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Looking for some advice on using inks in painting.
So I've seen people using inks and spouting praise about their uses with mini painting. Especially for glazing purposes. I got a set of cheaper inks last christmas, but they really didn't play nice. They were constantly rehydrating. Even with a protective layer of spray varnish. As soon as I painted over top of it, the color would bleed back up.
Anyone know what I was doing wrong? Or if I was using a kind of ink that wasn't compatible? I bought a set of 10 colors from amazon - ZZKOKO caligraphy pen ink.
I got an airbrush recently and have heard that white ink results in smoother zenithal than traditional white paint. Any words of warning?
By Gary Pryor
In a post Bones IV world there are lot more translucent miniatures in circulation. You may have had the same reaction I had, where I thought they were neat, but had no idea what to do with these things. Well, today was the day I decided I was going to try a few different experiments with painting these things to see what would happen. I did try an experiment once before with some purple translucent modes from bones 3, where I put a black wash over them. I was not happy with those results. They turned out looking opaque black with purple highlights from a distance, and translucent against a light or if you looked real close. Not a strong enough effect for table play. So this time, I did a bunch of research (mostly on this forum) and was told about using a clear coat and ink to add definition and maintain translucency. Looked good in the pictures, so I thought I would try some variations on that.
First thing I wanted to experiment with was testing something I read here that said something to the effect of "the clear coat actually makes them more translucent, because it changes how they reflect light" so I thought I would try a matte clear coat and a gloss clear coat and see how they compared. The following are a very light black ink wash (from the Reaper Ink triad) and then Tamiya X-22 gloss clear (on the left) and Tamiya XF86 gloss matte (on the right).
These models were not very translucent to begin with, but both coats did really make them appear more clear. The gloss was very shiny, had a distinctive wet look, and makes the model look like a clear piece of hard candy. The matte coated model appears to let about the same amount of light through, but is less reflective than it was before I coated with anything. With less reflection the model looks a little less ethereal, but also less like a plastic toy.
I decided that I didn't want wet looking spirits, so I decided to go with a black ink wash and the matte coat. Here are those results:
Much better than my last attempt, which were only transparent when held against a light. They are still reflective, but less than out of the box. I also tried a red ink instead and it had a very striking effect of red against the blue (the colors didn't blend at all like I thought they would) but it wasn't what I was looking for, so I washed it off.
Here is a comparison of a painted and unpainted model:
So really, I would say not painting them at all is totally viable. I like having the details show, but if they are ghosts, maybe it is okay that it is hard to see without taking a very close look.
I also did a matte coat on some crystals (no ink) and it improved the translucency greatly, though it is hard to capture in a photograph.
I learned I prefer that matte coat to clear, (but both are cool). Inks work well, where standard acrylics did not last time. Clear coats do make them more clear. and they transparent models look ghostly and cool already, so painting them isn't giving you that much really, if they are only intended for table play. maybe this information will be useful to someone. I wish I could have found it all in one place when I was puzzling over what to do and what to purchase.
The new Deepstar Kraken model is coming out soon for DeepWars and I painted up this one for display using a lot of inks and liquid acrylics. This model (not really a miniature when this big) was done in different stages. The base painting was done with blue skin and light tentacles. The mantle and top of the tentacles were given two washes of Marine Blue (Ultramarine) liquid acrylics (Dr. Phil Martins brand) mixed with matte medium and water. When the first was dry, the second was applied. The underside of the tentacles was done with a mix of Cerulean Blue ink (Liquitex) + white paint + Matte medium and water.
After removing from the base, as it was making it difficult to reach the bottom of the tentacles, I applied many light blue glazes (Cerulean Blue + Ultramarine Blue + White) for highlights and some dark (Ultramarine Blue) glazes for shadows. The goal was to make the blending mostly smooth but not to go overboard and spend too long on it. The reason will become clear soon.
The next stage was the big one. Dots of blue-green, green, yellow-green, white and various shades of orange and Burnt Umber were applied to the mantle and tentacles. This was done using Liquitex inks and Phil Martin liquid acrylics to make sure the dots were very pure in color and, more importantly, flowed evenly off the end of the brush, which was held and used like a pen. After the dots had dried, glazes of inks colors were applied, yellow-green to the mantle and tips of tentacles and bright orange to the “face”. When this dried, more dots were applied over them and highlights were applied to some of the dots using a bit of white or yellow mixed into the ink.
The eyes were done with yellow liquid acrylic mixed with white, black, and a bit of blue as the base. It was highlighted with more white and a touch of yellow. The black iris was painted, then more white highlights were applied around it to clean it up. Finally, the big highlight was added at the top with thinned white. The eyes were not painted as gems (bright bottom, dark top with hot-spot secular reflection) here as the light was meant to be diffused by the water. Maybe next time. The base was done with washes of Burnt Sienna ink first, then washes of Pthalho blue and Marine Blue ink to darken the rocks. it was all drybrushed with Americana brand Buttermilk, then some glazes of greens, magentas and purples were added to the sponges and corals. The barnacles were drybrushed with some white to make them stand out.
It has been a while since the last post, but here is a quick, step-by-step painting guide to the Silver Death Fish for DeepWars. This model is suspiciously similar to an ancient Xiphactinus fish, but has slightly different fins, with a few finlets near the tail like a tuna. This model was primed in white and painted using the techniques very similar to the Dire Fish-Lizard from the AMG painting guide, Painting Scaly Beasts. The key was to use washes and glazes to give it the basic colors, then lighten sections with thinned white paint and make edges pop with pure white. The majority of the colors were Liquitex Professional Acrylic Ink, while paint was Golden Fluid Acrylics and Americana white and black. All ink was mixed with Liquitex Matte Medium and water to give it more body to flow into the cracks. Otherwise it tended to stain the scales instead of flow into them.
So the first step was to paint the upper sides, back with very thin washes, almost glazes, of Deep Turquoise ink and medium. The mixture was around 20% ink, 40% medium and 40% water. These are not exact numbers, but the mixture was light enough to apply color and flow into scales but left a lot of lightness. A key here was to set the model upside down while it dried so the color did not flow down the entire body. When it was dry, the next color applied was Quinacriadone Magenta ink, painted in a very light glaze around the middle of the body and onto parts of the head and the fins. The mixture was more about the same density as before but less was held on the brush so it did not run everywhere. The model was held upside normally while applying this glaze also. Next, The head, belly and lower body was painted with a glaze of the original turquoise mixture. Finally, a wash of Pthalho Blue ink (same medium and water percentage as before) was applied on the top of the back. The model was inverted and light brush strokes were used to push the glaze further down the back and blend it with the Turquoise scales.
The next step was basic shading, done with more glazes or Pthalho Blue ink on the back and Turquoise ink on the sides, going over the Magenta scales. This glaze was very thin, closer to 10% ink, 40% medium and 50% water, with the here to tie all of the colors together with blue. Also applied were glazes of black paint mixed with Pthalho blue ink onto the top of the back and in the mouth. It looks pretty messy now, but you can make out the basic idea of the light and shadow.
When all of the color had dried, the next stage was adding basic highlights. This was done with slightly thinned white paint, maybe 60/40 paint and water, applied lightly onto areas that would reflect light. This mixture was used with very careful drybrushing in multiple layers on the scales to build up edge highlights. It is important to brush perpendicular to the scales and not scrub in all directions here as otherwise the scales just get a coating of white. The goal is to just do the edges of the scales lightly and build up layers. Also, a glaze of white was applied along the upper third of the body to increase lightness there, allowing it to flow into the cracks and all. This glaze is just paint and water and was "scrubbed" around a bit with the brush to blend it. This technique is also called "feathering" but is basically just quick brush strokes to reduce the sharp edge of the glaze.
The final stage was done with edge highlights of more white paint, mixed with less water, around 80% paint, 20% water. This mixture was used for some edge drybrushing on the scales, and on the fins and teeth, with some additional black paint glazed in the mouth and around the base of the teeth. This mixture was uses with a fine brush to pick out scales using the tip of the brush to add highlights where the drybrush missed. Some pure white paint was used on scales that were lightened in the previous step. On the fins, the edges were highlighted with 80/20 white, but some fine line details were added with 50/50 white using a fine-tipped brush. To finish off the glazes, a light mixture of Raw Sienna ink and Primary Yellow paint (10% color, 40% medium, 50% water) was applied along the middle of the body, above the magenta section, and on the head and around the eye. The eye was painted with a mixture of yellow and white paint, with a black pupil and a tiny dot of pure white for a hotspot reflection.
The base was done in steps similar to the body, with a wash of Burnt Sienna paint, medium and water (20/40/40), then when dry, two washes of Pthalho Blue ink (20/40/40) to build up color. The base had some small cracks in it that were filled with extra Matte Medium and allowed to dry, then painting over them. Sections of sponges were painted with Pure Burnt Sienna ink and the starfish was done with Dioxazene Purple ink + white paint. Some Sap Green ink was applied as a glaze to add more color to the rock.
The WIP is here:
A little less see-through than I'd like, but the light still passes. There is glow in the dark medium used, but it's not very effective, and would never come into play anyway.
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