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Beginning painter needs washing help

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I am very happy with all of the advice I got on my last post about varnishing/protecting my miniatures after the paint job is done.  I thought I would ask another question about washing. 


I have a few questions about color combinations and application.


1.) Color combinations.  
What goes best with certain base colors?  I am currently working on a mini with a green cloak, a red leather tunic some brown leather armor, gun metal grey shin guards, a silver sword and shield.  What are the best washes to use here?

I own some Citadel washes.  I have decided that I do not like that these paints come in little pots and I cannot drip them out like vallejo paints but that is another story.


a.) Drakenhof Nightshade:     Was thinking this may give my sword a "magic" glow if I washed with that color.  Maybe the cloak?  Thoughts?

b.) Nuln Oil: I planned on doing the gun metal grey paints with this wash.  Maybe the silver shield to bring out the contrast in the grooves.

c.) Reikland Fleshshade: The skin like the hands and face?


d.) Agrax Earthshade: Maybe the leather armor?  Maybe the cloak?


e.) Greyphonne sepia: Maybe the leather armor?  Maybe the cloak?


2.) Application:

I have Lamian Medium from Citadel as well.  I was told by the sales guy I should use it to thin out the wash to get a better effect.  So it does not streak all over and actually hits the recesses in the mini.  With these little pots I don't know how I would combine this with any wash with out either dumping it into the wash container itself or mixing them outside the pots in another container.


Any ideas for applying the wash paints themselves?  How much wash on the brush?  Up and down or side to side? Wax on wax off? :)


Please pardon any redundant questions.  I really appreciate everyone's help from the weekend!

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I've only used Agrax and it doesn't need thinning, it's pretty weak as is.  When I do a wash it is usually an all-over color, so all shadows are the same color and the mini has a unified look. 


Honestly I think your best bet is to just experiment and then show us pictures of how it comes out. 


I take whatever the brush will hold and wipe it all over the figure. You can tell if it runs into the crevices and if it is too much just wipe the brush and blot a little out. 

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Before and after washing. No highlights yet. Washed almost all with Agrax, did the sword in the blue wash and the skin in the fleshy one.  The shield was done in nuln.  I feel like the effect is not significant.  Should I wash it more when it dries?





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Do the eyes. I usually do them around the time I do the wash.


Looks like you're doing a controlled wash, where you treat the wash more like paint than "slop and glop". I'm starting to do that as well.


All I got is to wash in the same-ish color as the basecoat. Wash armor with black. Wash flesh with red (?). Wash yellow with brown for shadows (?) Purple over flesh made my Ogre look sickly. ):


Main problem I have with washes is that, while they're good with details, they don't do a good job with depth, which is where highlights come in. You can also unify the highlights with the figure with a wash, although if you do a blending gradation right, you don't need to do this. You can try using a wash (or an ink) after a highlight to add contrast to a figure (eg. distinguish the fingers on a glove).


I'm trying out the QuickShade Ink set, and Liquitex Ink Essentials (white, black, brown, red, blue, yellow). 


See what you can find with "painting with washes only" for other info.


I'd like to know more about washes as well!

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I cant sort out how to get the eyes properly.  I have a steady hand pretty much until I get to the crucial spot like the eyes.  Then my hand starts shaking and I cant get it.  I think I may try with a toothpick or a paperclip to just dot them.


I do a little of both slop n glop and controlled.  Like controlled on the hands and face and more slop on the large areas.


I think I may do some highlights on this one.  I am not really great at the dry brushing but I think the knees, wrist and neck pieces on this one has some really raised details that would pop if I did a silver dry brush on it.  Not sure what colors would work well with the leather armor for highlights.  Maybe I have to lighten some of my browns for that.

I'm just a little sad as he still looks a bit bland.

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Oh i wouldn't worry to much about your difficulty with eyes, even with the best tutorials out there it will still take time to get better at them.  Dry brushing  can be tricky my advice would be to experiment perhaps do something to pull the studs out of the armor some more.  Just remember two things about painting miniatures: One it is a process and everyone goes through it somewhat differently, and two have fun don't get so caught up in the details or looking at others work that you forget that you are (or at least I am) doing this as a fun hobby.  That would be the bulk of my advice for you.

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The key to eyes is extra-fine tip paint pens.


As far as washing goes, I use Devlan Mud (Argax Earthshade) on leather, and Payne's Grey on just about everything else (and sometimes on leather). I mix my Payne's Grey wash myself with a 1:4:10 ratio. (That's 1 part Liquitex Soft Body Payne's Grey, 4 parts Liquitex Matte Mixing Medium, and 10 parts distilled water.)

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If you're stumped on choosing colors try these tools:






I could see some purple shadows on this miniature- maybe on the leather armor.  For the cloak, you could actually use your reddish color to shade the folds.  Have fun!

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The wash made a big difference, especially on the metals and the fine details like the scales and chainmail. I would try doing it again until you are happy with the way it looks. You can even mix up the colours if you like. The blue on the sword turned out really nicely.

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I've found that the Bones spider swarm figures work great as test peices for washes. I base coat them in whatever color i'm using on my main figure then I try washing them with various colors to see how it affects the basecoat. All of the little spiders give you lots of crevices to show how it will work. Plus the spider swarms are fairly inexpensive. i found it came in handy when I was painting the horns on my Pathfinder Dragon. I can post one of my test swarms once I get home if you'd like.

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Please show me your spiders.  I looked them up on here.  Pretty cool.


I'm wondering if I should wash it again?  Maybe go heavier on the wash?  A different color?  how long would a wash take to dry if I wanted to start doing dry brushing/highlighting?


Reddish wash in the green cloak folds?  Sounds interesting.  I used the agrax earthshade.  Maybe not heavy enough?

Purplish on the leather parts?  Would that have a strange look if I already used a different wash?  Or can I add another color as long as the first one is dry?


Thanks again!

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Ok here is what I was talking about. The base color is army painter's skeleton bone. I used multiple wash colors to see what effect I wanted. These are just a few of the colors I tried:

Secret Sweapon fallout wash

Secret Weapon Red black Wash

Secret weapon yellow snow Wash

Secret Weapon Parchment wash

Secret weapon blue black wash

Army painter Strong tone quickshade (in the bottle)


ANyway, here are the test spiders...



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Here are the results of my washing and highlighting.  Thanks for all your advice and sharing.  Not sure where to go from here...may do some highlighting on the cape? Not sure how to tackle that.  Kinda worried about screwing it up.



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