours after application. Delayed cross-linking feature means it takes longer for them to dry and not be affect by a cleaning prior to top-coating with a clear.

Use a solvent-based degreaser or odorless mineral spirits.

Pot-Life & Storage

Illustration Colors do not have a pot-life.
Store air-tight in a cool, dry environment away from direct list.

Keep capped air-tight when not pouring paint.  Fresh air promotes curing of paint at the surface level.

Long-term storage of paint is affected after mixing with reducer. Only reduce paint intended for use over a few weeks.
Adding reducer promotes curing and accelerates drying when exposed to fresh air.

Over-reduced paint, that is paint mixed with reducer past 10% per volume, should only be stored for a few days. Long term storage is questionable.

Cleaning Airbrush & Spray Gun After Painting
Colors are best rinsed from the airbrush or spray-gun with 5618 Airbrush Cleaner or 4011 Reducer. Use 4008 Restorer as a rinse for final clean to remove dried paint.

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