View Full Version : Tips for Techniques and the Tools of the Trade

20-09-2006, 10:18 PM
Alright, well im no master(yet...) but here are some dos and donts ive learned along the way

some people wanted some explanations, i will try for photo tutorials once i start painting again(which should be soon my camera works again-->magic and i want to paint up that ddwarf and gobbo)

first some definitions that should help

Drybrushing: this is quick technique used all over by many newer painters, the point is to have very little paint on the brush and have drybrush as in no water, and then just paint over the model giving a sort of effect...what most people dont realise is this is also a more advanced technique when used properly, in combination with others its great for adding a \"dust\" layer, as in something that sits on top of your other layers to add something to it...for example weathering, or maybe even a bit of texture

Tips: When doing drybrushing its a great idea to do layers, many GW eavy metal painters use this to get a form of textured appearence on the ultramarine models(looks fancy sometimes) a darker layer first then a brighter layer over top...for weathering layers again is a good thing as it adds depth to the dirt/mud etc...theres not really much broad use for this technique on display models(other than ones mentioned) but it can be used broadly and effectively on table top quality minis

Feathering: softening the edges, so it blends in better with a bit less contrast

Tips: not your typical table top mini technique as it adds a bunch of time, this is used to clean up \"joint\" lines, where two shades meet, when painting display minis you dont want \"joint\" lines showing up everywhere so you feather them...example; painting a cloak you have your darks in the recesses but your brights are too obvious...so you wash/glaze them to darken them or simply blend them in better, but you still see the obvious step 2 to step 3 progression in the layers, so you take your brush and depending on which layer you choose(i always choose the darker one) you mix it up and feather from that side

so, dark side->light side......i chose dark side mix, so id feather from left to right covering a bit more of the dark side while doing it...its best to cover a bit more of one side because sometimes your mixes wont be perfectly the same

Wash: a very thin watered down paint or ink applied to an area to assist in shading

Tips: this is the easiest way to shade stuff and add some character, this is best suited for an inbetween layers technique as it can help shade and help smoothen out the layer underneath...an example would be washing blood red with red gore...this will add the red hue to blood red(which is orangey) but still keep it brighter...another example is black/brown/purple/green etc inks to metallics, each adds a bit of character, rust, wear, grease, oxidization etc, you can apply several washes and get a bunch of effects at once, it adds depth when using the darker shades as well as character

dont use this technique to fill in the recesses with unwatered down inks, it will result in \"pooling\" and the ink will shine which is ugly...however adding dishsoap breaks the surface tension of the ink, allowing it to flow more freely and also help prevent the shinyness.

and if any of you ever wondered how GW models ended up so dull in some stores, thats because they do washes with paint(rather than inks), which dulls them

Glazing:Glazing: ++++edited by my good friend+++
Applying a thinned down ink (usually 10 parts of water), over a blend or area to smooth transitions and the colour. Control has to be taking here because if no control pooling occurs so SMALL QUANTITIES PEOPLE!!

Tips: Best used when a transition is rough or not very smooth.(also known as \"joints\") Apply this evenly over the blended area to blend the colours together better. The more glazes you add of the same colour to the same areas the smoother the transitions will be. A Glaze when mixed with 10 parts of water will basically turn the ink into dirty water but still have the colour, this is done as it breaks the surface tension and shinniness of the ink. Also adding glaze mediums can help too.

This is essentially a bigger version of feathering, feathering is softer(as the word sounds) and usually used only for display quality, while glazes are handy for high quality table top as well as display as its not as slow of a technique

Wet Blending: blending colours together while they are still wet without use of layering

Tips: best suited for larger areas because wet paint likes to move. you have to quickly apply to spots of wet paint and then manually blend them together in the way you wish...so if its a cape you would want it darker in the recesses while getting brighter near the top of the folds, you just apply the two colours on either side and then squish them together in the middle, but when you do so, follow the lines, if the fold goes vertical use vertical strokes, otherwise you will end up making swirly patterns, curvy patterns and it wont look like shading

if the paint is too wet it might just flow through the piece you are trying to blend... if its too dry this technique is very difficult as you can also get drying time happeneing around the edges of the applied wet paint, which creates a type of crater..sometimes you just need to brush over it with a wet brush to get rid of it, other times you are screwed!!

Layering: painting in layers, gredually increasing the contrast

Tips: must have very thin paint otherwise you will end up with a model that looks like it has too much paint on it after all the layers...layering requires you mix colours as well, and not just simple brightening and darkening you want to add depth, ill explain a bit later

Non Metallic Metals: Painting Metallic colours with non metallic paints

Tips: this is best used when the colour scheme of the model is not well suited for actual metallics(usually brighter colours, pastel colours etc) the only really way to get the best effect is to layer this with several layers of colour, because most areas are small wet blending is very difficult, and if not blended does not look as nice

my personal dont is never use white when doing gold, it makes it cartoony and just not at all realistic(because gold doesnt reflect white)

you may not want to take the time to paint up a display mini because you dont think its worth it...well consider this:

The better you get overall, the easier it is to paint better quality \"table top\" minis, simply because you can do the more complicated things, and it now takes less time to do table minis to a higher standard because you know how to do quick and easy versions of the complicated stuff(layers with washes)


Post edited by: Starks333, at: 2006/09/23 00:31

Post edited by: Starks333, at: 2006/09/23 00:42

Aun O Vader
21-09-2006, 12:47 AM
Starks, you are a life saver, I\'ve been meaning to ask you to do this kind of article for a while. This kind of thing is the stuff that newbie painters (or older painters who just aren\'t that good :blush: ) need.

I\'m deeply indebted to you and for this and what I\'m assuming will be some future articles I\'m going to boost your karma **boosts!** Thanks.

21-09-2006, 03:22 AM
no problem, if my camera decides to be kind, i will try and do a tutorial with the simple dwarf and gobbo WD models just to show the simple ways of doing things, as well as mixing colours which is something that believe it or not makes a HUGE difference in your painting skills-->learning how to mix colours

I started painting paintings i have to work with colours that werent my choice(given to me by my artist aunt) so ive had to do a lot of mixing...paintings are hard!! oil might be easier than acrylic but anyways

any specific stuff you would like me to attempt to cover? i try to explain things as simple as possible

some stuff people always ask is this:

--How much water do i add to inks/metallics/paint?

With paint: you dont want the consistency of watercolour paints(basicly 80-90%water) unless you are washing/feathering etc because it will take ages to do anything, instead for painting you want more or less 60-70% water, something that isnt thick, is a bit watery but still looks and feels like paint when applying it

With metallics: they are just like paint, but when you apply too much water you tend to wash away the actual colour but keep the flakes in, so basicly you are no longer painting silver but instead adding metallics to your primer or base layer

With inks: they have a concentrated amount of pigment which means even when 95% water they still have colour, never have less than about 50-60% because it will shine when it dries...its simple to control the ink when its watery, and if you make a mistake you dont have to worry about it pooling up, turning shiny and then cracking because it will be thinner from the water...the amount of water depends on how intense of a shade you want...if you are trying to darken something you might apply a heavier wash than say adding a slight hint of colour(to a metallic piece for example...you dont want green metallics just a bit of glow)

OH and dont go and measure the given percentages out, just mix and go as you must, because my %s are more to give an idea rather than an actual measurement(to gauge how watery something should be rather than an actual ratio)

its simple stuff but it makes such a difference once you figure it out(as i still am)


Post edited by: Starks333, at: 2006/09/21 03:23

Post edited by: Starks333, at: 2006/09/21 03:27

21-09-2006, 03:26 AM
THANK YOU, god this is a liver saver, well mabye not, i dont need my live being save, thanks any way, take this karma for doing stuff for us noobies (no one answers) well just me then

this is going to raise your karma me think;)

21-09-2006, 03:28 AM
no problem dyp, again if anyone wants anything specific covered feelf ree to ask and ill try and do it to the best level i can


23-09-2006, 12:41 AM
As I go along ill try to compile a list of quality brushes as well as some cheaper ones that arent bad, and some ones to avoid

Quality: Winsor & Newton Series 7, i havent used this series but i have used some W/N brushes and they are good quality for a good price as well

Cheaper Ones that last: The cheap brushes you buy in packages that have waxed tips to keep their points, i wouldnt use these on display minis as the wax seems to sometimes cause problems with the paint(sometimes the wax flows in with the paint it seems not a big issue for non display minis however), but for table top they are sturdy brushes when taken care of, that last long and are perfectly fine for that standard of painting

Lion Rampant Taklons: they were pretty nice brushes to use never had much of a problem with them for table top minis, however i either didnt take the bets care of them or they just didnt last as long as other brands, the bristles spread, they were pretty cheap as brushes come however

Brushes I despise: long bristles with little stiffness, its almost impossbile to use these on a miniature they dont have the stiffness to do anything useful, they flop around when trying to cover an area, and they arent pointy/stiff enough to do details

GW Brushes: Why do i not like these? they are terrible thats why!! the ends frill up, the bristles spread/split quicker than any other brand ive used...the only worthy brush is the \"Citadel Detail Brush\" however its definetly not for details! its for applying my base colours because i dont want to waste expensive brushes on such a simple task...

thats all i got so far


Post edited by: Starks333, at: 2006/09/23 00:44

23-09-2006, 01:06 AM
I didnt think GW brushes are bad at all. Ive used my detail brush for ages and it isnt crapped up yet, although I dont use GW brushes for large areas because you\'re absolutely right. they fray easily.

23-09-2006, 01:12 AM
My detail brush went the way of the dinosaurs after no time at all, and I do look after my brushes.

Funnily enough the one GW brush I do like is the \"starter brush\" because it\'s so flexible in how it can be used.

It has a fine tip for moderate detail but away from the tip it is quite broad and can carry a reasonable load of paint, so it is good a good all round brush.

Oddly ideal for starters :blink:, I guess when you only have one brush you need it to be a good all rounder.

I still use mine sometimes but generally I use non GW brushes, nothing specific I just buy what I like the look of.

23-09-2006, 01:13 AM
keep in mind though im comparing them to better quality brushes, and they just arent on par and cost close to the same as some winsor newton brushes!!

OH and since i forgot to mention:

Vallejo Model/Game Colours- better quality yellows/reds/whites than GW, although ive heard GW metallics are better(i havent tested out the vallejo ones yet, soon though) GW paint is of the same quality just the colours above are annoying...also i found the newer colours, kommando/catachan/desert yellow to be a pain to apply sometimes, it doesnt seem to cover well

some people dislike the droper bottles Vallejo have, i dont mind them so far, you also get more paint in the bottle for slightly cheaper than GW, but it also seems to be harder to find as you cant just walk to your local store that sells GW paint and get some

they are completely compatible with each other, and create beautiful colours when mixed

Id suggest to those who are considering painting to a higher quality to consider purchasing some of the nicer colours Vallejo provides(wider range) as well as GW(as they are still great paints)


23-09-2006, 01:14 AM
I have been seriously considering buying Vellejo paints. the white shades are just awesome. A superb range. They have more paint in them and are cheaper. Nice

23-09-2006, 01:18 AM
They have a VERY nice bright red called Scar Red, i originally thought it was of the same shade as scab red but its not its a nice bright red that ISNT orangy which is so useful...i might have to steal it from him :P

I purchased the olive type greens as i plan to do my Orks up with those colours

You can also purchase a white glaze which will help smoothen that white out even more, or just adding a white glaze to something

Smoke Glaze is also handy its good for metallics

The only difference between Game and Model colour is the range, Model colour is more for display quality so a lot of nice colours(you will notice a lot of colours for WW2 type models so a lot of realistic colours) while game colour is more like their version of GWs range

23-09-2006, 04:54 AM
i only reason i dont use my gw detail brush is becuase i lost it, i find it ok, you have to snip the odd bristle now and agin beucse i some times get a bent one but normaly there ok.

ive heard a bit about Vellejo but i have no idea where to get them can any one pont my in the right direction ?

23-09-2006, 05:01 AM
google vallejo paints and the first link or so will be thier website, you just go to paint selection when your there.

23-09-2006, 05:05 AM
thanks *karma boost8

30-09-2006, 08:06 AM
I like the one i bought off of thewarstore.com, wasnt that expensive and gave me a total of 24 different tips, ranging from flats, curved to fine tips, i think its meant for a bit bigger scale but it still has some useful tips

however i suggest you give the tips a light filing to remove any burs

as for sculpting itself i found this site to be pretty awesome:

http://www.geeb-o-rama.com/HeadSculpts101.html]Brad gorby\'s Official Website[/url]

i also like his pin tips, i might make myself some soon :P