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I'm having some difficulty applying highlight layers and was wondering if some people could share some insight. I'm trying to get smooth blending on my layers, but when I apply the first highlight I end up with an obvious line between the layer I just applied and the old basecoat. I've tried just about everything - thinning with more water, up to like 10 parts water, 1 part paint. I've tried different paint mixtures - 80% basecoat, 20% highlight color. I really don't know what's wrong. Basically I'm working through the learn to paint kit #2, the monk guy and sorceress lady. If anyone has any tips on what I'm doing wrong, that would be greatly appreciated. I'll try to get some pics this weekend so people can see exactly the effect I'm getting. Thanks a lot,

Mike

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10:1 water:paint ratio is way too thin.

 

Are you unloading the paint from your brush before applying the paint to the figure? If you do this first, there won't be much paint coming off of your brush when you hit your mini with it.

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Are you using flow improver in your thinning mix? I regularly thin 10:1 without leaving tide marks (sorry to contradict you, Phil). I wonder if you need some flow improver. I use 20:1 mix of water and Winsor & Newton Artist's Flow Improver (for acrylics) as my thinning solution.

 

Next concern... are you applying large pools of paint? Pooling will dry leaving tide marks. To avoid this, do a few things:

1.) use a brush with a needle thin tip but an ample head. the tip will apply controlled layers while the ample head will maintain sufficient fluid. (I use W&N Series 7 size 0 and 1 for everything.) This will allow you to glaze rather than pool. You don't want a bubble of paint. You want the surface to be wet, but not so that there is so much fluid that surface tension in the layer causes the pigment to move toward the edges.

2.) unload excess fluid on a paper towel with a quick dab before applying. The bristles should be loaded but not swollen with fluid so that they separate and the shape of the brush distends. Internal pressure in the bristles will leave too much fluid behind.

3.) be mindful of your brush stroke -- the most pigment will be deposited on the area where the brush departs the surface of the mini... that is at the end of the brush stroke. So start your stroke at the point where you want the transition and end it at the point where you want the new layer to be most opaque

4.) be patient. Layering takes time and practice before your comfort zone is found.

 

Good luck.

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What Whiz said, Plus...

 

Ensure that you have enough shades in your layering progression. Typically, I use 5 to 8 shades, though on large flat areas I have gone as high as 12. If you have too few shades, the lines of demarcation will be more abrupt.

 

TS

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What Whiz said, Plus...

 

Ensure that you have enough shades in your layering progression. Typically, I use 5 to 8 shades, though on large flat areas I have gone as high as 12. If you have too few shades, the lines of demarcation will be more abrupt.

 

TS

 

Well, like all painting technique, there's more than one way to skin this cat...

 

For example, a friend taught me a few things about getting smooth blends when glazing. Pretty much what Whiz said, but you DON'T need a lot of color differences. Really, a single color glazed in multiple layers will create very smooth transitions. For the shadow, start with the whole recess and glaze a concentricly smaller area towards the depth of the fold. As each layer of color is applied, the shadow will deepen. For highlights, choose a lighter color than your base and glaze conentricly higher on each level.

 

Keep in mind how light falls on a fold or crease. Is it a sharp crease, where the cloth breaks deeply into shadow at a single point, or a smooth fold, where there is a fairly even rounding to the texture? If you have a sharp crease, the color will lighten to the edge of the crease, then drop dramatically into shadow. If it is a more gentle fold, then the transition will be more even, but still be a little lighter towards the light source.

 

I've been on this kick for a while on how to mix down the glaze, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one saying this. Start by making a puddle of your medium. 50/50 gunk to distilled water isn't a bad start. Then make a puddle of paint. You can increase the "open time" of your paint by adding water, placing it on a wet pallet, or both. If you are mixing colors, do so in the "paint puddle". Using a mixing brush, put several drops of your medium in a paint well. Add just a tiny bit of paint to this. If there isn't enough color to the mix, add a little more paint. You now have the glaze you will use to shade or highlight.

 

Jen tried to teach this to me in a class at GenCon a couple of years ago and I just didn't get it. I guess I just wasn't ready to understand how thin paint can be when you glaze. Vidal talked me through doing it myself and that's when I finally got it.

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...but you DON'T need a lot of color differences. Really, a single color glazed in multiple layers will create very smooth transitions.

 

Absolutely. The transparency of the glaze effectively creates the illusion of multiple hues and shades, mimicking wet-blending. You really need only a 3 or 4 different colors to simulate a range of 6 to 10 color mixes.

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So is what you are saying the same as the diagram below?

 

Darkest Colour -------------------------------------> Lightest Colour

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

I hope I got this right as I think layering is one of the cornerstones of mini painting!

 

Thx!

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So is what you are saying the same as the diagram below?

 

Darkest Colour -------------------------------------> Lightest Colour

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

I hope I got this right as I think layering is one of the cornerstones of mini painting!

 

Thx!

 

A-yup, you got the idea. That would be using two colors, a base coat and another color for the glaze. Try this with blue as your base and purple as your shadow. You will like it, I promise.

 

You could use a third color like Ghost White to glaze for your highlights. Think of the process as:

 

Highlights:

Ghost White -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Shadow:

Nightshade Purple -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Make sense now?

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So is what you are saying the same as the diagram below?

 

Darkest Colour -------------------------------------> Lightest Colour

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

I hope I got this right as I think layering is one of the cornerstones of mini painting!

 

Thx!

 

A-yup, you got the idea. That would be using two colors, a base coat and another color for the glaze. Try this with blue as your base and purple as your shadow. You will like it, I promise.

 

You could use a third color like Ghost White to glaze for your highlights. Think of the process as:

 

Highlights:

Ghost White -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Shadow:

Nightshade Purple -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Make sense now?

 

Yes, and I think this works perfectly on a flat surface, but how would you do this on a cloak for instance. Will draw below

 

Highlight (Ghost White) 5 layers

\ Highlight 4 layers

\ Highlight 3 layers

\ Highlight 2 layers

\ Highlight 1 layer (True Blue)

\ Shadow 2 layers

\ Shadow 3 layers

\ Shadow 4 layers

\ Shadow 5 layers (Nightshade Purple)

 

 

 

Is this correct? (Note when I posted I moved each \ over by 1 on the line below it, but the system removed all the spaces so it looks like 1 straight line when it should be at a 45 degree angle)!

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So is what you are saying the same as the diagram below?

 

Darkest Colour -------------------------------------> Lightest Colour

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

 

I hope I got this right as I think layering is one of the cornerstones of mini painting!

 

Thx!

 

A-yup, you got the idea. That would be using two colors, a base coat and another color for the glaze. Try this with blue as your base and purple as your shadow. You will like it, I promise.

 

You could use a third color like Ghost White to glaze for your highlights. Think of the process as:

 

Highlights:

Ghost White -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Shadow:

Nightshade Purple -------------------------------------> True Blue

# of Layers of Glaze 5 4 3 2 1

 

Make sense now?

 

Yes, and I think this works perfectly on a flat surface, but how would you do this on a cloak for instance. Will draw below

 

Highlight (Ghost White) 5 layers

\ Highlight 4 layers

\ Highlight 3 layers

\ Highlight 2 layers

\ Highlight 1 layer (True Blue)

\ Shadow 2 layers

\ Shadow 3 layers

\ Shadow 4 layers

\ Shadow 5 layers (Nightshade Purple)

 

 

 

Is this correct? (Note when I posted I moved each \ over by 1 on the line below it, but the system removed all the spaces so it looks like 1 straight line when it should be at a 45 degree angle)!

 

For a cloak, I reitterate what I said earlier:

 

Keep in mind how light falls on a fold or crease. Is it a sharp crease, where the cloth breaks deeply into shadow at a single point, or a smooth fold, where there is a fairly even rounding to the texture? If you have a sharp crease, the color will lighten to the edge of the crease, then drop dramatically into shadow. If it is a more gentle fold, then the transition will be more even, but still be a little lighter towards the light source.

 

When deepening a shadow, you will paint a smaller area, deeper into the fold, on each new layer. With a highlight, you will paint a smaller area, higher on the fold, with each layer. Make sense?

 

It is very important not to overpaint. Make sure that each area you shadow or highlight is smaller thant the previous layer.

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Keep in mind how light falls on a fold or crease. Is it a sharp crease, where the cloth breaks deeply into shadow at a single point, or a smooth fold, where there is a fairly even rounding to the texture? If you have a sharp crease, the color will lighten to the edge of the crease, then drop dramatically into shadow. If it is a more gentle fold, then the transition will be more even, but still be a little lighter towards the light source.

 

When deepening a shadow, you will paint a smaller area, deeper into the fold, on each new layer. With a highlight, you will paint a smaller area, higher on the fold, with each layer. Make sense?

 

It is very important not to overpaint. Make sure that each area you shadow or highlight is smaller thant the previous layer.

 

Got it, perfect, thx!

::):

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I see what dougrob is talking about I am also working on Learn to Paint Kit 2. When I first apply the layer after the first wash the layer appears to way light. The colors seem to be something like a leather brown 9030 with a highlight with a Polished Bone 9060. I plan to lighten the first base coat and darken the highlight tommorow

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I see what dougrob is talking about I am also working on Learn to Paint Kit 2. When I first apply the layer after the first wash the layer appears to way light. The colors seem to be something like a leather brown 9030 with a highlight with a Polished Bone 9060. I plan to lighten the first base coat and darken the highlight tommorow

 

Hey Apolloxi, I found that using the color guidelines strictly from the kit gave me more harsh edge in layer some colors. I noticed this especially in highlighting the red pants. What I did was buy a bunch more reaper master paints to give me a more complete pallette, so then I used a lighter red to highlight instead of adding yellow which was just too much of a contrast. The other tips posted in this forum are a good reminder too to make sure you're layering correctly. Good luck

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