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Welcome to the Forum.

 

It depends.

For me I drybrush things like skeletons or fur, I shade things like cloaks, robes and such.

 

In other words, when the painted surface needs to be neat and tidy I shade and blend, when it is a rough texture and it can actually benefit from a little rougher paintjob, I drybrush.

Other people might have another opinion though.

 

One thing!!! Use an older dedicated brush fro drybrushing, it will kill your brush!

Do not use your expensive sable brush for instance...

 

Have fun!

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15 minutes ago, Xherman1964 said:

Welcome to the Forum.

 

It depends.

For me I drybrush things like skeletons or fur, I shade things like cloaks, robes and such.

 

In other words, when the painted surface needs to be neat and tidy I shade and blend, when it is a rough texture and it can actually benefit from a little rougher paintjob, I drybrush.

Other people might have another opinion though.

 

One thing!!! Use an older dedicated brush fro drybrushing, it will kill your brush!

Do not use your expensive sable brush for instance...

 

Have fun!

 

3 minutes ago, TaleSpinner said:

I cant say as I ever really dry-brush anymore, except maybe when painting sand and dry looking rocks. 

 

 

I'd say I agree with both these chaps! I stop dry brushing a while ago but picked it back up for my latest commission piece. Texture - same as Xherman has said - is really the only reason i dry brush. Shading and blending is more time consuming but in my opinion it's more fun. I use dry brushing to get it done quicker on more mass paint jobs. 

Edited by Arc 724
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Dry brushing is a great way to up your game easily when you're not looking for display results. Back in the day the process was "base coat, ink, drybrush, detail". Even though the studio painters weren't doing that, that's what they were telling people they were doing. The internet called BS on it eventually but whole slews of miniature painters were told that this was the way to do things. 

 

It still produces some pretty mean results pretty quickly if you are just looking to get some table top guys ready or starting an army for a wargame, so it's a tool to keep in the toolbox for sure. In my early teens, it was all I knew, so that was all I did. Everything got drybrushed, and everything turned out just fine. When I run across the need for one of those old minis, I strip it and use better techniques now, but drybrushing is a key part of developing the eye as to how the mini and paint should play together. 

 

I think knowing how to drybrush informs better techniques. "Sidebrushing" and "dampbrushing" are direct descendants of drybrushing, and knowing how the brush plays with raised details is important to both those and, in general, brush control. 

 

All that said, when going for a high quality display paint job, you'll want to shelve that technique except for specific cases (as mentioned in previous answers). If you are just getting started, there is no shame in leaning on drybrushing for nearly all your basic highlighting, in my opinion. The various blending techniques are great, but if you need/want to get paint on a bunch of game pieces fast, it's probably the easiest way to do it.

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I think the others have really hit the nail on the head.  Drybrushing is a good way to get decent results quickly, but it will rarely look as good as actual blending/layering.  I do agree though that it is a good technique to have in your back pocket so to speak as it definitely has its uses.  It can actually be pretty good on things like fur or other rough surfaces and is certainly great for when you need to do a lot of minis really quickly (like for a tabletop wargame or pieces in a board game) or even for when you just want to get some random mooks done up quickly (if you want painted minis for an RPG for instance).  However, if you are going for display/competition/show quality, you will almost certainly want to go the blending/layering route.  It will take longer but generally produce better results -- especially when you get the hang of it.  

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What they said. I never really drybrush anything much anymore.  You'll find after awhile the look of the drybrushing just doesn't cut it anymore. Nothing wrong with the technique, it's great for terrain or that quick skelington. I'd suggest looking up sidebrushing or dampbrushing like Pinky mentioned. It's a great technique for all manner of things. Wings, fur, hair. Basically anything with a lot of texture. 

 

Welcome to the forum and the hobby! 

Edited by tiniest rhombus
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The one thing I will say on this matter is to always paint for yourself (unless you are a commission painter of course).  In other words, while I fully encourage learning new techniques as it will only make you a better painter, don't be afraid to occasionally just knock something out quick if that is what makes you happy.  As an example, I'm a wargamer and as a result, I have to choose "Do I want every single model to look as best as I possibly can get it?  Or do I want to get all my models painted?"  Right now, if I wanted everything to be as good as I can possibly get it (which is still a relatively low level quality by the standards of many here) I could easily spend upwards of 20 hours per model.  A unit might then have 12 models in it.  And represent roughly 1/5 of my entire list for a game (plus then all the other models for different lists, etc.)  So as you can imagine, I make compromises.  This is where things like table top quality vs. display quality vs. competition quality come in. 

 

TLDR:  If you are having fun, you're doing it right.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is really great! Thanks everyone for the input :)

 

Just having painting a few minis so far, some skeletons, some armour, some cloaks, I see exactly what everyone means. The bones on the skeletons look pretty cool dry brushed. The first minis I painting after going through the Reaper How-To kit were some zombies and they look pretty cool dry brushed, since they are sort of dirty and gritty. 

 

Right now I am working on shading/blending. Any tips on shading and blending smaller areas? Cloaks make sense, but things like skin and shoes...?

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18 minutes ago, droptablestar said:

This is really great! Thanks everyone for the input :)

 

Just having painting a few minis so far, some skeletons, some armour, some cloaks, I see exactly what everyone means. The bones on the skeletons look pretty cool dry brushed. The first minis I painting after going through the Reaper How-To kit were some zombies and they look pretty cool dry brushed, since they are sort of dirty and gritty. 

 

Right now I am working on shading/blending. Any tips on shading and blending smaller areas? Cloaks make sense, but things like skin and shoes...?

 

Practice!  

 

Seriously though, that's going to be the biggest thing.  I'm pretty bad at blending at the moment to be honest as I am still pretty new.  The one thing I have heard with regard to blending on smaller areas is to try to have just a tiny amount of paint on your brush and then push it around to create the blend.  I've heard the two brush blending method is supposed to produce good results (and have seen it done myself) but I am still figuring it out myself.  With that, you apply the paint with one brush, and then use a second "clean" brush to push and pull the paint around to create your smooth blend.  I know that there's a thread on here with Ghool's Quick Tips and he has a couple of videos where he really demonstrates the technique well and he uses it on almost all of his videos.  

 

The other thing to remember,is that your blends will look a lot better to the naked eye (even when held close to your nose) than they will on camera or through a magnifier glass.  One of the figs I recently did I was rushing through it to get a table top quality for my upcoming Pathfinder session and was thinking it looked pretty bad on the blending aspect.  Then when I looked at it while just holding it in my hand and not through the magnifier it actually looked fairly decent.  In the end though, the more you do it, the better you'll get.

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YouTube!  I am just starting out too and this forum has been pretty helpful with getting me up and running.  

 

However, I think watching someone do it is much easier to grasp the concepts.  Check YouTube there are thousands of videos on pretty much any question you have.

 

Doctor Faust's Painting is a good channel and so is Apathetic Fish.  I like these two because they have 2 different styles and gives me more ideas how to paint different things, i.e. skin, capes, highlighting, washing, etc.

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Drybrushing is a great way to do older looking or just to cover metals - especially on large areas. A poster on Dakka commented on how he did his technicque and I've used it ever since. It's not entirely a drybrush per se, it's not meant to show raised detail, like drybrushing typically is, it's more to get a layer of a metal paint over another layer, in a way that gives it texture but also gives it a sheen of the other metal.

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