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Wet Blending vs. Thin Glazes, what's your Experience?


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Hi, folks.

 

I'm a still-fairly-novice painter that's trying to home my skills for painting really nice miniatures. I don't have an army I'm trying to field, or a game I need new characters for, I just like painting things so that they look really nice. It takes a while, but the relaxation and slow pace is why I like it.

 

So my 'book learning' on the subject of blending colors comes from two places. Lazlo Jakusovszky's 'Hot Lead' DVDs and the "Complete Guide to miniature painting" put out by Miniature Mentor. Hot lead tends to lean more toward wet blending, the the Complete Guide more towards glazes.

 

I wanted to know people's experience with these sorts of techniques. Is one considered better for competitions? Easier to learn or faster to do? What situations do you like using one or the other for?

 

I've had some problems and some successes with both of them so far. Wet blending works pretty much like it says on the box, except that I'm still a little inexperienced at getting my paints thinned to a proper level, and so I often end up with too much fluid on the mini such that it just runs all around. I'm getting better at it. The glazes, on the other hand, are very, very easy to do: your only limit really being how much time you want to put in putting down these thin, thin bits of paint and slowly building up a color transition. My problem with glazes is that 1) it's sometimes hard to tell if you are doing anything at all and 2) despite a lot of thinning, I still sometimes end up with paint drying and leaving 'rings' where I don't want them.

 

Thoughts? Experience? Thanks!

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Few general thoughts:

 

Easier: Neither

Faster: Wet blending

Looks best: Depends on what you personally like

 

These two blending techniques, they aren't the only ones as there's two brush and feathering as well, basically try to mimic more traditional paints. Wet blending is trying to make the acrylics blend like oils while glazing is trying to make them blend like water colors. To be honest if you want to paint the best you can you should learn all the blending techniques and their strengths and how they look (though two brush is a type of wet blending and messy as all get).

 

I really only use glazing with the occasional feather as I love the watercolor look so I can give you advice on that front but can't really help out much with wet blending.

 

1)sometimes hard to tell if you are doing anything at all -- You're too thin. It's best to do a slightly thicker glaze until you really get use to the technique. Even then you'll find that a glaze that needs 5-10 layers looks as good as a thinner one unless you're really trying to do a tough blend. My advice is to try out glazing where you see the changes after 3-4 coats and then add more water each new mini until you find what you like.

 

2) despite a lot of thinning, I still sometimes end up with paint drying and leaving 'rings' where I don't want them -- Too much water so add less. You can also get rid of this my adding some matte medium (or reaper brush on sealer) which is just paint with out pigment. This will help make your paint more transparent. You should do this same thing with your highlights to get past the "chalky highlighting" that you get from glazing.

 

See this thread for more: http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/47564-some-chalk-with-your-burgundy-wine-sir/

Edited by MonkeySloth
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Hi, I used it use both and still use wet blending. However I am really using two brush blending now it can give a really nice finish:

 

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=cw6QjE2a7A0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dcw6QjE2a7A0

 

This tutorial is by the fantastic Ali Mcvey of Studiomcvey. Love her painting style.

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Few general thoughts: Easier: Neither Faster: Wet blending Looks best: Depends on what you personally like These two blending techniques, they aren't the only ones as there's two brush and feathering as well, basically try to mimic more traditional paints. Wet blending is trying to make the acrylics blend like oils while glazing is trying to make them blend like water colors. To be honest if you want to paint the best you can you should learn all the blending techniques and their strengths and how they look (though two brush is a type of wet blending and messy as all get). I really only use glazing with the occasional feather as I love the watercolor look so I can give you advice on that front but can't really help out much with wet blending. 1)sometimes hard to tell if you are doing anything at all -- You're too thin. It's best to do a slightly thicker glaze until you really get use to the technique. Even then you'll find that a glaze that needs 5-10 layers looks as good as a thinner one unless you're really trying to do a tough blend. My advice is to try out glazing where you see the changes after 3-4 coats and then add more water each new mini until you find what you like. 2) despite a lot of thinning, I still sometimes end up with paint drying and leaving 'rings' where I don't want them -- Too much water so add less. You can also get rid of this my adding some matte medium (or reaper brush on sealer) which is just paint with out pigment. This will help make your paint more transparent. You should do this same thing with your highlights to get past the "chalky highlighting" that you get from glazing. See this thread for more: http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/47564-some-chalk-with-your-burgundy-wine-sir/'>http://www.reapermini.com/forum/index.php?/topic/47564-some-chalk-with-your-burgundy-wine-sir/
My name is Adrift, and I approve of this public service annoucement. :;): Edited by Adrift
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I like the comparison of glazing to watercolors. Since I favored watercolor over oils back in high school, it makes sense I've been drawn to glazing, I guess. I haven't really tried wet-blending, just doesn't seem to click with me theoretically.

 

I did have some success with two-brush blending as well (won a small contest, even!) but it's a bit awkward and I'm holding off until the G&G brushes come out to give it another shot.

 

I paint in a hot, dry room during the winter thanks to my woodstove, so that influences things a bit. I'd have to radically change up my thinning due to the amount of drying retarded I'd be adding to do either wet blending or even two-brush.

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Glazing is my preferred approach because wet blending requires a little extra set-up to do properly. You'll probably need to add some retarder to your paint, possibly work with a wet palette, so on. Layering and glazing use what's to hand and works better for me if I have to wedge 45-60 minutes of painting in between other things. If I don't finish what I set out to do, I can complete the rest later.

 

One curious thing I've been doing lately without realizing it is that I've changed how I highlight. Instead of starting very thin and working up to a highlight, I'll mix a little thicker and start at the brightest part of the highlight first. Then thin and work out from there in progressively thinner layers.

 

I don't know why I started doing that. I only just realized I've been doing it. Some kind of painter autopilot. But - I can tell when I started doing that - it was the white head on Takhisis. As, thus far, this is my nicest highlighting job I suppose I might be on to something. Guess we'll see.

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Make sure your glaze is a glaze and not a wash. A wash is thin paint designed to flow into the cracks and darken them - it tends to get slobbered on and can lead to rings if you aren;t careful. A glaze is thin paint painted on to cover a surface, and should not be flowing into the cracks like the wash. Dab and clean that up when it happens.

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Make sure your glaze is a glaze and not a wash. A wash is thin paint designed to flow into the cracks and darken them - it tends to get slobbered on and can lead to rings if you aren;t careful. A glaze is thin paint painted on to cover a surface, and should not be flowing into the cracks like the wash. Dab and clean that up when it happens.

And how do you keep one from becoming the other, if they're both just highly-thinned paint?

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The only real difference between a glaze and a wash is how much paint is on your brush and how you apply it. For glazes I use a sponge, though you could use a paper towel, to wipe off 80% of the paint I get on my brush via the palette. The I run the brush against one of my fingers until the brush only dampens my finger and doesn't leave a trail of liquid behind it.

Edited by MonkeySloth
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I use paper towel and then watercolor paper (good for seeing opacity on white or other colors I've been using), but lately the thumbnail has seen a lot more use. It's right there!

 

Also, a second moist brush is great for cleaning up errant glazing (or anything, really). One reason I'm hoping the G&G KS brushes are decent, hate fumbling for a second brush and don't like it in my mouth.

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Make sure your glaze is a glaze and not a wash. A wash is thin paint designed to flow into the cracks and darken them - it tends to get slobbered on and can lead to rings if you aren;t careful. A glaze is thin paint painted on to cover a surface, and should not be flowing into the cracks like the wash. Dab and clean that up when it happens.

And how do you keep one from becoming the other, if they're both just highly-thinned paint?

 

Like they said, it's all in how you load your brush. Washes get heavy load and slobbered abouteverywhere. Glazes are less loaded, and deliberately placed. If it pools where you do not want it to pool, dab your brush on your paper towel or whatever and place it in the pool - it should naturally wick it back up into the brush.

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