Marc

Washes vs. Inks vs. Liners

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Posted (edited)

Hey everyone! New forum member, first post ...

 

I painted my first ever bones mini (first ever mini period, actually) at Reaper's paint and take at PaizoCon a few weeks ago and had a blast! The mini turned out pretty well too, and now I'm addicted and want to jump in to the hobby:)

 

i've been doing some reading and watching various Youtube videos on supplies, painting bones etc. I see and hear people talk about washes, inks, and liners a lot and they often seem to be used a bit interchangeably.

 

I see that Reaper sells all three (washes, inks, and liners). Can you tell me the difference between the three items, specifically how they relate to Bones if necessary. Are they kind of interchangeable?

 

Any help would be really appreciated! Thanks!!

Edited by Marc
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Posted (edited)

Washes are supposed to leave most of their pigment in the recesses of the surface they are applied to. Inks stain the entire surface, although they do also concentrate in the recesses.

 

I'm not sure about liners, but they do have one exceptional use - they're the best primer we have for the water-unfriendly and solvent-porous bones material. 

Edited by Club

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Posted (edited)

Hi Marc! Welcome to the forums!

 

I am going to try my best, And if I get anything wrong if someone else would please correct me that would be appreciated.

 

Liners - Are more opaque, they have more properties that make them want to recede more down into the cracks, and stay less on the higher surfaces (Is this from increased surface tension? Viscosity? Idk). They are typically used to 'line' areas. 

IG_1381_1.jpg

See the area along the suspenders? I do not know if the artist used a liner, but that is exactly where many people would.

 

For BONES, people have found liner makes a great 'primer', because it sticks to the BONES material well, and you can then paint more thinly over top. However, this is going to force you to paint from dark to light unless you thin the liner with something else. But I will leave what 'something else' entails for another post. Because I'm talking about the properties straight from the bottle.

 IMG_0072.thumb.jpg.ae68952d326d90704e1717c05b239bd6.jpg

For example of BONES priming, on my pillar on the left, the female statue still is only the original liner priming I have done. The one on the right has had a few layers of paint built up on top of the liner (And the same for the other areas of the figure.)

 

---

 

Inks - Are usually high in pigmentation, but are very runny. These are meant to run into cracks and help make details pop, but can be too runny. They tend to not stay in the exact areas you may want them. I occasionally use an ink, but most often I use a Liner or a wash because of the issues with their consistency. 

 

I feel inks are more like liners than like washed, but they have translucent properties that will give some of the gradient effect I talk about with washes below. But I personally feel they are a little more fiddlely and less forgiving than washes.

 

---

 

Washes - are a good tool to bring out details after putting down a base coat. They are less pigmented than liners and washes, and tend to be a bit viscous to stay more in place. It is desirable for them to be translucent so that as they pool slightly in the crevasses they give a gradient between the shadow and the 'highlight'. They are for shading and enhancing details, while liners are for defining areas. Whether you would want a liner or a wash would depend on how stark of a transition you would like. 

 

IMG_2945.thumb.jpg.88cce72918b07267f840849730ee1fb3.jpg

 

For example, I know I put a wash on the inside of her skirt. I did have to go back in with some light grey and white to make the highlights pop again, but the wash helped me with the subtle shading on each of the frills. 

Edited by Thes Hunter
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Thes's description of liners and lining is good. Here's another thread:

 

The question comes up a lot.

 

Other terms:

 

Wash: A mixture of paint and some thinning agent intended to preferentially deposit pigment in the recesses of a figure without much tinting of the rest of the figure.

Glaze: Like a wash, but intended to also tint the flat parts noticeably. IIUC, this can also be called a "filter".

Ink: A thin liquid intended for use in writing or printing to lay down color on some substrate. There are many varieties and there's not a lot that you can say that applies to all of them. In general, though, they're designed to be pigment-dense and to have solvents that evaporate or otherwise disappear quickly. Dye-based inks are very different from pigment-based inks. I don't know what Reaper is doing in that regard. (I rather suspect that they're using pigment with a different solvent and base, because it simplifies their supply chain and because pigment-based inks are far more colorfast than dye-based inks, but that's a guess.)

 

The terms are slightly interchangeable, but sort of in the way that a hammer and a rock are interchangeable. You can use both to pound on things, though one is likely to work better in some circumstances than the other. But it's pretty hard to remove a nail with a rock. ^_^

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Posted (edited)

To add some information:

 

Inks: Though there's no definitive definition for it, in miniature painting they're treated as a completely liquid paint medium. Usually colored with dyes instead of pigments, and often have a lot of "pop". Regular acrylic paints are thicker mediums blended with ground solid pigments with some additives to make them more fluid.

 

Liners: The easiest way to understand liners is to think of coloring books. The lines delineate different distinctive areas so that each element stands out against the other, something that is often required at miniature scales where contrasts need to be exaggerated. You use them around the edges of different parts of a miniature. Liners are very dark, concentrated, and very thin, so it's easy to make narrow lines. That Reaper liners work as excellent primer for Bones was serendipity.

 

Washes: A very fluid and watery dark color that flows in the deeper recesses of a surface. Used to create darker shadows. Washes can easily bring out detail over a surface and give a better 3D effect. The most basic of washes is paint + water, but over dilution will make the coverage uneven and create rings as the binder breaks down. A good wash will stay in the cracks and dry evenly. And being watery, it's easy to wick off excess wash with your brush, but also prone to bubbling out of the bottle.

 

A common mantra is to make shadows darker, and highlights brighter. Because of the scale of miniatures and the artificial lighting that is commonly used indoors, highly contrasted deep shadows are impossible with a base color, so specialized paints like liners, washes and glazes help improve the illusion of a natural looking contrast.

Edited by Cranky Dog
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Wow, thanks everyone! Great info!

 

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Posted (edited)

So, a couple follow up questions for those that use a liner as a base coat / primer ...

 

1 - If you do use it, why? I know Reaper is pretty firm that bones do not need primed and that Reaper paint works great directly onto the bones material (that's how I was shown at the PaizoCon paint and take and it did work with no issues

 

2 - when using the liner like this, do you thin it with water or brush it on without thinning? I've seen both methods described and I'd to figure out which way is best

 

thanks!!!

Edited by Marc

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1: Evidence has shown that it works better:

2. I mostly don't thin, but then I like painting shades first and then highlighting up. I know some people do.

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Posted (edited)

On 6/10/2017 at 7:29 AM, Marc said:

I painted my first ever bones mini (first ever mini period, actually) at Reaper's paint and take at PaizoCon a few weeks ago and had a blast! The mini turned out pretty well too, and now I'm addicted and want to jump in to the hobby:)

 

Hi Marc! :D I was one of the people helping to run the Paint and Take, though I wasn't there the whole time (my name is Lauren, if that rings a bell). Welcome to the forum, and I'm glad you had such a wonderful time! ^_^

 

Huzzah!

--OneBoot :D

Edited by OneBoot
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HI Lauren! 

 

Sorry, I didn't catch the name of the person who gave me the basics, but it was a man, so it wasn't you :)  It was on Sunday afternoon, if that helps. 

 

In any case, the Paint and Take certainly did its job, at least in my case, because I definitely want to jump into the hobby now! :)

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3 hours ago, Marc said:

So, a couple follow up questions for those that use a liner as a bade coat / primer ...

 

1 - If you do use it, why? I know Reaper is pretty firm that bones do not need primed and that Reaper paint works great directly onto the bones material (that's how I was shown at the PaizoCon paint and take and it did work with no issues

 

2 - when using the liner like this, do you thin it with water or brush it on without thinning? I've seen both methods described and I'd to figure out which way is best

 

thanks!!!

 

1.  I love liner as a base coat on Bones.  When I paint metal I prime it white then wash over it with dark brown.  This is based (loosely) on a Renaissance technique and makes the details easier to see, as well as giving a warmish cast that I like under my colors.  I tried similar methods on Bones, but it is very difficult to tell where white primer is and is not on the white plastic, and if it is not, then the brown washes just don't stick.  Reaper's liner sticks very well to Bones material and anying can go over it.

 

2.  I thin my liner with water because out of the bottle it is awfully dark.  I find it sticks well even when quite thin and gives the priming effect I like of sticking in the cracks and crannies and showing details.  People who like to work from a more solidly dark priming may prefer not to thin it at all.

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8 hours ago, Marc said:

So, a couple follow up questions for those that use a liner as a bade coat / primer ...

 

1 - If you do use it, why? I know Reaper is pretty firm that bones do not need primed and that Reaper paint works great directly onto the bones material (that's how I was shown at the PaizoCon paint and take and it did work with no issues

 

2 - when using the liner like this, do you thin it with water or brush it on without thinning? I've seen both methods described and I'd to figure out which way is best

 

thanks!!!

1- Though the Bones material (we nicknamed it Bonesium) doesn't technically require primer, and can be directly painted, that *first* layer can be a PITA. We often say the Bonesium is slightly hydrophobic, meaning that the watery part of paint does not really want to adhere to it, while the acrylic medium part of the paint does. So unless you take it slow and allow yourself some time for that first layer to dry a bit, the paint will bead up, or streak, or give uneven coverage. Once that first layer has dried, any paint will stick well, and give you the results you expect.

 

Liner as a primer works because the formulation is different. Even if diluted, the color will stick well, so you can generously slather it all over, quickly giving you a working surface that as a bonus makes all the details stand out.

 

It also helps if you scrubbed you Bones miniature clean prior to painting, as the mold release agent, and regular finger grease are also hydrophobic agents.

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13 hours ago, Marc said:

So, a couple follow up questions for those that use a liner as a bade coat / primer ...

 

1 - If you do use it, why? I know Reaper is pretty firm that bones do not need primed and that Reaper paint works great directly onto the bones material (that's how I was shown at the PaizoCon paint and take and it did work with no issues

 

2 - when using the liner like this, do you thin it with water or brush it on without thinning? I've seen both methods described and I'd to figure out which way is best

 

thanks!!!

 

1.  I discovered the liner trick by accident when MisterGreenwood, following my advice to use master series walnut to basecoat some bones spiders, reported back that it had rubbed off very easily.  I thought this was an odd result, so I tested it and had exactly the same problem.  So I looked around for an alternative colour from the MSP line (many of my paints are not MSP and some are hard to get, so I wanted an in-production paint) and one of them was a bottle of brown liner I had never used before.  I guess it came in an old learn to paint kit.  As this would be a similar colour to walnut as a basecoat I thought it might work.  When I tested to see if it rubbed off, I discovered it was unusually robust.  When I reported this result, many of us decided to test it out to see how robust it was - this involved everything from boiling a figure with liner painted on it to running it over with a car.  Having established that Brown Liner really liked to stick to Bones and was extremely durable, it became a good go-to to avoid painting issues.  It's the one thing you absolutely know will definitely work every time.  

 

2.  I use liner undiluted to maximize its robust properties, but my painting style in any event was always dark-to-light so every miniature I do, even metal ones, start with a near-black undercoat anyways.  It is possible to use it diluted, even with just water, and it is still reasonably effective.  It will lose some of its strength the more it is diluted, but so long as the mini is not going to suffer extreme handling then thinning it should not usually prove an issue.  Its ability to act as a protective barrier between the bones material and the paint you put on over it will still be just as good, you just won't be able to drive over your miniature.

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A note on washes vs. inks:  pre-made washes may sometimes be indistinguishable from inks, or used interchangeably.  This can vary by manufacturer.  So I have "washes" that are really more like "inks".

 

Making your own wash from paint tends to be much less pigment-dense. 

 

This terminology can be confusing at first, and will require playing around a bit.  Some of the hobby terms evolved over time through use and can sometimes be a bit vague, especially where there is a lot of crossover between similar applications.  A wash, an ink, and a glaze tend to fall into the "thin medium to alter colour" part, sometimes to shade recesses and sometimes to change the tone of a layer.  You can even use inks and washes as glazes, to further muddy things.  This results in the same terms having many meanings, so when somebody says they used a "glaze" it may not mean the same as when another person does.  This can be quite frustrating, but until a universal standard evolves it's the reality we're stuck with until enough consensus gains traction.

 

Since Reaper delineates between a wash and an ink in their line, we can assume they have different behaviours and effects.  I've not used Reaper's washes or inks, so I can't tell you what the difference is.  What I can say is that however Reaper distinguishes between them may not necessarily reflect how other paint manufacturers do, so be aware that results may vary across brands. 

 

Starting out, the easiest thing will be to experiment as you go and find things that work for you.  As you unlock neat tricks, then you build a base of things you know will work.  So if you like what Reaper's washes and inks do, then keep using Reaper washes and inks.  Later, if you acquire other types of paint, you can experiment with them using Reaper (in this example) as your baseline to figure out what makes Brand X inks and washes different (or similar). 

 

You don't have to do this, keep in mind.  Every painter is different, and some stick to one line of paint exclusively.  Others, like me, tend to acquire paints from all over the place so I have more opportunity to discover the neat (and sometimes weird) things they can do.  The bottom line is that when you find things that work, use them.  Even if that means your bottle of wash turns out to actually be an ink, or your ink turns out to actually be a wash.   (and sometimes, just for fun, BOTH of these are merely called "shades")

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It was Buglips' discovery that converted me to Reaper's liners.

 

I paint pretty much exclusively with artists' fluid acrylics.  I mix my own colors and I like having that freedom.  On the whole I don't use premixed paints.

 

But Buglips conclusively demonstrated that the liners can do things regular paints can't.  So I have a few bottles of liner on my shelves because they are so very useful.

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