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OvantheWise

How to Painting Fabric, Fabric Texture?

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So hear is a loaded cannon for every one; How do you paint fabric to make it look realistic. I personally tend to build up many layers of highlights and shadows and that how I do fabric, I may free hand a designee on but that really about it. I've notice wile going threw some of last years winners for reaper con that some of the fabric was painted in a almost stippled effect and it look more like a hand stitched/hand made dress or tabard. I have been trying to replicate this with no avail what so ever and going back threw old work I seem to have gotten something close back when I was learning to paint and I have no idea what I did to get that textured look. Any advice out there on how to get this look?

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Seconding this question. I'd like to expand my painting skills from solid colors to more specific "this is fabric" and then "this is patterned or textured fabric". My current angry dwarf project has one attempt at this in progress (putting white stripes on dark green pants). 

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There are couple of things to think about. At the scale we are usually working with you can't really see the texture of cloth. That being said, stippling will work to recreate that texture but you need to use thicker paint to do it. The stippling I'm used to doing though is with enamels and it's used to get rid of brush strokes on my carousel horses, although it does leave a texture behind. There is a book from Wargamers Foundry by Kevin Dallimore, (vol 2) that goes into painting textures on cloth. Unfortunately my copy is packed up.

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Stuff like that? That is a big bust, but generally just draw a LOT of fine lines, then glaze, then re-draw (usually the other color, like lighter and dard), then glaze, until you like the effect. I have done it for some pieces but at 28mm, it is more useful just to think where it would be appropriate. For example, I am doing a stippling texture on my BloodBowl balls because that looks cool as leather, but doing that kinda texture for the pants, for example, would be overkill IMHO.

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The two basic strokes are tiny fine lines, and tiny dots. Instead of layering on broad applications of paint to create transitions from dark shadow areas to pale highlight areas, you paint on lines/dots in darker and lighter tones as appropriate to create highlights and shadows while building up the appearance of a texture. 

 

You can get a fairly wide variety of textures out of painting those singly or in combination. Fine fur with not quite parallel lines. Crosshatch lines for linen/wool weave. Tiny dots for nubbly wool or a texture like the sleeves on the bust Willen posted. Then combining those gives you a few other options - worn leather is partly scuffs (different dot sizes) and cracks (different lengths of fine lines). Study of the real thing and applying those in the areas that receive wear or are more likely to crack helps the illusion a lot. I've done crushed velvet with a looser dot/dash type application. Again, studying the real material and placing darks and lights where appropriate and in the right kinds of patterns made a big difference.

Adding texture is pretty much necessary for interest at the scale of the bust. It can work pretty well at 54mm and up. You can do it on gaming scale, but generally it's going to look better/more convincing for rough/worn type applications than fancy cloth of nobles and whatnot, because of the scale. 

One key element is a brush. As much as we say you need a quality natural hair brush to paint generally, I really mean it when I talk about this. And contrary to the usual advice/experience, I use a super tiny brush to make the super tiny strokes. The Reaper black handle 20/0 and 40/0 are my current texture brushes for the very fine symmetrical strokes. I have some old and worn W&N 000 I've loaned out in classes that are just about stripped of enough hairs to be fine enough to suit. I _can_ make some of these strokes with a size 1 or 0, but I cannot make them as consistently or without requiring a lot more concentration. (I learned the technique from Kirill Kanaev in a workshop, where he was very dismayed by our enormous 1s and 0s when it came time to do this kind of work. ;->) I have tested a wide number of the brushes I own to see what I can make the finest and most consistent dashes and dots with, and recommend that others do the same.

I have also done a quick tabletop experiment using a synthetic brush. In actuality it would be more accurate to say I used the corner of one side of a slightly hooked synthetic brush. I have a lot of brush miles under my belt, that might not be as feasible for every painter. I have also tested a super tiny 10/0 synthetic. It was blotchy and inconsistent. 

There are other elements, but I went on for 11 pages writing up my class handout on this topic, and I don't think that's feasible to do in a forum! ;->

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On 5/10/2017 at 8:23 PM, Wren said:

The two basic strokes are tiny fine lines, and tiny dots. Instead of layering on broad applications of paint to create transitions from dark shadow areas to pale highlight areas, you paint on lines/dots in darker and lighter tones as appropriate to create highlights and shadows while building up the appearance of a texture. 


One key element is a brush. As much as we say you need a quality natural hair brush to paint generally, I really mean it when I talk about this. And contrary to the usual advice/experience, I use a super tiny brush to make the super tiny strokes. The Reaper black handle 20/0 and 40/0 are my current texture brushes for the very fine symmetrical strokes. .

 

 

Do you have any recommendations for keeping the paint from drying on really tiny brushes? Anytime I've tried to use a really small brush the paint would dry too fast on the brush, sometimes before I got it to the model. I tried adding a bit of retarder but the paint still never seemed to flow well. Maybe it was the brush. Might need to try a black handled Reaper one.

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8 minutes ago, CorallineAlgae said:

 

Do you have any recommendations for keeping the paint from drying on really tiny brushes? Anytime I've tried to use a really small brush the paint would dry too fast on the brush, sometimes before I got it to the model. I tried adding a bit of retarder but the paint still never seemed to flow well. Maybe it was the brush. Might need to try a black handled Reaper one.

 

The smaller the brush, the less paint it can hold.  The less paint, the quicker it dries.  Paint will never flow terribly well from a tiny brush.

 

I can manage dots and very short strokes with a tiny brush, but nothing very sustained and I find the brush needs to be recharged frequently.  For me it takes a long time.

 

Myself, I stipple with larger, badly frazzed brushes, the kind whose hairs have gone every which way.  They are nowhere near as controlled as tiny brushes, but they will hold enough paint and keep it wet enough that surfaces can be covered reasonably quickly.

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17 hours ago, CorallineAlgae said:

 

Do you have any recommendations for keeping the paint from drying on really tiny brushes? Anytime I've tried to use a really small brush the paint would dry too fast on the brush, sometimes before I got it to the model. I tried adding a bit of retarder but the paint still never seemed to flow well. Maybe it was the brush. Might need to try a black handled Reaper one.

 

17 hours ago, Pingo said:

 

The smaller the brush, the less paint it can hold.  The less paint, the quicker it dries.  Paint will never flow terribly well from a tiny brush.

 

I can manage dots and very short strokes with a tiny brush, but nothing very sustained and I find the brush needs to be recharged frequently.  For me it takes a long time.

 

Myself, I stipple with larger, badly frazzed brushes, the kind whose hairs have gone every which way.  They are nowhere near as controlled as tiny brushes, but they will hold enough paint and keep it wet enough that surfaces can be covered reasonably quickly.

So they make really long bristle brushes that normally get used by pin stripe artists and they can keep a huge amount of paint in them as long as you have a light touch you should be able to get a nice then line without constantly going back for more paint. I have a / brush called a liner brush witch basically is the same thing I use it when I'm working on belts and ropes on multiple minis at once so I'm not constantly dipping into my paint.

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I like a long thin bristle head for lining, but a much shorter head for the controlled strokes of tiny dots and dashes. Absolutely I have to recharge the brush more often with paint than with a nice full belly brush, but I don't get paint drying on it between palette and figure, and I can get several dots/dashes out of one charge. I do live in a pretty humid place, though I'm pretty sure I've painted the technique in winter when the air is much drier due to the furnace running. It might also be worth noting that I do not significantly thin my paint for that type of painting, since the point is to have the dash/dot show up. So I only thin colours with a lot of white in them as necessary to keep from being too stark looking. Thinned paint may be drying out faster than the thicker paint does? Worth trying, at any rate.

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