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Regular paint, washes and glazes... Oh my (paint to water ratios for thinning)

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I'm new to mini painting. And have been having issues with thinning paint, that is being addressed in its own separate thread. But I thought this specific question may deserve it's own thread.


I use reaper paints. And a few GW washes. And I paint bones.


I also realize that the actual answer for this is going to vary from person to person... And it will also vary from project to project. And within a project their will be some variance as well.


After the initial base coat on bones....


What ratio of paint/water do you use for:








And as a side note, pre-made washes (such as the ones I'm using from GW...). Do you recommend them? Recommend making your own?

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I am pasting this from another recent thread on the topic. In general, I don't find ratios helpful. Paint consistency and how opaque or transparent a colour is varies from brand to brand, from colour to colour, batch to batch when it's manufactured, and over time as water evaporates from a paint that you own. I prefer to use a more flexible guideline for judging correct paint consistency.


The simple tests I use - 


Basecoat - RMS out of the bottle is usually the correct consistency, but water evaporates out of the bottle slowly over time, and other paint brands vary. You only need to thin it enough that when you draw a brush through it, the 'wake' fills in pretty much immediately. The goal is to paint as few coats as you need to cover, but not to have the paint so thick that the brush strokes leave texture behind.


Wetblend  consistency - most forms of wet blending will use a consistency similar to a basecoat, with maybe a smidge more water.


Layer paint - the paint needs to be semi transparent. Paint a test stroke on a piece of paper with text printed on it. You should be able to see some of the text through the paint, but also see that you're laying down a noticeable amount of the colour.


Glaze - basically coloured water. When you paint it on the test paper, you should be able to read all text beneath the paint stroke, and be depositing just a faint stroke of colour. 


Wash - somewhere in between layer and glaze.


Note that when you thin paint, it behaves differently on the brush. The brush head will wick up a ton more thinned paint. Wipe it against your palette or even touch it against the side of a paper towel or damp sponge. You should be able to paint a stroke with clean edges if the brush is loaded (and unloaded) correctly, even if you have super thin paint. A lot of guides/teachers talk about thinning paint, but we don't always remember to tell you you have to get some of that thinned paint off the brush to be able to control it!

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Addendum - the first coat you paint on Bones needs to be the consistency I describe under basecoat. Add as little water as possible. The Bones material is a little hydrophobic (repels water), and watered down paint applied directly to the Bones surface will bead up and roll around instead of sticking.

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Additionally for Bones I've fount that you can pretty successfully thin the base coat with Reaper Brush-on sealer. I frequently thin down the "liners" with this to put on a very thin layer just slightly heavier than a wash. This helps me pick out the details. I also use the sealer to thin metallics.

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I paint to tabletop and use premade washes, such as Army Painter and Secret Weapon Washes. You can wash directly on primer to better see the details and start your shading. You can use a "controlled wash", meaning that you treat it more like as you do paint, rather than "slop and glop" it all over the model. Washes can also be used to thin paints -- you have the thin consistency of a wash, with the opacity and pigmentation of the paint, plus you learn to mix colors.


For myself, dipping the brush in wash or not drying it off after rinsing is enough water for glazing and layering -- but I use a wet palette. Search on "diy wet palette" to make your own. Wipe off most of the paint on the wet palette, and paint a thin layer of paint on the model. Gradually add a lighter color to the paint, and flatten the brush on the wet palette to paint only the raised areas of the model to highlight.


For Bones, I like to greyscale before painting. "Slop and glop" some thinned black craft paint, then highlight with greys and whites. Then start painting in thin layers.


Secret Weapon Washes and tabletop painting tutorials including washes: https://boardgamegeek.com/user/Sam%20and%20Max

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For washes I can say that I've found a 1 : 4 : 10 (paint : matte medium : water) ratio is about right, for just about any brand of paint. For an ink wash, I generally use about a 1 : 5 (ink : water) ratio.


For glazes, I only use inks and that's anywhere from 1 : 7 to 1 : 15 (ink : water) depending on the translucency of the ink right out of the bottle.

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Clearly there are some variations in what people work with. For Reaper paints, I generally use a ratio somewhere between 3-6 drops of dilutant (water, or a mix of half water, matte medium) to 1 drop of paint to mix a wash. There are a few strongly pigmented paints I might dilute a little more. Glazes are probably more, and I generally use plain paints for glazes. (I really do use that test I listed for glazes in particular, so I'm not really keeping track of the drops.) Seems a less than what dsmiles listed! 

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