Introductory: Extremely Basic Drybrushing for Beginners

Discussion in 'Tutorials and How Tos' started by destrongerlupus, Jun 11, 2013.

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  1. destrongerlupus

    destrongerlupus #MoreSawBoss

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    [Here’s] a short, and very basic tutorial tonight on dry brushing.

    Drybrushing is one of the most basic, and yet also the most effective painting techniques for three-dimensional painting, which makes it great for kitbashing.

    I learned the technique during my years as a miniature wargamer. Compared to 25mm elves, these robot toys really DO seem giant, but the techniques work just as well. The entire point of drybrushing is to build up layers of color to produce the illusion that your (relatively) small model has the same depth of light and shadow that it would have were it full size. Variations on the technique can also be used to do great weathering effects, but that’ll be another article.

    Let’s start with by reviewing out basic materials:

    [​IMG]


    So pictured here I have the part I’m going to paint (The green waist-piece), as well as an assortment of paints, brushes, a cup of water to clean my brushes, and a cloth to wipe my brush on. I also have an old egg-tray here, which makes an EXCELLENT (and cheap!) palette for mixing paints.

    I like to use a mix of few different kinds of paint in my projects. The part pictured was prepped with automotive primer, and then painted with Krylon Fusion paint. I have yet to find a technique that is TRULY “chip resistant” when it comes to action-figure joints, but the proper use of these heavy-duty products helps a good deal:

    [​IMG]


    For the detail painting, I like to mix Testor’s Acrylic Model Paint, and various brands of craft-store style hobby/fabric paint. I like the cheap craft-grade paint because it’s easy to get hold of, it’s inexpensive, and can be found in thousands of colors at A.C. Moore, Michaels, or similar stores. The “cheap stuff” is notoriously bad at adhering to plastic, but if your part is properly prepped with a good base coat, it’s not bad for top-layer detail work. (If your both cheap AND lazy, I’ve found that Plaid’s Paint for Plastic brand does a pretty decent job all by itself in a pinch.) But better still, if you mix the more-expensive, harder-to-find, and (at retail) limited-color-choice Testor’s brand WITH the cheap craft stuff, you can tint your way to any color on the cheap, and I haven’t noticed any loss of adhesion vs. just Testors by itself:

    [​IMG]


    Pictured above is a good bit of the Testor’s brand paint with a little dab of lighter-green Delta Ceramcoat (The cheapest of the cheap, and it’s been serving me well for 15+ years, in fact the bottle pictured is probably at LEAST 10 years old. I love this stuff!).

    Enough about the paints themselves, let’s get to [the] technique! I’ve mixed the two paints to a shade of green a little bit lighter than the base-coat on the part:

    [​IMG]


    The key is to always be working with a shade just a *hair* lighter than the lightest shade currently on your part.

    Next, I wipe off *most* of the paint onto my cloth:

    [​IMG]


    This is probably the hardest step to get right, there are SO many factors involved. The goal is to leave *just* enough moist pigment on there to transfer to *only* the raised portions of your part. Now, depending on the look you’re going for, you might want to consider the “raised” portions to mean a lot of different things. The moister your brush, the “deeper” you’ll get the pigment into the “crevices” of the part; the dryer your brush, the more restricted the pigment will be to the topmost portions:

    [​IMG]


    Generally I work with a moister brush on the lower layers, and then restrict the paint more and more as I work “up” through the shades. Shown above is the result of my first pass. I [used] quite a moist brush on this pass. Basically I got pigment on everything except the actual “cracks.” I often start out this way, using the opportunity to smooth out any variations in color or coverage that may have occurred during the spray-painting prep-work. You can see here though, that even with a single pass with an almost wet brush, I’ve really brought out the scribed details.

    Little by little I add more light-colored paint to my mix, brightening the shade. At each step, I also keep my brush a little dryer, and work the bristles in brisk sweeping motions over just the parts I want to highlight:

    [​IMG]


    Side by side with the back-part of the waist, you can really see the contrast:

    [​IMG]


    And after a few more layers, the sculpt is really starting to *pop.* At this point I’m pretty happy with the effect, so I’ll now add some highlights. I start by mixing a nice bright yellow into my paint:

    [​IMG]


    I chose yellow, because it will really lighten and brighten my color, but also because it’s in the same part of the spectrum as green, it won’t “wash out” the color, which might have happened if I’d used white to lighten it (Though white does work well in a lot of cases)

    With the new mix, I carefully worked at just the most raised portions of the part with a very dry brush:

    [​IMG]


    See how much brighter it is now? Now I’m happy with it . . . but not finished. For the last layer, I put some pure grey on a smaller brush, get it VERY dry, and work patiently at just a few of the most highly-raised sculpt-details:

    [​IMG]


    Finally, I give it a good coat of Future floor polish, and let dry:

    [​IMG]


    I think the end result looks great! It has a nice warm glow to it, and really has some depth. Here’s a little timeline shot so you can see the progression:

    [​IMG]


    One part down and about 60 more to go! It’s an easy technique to learn, and easy to use, and with practice, it can yield some really fabulous results!
     

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