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Thinners, extenders, flow aid


Cade
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Well, it's not formulated for paints, and there are certain visual effects that other flow improver produces when I add it to paint that the Reaper Ink Extender did not produce when I dropped some in my paint...but if it's working for you, Frosch, it's possible that it works, it just isn't as strong as the stuff I'm used to working with.  After all, you're talking to an Anne who only waters down W&N flow improver 10 to 1, instead of the 20 to 1 they recommend... :laugh:  And I haven't used the ink extender regularly with anything other than inks, I just did a little spot test this morning to judge it.  :)

 

--Anne

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I've been using the following formula for some time:

 

    1 part W&N Flow Improver

    1 part Liquidtex Slo-Dri

    10 parts water

 

On the whole, it worked relatively well. I achieved decent results and was pleased.

 

However, after reading this thread, I decided to bump up my ratio to the following:

 

    1 part W&N Flow Improver

    1 part Liquidtex Slo-Dri

    2 parts water

 

All I can say is "WOW!"  :O  The paint behaves entirely differently. Indeed, it actually behaves!!! I can't get over the difference. It's like working with entirely brand-new paint (and I was using GW as my test, *not* a good paint like Reaper or Vallejo). I'm blown away. Everyone must try this!

 

Now, if I could only find Plaid's Folk Art extender in my local area, I could mix up Anne's recipe and give it a try. Unfortunately, every place is sold out at present.  :angry:   I suppose I could use the Slo-Dri in its place. What do you think, Anne?  

 

At any rate, I'm off to paint. This is very exciting. I've been painting decently. Now I think I'll be able to paint masterfully... Well, ok. I'm deluding myself, but I'll sure try like heck!

 

Watch out all you Golden Demon Winners. I'm on my way!!!  :D  :D  :D

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All I can say is "WOW!"  :O  The paint behaves entirely differently. Indeed, it actually behaves!!! I can't get over the difference. It's like working with entirely brand-new paint (and I was using GW as my test, *not* a good paint like Reaper or Vallejo). I'm blown away. Everyone must try this!

As someone who is still quite new to painting can you tell me in small one-syllable words what the paint is doing now that it wasnt doing before? Talk to me like I am 4  :p

 

heh I have some idea of how its helping but am trying to determine if this is something I need to start using right away or if it will be later in the learning cycle for me.

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I'll be glad to explain the difference, Dweller (Ha! You don't have to ask me twice to wax on about a subject!  :D  ) However, as it's late here for me in the Eastern US, I'll ask that you be patient and give me until tomorrow morning. An adequate explanation deserves an adequate amount of allotted time. Who knows, though. Maybe you'll get lucky and one of our experts will sign on and explain in the interim.

 

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this thought: It is never too early in your learning process to adopt the use of properly thinned paints. Indeed, they would make the best foundation. You'll only have to relearn paint control once you switch over should you decide not to adopt using thinned paint now. (Indeed, I'll have to do yet some more relearning again now witht his new mixture, though my curve will be relatively short this time around, having already begun working with thinned paints.)

 

Likewise, you should always take advantage of "technical" edges. Pilots today aren't trained on replicas of the Wright Bros Kitty Hawk aircraft. They're trained in modern jets (Ok, ok -- that example is a bit overboard, but you get the picture... :)  I did say it was late here...) Besides, we're talking less than $10 US for the supplies. Go find them and begin learning with them.

 

Proper technique is proper technique. Don't sell yourself short just because you haven't painted for long. Go get the supplies and get the edge NOW.

 

More to follow.

 

-D.

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Whiz is right. I haven't been painting right for about 20+ years and have had a tough time relearning everything. With Vaitalla's help I finally "got it" and while I'm still in the learning process, the first mini I've finished since around 90-91 is the single best piece of work I've ever done. Sure, she did the face, but I did the rest and even by my particular standards I think it's pretty darn awesome. Sure, there are things that could be better on it, but when I get better then maybe I'll get another of her to do over and compare.  :love:

 

 

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. I learned, after all.  :upside:

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Golden products are very comparable to Liquitex, Grumbacher and other fine art brands.  Haven't heard any negative reviews of their line.

 

Oh, great, Whizard.  I don't know why Anne and I feel this compulsion to keep telling people all our little secrets...just makes more competition at the Demons, grumble grumble...  :D  Really, it's good to hear it works for you too.

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Oh, great, Whizard.  I don't know why Anne and I feel this compulsion to keep telling people all our little secrets...just makes more competition at the Demons, grumble grumble...  :D

Oh, don't worry, Jennifer. I don't have a snowball's chance in (that place aflame down under) at ever outclassing either you or Anne!  :)   I do appreciate the tips, though (and inspiration -- the work you ladies create is astonishing).

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Word of warning to those new to extenders:

 

Some companies, like Liguidex, produce many different blending mediums and extentenders.  Be careful what you grab.  Liquidex has several extenders called Slo-dri.  Several of them are gels not liquid, others are glossy or for use with different paints, like airbrush paints.  One of the ones I saw appeared perfect according to the label on the front, it wasn't until I read some fine print on the back that they mentioned it dried high gloss.

 

I have been painting for a long time now, but I've never used extenders before now so this is quite a learning experience for me.  I finally found a Liquidex 'liquid' slo-dri extender.    I had to go to 3 different art stores until I found the extender 'I think' was the one recommended on these boards.  The last art store actually had strips of paper where the did a quick blending with the medium in question so you can see the effects the extender had in terms of matte/gloss, color distortion, and thickness.  Some of those gels can really add to the thickness of your paint unless thinned heavily.

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OK, Dweller. Let’s see if I can’t give you an adequate explanation of what I experienced using thinned paints. Mind you, I'm just a layman when compared to many on this board, but I'll do my best to explain what I've learned and experienced.

 

Straight out of the bottle, paint is too thick to be applied properly (this is more true of some brands than others, though all need thinning to some extent). Applied to a mini without thinning, it will obscure detail, leave textures and imprint with brush strokes, and quickly build up, leaving a rough, uneven surface. This is undesirable.

 

This is not to say that paint straight of the bottle doesn’t have its advantages either. For one thing, if you aren’t mixing your colors (and you should really *always* mix your colors to give your minis that certain – special – something --- NO! NO! You’re not going to sing while I’m around!!! :p --- err….that is to say that personal touch), paint straight from the bottle will always match itself. However, as I said in parens, you should be mixing your own colors. Paint straight from the bottle will also, for the most part, stay where you put it. It won’t slip and slide and spread across other painted surfaces, ruining your already finished work. It’s thicker, most brands being fairly viscid, and stays put. This, however, is where the advantages end.

 

As I’ve said, unthinned paint will cake up on your minis. It will also cake up on your brushes, spread their bristles, and displace your point. No good. No good at all, particularly for detail work.

 

So, you need to thin your paints.

 

Thinning paints helps to ensure a smooth, even surface on your minis (which preserves the detail). When done properly, it also ensures consistent coloring. Thinned paint flows from the brush much easier as well. Unthinned paint has a habit of really gripping the bristles. It often clings better to the brush than to the mini, forcing you to almost scrub it on, leaving uneven coverage that’s cracked and broken like a drying mud plain. Thinned paint will slip out evenly and easily, requiring very little pressure to “squeegee” out of the brush. It will lie down smoothly and appear as part of the mini, not as an added surface. Thinned paint also cleans up easier, both on the mini and from the brush.

 

Now thinning with water, like creating a wash, is always an option. But there are problems with straight water. The pigment in paint is heavier than water (thus the separation in bottles and the need to shake them vigorously). It will sink out of suspension very quickly if you just use water. When this happens, you end up applying very little paint to your mini and it takes you a long time to achieve proper coverage unless you’re stirring the paint frequently (which you’re not doing with your good brushes, right?) Stirring frequently slows you down, is annoying, and doesn’t really lend to consistent results. You can see what I mean by just looking at the striations in the paint – a band of clearer water, a band of darker paint, etc -- which will you actually get on your brush? Who knows?

 

Without extender, straight water will also evaporate out fairly quickly, leaving you with thickened and drying paint if you’re not careful. It’s difficult to see when this is happening, too. The wetness of the medium creates a sheen that obscures the ability to discern thickening paint from thinned. One moment, you’re dipping in nice fluid paint; the next, your brush is all gunked up. Blah.

 

Paint thinned with straight water also refuses to behave properly. That is to say, it flows too easily, and, following the path of gravity, will seep into crevices and mar already finished work. No fun.

 

To correct these problems, flow improvers and extenders are used.

 

Extenders are quite simple. They prolong the drying time of the paint, giving you more time to work with the paint and preventing it from “gunking up” on you. This is helpful for blending and avoiding paint build up.

 

It’s the flow improvers, on the other hand, that really seem to make the difference in my experience. Flow improver makes the paint “behave”. It helps to keep the pigment suspended in the fluid, ensuring that you’ll get consistent coverage and color. It also seems to affect the adhesion of the fluid or else the surface tension, preventing the thinned paint from slipping and sliding around like straight water. When I said yesterday that the paint was behaving better, what I was referring to was this phenomenon. The paint clung to the surface I was testing (and later painting) and though it beaded up when the surface was tipped upwards, it did not run. It stayed in place, right at the edge where the brush had passed (this is a good thing!). Likewise, it lay down evenly, becoming part of the surface to which it was applied as opposed to appearing as though it had been laid atop it (another really good thing).

 

Now my prior recipe achieved a good portion of the above advantages, but to a lesser degree. The paint generally stayed in place and did flow decently. Most annoying was the need to keep stirring, though this was not as frequently as when I was just thinning with water. I knew this could be corrected by adding more flow improver, but I’d avoided using more as the bottle recommended one part flow improver to ten or twenty parts water, and fearing that I would somehow alter my paints in a negative way, I followed this recommendation. However, after having read this thread, I decided to up my ratio of flow improver (and extender) to see how it changed things. Immediately, I noted all of the above advantages were improved ten-fold.

 

I’m interested in seeing how Anne’s recipe works now. Hopefully, I’ll track down some Folk Art extender this weekend and give it a shot. If I do, I’ll let you know how it works in comparison. Of course, she may log on and tell us herself!   :)

 

So there you have it. Hope this makes sense enough. If not, perhaps others will chime in and share their thoughts.

 

Forgive me for prattling on so long, but you *did* ask for it!     :;):

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Wow what an awesome write up. Thanks :D

 

I have been thinning my paints with water but due to the lack of control you described I found myself "cheating" alot and not thinning as much as I should or sometimes not thinning at all.  :blush:

 

I have also had issues more times than I can count of the thinned paint seperating and drying on the pallete. I use the plastic kind with the small cups and halfway through a session find myself needing to stir it again. I do all my primary mixing and thinning with an old beat up brush but sometimes if its mid session and drying in teh pallete  will use the brush in hand to mix it up a bit.

 

It seems that this is something I need to adopt right away. Could I get an empty plastic dropper bottle and keep some pre-mixed with water on a regular basis? I assume that with the bottle sealed when not being used it would store fine in a mixed solution.

 

Looks like I am adding some goodies to my shopping list. :)

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Wow what an awesome write up. Thanks :D

My pleasure. Hope it helped.

 

Could I get an empty plastic dropper bottle and keep some pre-mixed with water on a regular basis? I assume that with the bottle sealed when not being used it would store fine in a mixed solution.

 

Absolutely. I keep a pre-mixed bottle of solution sitting right next to my paints so it's there when I need it. I just reach over and eye-dropper what I need out onto my palette or into a mixing cup (read: Reaper Blister pack  :D )

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Could I get an empty plastic dropper bottle and keep some pre-mixed with water on a regular basis? I assume that with the bottle sealed when not being used it would store fine in a mixed solution.

The Pat Catan's and Prizm Art store near me both sell individual dropper bottles similar to those used by Vallejo paints for about 50 cents a piece.

 

I always have one filled with pure water and one with 'magic wash'.  I am currently formulating the bottle that will hold a general thinner based on some of the recipes that have been posted on this thread.

 

This is much easier than doing it separately for every single application of paint on a palette.  The dropper makes getting the quatities easier, like 3 droppers of your 'thinner' to one drop of paint, etc.  You can also use them to hold your own custom paints if you ever mix your own.

 

And yes, they do store liquids very well without any noticable evaporation.

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The Pat Catan's and Prizm Art store near me both sell individual dropper bottles similar to those used by Vallejo paints for about 50 cents a piece.

 

I always have one filled with pure water and one with 'magic wash'.  I am currently formulating the bottle that will hold a general thinner based on some of the recipes that have been posted on this thread.

 

This is much easier than doing it separately for every single application of paint on a palette.  The dropper makes getting the quatities easier, like 3 droppers of your 'thinner' to one drop of paint, etc.  You can also use them to hold your own custom paints if you ever mix your own.

 

And yes, they do store liquids very well without any noticable evaporation.

I just found out that a sotre called Art Media has dropper bottles last weekend. I now have one for water and one for magic wash and now see I need to add a 3rd to my arsenal once I get the magic ingredients :)

 

Thanks again everyone for contributing. I look forward to trying some of these recipes out :)

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