This past week we got a call from a customer regarding touching up and repairing a digitally printed wall paper mural - if we possibly could. The problem was that some facets of the digitally printed wall paper did not match, did not line-up. See images:

Airbrush artist, Ray Gatica has been airbrushing for over thirty years and goes back to the time when all photo retouching was done with the airbrush not digital computer programs like Photoshop of today. Back then we also had to mix and match colors for the particular at hand project.

Our experience in doing this goes to  Gatica's experience in photo retouching with the airbrush. The touch up was done with the airbrush using acrylic paints. Luckily the wall paper had a mat-finish. This worked out in our favor because the acrylics can be sprayed to match the mat finish. But also if you spray the paints wet and heavily they can turn satiny or even shiny, which is not what we wanted in this case. What can happen in a situation like this is that the repair can be a different sheen than the existing wall surface and not look good because the repair will stand out.

Actually the job was a photo retouch project like we used to do back when all photo retouching was done with an airbrush, before the days of modern computers and PhotoShop for photo editing. We go back to them days when it was done by hand. We saw this was a large photo editing.

On the Process: Since there were no brush strokes on the existing surface the airbrush is the best tool for this because it leaves a smooth finish. A Paasche, VJR airbrush was used for the whole thing because it is a small and precise instrument. And you can use small amounts of paint like a few drops at a time and they go along way. The hardest thing in most of these touch-up mural repair projects is to mix to match the colors on the wall to do the repairs. This requires experience with mixing colors. We are adept at this and can match any color no computer needed.

The basic color mix starts out with the red, yellow and blue; and white too change the color hue a bit if necessary. It is said that white is the absence of color and black is the saturation of color involving the full range of the red, yellow, blue colors.

When airbrushing a mural repair, you run the possibility of over spraying too much on to the area being repaired. In order to prevent this we use shields.  We make our own shields out of hard acetate or clear plastic sheets. The shields are shaped in curves and are used similar to old French-curves used by designers and architects. They are used to isolate the paints/colors to specific areas and protect the areas we do not wanted painted.  

Most of the time we have to mix and match colors, this is where our color matching experience from our airbrush photo retouching days comes in handy.

After the repairs and the finishes match there usually is not much else to do as far as applying a top coat. Usually the paints dry and are permanent. In the event the finish and the repair do not match a clear coat may have to be applied.

This was an interior mural in a Dentist office but we have also repaired exterior.

For more information contact Ray Gatica at 281-441-9714, or email Also visit our website: