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Wet Blending vs Layering?


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Humidity is also a factor of temperature. Colder temp forces water vapor out of the air, thus decreasing humidity a lot. Then, in your proximity you raise the local temp and since the air is actually lacking the right amount of water vapor, it becomes a sucker, so to speak.

 

But it is all kinda technical. Bottom line, if you are painting in an area with A/C, you are bound to get fast drying paints, usually.

 

Same thing happened to me when using old DVDs as palettes (but my regular humidity is 60-70%). The wet palette does not really work (I don't have a proper paper for it), but since it cools the surface and area it prevents evaporation, saturating the surrounding air with water vapor. This keeps my dilluted paints fresh for about 6 hs, usually.

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I am still trying to figure out why paint dries so fast! I am in FL and it is always humid so I would think it would dry more slowly. But I can take a brushful of water and wipe it on the palette and it has evaporated within a few minutes. Usually right when I need to rewet my brush.

Do you use a de-humidifier in your house?

 

Or as Willen mentioned an A/C unit. Typically we use swamp coolers in our area for cooling so the humidity level indoors can be quite high.

 

Another factor in all of this is the paint itself. Every brand is a different formula. Because of that you have to learn to work with the paint. That's why ratios are can only be used as a guideline. Vallejo Model Color is typically quite thick and requires quite a bit more water to thin down to the level I like to work with than my Reaper paints do. Especially true if you are used to using craft paints. MSPs vs HDs for Reaper can be quite different and although I use both and even mix them together they do behave differently so learn you need to practice with your paints and understand how they work to get the best results.

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I am still trying to figure out why paint dries so fast! I am in FL and it is always humid so I would think it would dry more slowly. But I can take a brushful of water and wipe it on the palette and it has evaporated within a few minutes. Usually right when I need to rewet my brush.

Do you use a de-humidifier in your house?

 

Or as Willen mentioned an A/C unit. Typically we use swamp coolers in our area for cooling so the humidity level indoors can be quite high.

 

No to using de-humidifier. But yes to AC. We're still using it... In November. FL is hot.

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The contention that Reaper paints are best suited to wet blending and Vallejo and GW to layering seems counter to everything I've ever heard, both from Anne as the person who designed the Reaper paint, and from the wet blenders I know who prefer to use Vallejo or P3. (GW changed it's entire paint line so completely last year that I no longer consider any information I have gathered about it relevant to pass along.) Reaper paint has flow improver added. This is an additive to help it flow off the brush more smoothly. It does not have a significant effect on drying time. Drying retarder or extender is what slows drying time. I have only painted with one paint I thought had a noticeable amount of that in it, and that line has been off the market for years. (Adikolor by Adiken.)

 

Reaper paints are designed for and very well suited to the uses of layering and glazing - ie techniques where you're thinning the paint. This is how I paint, and they've worked great for me. The vinyl base paints of Vallejo, P3 and old GW seem to be preferred by wet blenders, who need paint that is thicker and more opaque. I think those paints also dry a little slower. All of these paints are in the same general family, though. There are people who wet blend with Reaper paint, and people who layer and glaze with the other brands. You just might have to thin one more or less to get it to work as you expect.

 

That's not to say that over time you don't get used to the properties of the paint you use. When P3 first released, I found it frustrating to try to use it and it alone because I couldn't seem to figure out how to thin it to get layers to work the way I was used to with MSP. If I'd switched over, I'm sure I'd have figured it out. It was easier for me to just mix them. (So use a P3 basecoat and mix in an MSP to make my layers, or vice versa.)

However, it's also important to realize that you will find variance within a paint line, too. There's no way to make all the paints act uniformly, because of the nature of the pigments that make them up. Lighter pigments like whites are more opaque and chalky, darker pigments like dark greens and blues, and reds and yellows, are much more translucent. So as much as everyone would like to have a nice ratio system for how much water to how much paint for which type of technique, it doesn't work that way. You need to look at the coverage of the paint. I find using a welled palette helpful for learning to judge these. Here are my guidelines:

 

Basecoat - as thick as possible to cover in as few coats as possible, but thinned enough so that if you draw a brush through it, the wake fills in almost immediately.

 

Layer - you want to be able to see the colour, but if you draw the paint up the side of the paint well, or paint a stripe across something, you also want to be able to see the underlying colour. If you're seeing transition lines, you either need to thin the paint more, and/or make more steps between your basecoat and shadow/highlight colour. There are also some brush tricks but those are hard to explain in text.

 

Wash/Glaze - when you draw the paint up the side of the paint well, it should flow back down almost immediately and just tint the side with the colour. You can also test by painting a stripe on a piece of newspaper or paper with text. You should be able to read the text through the paint just fine, but tint the white parts of the paper the desired colour. I err on the side of thinner with these two, since you can easily do a second coat or even add a bit more paint and do a second coat if you need to, whereas if you err on the side of thicker, the only fix is to repaint the area.

 

You should be able to thin Reaper paint down pretty thinly with just water, but if you do start experiencing problems, try adding a bit of Reaper flow improver and/or Reaper sealer, especially when thinning down a lot for washes and glazes. If you're thinning more for increased translucency than to make a more watery paint (layers need to _look_ thinner, washes need to _be_ thinner to flow into crevices), you can use those additives or airbrush medium instead of just water.

 

Also, unloading the brush is as important as loading it. With the exception of washes, most of the time you want to control the thinned paint as you apply it. If you're having problems with paint splooshing all over the place when you touch the brush down, that's nothing to do with the brand of paint. Get in the habit of touching your brush against the side of a paper towel or damp sponge to wick off the excess paint, and then do a test stroke on the base or an area you haven't painted on yet (or if you follow bad examples, your thumb.)

 

NMM can be a frustrating technique. If you have not mastered producing a silky smooth blend transition in general, whether through layering, wet blending, whatever, and whatever kind of paint, chances are pretty slim that you'll be able to paint something you feel lives up to the NMM you're admiring in others. It requires being able to blend pretty much from near black to white, often in tight spaces. (Ideally it also requires thinking about reflection and where light and dark parts should go, and remembering that you best get the effect of shiny if you have something really light right next to something really dark.) It's easier to do on small areas like jewelry and such where the less than smooth transition lines are harder to see. I painted for 2-3 years before I even attempted it on a large area, and I literally cried at the result on that first attempt, and I had been complimented on my blending for some time before that attempt.

 

My advice would probably be to look into shaded metallics while you continue to practice layering. The principles of where you're putting the shades and highlights are pretty similar as to NMM, so you can start learning and practicing the theory, and the actual application of shadows is pretty similar, it's just a little more forgiving for an imperfect result. (A optimal result requires pretty much the same effort and skill as the best NMM.) Another technique that's a little more accessible to start with is streak painting NMM, which looks especially nice if you like a graphic art look - http://www.necrotales.com/necroTutorials/tut_streak_painting_01.php

 

As that article mentions, it helps to have a good brush. I also find layering much easier with the good brush, though I know there are other painters who are use different brushes for the technique. It's worth trying, you might find it eliminates some of your frustration.

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For the time I was using a wet palette, also homemade, I have found that my vallejo paints (my primaries) tend to stay very "wet" when there. Monkeysloth is right, less water on a wet palette is better. Also, what are you using for your pallette itself? I used wax paper to great effect, but others use a form of parchmet paper or another, which can affect consistency as well.

 

/d

basically its a glad container with damp paper towel inside and on top of that is a baking paper (not to be confused with wax paper). This has really helped me not waste paint and I can keep the paint good to go for a few days before actually haveing to change it. far superior to cleaning it after every session and waste alot of paint in the process.

 

EDIT: I should note that I add a sprinkle of water on the top of the baking paper before I begin.

 

 

Isn't wax paper waterproof? :huh:

 

I made my wet palette using almost the same design as Bane of Humanity. The only important difference is that I placed some kitchen sponges underneath the paper towels to raise the surface of the paint closer to the top of the container. (That way I don't have to reach down into the tub with my brush.) I use parchment paper, and it works like a champ.

 

I tried some P3 special-purpose wet-blend paper, but I wasn't happy with the results. The P3 paper seemed to lower the surface tension of the paint liquid and cause it to spread out much more than on parchment. That's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't fit my style at all. (It makes it harder for me to keep colors separate on the palette.)

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I tried some P3 special-purpose wet-blend paper, but I wasn't happy with the results. The P3 paper seemed to lower the surface tension of the paint liquid and cause it to spread out much more than on parchment. That's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't fit my style at all. (It makes it harder for me to keep colors separate on the palette.)

 

 

 

I had the same result with the P3 paper marketed for their wet palette--my paint puddles ran everywhere, without any thinning. I wasn't even have been able to maintain a gradient on the paper, because it would spread out, mix itself, and then dry out too fast because of the large surface area the paint now occupied. I switched over to parchment paper and haven't looked back.

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(layers need to _look_ thinner, washes need to _be_ thinner to flow into crevices)

 

NMM can be a frustrating technique. If you have not mastered producing a silky smooth blend transition in general, whether through layering, wet blending, whatever, and whatever kind of paint, chances are pretty slim that you'll be able to paint something you feel lives up to the NMM you're admiring in others. It requires being able to blend pretty much from near black to white, often in tight spaces.

1st quoted line: Well put. I love little phrases like that, that sum up an idea succinctly.

 

2nd quote: I did this pretty backwards. While I had learned some layered blending, it wasn't until I used Anne's instructions from L2PK3 for NMM that I really started getting smooth blends and better contrast. By learning how to blend and increase contrast for NMM! Also why I'm a fan of that kit. Now I'm trying to backwards engineer that more gradual layering and mixing into the rest of my painting, Luther's tunic was a decent start, though there are some really rough transitions.

 

In my wet palette, it's paper towels and parchment paper on a plate. Simple and disposable.

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For the time I was using a wet palette, also homemade, I have found that my vallejo paints (my primaries) tend to stay very "wet" when there. Monkeysloth is right, less water on a wet palette is better. Also, what are you using for your pallette itself? I used wax paper to great effect, but others use a form of parchmet paper or another, which can affect consistency as well.

 

/d

basically its a glad container with damp paper towel inside and on top of that is a baking paper (not to be confused with wax paper). This has really helped me not waste paint and I can keep the paint good to go for a few days before actually haveing to change it. far superior to cleaning it after every session and waste alot of paint in the process.

 

EDIT: I should note that I add a sprinkle of water on the top of the baking paper before I begin.

 

 

Isn't wax paper waterproof? :huh:

 

I made my wet palette using almost the same design as Bane of Humanity. The only important difference is that I placed some kitchen sponges underneath the paper towels to raise the surface of the paint closer to the top of the container. (That way I don't have to reach down into the tub with my brush.) I use parchment paper, and it works like a champ.

 

I tried some P3 special-purpose wet-blend paper, but I wasn't happy with the results. The P3 paper seemed to lower the surface tension of the paint liquid and cause it to spread out much more than on parchment. That's not necessarily bad, but it doesn't fit my style at all. (It makes it harder for me to keep colors separate on the palette.)

 

Baking paper is NOT wax paper. I worked in a bakery for 4 years you had to know the diffence in paper. Wax paper is actually bad to bake on. Its mostly used when you need to roll dough. People often confuse the two.

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@Wren Thank you Wren that actually helped alot. Im not expecting to paint some award winning paint job. I just want it too look good for the table, but when my NMM come out looking like a childs fingerpainting...somethings not right lol.

 

It could also be that im not thinning my glazes enough then...hmmm

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Glazes can be pretty thin. Think barely coloured water. If that doesn't have much of an effect, you can add a little more paint or do multiple coats, but you'd be surprised how much effect it can have. When using glazes to smooth transition lines, you need to remember that it's also dulling the whole surface. So you need to either start with more extreme highlights and shadows to factor in the dulling effect of the glaze, or remember to go back in and punch up the highlights and shadows after the glaze.

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I think from what I've been reading, I do some layering and a fair bit of glazing.

I'm planning on trying some wet blending for fur (I'm going to try and imitate my cat, Moose, on a mini), and I think his cow pattern might work better like that. Am I correct to think that I'd want to thin the paint less than I'm used to?

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"Baking paper"

 

 

 

For the time I was using a wet palette, also homemade, I have found that my vallejo paints (my primaries) tend to stay very "wet" when there. Monkeysloth is right, less water on a wet palette is better. Also, what are you using for your pallette itself? I used wax paper to great effect, but others use a form of parchmet paper or another, which can affect consistency as well.

 

/d

basically its a glad container with damp paper towel inside and on top of that is a baking paper (not to be confused with wax paper). This has really helped me not waste paint and I can keep the paint good to go for a few days before actually haveing to change it. far superior to cleaning it after every session and waste alot of paint in the process.

 

EDIT: I should note that I add a sprinkle of water on the top of the baking paper before I begin.

 

 

Isn't wax paper waterproof? :huh:

 

 

That'd be why he said "not to be confused with wax paper". The baking paper he's referring to is also often called parchment paper. It's not waxy, and lets just enough moisture through to keep your paints from drying. It's very much like the actual palette paper, only you can buy a huge roll of it for a few bucks at Costco.

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