Jump to content
Pingo

Random painting questions

Recommended Posts

So. I used to be a mini painter back when I was a kid.

 

I have been playing tabletop rpgs steadily for over 30 years, but haven't done minis for the last 20.

 

I did, however, get my art degree and became a pro artist in the meanwhile, so I know some technae.

 

However, my understanding of mini painting is stuck at kid level, when I used acrylics but did not speak with anyone else or know the terminology or (to be honest) paint very well.

 

Now I'm working as a beginner again, here to learn, but since I also have an art background I find myself wondering about certain aspects of mini painting.

 

For example, why is dry brushing considered a quick and dirty method of highlighting? I understand it as a way to do some very subtle blending (on the macro scale, anyway). What would be the more careful version of painting that it is a substitute for?

 

I also have questions about how people understand the terminology.

 

For example, I've noticed regular use of the term "glaze," which seems to be understood as a wash of a darker color over a lighter one to increase its intensity or, especially in the case of minis, to bring out its texture. Mini painting seems to use only the wet sense of "glaze" (but then, to be fair, so do most fine artists). But "glaze" can also be used to mean dry brushing with a transparent darker color over a lighter one, which can generate some very interesting effects.

 

I have not seen use of the counterpart to "glaze," which is "scumble." "Scumbling" is the same as "glazing," but using a lighter, semi-opaque color over a darker one. It's very good for pearly, moonlit effects and fog and atmospherics.

 

Do people use this technique? And if so, what do they call it?

 

I'm sure I'll think of other questions as I go along, but that's it for starters.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't use the term glaze myself b/c honestly, it is really easy to get confused as to what a mini painter's intent is when they use certain terms.

 

I paint miniatures by painting a 'medium' shade of the color I intend to go for eventually. I then shade darker and lighter areas using what I call 'wet blending'. I basically lighten or darken my initial shade and water it down to try and create smooth transitions for as realistic a look as possible. I fail to water paints down regularly enough such that some transitions are a little rougher than others, but that's part of the learning process.

 

Using this method, I'm able to put several layers of watered down paint over the base shade to transition it as gradually as I want. Then I just progressively lighten to highlights, and darken to the shadowy areas of the mini that receive less light. This process means each mini I paint takes an egregious amount of time to paint as compared to 'table top' quality.

 

It's great to have you here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dry brushing is only considered a bad way to highlight by those that are competition level. You can see the difference with those that are willing to spend 10+ hours painting every strain of fur on something, if they're good enough to actually do a full blend on something that small, but I think it's more a matter of pride\ego then anything ("look what I did"). I've seen some wonderfully dry brushed stuff before but I think the main reason people tell others to avoid it is Dry Brushing is often used as crutch to paint things that are intimidating (hair, metal) instead of actually learning how to paint them.

 

Glazing in miniatures is the same thing artists call juicing (in French anyway), it's just a layering technique and it doesn't mattter if you're going from light to dark or visa-versa for miniatures. It's used a lot with a blending technique called feathering to smooth out a blend or to gradually stain the color underneath it. We in this hobby tend to adopt terms and overly simplify their meaning, such as wet blending, and this is one of them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the problem with dry brushing is that it's often done very heavily, so that the effect is not a "subtle blending" but a gloppy mess. Also, if it's worked too much you can develop a rough texture with the built up half-dry paint (and sometimes brush bristles) that looks really bad.

 

Dry brushing is a perfectly acceptable technique in "Army Painting" where you may have to get hundreds of similar figures on the table in a short period of time. The object is to get quick brushes of color on and create figures that look good en masse at arm's length.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pingo,

 

Dry brushing is a technique like any other. It has its place. However, many people use the technique as a “quick and dirty” way to highlight. Let me ask you a question: If you were going to use a drybrush technique on a macro scale, would you use a wisk broom? Or a corn husk broom? Most likely, you wouldn’t, because the bristles are far too big and won’t deposit the paint the way you want, right? Remember that at this scale, even the fine hairs of a sable brush are kinda the same diameter as a bristle on a broom. Totally not acceptable for subtle realistic highlights. Real light doesn’t leave streaks.

 

So yes, when applied incorrectly, drybrushing is quick and dirty, because people do it quick and it leaves a dirty-looking miniature (and not in a good way).

 

But drybrushing is appropriate for things like sculpted fur, feathers, chainmail, rocky ground. Anyplace where the sculpt is heavily textured. Large expanses of smooth areas (like, say, a cloak)? No. It’ll produce a chalky look that you don’t want. Drybrushing hair? Hair doesn't look drybrushed, so I don't use that technique. (Note I use it as a very final step to pick out a few individual strands at the maximum highlight value.)

 

Before I continue, realize that most miniature painters aren't professional artists, and don't have fine arts degrees. Therefore, you will see a lot of difference between what I say is a glaze and what someone else says is a glaze. I'm using my experience as a painter for 25 years, talking with many professional mini painters, and my limited fine art knowledge to explain this stuff. I believe "YMMV" is the internet lingo.

 

On to glazes: A glaze is a thinned mixture of paint and diluent, used as paint. It is painted over an area, not allowing the liquid to pool in recesses. It is usually used to blend graduations of color, or to provide a tint of some sort. So, a green tunic may be painted Light Green / Green / Dark Green. But to reduce the glaring transition between the three tones, the mid green may be glazed on. This smooths out the transition, creating smoother paint jobs.

 

Or, a flesh color may be tinted with another color to provide a specific effect. I like to use green, purple, or blue glazes to provide a color that is more lifelike than straight bottled color. Or, I can use a glaze of dark grey on a male figure’s face to simulate stubble.

 

One-source-lighting effects are produced using glazes, since you want the underlying color of the model to show through, although you want a tint of the light color over it (glowing eyes, or spell effects).

 

So, glazes are transparent. Yes, they can be darker than the original color (purple glaze over flesh, for instance).

 

A wash is a diluted paint mixture that is allowed to pool in the recesses of a miniature, thus picking out and defining texture. This is often used as a shading technique. It is much more opaque in the recesses, because it is allowed to pool there, providing more coverage. But they can be transparent. For example, the technique called “dipping” uses a wash of some sort to provide shadows over the entire miniature. (Dipping is traditionally used by dipping the entire miniature into the wash solution, and then shaking the mini to remove excess; thus the name.)

 

On scrumbling: You probably don’t see this often in mini painting because we work at such a small scale. There isn’t texture to the miniature paints because we put them on so thin. If I want a moonlit effect, I can paint that. Fog effects don’t work well because, usually, you need more “terrain” surrounding a miniature to show that effect. In the real world, 5’ of fog isn’t going to show up (I use 5’ because the scale we’re painting at is about 1” = 5’, and a typical gaming base is somewhere around a square inch in surface area).

 

Hope that helps.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you can see, even we can't agree on terms.

 

I have a third definition of a glaze: it's thin like a wash, but not put on heavy. It's a very lightly applied layer (I usually use my midtone). It makes a good overcoat layer if your highlights are too drastic, to blend them all together.

 

We're a confusing lot, really.

 

Drybrushing is best on something that can take rough texture - like skeletons, stone, stuff like that. Not so good for cloth or skin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As you can see, even we can't agree on terms.

 

I have a third definition of a glaze: it's thin like a wash, but not put on heavy. It's a very lightly applied layer (I usually use my midtone). It makes a good overcoat layer if your highlights are too drastic, to blend them all together.

 

We're a confusing lot, really.

 

Drybrushing is best on something that can take rough texture - like skeletons, stone, stuff like that. Not so good for cloth or skin.

 

Leave it to a goblin to say what I said, only in fewer words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dry brushing can come up chalky or clumpy in extreme close-up photography. It is a mainstay of tabletop, speed, and army painting.

 

Tabletop encompasses anything intended for gaming, so is a little imprecise. Usually it means "this looks good or even excellent in-hand or on the table". Speed is the fastest possible job- again, an imprecise definition. Army is usually speed painting with particular attention to visual unity so as to look impressive as squads or armies on the tabletop. Competition painting means stuff that will display and showcase technical skill when viewed in extreme close-up photography.

 

For example, I've noticed regular use of the term "glaze," which seems to be understood as a wash of a darker color over a lighter one to increase its intensity or, especially in the case of minis, to bring out its texture. Mini painting seems to use only the wet sense of "glaze" (but then, to be fair, so do most fine artists). But "glaze" can also be used to mean dry brushing with a transparent darker color over a lighter one, which can generate some very interesting effects.

 

Usually glaze is any transparency that isn't a wash. Usually a wash is the term when accentuating texture. So, when you expect the paint to stay where you put it in regards to the miniature's topography, that's a glaze. When you expect it to sink into the valleys it's a wash. If it sits it's a glaze, if it flows it's a wash.

 

I have not seen use of the counterpart to "glaze," which is "scumble." "Scumbling" is the same as "glazing," but using a lighter, semi-opaque color over a darker one. It's very good for pearly, moonlit effects and fog and atmospherics.

 

Yeah, we usually just call that a glaze or sometimes a layer. Usually we tend to name things for what we want the paint's physical properties or action to be, because what the paint does once it leaves the brush is so vital, then we'd describe the effect we intended.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of things have really pushed miniature painting techniques and what people expect to see in a well-painted miniature in the time since you were last painting figures. One is the internet. Where back in the day someone was very lucky to have a friend who could teach them or to find the occasional magazine article and such, now people have all these places like Reaper forums to share techniques and ideas. A lot of that has also involved people raiding ideas from the fine arts world, like the practice of painting metal items to look metallic by using regular matte paints and art techniques and theory instead of only using paint with metallic flakes in it.

 

The other change is the increasing access to digital macro photography. What once required a professional camera and lighting rig to do is now accessible (if perhaps still not easy to perfect!) to many an average person. The increase in the size and quality of photographs puts more and more focus on very fine detail painting. Miniatures are now regularly displayed at several times their actual size. Even the most skillfully done drybrushing on smooth surfaces (and I've seen Laszlo do cloak fold drybrushing that looks far nicer than I ever imagined it could in his Hot Lead video) is unlikely to stand up to the scrutiny that kind of photography allows.

 

I expect the increasing access to better quality video is going to have an interesting effect on the community, or perhaps only amplify the other two factors. I started painting about 10 years ago. There were a couple of videos/DVDs at most. They were hard to find, and had very short snippets of information. People got super excited about a 5 minute how to paint a cockpit window video that someone posted free on the net a couple of years later. Now you can easily buy DVDs or downloads with a dozen or more hours of high quality, close-up video, and there are all kinds of free tutorials on YouTube that are the quality of the stuff you used to have to buy.

 

Miniatures themselves have increased in size over the last 20 years. If you've got some of your old ones, compare them to a newer figure and you'll probably see a pretty notable difference. I've painted a few smaller, older figures and they took less time and were a bit less demanding for perfection of technique.

 

There is some universality in the meaning of glaze that I've seen - just about everyone who uses it means very thin paint, and also paint that is applied more deliberately than a wash.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, a lot has changed all right! Nothing I paint has a shot at winning an award in a mini contest these days unless the competition is incredibly weak, but 25 years ago? I might have been doing my WIPs as magazine articles. People would have talked about Buglips's subtle shading, and fine linework, and how he can make faces so expressive . . . instead of today, when half my work makes people make strange faces (or suffer temporary blindness).

 

I don't care. I can still paint better than most of what's on the back of Ral Partha boxed sets. That's trophy enough for me!

 

 

ETA: There is actually a "mini contest" locally I could win. It's a side offering of the annual IPMS show, and the competition is usually . . . not so advanced. But, well, that sort of feels a bit like cheating somehow. If I'm going to compete, I'm going to compete against equal or better.

 

So instead I enter stuff as display only, and if the other painters like what I brought then I tell them some tips, give them some websites, and tell them to buy Reaper learn to paint kits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, a lot has changed all right! Nothing I paint has a shot at winning an award in a mini contest these days unless the competition is incredibly weak, but 25 years ago? I might have been doing my WIPs as magazine articles. People would have talked about Buglips's subtle shading, and fine linework, and how he can make faces so expressive . . . instead of today, when half my work makes people make strange faces (or suffer temporary blindness).

 

I don't care. I can still paint better than most of what's on the back of Ral Partha boxed sets. That's trophy enough for me!

 

 

That's why I like the judging system on my current contests (Halloween one is an exception) because we're less about critiquing all these aspects of a miniature and instead just allowing people to vote for what strikes them the most when they first see it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is some universality in the meaning of glaze that I've seen - just about everyone who uses it means very thin paint, and also paint that is applied more deliberately than a wash.

 

This

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's why I like the judging system on my current contests (Halloween one is an exception) because we're less about critiquing all these aspects of a miniature and instead just allowing people to vote for what strikes them the most when they first see it.

 

Judging from the winners of the recent one, I'd say that system works well.

 

The worst physically present contest I've ever been in I lost. It's not worst because I lost, but because the judge won.

 

Conflict of interest maybe? That was . . . that was something else, yeah. When I questioned it, I was told none of the other category judges were qualified to judge miniatures. Still didn't explain why the guy judging it was entered in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Valthorn_Illian
      Bit of an opinion piece here, but what are the Reaper MSP colors you find that you can't live without? What colors do you think should be in everyone's collection?
    • By SparrowMarie
      For those that put beads in their paint to help with shaking what sized beads do you use? I was looking at some 8mm hematite beads but I want to be sure I get something that won't stick in the tip.
    • By DrSmackMatters
      Hi all!  I haven't posted here in a while as I had to take a break from painting to do some remodeling on my house. That was two years ago.    Finally able to get back to this hobby I love so I wanted to organize my paint desk some.  I designed some paint racks to store my mini paints and figured that someone else might benefit from them as well.  I posted them on Thingiverse for all to use.  Totally free and open source!!
       
      I am adding to them as people ask for additional brands of paint and other configurations.  If anyone prints them and needs some changes or additional options just let me know and I will be happy to see what I can do.  
       
      Looking forward to getting involved again in this great community!!
       
      Without further blabbing here are the links to the units:
      Large Straight - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2531450
      Small Straight - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2549451
      Inside Corner - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2543779
      Outside Corner - https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2588073
       
      Happy Painting!!!
    • By SamuraiJack
      Some of these came back as other numbers, but but the rest won't be brought back by Reaper and some might be present in other paint lines.  
       
       
      (Twilight Triad 9727)
      9079 Deep Amethyst
      9080 Indigo Sky
      9081 Pale Indigo - mix equal portions of Imperial Purple and Sky Blue
       
      (Colored Liners Triad 9738)
      9112 Red Liner - Reaper 9235 (Back in Bones 3 as 9307)
      9113 Green Liner - Reaper 9236 (Back in Bones 3 as 9308)
      9114 Violet Liner - Reaper 9237
       
      (Muted Purples Triad 9740)
      9118 Dusky Grape
      9119 Bruise Purple
      9120 Faded Purple
       
      (Clear Brights III Triad 9744)
      9130 Clear Orange - Lava Orange 9218 and Explosion Orange 9219
      9131 Clear Viridian - Peacock Green 9226
      9132 Clear Plum - Royal Purple 9240
       
      (Blush Colors Triad 9747)
      9139 Antique Rose - KS Old West Rose
      9140 Blushing Rose
      9141 Porcelain Rose
       
      (Historic Blues Triad 9751)
      9151 Steely Blue
      9152 Military Blue - Reaper 9269
      9153 Weathered Blue
       
      (Desert Camos Triad 9752)
      9154 Dune Shadow
      9155 Desert Khaki
      9156 Desert Sand
       
      (Mist Greens Triad 9756)
      9166 Shadow Green - Reaper 9270
      9167 Field Green
      9168 Mist Green
       
      (Terracotta Clays Triad 9757) - Redstone Triad 9775 
      9169 Muddy Clay
      9170 Terracotta Clay
      9171 Fired Clay
       
      (Cold Greys Triad 9758)
      9172 Stormcover Grey
      9173 Coldstone Grey
      9174 Icy Grey - KS Aircraft Grey (slightly greener)
       
      (Volcano Browns Triad 9760)
      9178 Cinder Brown
      9179 Volcano Brown - Reaper 9268
      9180 Ashen Brown - MSP HD 29831
       
      (Tropical Colors Triad 9761)
      9181 Bright Coral
      9182 Saffron sunset - Reaper 9247
      9183 Cloud Pink - KS Reaper Punk rock Pink
       
      (Reptilian Greens Triad 9762)
      9184 Serpentine Shadow
      9185 Reptus Green
      9186 Scaly Highlight
       
      (Sandy Colors Triad 9764)
      9190 Sandy Brown - Reaper 9249
      9191 Sandy Tan
      9192  Sandy Yellow
       
      (Sea Blues Triad 9765)
      9193 Stormy Sea
      9194 Clouded Sea
      9195 Seafoam Blue
       
      (Humanoid Skintones Triad 9768)
      9202 Troll Shadow - MSP Stained Olive 29838
      9203 Gnoll Brown
      9204 Halforc Highlight
       
      (Reaper Ink II Triad 9771)
      9211 Green Ink
      9212 Blue Ink
      9213 Purple Ink 
       
      (Spring Greens Triad 9749)
      9145 Moth Green - Reaper 9248
      9146 Spring green - Reappaearance at RCon 2015
      9147 Luminous Green - Reaper 9248 + 1 drop of white
       
      (Heavy Gear paints)
      RPR 61101 Terra Nova Tundra (Possible alternative: NMM gold?)
      RPR 61102 Macallen Brown
      RPR 61103 Redrider Crimson
      RPR 61104 Dune Shadow
      RPR 61105 Mekong Moss
      RPR 61106 Giant Fern
      RPR 61107 Okavango Swamp
      RPR 61108 Republique Red
      RPR 61109 Armadillo Tusk (hd)
      RPR 61110 White Sand
      RPR 61111 Paxton Red
      RPR 61112 War Paint Red
      RPR 61113 Arthurian Blue (hd)
      RPR 61114 Blue Crescent
      RPR 61115 Atlantean Aqua
      RPR 61116 Coated Armor
      RPR 61117 Factory White (Ghost white + Blue Flame perhaps?)
      RPR 61118 Grel Flesh
      RPR 61119 Afterburn Grey
      RPR 61120 Hazard Yellow (hd)
      RPR 61121 R.a.m. Black (hd)
      RPR 61122 Durasheet Alloy
      RPR 61123 Skunkworks Gunmetal
      RPR 61124 Beacon Yellow
      RPR 61125 Fallout Grey (hd)
      RPR 61126 Ash Grey
      RPR 61127 Waveform Aquamarine
      RPR 61128 Gamma Shielding Gold
      RPR 61129 Cat's Eye Umber (hd)
      RPR 61130 Cat's Eye
      RPR 61131 Red Dust
      RPR 61132 Drillbit Metal
    • By Hyjynx
      Forgive me if there is an obvious answer for this, I've never been to Reapercon before. I am needing quite a few Reaper paints. Will they be for sale at the Con? If so, would they have a Show discount? If not, I'll just go ahead and order some from Reaper now.
       
      Thanks
  • Who's Online   23 Members, 0 Anonymous, 0 Guests (See full list)

×