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Photoshop soft shading & airbrush


New Member
Hey there all. I've been working primarily in Photoshop lately to gain a foothold and some experience in digital art. I'm a big fan of soft shading, especially with the airbrush tool in CS3, but I can't seem to keep the colors nice and well blended. It turns into a badly gradiented mess... Often I had to cheat and use gaussian blur a little.

I've been trying to use the airbrush tool with a soft edged brush and a very low flow rate, 10% or under; but I've heard that opacity brush changes would be a better bet, likewise, I can't seem to get the shading very fluid. Is it just a matter of practice, or am I doing something wrong?

Likewise, there might not be a wrong way, I guess I just want to hear how others shade their compositions :/ Much thanks in advance!