There are pros and cons to both airbrush and traditional sponge and brush body art. Obviously, the more skilled the person applying the paint or ink, the better the end result is going to be, regardless of the application technique used. However, the end result will have a distinctively different look to it based on which technique was used.
Sponge and brush painting is a common way of applying face paint and other forms of body art. This technique allows the artist to create from scratch each new design. The artist can accommodate designs to fit the face or area being painted, and can incorporate as much detail as his skill level and tools allow. A negative to sponge and brush painting is that the brush actually contacts the skin of each client, and is then dipped back into the paint. This can create problems if proper sanitation methods are not used. Sponge and brush painting generally takes a decent amount of time to complete each design as well.
Using the airbrush is becoming increasingly popular for makeup and body art applications. While the airbrush can be a fickle tool to master its use, it provides many advantages for the body artist. First, the airbrush never touches the skin, so it is much more sanitary than sponge and brush applications. Second, by using stencils or templates, the airbrush body artist can produce a dramatically higher volume than sponge and brush painters. Finally, the airbrush makes it possible to complete many types of different strokes, shading, and lines without the need to change brushes or tools.