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Trouble with washes - Newbie painter


TheMandolin
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Hello everyone! 

 

I'm a totally novice painter. I got tired of staring longingly at all the painted minis online and then at all my plain boring unpainted minis and finally decided to give it a try. I'm working my way thru both LTPKs (and all the similar looking minis I have) and I have this issue with washes that I couldn't find an answer for in past topics (I could have just missed it, apologies if that is the case)

 

I follow the directions in the LTPK, for example when painting Anirion the Wizard, I base coated his hands and face in the flesh tone and then it says to make a wash with 1 drop dark highlight and 3 drops water but when I used it, it left these little speckles on the flesh tone instead of just sinking into the crevices, like teeny granular blobs.

 

Likewise, when I painted the Orc from LTPK1 (and 2 of his cousin's that I already happened to own) when I used the wash, it dried leaving dark splotches on the paint instead of just going in the nooks and crannies, like little water spots but darker. Especially around the base of the spikes on the armor and shield. 

 

Am I not thinning the wash enough? I know for sure that I am letting the paint fully dry between layers because the first time I didn't let the basecoat dry all the way before adding the wash and boy was that a disaster. 

 

I will edit to add pics later if needed, can't seem to get them off my phone right now. 

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If they are kind of like water rings, what is likely happening is that you are getting too much of the wash in your brush. Basically, if you see some on a surface where you don't want it, dry your brush and gently touch it to that area. It should wick the extra wash back up, preventing those rings. That's likely why you also have to let the paint dry between layers; you are probably using too much paint there, as well. On minis, a little bit goes a long way - you only really need the very tip of the brush to have paint on it for it to coat the mini. I had a similar problem when I started.

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How well are you mixing the water/paint combo? You should stir it up so it is smooth. Test the mix on a paper or your finger to make sure it is applying right. You do need to direct the wash where you want it to go, but speckles don't tend to happen unless you have a chunky mix. Otherwise water marks or wrong level of thinness are the enemy. 

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6 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

How well are you mixing the water/paint combo? You should stir it up so it is smooth. Test the mix on a paper or your finger to make sure it is applying right. You do need to direct the wash where you want it to go, but speckles don't tend to happen unless you have a chunky mix. Otherwise water marks or wrong level of thinness are the enemy. 

 

I feel like I'm mixing them enough, they look completely smooth and I test them on paper to check the transparency of the paint, maybe I'm not shaking the bottles of paint enough? 

10 minutes ago, Paradoxical Mouse said:

If they are kind of like water rings, what is likely happening is that you are getting too much of the wash in your brush. Basically, if you see some on a surface where you don't want it, dry your brush and gently touch it to that area. It should wick the extra wash back up, preventing those rings. That's likely why you also have to let the paint dry between layers; you are probably using too much paint there, as well. On minis, a little bit goes a long way - you only really need the very tip of the brush to have paint on it for it to coat the mini. I had a similar problem when I started.

 

 I bet that is the problem, especially for the spikes, I felt like I couldn't stop the wash from running right off the spikes to the rest of the armor bits. 

 

Less wash (and less paint on the brush in general) now noted!

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Paint wash sometimes goes on a little "dirty".  I suggest using less, like Paradoxial Mouse says, you can always do a second coat if needed.  

 

Then, when it is completely dry, go back over those areas and lightly drybrush with your flesh or armor colors to bring up the highlights. 

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2 minutes ago, TheMandolin said:

I feel like I'm mixing them enough, they look completely smooth and I test them on paper to check the transparency of the paint, maybe I'm not shaking the bottles of paint enough? 

It's quite possible that you are also not shaking the bottles well enough. I typically shake mine for 30 seconds to a minute when I use them, or until the paint that comes out has the right consistency. The first time I use a new paint, I have my BF shake it as hard as he can for a couple of minutes, to make sure I know what the consistency should be.

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7 minutes ago, Paradoxical Mouse said:

It's quite possible that you are also not shaking the bottles well enough. I typically shake mine for 30 seconds to a minute when I use them, or until the paint that comes out has the right consistency. The first time I use a new paint, I have my BF shake it as hard as he can for a couple of minutes, to make sure I know what the consistency should be.

 

I am definitely not shaking them long enough then! Shake paint bottles more, now on the to do list. Thanks!

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Another suggestion:  Sometimes the paint in the tip of the dropper dries out.  Once it's dry it's chunky.  I also have a lone bottle of paint that probably got too cold in transit and is forever chunky, so it wouldn't hurt to try and test making washes of other colors using the paper test mentioned earlier.  

 

With practice you'll get a feel for it.  ^_^ 

 

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First off, welcome to the addiction . . . err hobby!

 

As others have said, there are a lot of possible issues, though the most likely is that you simply have too much paint on the brush and as a result it goes on too thick (I still have this problem!).  The good news though is that with washes, its usually easy to go back and touch up the areas that got "washed" that you didn't really want to get washed. You can easily drybrush, overbrush, or even just re-basecoat, all while still keeping that good shade in the crevices that you were going for. 

 

The most important thing is to simply keep at it! The more you do, the better you'll get as you see what works and what doesn't. The biggest piece of advice I got when I started (and I still consider myself a novice) was to a) always apply paint with a purpose (i.e. know what it is you are intending to do when you apply paint, be it dry brush, base coat, wash, etc.) and b) note what actually happened since the designated purpose with a) doesn't always end up as the actual result. As you do it more and more, you'll really get a better feel for it. 

 

To give you an example, one time I asked about shading golds (TMM) and somebody suggested "Try a purple" but didn't really explain much further (not their fault, mine for not following up). So I tried a purple shade and it just looked . . . weird. A friend then asked "What were you hoping to accomplish with the purple?" and my only real answer was "Well, a shade, somebody suggested it." As it turns out, I think it can work, but it needed more than just a straight up purple, but the takeaway was that I didn't really know what to expect when I applied the purple shading, which in turn made it that much more difficult to figure out what went wrong. 

 

Hopefully some of that made sense. :p

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A couple of other things:

 

Do you have hard water? Too many minerals will cause the paint to behave strangely, particularly when thinned. If you do have hard water try using distilled water.

 

Is you environment dry? Forced air heat can really be dry, as can desert climes. Replacing a little water with acrylic medium will help. Reaper brush on sealer works too, as will white PVA glue (Elmers) in a pinch. Acrylic medium works best and isn't very expensive. A small bottle will last for years.

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26 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

Purple shading is awesome. Plopping purple in without mixing colors... a bit more messy. :poke: 

 

Heh, you. That's what I learned, lol.  As I said, wasn't the advice giver's fault, twas mine for not following up and making it more clear. It does give me something to experiment with in the future though!

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41 minutes ago, DocPiske said:

 

Do you have hard water? Too many minerals will cause the paint to behave strangely, particularly when thinned. If you do have hard water try using distilled water.

 

Is you environment dry? Forced air heat can really be dry, as can desert climes. Replacing a little water with acrylic medium will help. Reaper brush on sealer works too, as will white PVA glue (Elmers) in a pinch. Acrylic medium works best and isn't very expensive. A small bottle will last for years.

 

I haven't really thought about the water I was using so that's something I'll have to check, or just buy distilled water anyway just to cover all the bases

 

I would say my painting environment is not dry but I do have Liquitex Matte Medium, and frankly, have no idea what to do with it. I swiped it from my brother in law (he told me I could raid his supplies!) mostly because I've seen acrylic medium mentioned all over the place on painting forums. 

52 minutes ago, Gargs said:

First off, welcome to the addiction . . . err hobby!

 

Thanks! I'm sure my D&D group are already tired of me constantly texting them pictures with captions that basically amount to "I did a thing!" and demands that they give me all their minis. 

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14 minutes ago, TheMandolin said:

Thanks! I'm sure my D&D group are already tired of me constantly texting them pictures with captions that basically amount to "I did a thing!" and demands that they give me all their minis. 

Sounds like you should post some of your minis to show off! We'd all love to see them! 

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