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Dry brushing disaster.


rmschaff
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Hello! Pardon my ignorance, I painted my very first mini yesterday, and would like to promptly stop destroying my poor miniatures.

 

Before I started, I watched and read a lot tutorials. Everything was fine enough except my dry brushing. I took most of the paint off the brush and swept the brush lightly across the surface, and the color still blobbed itself onto the mini on the first stroke.

 

I was using a 0 size brush with acrylic paint, but I wasn't aware that some painters thin the paint before the process. The mini was an inch in height.

 

I was wondering if perhaps I really do need to thin my paint, or if my brush was the wrong size, or if I failed simply because it was my first mini. Do I need to splay the brush's bristles out at all? I can barely tell what the brushes look like in the tutorials.

 

Thanks in advance for any help. :)

 

(I started the hobby with two other friends who haven't looked at a single tutorial, so really, you're bravely saving countless minis in the process.)

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Welcome to the nuthouse! Glad you and your friends have picked up your brushes and are giving it a go.

 

Hmm, are you using an actual drybrush, or a standard brush? Dedicated drybrushes have a flatter head than standard detail brushes. I just use a set of Citadel drybrushes and they work fine for my drybrushing needs.

 

And if your paint is too thin, perhaps you are loading the brush too much. Just wet the tip of the brush and gently wipe most of the pigment off on a paper towel, etc. and you should be fine.

 

Hopefully some of the pros will chime in with their opinions.

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It's a matter of paint consistency and brush control. I use the Reaper MSPs for everything including drybrushing. When I'm drybrushing just about anything I use a $1 brush I got at Michael's five years ago - best cheap brush ever. It's 1/2" wide and it might be sable - at any rate I've beaten it up and it's stayed true.

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Also, use a crappy brush...or at least one that you aren't planning on using for any type of detail work. Consistent drybrushing wreaks havoc on the bristles. It does sound like there is too much paint on your brush too. Check out you-tube to see if some kind soul has posted a video of themselves drybrushing or check out your local store and see if someone will demonstrate for you. If you are like me, seeing is much better than just reading.

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I use a dedicated dry brush made by Games Workshop, but basically any brush with short bristles and a semi wide area would do. Like every one else said, you want to wipe the brush until you would think nothing could possibly come off of the bristles, then you should be good to go.

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Drybrushing is a little trickier than most at first realize. Everybody will tell you to wipe most all the paint off, but they don't often go into detail about what that means.

 

Make sure the back of the bristles, where they meet the handle, is dry. Any residual water or extra paint hiding out there is going to conduct itself down to the tip while you're painting. Trust me, water is hard to detect, and paint can be under the top bristles, inside the brush, and you might think you have a dry brush when you do not.

 

In short, drybrushing begins with thoroughly drying your brush after washing, the whole length of the bristles. Next, make sure your paint is not too thinned down. Next, don't saturate the brush with paint. You want it mainly on the tip. Next, clean the brush on a paper towel until it almost looks like nothing is coming off of it anymore. Finally, make sure to lightly whip the tip across the detail of the model, not along its length.

 

Keep checking that there is not too much paint or water hidden in the bristles.

 

As to what brushes I use, usually something aging and flat that has begun to become less useful in other applications. I also use a dedicated brush with incredibly stiff bristles and a slightly pointed tip. It's the sort of stiff brush my mother used to occasionally use in oil painting for stipling and pushing lines, but my own art classes were so long ago I have forgotten exactly what they call it. I'll drop back in later with the name. It's my favorite brush for this sort of thing - very useful.

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Welcome to painting! Drybrushing can be tricky, but it can also be really flexible. By this I mean the kind of brush isn't necessarily as important and the state of the paint. I've drybrushed with anything from small cheap mini brushes to brushes used to paint walls. One thing you mentioned that caught my attention was the idea of thinning your paint out, and I'll tell you right off that this is a bad idea. When you're painting the mini proper, you'll thin you're paints with thinner or water, or what have you, but if the brush you're drybrushing with has even trace amounts of water, you're "drybrush" will bleed and blob and look sloppy. This is something that's screwed me up time and time again, and it can happen very often unconsciously. If you use a wet pallet, that paint is no good for drybrushing, because of the water at the base keeping it all moist. Just drop a spot on a piece of tile or something water-free and work from there. One reason drybrushing can destroy brushes is that you're intentionally letting the paint dry and clog in the bristles. Hope this helps, good luck!

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This has all be insanely helpful. In retrospect, I'm pretty sure I did everything wrong that I could have. I was actually using a brush that I'd used to paint a base coat, and even though I thought the brush was dry enough, it really probably wasn't. Next time, I'll definitely get a different brush, and also Pyreos, thanks for the tip of keeping the paint elsewhere instead of the wet palette. I wasn't doing that, either. My brush was also very new, maybe I'll try beating it up a little bit to get the bristles to fan out a little.

 

Wumbly- when I watched that video link, I also watched a few more of his, and I could actually see (yay!) the paintbrush when he wiped it off and used it, and I didn't think I had been putting too much paint on the brush, but clearly I was.

 

My next minis won't come in the mail for another few days, so until then I'll read over the advice again and watch more of the linked videos.

 

Thanks again!

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If you want to repaint the ones you have and they are metal. put them in some pine-sol for a day and the you can wash most of the paint right off and what doesnt come off will scrub off very easily with a toothbrush.

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