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03912: Remus Raducan (Oil Paint Exercise)

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It seems that lately the craze has been oil paints. Between James Wappel, Marco Frisoni, Vince Venturella and a few others - I figured I would take the dive into the world of oil paints. For science! Or...art? Science art? Anyways, I ordered the Traditional Colors set of oil paints from Williamsburg as I read that Williamsburg produces a high quality paint at a good price. The Modern Colors set is another good option, as it does not contain the more fugitive (i.e. not lightfast) Alizerin Crimson. The set is fairly small (cup of tea shown for reference), with 8x 11ML color paints and 1 full-size 37ML Titanium White tube. However, since we work with so little paint on miniatures anyways, this set should last a good while before having to get any replacements - plus the fact that oils do not dry like acrylics, they last a lot longer on the palette, giving more millage.



Kit is small, but comes with a solid staple of colors - featuring super vibrant Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow. One of the more intense/opaque yellows I have used.




Using a piece of plasticard as a makeshift pallete to mix up midtones. I mostly worked in extremes, blending the dark and lights together on the mini itself.


In preparation here is what I did:


  • Cleaned the model with soap and water.
  • Applied primer in a zenithal manner (black first, then white from above).
  • Basecoated the areas in a general color with some acrylics to establish a general idea:
    • Cloak got a coat of Purple Lake ink
    • Face with GW Bugman's Glow
    • Ruffles of his clothing with some Badger Ghost Tint Plasma Fluid
    • Hair with Contrast Snakebite Leather.
    • Fur with Contrast Snakebite Leather + Contrast Wyldwood.


So the face, hair, fur, cloak, tiny shoulder-shield and skull-pauldron all were done in oil paints - leaving the metallics and ruffles alone for acrylics. I have since highlighted the face a little bit more with acrylics as well to bring up the contrast, as well as applying another wash into the fur and drybrushing a bit. So what are the results so far? Mixed, but mostly good!


The first thing to note is if you enjoy wet-blending but struggle with acrylics drying on you, oils are for you. I have always wanted to wetblend but the dry climate along with the general way that acrylics behave, cause them to be temperamental at best or a disaster at worst. Getting smooth transitions of color in a gradient is so incredibly satisfying with oils. This was my very first attempt with oils and I was able to obtain a fairly pleasing (in my opinion) blend of colors with minimal effort. This is especially true for beginners who may struggle to get those silky-smooth blends and be frustrated. For long, flowing capes and robes - oils are great. The extended drying times means you can work in a very relaxed manner, rather than trying to hurry up. Also, lifting previous layers of paint is very difficult to do during a normal painting session. Either it is wet, or not.




Another advantage is because oils are wet for so long, you can easily wipe them off and hit the reset button on anything you don't like without having to panic and dry to quickly erase mistakes. Oils will also blend into each other and "overwrite" each other as well to a certain degree, so you can basically smudge out any errant bits. This aspect actually gives them some beginner-friendly qualities to them, in a surprising manner.


So what are some downsides or "gotchas". Well, the first is that right out of the tube they are very thick - similar to Heavy Body Acrylics. They have to be thinned down. It can be easy for the paint to be too think or to apply too much and start obscuring detail. This was somewhat of a challenge in the facial area as the eye area quickly began to fill up too much with paint. So making sure to not over-apply paint is a thing. Oils also have certain "rules" to them as well. The first is that thin paint will stick to thick paint, but not the other way around. So your basecoats can be thicker, and if you want a color to "lay on top" and not just smudge in immediately, or not apply at all, it must be thinner.


The other issue is that they can tend to blend TOO well at times, which is where that whole thick/thin rule can bite you. Instead of the usual ability to just draw a sharp line, the previous layer will naturally tend to blend into the paint if it is too wet. There are also "two phases" of the drying process; with the first phase allowing to blend while still maintaining separation of the individual colors. The second phase is when the paint is truly dry - this usually is 1-3 days, depending on the amount or color of the paint. If you aren't patient or require something finished within a single day, oil paints are likely going to be too slow.


Oil paints are both good and bad for your brushes; oils help naturally restore them, but they also require white spirits to clean, which can be a bit more abrasive. For this reason, using synthetics for your general applications and perhaps a worn-out sable brush for your dry blending brush is your best option.


Finally, if you are a brush licker - you won't be with oil paints. The pigments used can be toxic, such as the cadmiums, so they are not pet or human friendly to consume.

Edited by Al Capwn
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