Basics: Drybrushing, Washes, and Bases

Two of the most important techniques to learn as a beginning painter or aspiring speed painter are drybrushing and washing. Today we'll look at how it applies to very textured bases. In this case, they are skull bases from Secret Weapon Miniatures.

Drybrushing involves loading a brush with paint, removing most of it with a paper towel, and then raking it across the model, catching only the raised portions with pigment.

Washing uses watered down paint (the wash) that is applied liberally to the model where it will seek the deep recesses of the model and also provide a general tint to the other surfaces.
There are a million tutorials on the web about both techniques, so I will skip the particulars, but here is a 5 step process using drybrushing and washes to quickly knock out some skull bases.

STEP 1: Prep and Prime
I used a Krylon 2x Black Primer. It took about three seconds to completely cover 5 of these resin skull bases. Of course, you should always wash off any oils or release agents remaining on the model with cool soapy water and a soft toothbrush. I really had to increasethe brightness of this picture, but it's completely covered (albeit lightly).

STEP 2: First Drybrush
I then drybrush with Charadon Granite. I like using foundation paints for the first pass because they seem to have more consistent coverage when there is very little paint on the brush. You should not be timid in this part, so be sure not to use your best brush. I'm a bit more careful around the edges since I had primed it black. If I had primed in another color, I'd be much more reckless since I'd have to go over the sides again anyway.

STEP 3: First Wash
I really load up a big brush with Badab Black wash and make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. This really pulls the whole model together and serves as the final shadowing for the piece. Wait until this dries COMPLETELY before continuing on.

 STEP 4: Second Drybrush
The final color is then applied (Bleached Bone). Again, leave very little paint on the brush but this time, lightly rake it across the models. The intent is to partially show the underlying layers, adding depth without the hows of blending.

STEP 5: Second Wash
The change between this step and the last is a bit difficult to see, but a Devlan Mud wash, again applied liberally, really smooths out the drybrush marks and artifacts. There's a reason they call Devlan Mud "Liquid Skill".

And that's it! This works really well on Tyranids, CSMs, Vehicles with some damage, boards, and buildings. It doesn't work quite as well on things with smooth flat panels.

How do you use these two essential techniques? Did I miss any hints for new painters?

1 comment:

  1. Simple techniques but make the world of difference.