A BEGINNERS JOURNEY iT surprises me that there are so few posts under this all-important topic and that's why I is posting here. Six months after buying my first gun, I still have control issues (and probably always will). In any event, I think I've made good progress since my last post over a month ago. My 3 month old desktop computer died after I just built a new one in February. Now using a laptop but I can't type on these things worth a damn -- keyboards are too small, my hands too big so I'm reduced to hunt-n-pecking. Been getting tons of help from you guys and no doubt some of you were getting irked at my inability to get my 3 brushes to function even reasonably well. When I had only 2 brushes I was blaming the tools for being defective but when I took advice and got an Iwata Eclipse and it wouldn't do what I wanted, I knew the problem was me, not the tools. Airbrushes are anything but easy too use, and I got buried under an avalanche of variables that affect the performance of this unforgiving tool so I had to find a way to simplify my efforts at trial and error testing. This is prolly the main thing that leads beginners to give up in frustration. The first problem was that out around 75 bottles of paint, there were 5 different brands and 3 types of reducers, and I was mixing and matching them all. Taking advice, I selected only one brand and put all the others aside. That produced some immediate results. Apparently, mixing some brands of paint together can produce some really nasty problems within the tool, such as the paint coagulating, as I noticed that it was drying in sheets inside the cup and then could peel off in sheets and/or strings. It would also produce some really nasty gunk in and around the spray tip. Next was never to use a reducer from one mfgr. with another's paint. And, use only distilled water. Then, clean guns only with HOT water as most of these paints when dry soften up rinsed with hot water. After doing these things I had no more trouble trying to get nice, fine lines from any of my guns. ( I'll call it a gun cuz it has only 3 letters instead of 8 and I can't type on this damned machine). Internal clogging was a huge problem for me but when using E'tac and Com-art paints with only their own reducers, that problem ended. Its still a problem for all others. I can go for days with no paint build up internally when following these rules. The other control issue was that when I pull back on trigger, I never knew what was going to happen. The tools were completely unreliable in this regard. I can't say that its solved, only that there are improvements. When starting new lines I must test it first on scrap paper because once I let the air off, something changes and I cannot resume making the same size line; invariably it comes out much thicker. No way could I do a fine portrait with this situation as it is. I am clueless as to how to correct it. But deviate just one time and the splats and skips are right back again. Paint Bottles: Paint dries around the cap opening and eventually blocks it off and eventually you take some item like a pencil tip and ream it out. In so doing, you are pushing chips of dried paint back into the bottle and I don't think I need explain what happens after that. That paint is ruined unless you want to try to strain it, an ugly job, at best. The solution is simple: just remove the cap and clean with hot water in your sink.