Jump to content

Layer, wash, drybrush


Orionjp
 Share

Recommended Posts

Through the years of my painting the one thing that I haev done most is drybrushing. The one thing I've done the least is using washes. I've seen tutorials, read forums and such, and one thing I would love to know is, which technique is really the best. I've seen where they wash then drybrush, I've seen drybrush then wash. I've read using layering with watered down paint. Of all these techniques, which one gives the smoothest look and higher quality mini?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 16
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Artists

I suspect this is not at all what you'd like to hear, but in all honesty I am hard pressed to think of a high level miniature, painter or effect that uses drybrushing (and/or washes) to any extent. (By effect I mean something like depicting torch light falling on the figure, transparent cloth or creating the look of metal using non-metallic paints.) There are exceptions to every rule, and I'm sure there is a top level figure or painter that someone can point out that uses a lot of drybrushing, but generally speaking, the higher level stuff is painted using techniques based on layering or physically blending wet paint on the mini for a similar effect. I rarely even drybrush rocks any more. Something like fur is suited to limited drybrushing or wetbrushing (rather than scrubbing on the paint with a pretty dry brush, you're lightly drawing the brush over the sculpted texture using slightly wetter paint and more of it on the brush), but even there it will often look best if the last few stages are applied in more of a layering fashion.

 

Washing used in combination with drybrushing can result in a smoother look than drybrushing alone, and experimenting more with that technique could lead to an improvement that would be a nice compromise between starting from scratch learning a completely new technique and going on as you have been, but it's unlikely to mimic the look of minis you might be admiring online that have been painted with layering or blending techniques.

 

I'd like to suggest that you consider buying a copy of a DVD set called Hot Lead. This is put out by one of the Reaper painters named Laszlo Jakusovsky. It's a 3D set, and covers a gamut of techniques. The first disk covers more basic techniques like drybrushing and washing. I was impressed with the results he demonstrated with those techniques, which are ones that I have not yet been able to master (I got frustrated and just skipped ahead to layering). The other two cover more advanced techniques, including both layering and wet blending. In all cases the instruction includes close ups and discussion of diluting and mixing the paint, and placement of the brush and paint on the mini. Laszlo's methods aren't the only way of doing those techniques, but having them on a DVD you can watch over and over again in close-up is invaluable. There are other DVDs available, but for where you are now and the subjects you've expressed an interest in, I think this would be the best place to start.

 

Also helpful would be to try to spend time with other painters. If you attend conventions, many offer painting classes or workshops, or even just opportunities to sit down with other painters. It's the best way to see how other people handle the brush, paint and their end results. The opportunity to see other people's minis in person is invaluable, too, as regardless of the techniques used, they don't look quite the same in photos. You could try to see if you have anyone local by asking around or posting notices at local game shops or forums.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well Wren, you told me exactly what I wanted to hear, and that is which you think is best. I'm not the kind of person who is afrade to change my techniques, and I have already started. I'm practicing on old Ral Partha minis before I try them on the better quality Reaper or GW minis. I saw that dvd set you mentioned, but its a bit expensive for the time being, I might look into it later though. As far as artists in my area, unfortunately I'm one of the best in the area, and the others are a bit tight lipped because they are afrade of people painting better than they do. All I have are these forums for advice or techniques. Cons are always too far away, not many going on in Florida. Thanks for the info though, it helps me more than you know. Now I just need to get the NMM down, so far its harder than I thought.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As someone who has used washes extensively, I can make a case for their use if you remember that there's only so much they are good for. As for good uses of washes, pretty much any area you would do drybrushing is also a good wash target. If you are familiar with the Skirne Titans (Privateer Press), I did mine by base coating the skin, then building up highlghts with drybrushing, then applying a layered wash to define the texture and shadows. Being shallow-textured, this technique worked out really well. However, it is useless for cloth (I've tried) and smooth areas. It's really a matter of what it is you're trying to paint.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you ever get a chance to see one of Wren's minis in person, you'll probably be struck by her amazingly smooth shading and highlighting. The transitions look like a continuous gradient from one color to the next.

 

But, the layering style is also very ill suited for putting things out in a hurry or in quantity. Washes and drybrushing work well for those situations.

 

Ron

 

PS: You can wash and drybrush NMM. Doesn't look anywhere near as good as a layered NMM, but it works well enough for tabletop minis. ::):

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^that's another important consideration. Layering can be time consuming.

 

When I first started out, I found out that I could get a good bit of work done in a relatively short amount of time using base-drybrush-correct. The results weren't great but at least I was getting stuff done. Then I really wanted to get better. Washes were another method that did a good amount of work in a limited time. But again, it only went so far and was only useful for so much.

If you keep that in mind, it is definitely a technique worth learning (and practicing a lot with).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My opinion is a little redundant here, but I myself use a combination of different techniques. Layering is time consuming, yes, but well worth putting the effort into learning for some things. Drybrushing and washing also have useful applications too. Doing layers and then washing gives a beautiful effect, and just so happenes to cover any small mistakes one may have made!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, layering is very time consuming. I pretty much have army painting down, doing "generic war gaming here" for over 15 years I've gotten the mass painting of minis down pretty well. I'm simply trying to find a way to improve my character minis, spicificly Reaper minis. I don't mind taking the extra time, I'm not in a rush. Thank you all for your advice, I always take everything people say into consideration.

 

I suspect this is not at all what you'd like to hear, but in all honesty I am hard pressed to think of a high level miniature, painter or effect that uses drybrushing (and/or washes) to any extent. (By effect I mean something like depicting torch light falling on the figure, transparent cloth or creating the look of metal using non-metallic paints.) There are exceptions to every rule, and I'm sure there is a top level figure or painter that someone can point out that uses a lot of drybrushing, but generally speaking, the higher level stuff is painted using techniques based on layering or physically blending wet paint on the mini for a similar effect. I rarely even drybrush rocks any more. Something like fur is suited to limited drybrushing or wetbrushing (rather than scrubbing on the paint with a pretty dry brush, you're lightly drawing the brush over the sculpted texture using slightly wetter paint and more of it on the brush), but even there it will often look best if the last few stages are applied in more of a layering fashion.

 

Washing used in combination with drybrushing can result in a smoother look than drybrushing alone, and experimenting more with that technique could lead to an improvement that would be a nice compromise between starting from scratch learning a completely new technique and going on as you have been, but it's unlikely to mimic the look of minis you might be admiring online that have been painted with layering or blending techniques.

 

I'd like to suggest that you consider buying a copy of a DVD set called Hot Lead. This is put out by one of the Reaper painters named Laszlo Jakusovsky. It's a 3D set, and covers a gamut of techniques. The first disk covers more basic techniques like drybrushing and washing. I was impressed with the results he demonstrated with those techniques, which are ones that I have not yet been able to master (I got frustrated and just skipped ahead to layering). The other two cover more advanced techniques, including both layering and wet blending. In all cases the instruction includes close ups and discussion of diluting and mixing the paint, and placement of the brush and paint on the mini. Laszlo's methods aren't the only way of doing those techniques, but having them on a DVD you can watch over and over again in close-up is invaluable. There are other DVDs available, but for where you are now and the subjects you've expressed an interest in, I think this would be the best place to start.

 

Also helpful would be to try to spend time with other painters. If you attend conventions, many offer painting classes or workshops, or even just opportunities to sit down with other painters. It's the best way to see how other people handle the brush, paint and their end results. The opportunity to see other people's minis in person is invaluable, too, as regardless of the techniques used, they don't look quite the same in photos. You could try to see if you have anyone local by asking around or posting notices at local game shops or forums.

 

Do you have a link to any of your work, I would love to see it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Artists

Technique-wise, it's the same techniques I use for the majority of what I paint - layering, sometimes a bit of glazing. Then it all becomes a question of trying to place shadows and highlights in the best way to simulate the surface or texture.

 

For transparency, it's easiest to start with white cloth as it's pretty easy to figure out how that will affect the view of the skin beneath (skin is darker than white cloth, so the skin viewed through white cloth should be paler than the bare skin areas of the mini). Then the trick is to think about how translucent cloth works - it's most see-through where it's pressed close to the skin. So the valleys of folds and the broad areas where the cloth is pulled against the skin are where you should paint skin as seen through cloth. (So start with a slightly paler version of the base skin colour, shade it down but not as darkly, and highlight it up to a paler top highlight than on the naked skin.)

 

The peaks of folds and where the cloth is hanging away from the body should look like cloth. These will be shaded with a shade colour that matches the cloth and doesn't look like the skin. So a gray, or pale muted purple or something like that, but probably not a tan as that's closer to a skin colour and more likely to look off for the final result.

 

With white cloth I paint the skin first, then go back and paint thin layers of white trying to get all the cloth in the cloth parts, then shade the just cloth parts with the cloth shading colour. Wrinkles in the cloth help sell the illusion, so I will sometimes paint in a small fold if there aren't a lot sculpted.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...