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Drybrushing


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I freely admit that I have absolutely no problem drybrushing figures. (Waits for Anne to throw something) I feel that as a technique it is merely another tool in a painter's repertoise, yet a much maligned one. Usually I drybrush when I'm presented with one of two situations: a) I have 40 bajillion figures that need painting, like my Imperial Guard army or b) I'm tired of the figure sitting on my shelf-o-shame or need it for a game and just want it done and on the tabletop quickly. My most recent tabletop minis were drybrushed and washed and I think they came out just fine, photography aside. They aren't going to win a Golden Demon, but that wasn't the aim. So the question I pose to you is, when painting an army or painting something quickly is drybrushing something that must be done as a time-saving technique or are there other methods that are just as quick that produce similar or better results?

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Hrm, drybrushing accounts for about 25-50% of my tabletop mini work (Per figure). It also depends on the figure manufacturer. Old Glory figures get ALOT more drybrushing than say Copplestone Castings. Furry figures get a little bit more *wet* on the brush and lightness of touch.

 

Terrain is 100% drybrushing

 

Techniques with similar or better speed? To me the speed all depends on how many passes you do over the same spot:

Base coat, overpainting, magic washi ='s 3 passes

Base coat, drybrush midtone, drybrush highlight ='s 3 passes

Base coat, magic wash = 2 passes

 

That is, if you plan the primer and the base coat for each component on your batch of figure, your wash can really make things work.

 

hope that makes sense...

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Quite a few of my minis with large areas of metalics like warjacks still get drybrushed for the first two layers of highlights then I wash and highlight over that. Steel isn't as smooth as glass and I find drybrushing before washing with a rust/patina color helps get that aged or "in the field" look other techniques don't achieve as easily or even as well. Fur stuff also gets drybrushed as well as scales on tabletop quality minis.

 

There's nothing wrong however with using it on things like clothing though especially on minis with less detail. The only time I find drybrushing problematic is when I'm dealing with a mini that has a lot of fiddly bits but I've got a pretty decent level of brush control so even complicated minis get drybrushed in places from time to time.

 

The only place I personaly don't care to drybrush is when dealing with skin tones but that's a personal choice.

 

Drybrushing is a basic technique but it still takes practice and brush control and good technique to pull off well. One big mistake I see people doing often is that they take the term "Drybrushing" literally and start out with a totally dry brush so the bristles on that brush end out fanned out after the first couple strokes. A better technique is to wet the brush before loading it with paint then squeeze most of the water out then load the brush and whipe off most of the paint. The paint still needs to be basically wet as well. If you try to drybrush with the same load of paint for too long the paint goes on even rougher and grainer. Another mistake is that I often see novice painters mash their brushes up to the fuller (the metal part). Not only does this render the brush useless after just a couple minis but you can't achieve any level of brush control that way. Not to mention that dragging the metal fuller across the minis surface is the easiest way to chip paint off the figure while your painting it. You really shouldn't use much more than the end of the brush although at times you may want to use the very tips of the bristles and at other times a bit more of the brush. Another mistake I see a lot of the time is that people drybrush the same surface in every direction. Usually best results come from brushing in the same direction over the same surface. Like using a file properly. You don't just saw it back and forth. You push it in one direction only during a single pass.

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I never understood the stigma attached to drybrushing. It's always been a valid technique for textured surfaces like fur or mail as far as I was concerned.

 

However, I've never heard of using it on smooth surfaces such as clothing. Could someone please explain the theory behind this and what effect you end up with? The link that Sgt. C posted to his latest figures just look painted the regular way to me, at least in those pics.

 

Thanks

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I don't see the problem with it either for certain textures. I mean, if you are doing tabletop as well then it's not a bad technique at all.

 

If you are doing show quality, then yeah reserve it for limited use . . . just because it has the tendency to not jive with the rest of the mini, at least for me anyway.

 

I don't think it's terrible but apparently preFUNk is in the same boat as Anne. He told me I need to kick the habit ::P: But it's only reserved for things like chain mail for me these days. How else are you going to paint the bloody chains? :poke:

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I use it a lot, mainly for things which are heavily textured or terrain. But I am also not painting for competition, just to try and get stuff done so I can plop them down on the table and get playing.

 

I can see how it can be overdone, but I think it is a tool in the painter's repetiore. And if you want to do units quickly at tabletop quality, it's probably one of the better tools available.

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Nope one hundred percent drybrush highlighting on those. I drybrush then wash rather than the other way around to reduce the "scratchy" look that plagues a lot of people.

That's the same way I do it. I am going to try the whole Magic Dip thing for my current batch of Tau (which will have some drybrushing, too) - I'm not looking to win awards, I just want something that looks marginally decent at a 3' distance, and, more importantly, to have a painted army again.

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Like most things - if it looks good...who cares?

 

I know a number of people who don't use any other technique besides dry brushing - and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between there dry brushed work and work done using wet blending, glazes and other more snooty techniques.

 

One of the biggest problems (Ironworker touched on it) I have seen with drybrushing/drybrushers is they tend to use brushes which should be tossed out. If you can't get a good coat of paint with them normally, why use them to dry brush and complain about it looking scratchy (Duh, of course an old ratty worn out brush will look scratchy). Along with wetting the brush, I tend to add a bit more retarder to paint when dry brushing. It keeps the paint from drying out and looking grainy before the paint gets to the mini.

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Yah, drybrushing: I look for as fluid as possible w/out a consistency that flows into nooks and crannies... and I usually keep 2 or 3 brushes and rotate through em quickly to avoid drying paint on them or using a brush that's overloaded with water immediately after cleaning it...

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I think 'light'-brushing would be a better description of the technique rather than dry-brushing.

 

IMHO - It isn't about the paint being dry - but instead about the glancing touch it lays down on the raised surfaces with a brush that isn't dripping with paint but is saturated enough to make it worth your while. So light pressure and light paint load...

 

That being said, unto itself - dry-brushing isn't evil... some painters are however... :devil:

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I agree. I don't use it often, but it's really hard to beat for hair/fur and some terrain, and of course chain mail.

Ah , my area of expertise . I've been doing it for years for these things and have recieved many a comment on "How do you get the hair so nice?" . Answer- Drybrushing ! :rolleyes: I find it great for ghostly effects , for rusty metal and for stone . :poke:

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I think the image problem drybrushing has is that it's usually one of the first techniques learned, so therefore it's a "beginner's techinique." Problem is, as stated before, beginners either use the wrong brush or let the paint dry, or don't mitigate the scratchiness. As any other technique there are little things that go a long way to make it look good.

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Another things that adds to the stigma of drybrushing is the largely American idea that everything should looks smooth as glass. The mini should look like it was airbrushed or it's not a good paintjob. I've not seen this attitude so pervasive outside of U.S. painting circles. I think this is a cultural thing that has to do with American anal retentivness (sp?) as anything else. We seems to like things smooth and shiney and spotless for some reason. Leaving anything to chance or chaos is considered poor technique even if it gives life and energy to the work. We seem to value overworking things and leaving them static, cold, and lifeless.

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