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Creating depth where a wash is undesired/impractical...


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Hey all,


After sealing my Eregris Darkfathom tonight and reflecting on the experience of painting him, I discovered a few issues with my approach that I would really like to rectify before the next detail heavy mini (read: mini that I spend way too many hours on :lol: ).  For the glove fringes and the tassles hanging from the pauldrons, I wanted a wash to create depth.  However, the actual topography of these features is very shallow, so I had to let the wash sit there pretty heavily basically until it dried naturally (some areas I'll remove pooled wash with a clean brush if it's too much) in order to take hold in the cracks so to speak.  The result was pretty much staining the whole area rather than just the little nooks I was shooting for.



post-14799-0-12947700-1455148641_thumb.jpg post-14799-0-23335600-1455228578_thumb.jpg post-14799-0-66915900-1455228578_thumb.jpg


How could I have achieved my desired effect without staining the whole area?  I came up with the following possible solutions, but rather than trial and error my way through the next several minis that have similar features (which wouldn't necessarily be a terrible thing), I'd rather draw on the boundless wisdom that is this great community.


1. Manually line lowlights (ugh barf, that would've taken me hours just to do the tassles)

2. Wash the areas prior to painting the white on.

3. Basecoat the areas black or similar, and slowly layer white on top, being careful to preserve the low spaces.

4. Maybe base coat black as above, but then drybrushing with a proper small drybrush?  I have such a roller coaster love/hate relationship with drybrushing (mostly in small areas... loved drybrushing the dragon model, not so much small areas on humanoid models), but I feel it might improve with the new brush I picked up for this purpose.  (A cheapo princeton select round blender 6)


All in all, I'm actually really happy with the weathered/aged/simply dirty look of the details on the above mini, so I don't regret the over wash experience by any means.  I got some details I'm happy with (although I did not set out to create :lol:) AND I learned that washing isn't quite as easy peasy one size fits all as I had thought AND I was prompted to learn something new before I make the same mistake on another mini!



TL;DR - What are some preferred methods for creating depth or separation in very small areas where a wash won't sink into the desired areas without staining the foreground?

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I've always used a very thin wash with an ample amount of flow release. This prevents sticking to the foreground stuff and just simply filing in the gaps. It usually takes three or four layers to get the desired effect, but having the paint this thin means you don't have to worry about a mistake showing up.

Best bet: experiment with thinned washes and flow release. Find a combination that works for you. Then write it down. I keep a bottle hands handy of my premixed wash liquid handy. I just add a half drop of paint to it and instant wash.

One final note, in my experience inks are more likely to stain and ruin foreground details. So in this situation I'd use a dark purple (good supporting color) paint and make a wash from it.

Edited by TitanZero
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Thanks for the advice!  Making custom washes is actually the next thing I'm excited to start trying.  Could you explain what materials and ratio you use for your own washes?  The recipe I was planning on using is from Lester Burley  .5oz matte medium, .5oz water mix (10:1 distilled water : flow aid/release/improver), and appropriate amount of acrylic ink (20-40 drops in this video).


Thanks again!


edit:  didn't expect the video to embed automatically, moved it to the bottom



Edited by hammer570
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Hmm. Looks like you did a "slop and glop" with the model. You want a controlled wash, where you paint the wash (you can also use wash mixed with paint) directly in the recesses or where you want shade.


I think I would do something like 2, 3, and 1. It's not helping that the model is white, yellow, and red, three difficult colors to shade. You typically shade yellow with brown, but can also use purple or orange. I've washed red with a stronger red wash (eg. Army Painter's Red Tone), or you can use purple. White you shade with grey. Do a search on shading these specific colors. With this model, I would avoid a brown wash -- it doesn't look like a persona that wouldn't mind being dirty!


Can you switch from yellow to gold? Metallic colors are tricky to basecoat, but it's easier to shade gold with brown than yellow with another color.


Shallow details are a pain. You certainly may have to resort to freehand. Get some good lighting possibly with a magnifier (eg. an Ott light).

Edited by ced1106
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Or just shade it. Washes aren't the be-all, end-all of shading. Layer progressively darker colors into the shadows. Alternatively, start with your darkest color and layer progressively lighter colors up to your highlight.

I agree with dsmiles here, if features/details on a miniature aren't outstanding enough to take a wash, using your brush to manually input you own shading tones is the optimal approach. I find with painting Bones figures that I actually do three washes of color on a Bones figure just roughly putting a general color, and then two deeper tones to shade darker areas before actually painting the figure.


For instance, if you look at the Ursula I just painted up as part of this diorama you'll see all manner of passively washed shading as well as actively painted shading. If you look at the bend of her right boot, and the shadows of her left side where she's holding the reigns you'll see Frontier Blue in those recesses which was laid out by washing. In contrast, if you look at the Frontier Blue shadows under her sword arm between her and the goblin, you'll see actively painted shadows that weren't washed.



Edited by Adrift
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Hey Mostly Harmless,


I think you are making things a little too complicated. 


So let me show you a little demo I did in about 15 mins this morning.


I took something similar from my mini graveyard and painted it with Reaper HD Brilliant Red


Then I took a soda pop lid and added some water and a drop of flow release.


I mixed in a drop of RHD Twilight Purple. See the toothpick in the mix? See how how the liquid is kind of transparent and you can see the toothpick submurged partially? Thats a good sign.


Then layers layers layers.   This is 4 layers here, I heated with a hair dryer between each to speed the process.Thats why it looks a little sloppy. If allowed to dry naturaly it comes out a little better.


If it is sticking to the surface, just add a little more flow release.   But again, i'd avoid ink in this arena.  Ink stains. We want pigment to flow into the cracks not stain the surface.








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Thanks for the comments everyone!


Seems like my best bet for this particular situation would have been the foresight to start dark and build up lighter colors carefully avoiding the parts intended to be shadow.  I think this would have been relatively easy for the glove fringes, although those are actually decent enough size to manually (actively) shade, so I could have done that as well.  As for the channels in the tassles, it may be hard to tell from the pictures, but I don't think I have the tools or skill to manually shade those after the foreground was painted... maybe with a hefty magnification lens, a 3 aught brush and a boatload of patience, but I doubt it, at least for me.  I'm sure there are folks that could do it.  I'm interested to experiment with the super thin washes once I pick up some flow release, but I think the best solution would have been starting dark and building up to light.  Great learning experience, I'm very much a novice to painting minis and haven't really attempted too much in the way of manual shading and highlighting but those are techniques I'm excited to practice.


Thanks again for all the advice, can't wait to try out some of the suggestions on future projects!

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