Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Forum Mascot

Sorry about the delay, I became Busylips this weekend. I'm popular, everybody wants a piece. ::P:


Okay, so I'm going to go over a couple more basics in this post and then hopefully soon after this I can start showing some neat things in practice. In addition to Rauthorous's wings and some volunteer skeletons, I have an incomplete 1/35 panzer IA which has generously donated itself for science.


But before that, we need to do this:



1. Brush Loading





This is one of the most common questions I get when people are starting to use drybrushing. It's a hard thing to describe, easy to show. To that end I got some paper towel (more on that in a minute) and did up some rows. In the upper portion, all those are too much. Way too much. But in the yellow circle, that's just right. Now there's still some play there, as you can see. But the whole zone is usable, it just depends on how much build-up you want to do, or how powdery a look. In general, the less coming off the brush on the towel, the more powdery and light the coat will be. You can really dust with some stuff, it's kind of neat.


Also, in one row you'll see a blob of thicker paint in the midst of thinner blobs. That's where I rolled the brush - always remember to empty off both sides! You'll be in for a surprise if you don't.


2. Powderiness





One of the limitations, as well as a strength, of drybrushing is a powdery look to the application. This is in contrast to the more refined smoothness you would get from layering, and one reason why drybrushing fell out of favour as people shared tips over the interwebz. But as I noted when doing Kaladrax, sometimes that texture look is what you want.


In general, the more white a colour has the more powdery it will look when drybrushed. And the darker, the reverse. That's not a constant, but it's a good general rule. This goes all the way up to pure white which is, you can probably guess, the most powdery of all. Note that this can be handy for adding a bit of snow or frost effect in some places.


3. The Exceptions




Like any rule, there are exceptions. I picked out a few examples. Here's where things get a bit weird. White tends to be powdery, yellow works the opposite. The more pure the yellow, the less powdery it will be. Note that where they square off, like in the powdery yellow above closer to the "more powdery" end, the white will win.


So very strong, unusual pigments containing strong greens or yellows will generally not be powdery. We'll get to some places where that's handy later.


4. The Other Exceptions




Some brands of paint, like Coat D'Arms above, produce very little powdery effect - even with the pure white. This is a product of difference in manufacture. All the CDA I have used produce a "gloopy" build-up, rather than powdery. So you'll have to get to know your paint a little, and certain types like CDA you would not want to use for things like stone. But it's still handy for some other uses, which I will demonstrate later.


(It occurs to me that this series of posts may be longer than I originally thought, but it should be pretty thorough when done)


An additional note on the question of what to unload your brush onto before use. I've seen coffee filters mentioned, but don't have any on hand to try. This presents me with some present java-related difficulties, actually. Anyway, I can't think of any reason why those wouldn't work.


Generally I use paper towel, whatever brand is handy. Sometimes I'll use plain copypaper, which is dead smooth. I discovered an interesting effect with it - it takes longer to unload the brush for use, but generally it will also produce a smaller particle size that may apply a little smoother. That's not worth its own demo, just something to try for extra credit sometime if you're feeling experimental.


I strongly recommend against toilet paper or tissue - those will very likely produce "fuzzies" that will clump on your brush and mar your work. Some people have mentioned a concern with that and paper towel, sometimes in the context of using coffee filters as an alternative, but in 25 years of drybrushing I've never had that problem using paper towels. But if you do run into that issue, try the filters.


So I think that covers the basics before moving on, and may help lend clarity to some of the terms and particulars I'll be using when I show application.




  • Like 15
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 90
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Hiya, folks! Okay, so in response to questions about some of the arcane magicks I've deployed in my Work In Progress threads I'm going to try and narrow down and illustrate a few things and see if th

Okay, so I'm going to start off real easy. The example brush here is a Testors medium white handled synthetic. This is a good utility brush for this sort of thing. If I hadn't been down to so few r

Sorry about the delay, I became Busylips this weekend. I'm popular, everybody wants a piece.   Okay, so I'm going to go over a couple more basics in this post and then hopefully soon after this I

Posted Images

Awesome tutorial.


Something that might help new painters (like myself)

Is mixing ratios for each of the techniques. paint : water/retarder

I know everyone recommends diffence ratios but knowing a good place to start is helpful for me. I kinda wing it most of the time and am now starting to keep track.

Im looking forward to the dampering one I have not heard of that. Ive heard of the others...and recenlty learned alittle about glazeing.


EDIT: Silent whispers from the wind say "you tube you tube you tube" "video video video"

Edited by Bane Of Humanity
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Moderator

Buglips, I just wanted to say THANK YOU again for putting this thread together! It's already answering a bunch of questions I didn't even realize I had! (such as which paint colors tend to go powdery) :)


@Bane - It's my understanding that you just use paint right out of the bottle, though that may differ depending on the brand of paint used. I seem to recall buglips mentioning that he'd discuss paint thinning at some point, so he's probably already planning on addressing that. ::):



--OneBoot :D

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with the others Buglips, thanks for this very informative tutorial. As a brand new painter, its one thing to read "wipe it off on a paper towel until only the raised parts are collecting paint" and another to see a picture of said towel.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Buglips, thank you for the tutorial. I have a large pile of Dwarven Forge tiles that I've just started drybrushing. I'll get through a fair number of them with this, but eagerly await more of your tutorial here. Hopefully you'll cover some additional things that I can incorporate with the more finely detailed pieces.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great thread! I've come back into Mini painting after a hiatus of about 8-10 years, and found that most of the techniques I rely on have fallen out of favor. :) Nice to see someone talking about drybrushing, as that's my primary tool.


For bigger work I actually use a decent-sized cat's tongue brush, I forget the exact size. For smaller work I use a Citadel "drybrush" - it's good for working in tight places. You could certainly use a good-sized spotter as well -- I'll probably re-commission my 5/0 spotter for drybrushing when it starts to fray.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm running seriously behind on some things. My apologies, I know you're eager to see more stuff and start playing with it. I'll try to get some more stuff up soon.


How dare you have a life outside of us. Cad.


...do whatcha gotta, meng, you know we'll be here when you're ready. ^_^

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites


I strongly recommend against toilet paper or tissue - those will very likely produce "fuzzies" that will clump on your brush and mar your work.


Also leaves visitors with a concerned look when they use your facilities and see globs of color on your toilet paper roll. ;-)
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Great tutorial man! This is nearly exactly how I was taught back in the early 90s when drybrushing was king. Its an amazingly easy technique when it's spelled out like this. I mostly use it for bases, dusty snow effects, and chainmail these days but it got me through the 1st 100 or so minis. When a guy names Sven showed me the dry stages on a paper towel it clicked. This should be a sticky.


This much win doesn't need apologies... just praise.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Nontoxic" apparently actually means "nontoxic as long as you are using them the normal way." That is, they don't... release noxious fumes? Consuming them in any manner might still be a bad plan.None of which stops me from using my fingertips to test wash consistency, of course.

Actually, "nontoxic" means "does not fall into the category of having been tested and found toxic."


Note that this does not require any actual testing before a substance is given the "nontoxic" label.


To put it another way, all chemicals are presumed to be nontoxic until and unless they are tested and discovered to be toxic.


What if they are never tested? Well ...


Most art supplies have never been properly tested. The chemical industry has little incentive or requirement to test industrial chemicals for toxicity, so on the whole it does not.


While it is likely many substances used in the arts today are in fact harmless, it is unwise to presume that "nontoxic" is any kind of certification of safety.

  • Like 4
Link to post
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.

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.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By TGP
      Our Anti-Hero Rictur Diehn the Assassin (2430) has decided to build a Wet Palette**
      Peanut Butter Jar Lid, 90mm, culled from recycle bin Peanut Butter Jar Lid, 85mm, culled from recycle bin Paper Towels, Bounty Brand, nicked from kitchen Parchment Paper, Reynolds Brand, nicked from kitchen Copper Wire, Solid, 3mm OD, purchased from Home Depot for $0.63 / foot  
      QUANTITIES (In Order):
      (1), (1), (4 half sheets), (2 layers), (10--12 inches (255-300mm) )  
      TGPTGP;  acid washed; Palette; Recycle Bin; Scratchbuilt; Plastic Lids; Copper
      **With some off camera help from Pendrake The Griffon
    • By Lyn
      There is a Kickstarter going on until January 7th, 2019 for the English version of the book “The Art of Miniature” by Mohand Art. 

    • By Guindyloo
      Hi friends! We have another project to share with you in our continuing series where Buglips and I paint the same figure using our own very different from each other approaches to miniature painting. If you're not familiar with this series, you can check out our previous topics:
      03100: Thanis the Bonecaller
      01614: Con Crud 2017 Convention Zombie
      02818: Bugbear Warrior
      For this project, we decided to paint Scorpius Rex Dracus, which is an older figure in the back catalog of Reaper - just look at the number! 02017! He's one of the OG's of the Reaper catalog! Our usual method for picking a figure is generally that one of us already owns it and suggests it and then the other of us goes and orders it. However, for Scorpius Rex Dracus, we actually both already owned him because he's a really neat figure with a lot of personality.
      I know a lot of people are a bit intimidated by the thought of painting dragons, but I promise they're a lot of fun and this guy would actually be a great starter dragon, as he's on the smaller side. I didn't have a Sir Forscale, but here he is next to Queen Illeosa of Korvosa to give you an idea of his size.

      So you can see, he's a far less intimidating size than the dragons you see in Bones. (Spoiler alert, I'm going to assemble him a little later. )
      But for now, here he is straight out of the blister:

      As we've done with our previous WIP posts, I will be tackling this guy with my method of painting for display and I'll do my best to take y'all through all of the steps that I go through from start to finish and share my thoughts with you as I go along.
      As always, please feel free to comment or ask questions - I'm always glad to help out in whatever way I can along the way. I'll try not to take too many blurry pictures....but no promises. 
    • By Gargs
      Hopefully an easy question regarding NMM. I hear a lot of talk about doing NMM vs. TMM but my question is, what are the advantages of NMM over TMM? I know that typically, NMM will likely take a bit longer than TMM (unless I am just misinformed) but the main advantage that jumps out at me is that NMM are better on your brushes, which I suppose could mean that you can use better brushes with it, which in turn may yield a better result. I'm guessing there's more to it than that though so I am curious as to what everyone's thoughts on it were. Are they simply that much better once you get the hang of it? Is it just for the challenge/enjoyment aspect of doing it with NMM? Something else?
      I'm not really sure that I'm ready to try tackling it yet anyway but am just curious as to what can be done with them and if its something worth putting into the ole idea file so to speak. As a beginner, using TMM has certainly been nice for creating that metallic feel but I see enough comments on NMM that I'm guessing I'm also missing something. ;)
    • By ThirstyBob
      Show off might be a bit of a misnomer, I'm not the happiest with these guys, mostly putting this up for tips on what I could do better next time.
      Paste from final post in  WIP thread:
       Alright "finished" with these guys. When I say "finished" I mean I'm overcoming my perfectionism to move on to something else because they're serviceable. Tried to use some speed painting techniques, but still took way too long, need to work on that. If anyone's got any tips on how I could have made them better without, layering/glazing/something else that takes forever, they would be much appreciated!

  • Who's Online   7 Members, 1 Anonymous, 40 Guests (See full list)

  • Create New...