In regards to airbrush paint, there should be three categories, not two. Lacquer base, water base, and createx illustrator. And their hierarchy is this: illustrator > lacquer base > waterbase. First off, let me establish a little bit of credibility. I’m a part-time taxidermist, my other self-employed jobs are farming and selling shit on Etsy. Everything I sell on Etsy is airbrushed. In 2021 I did $116,000 in gross revenue selling over 1000 airbrushed items. Trust me, I may not be the greatest airbrush artist in the world (I use stencils for pretty much all of it) but I know airbrushing. I, like most of you learned Taxidermy with lacquer based paints. My mentor still only uses lacquer based. But when I started with the Etsy stuff I ran into a lot of problems and joined several airbrushing Facebook groups and learned quite a bit. All the hard-core airbrush guys use water-based, and they all recommend illustrator. I posted a couple things in those groups talking about problems I was having and got a lot of good advice and got in touch with a woman who runs an airbrush supply house in Canada who was incredibly helpful …. Right around this time in Matuska put out one of their Facebook lives where Tom tried to sell the ever conservative, slow to adapt to new innovations taxidermist public at large on createx illustrator airbrush paint. The combination of the two influences convinced me to make the leap and buy some illustrator for my Etsy art and ever since that first taste of the Kool-Aid I have been on board. It was only later that I discovered that water-based ≠ illustrator … I bought some life tone Hydro mist silver pearl that was absolute junk… i’ve also gotten some standard createx colors and wicked colors because I could get them locally at hobby lobby without having to make an order and have discovered that the regular createx isn’t as good as illustrator (but cutting it liberally with 4012 helps). The wicked colors, with a few drops of 4030 and 4012 do almost as good as illustrator but not quite, the same can be said for the one bottle of polytranspar water base I have bought since converting because I wanted to use yox nose pad gray… but I think when this bottle runs out I’ll get it in lacquer. What evidence can I provide? Here it is: using illustrator I can fill a jar and paint with my Paasch Hs , Hang it on the hanger, go to work on other things, finish, go to bed wake up the next day go to the farm, go to church and do shit with family the next day and on Monday pick up the airbrush push the button and paint comes out just as well as it did on the Friday before. With my badger renegades I occasionally will see an ultra fine tip get clogged after a few days of no use but a lot of times I don’t even have to disassemble it I just pulled a jar off or cup and stick it in the stream of my mini parts washer I have filled with Windex, pull the trigger and the blockage clears. Another cool thing is that createx has a 12 to 24 hour cure time so if it’s only been dry for an hour or so it can be soft erased with Windex or lacquer thinner and a q tip very finitely…. But after 24 hours it cures harder. One way that I have unintentionally verified this is that if I want to put a coat of polyurethane on my Etsy art it can bleed a little bit with the strokes if I do so immediately after painting but if I wait a day it does not. Illustrator acts just like lacquer base when antiquing or rubbing paint off of hair within that 24 cure time. I never have to worry about straining my paint through pantyhose like I did with lacquer base, even when I’ve accidentally left the Off for a day or two. Their Lifeline and Bloodline paints are made with the same composition as the illustrator line so they function the same, and like I said, the Wicked line is very nearly almost as good (the advantage of it for me is I can get it at hobby lobby and don’t have to deal with shipping and waiting etc). In summation, like many of you I believe that lacquer base paints are better than water-based as long as the createx illustrator line isn’t grouped in with the latter. It deserves its own classification, and I’ll be damned but it is better than lacquer (especially opaques).