How-to Tuesday: Alternate Blending Methods
So, with all this talk about 2-brush blending, some other great methods have fallen by the wayside. 2-brush is not the only way to do things, and sometimes, it’s not the best way either. Here are some videos that show you some alternates to 2-brush blending.
Glazing is what I used on my Skorne Gladiator’s armor. Lots, and lots of layers of thinned or translucent paint. You can thin the water down (as Obsidian does in the video) or you can add mixing medium, which is essentially paint without pigment. This makes the paint translucent, so each layer is semi-see thru, and you build the color up in layer upon layer.
This method is excellent at blending on large, flat areas. The translucency of the paint is very forgiving – if you make a mistake, it’s not noticeable at all. As Obsisian says, it’s not technically difficult, it’s just time consuming.
This is essential what I did on my Pink Khador. You essentially build up from a midtone or shadow using layers of mixed paint. Each layer dries completely before moving on. The more numerous and subtle the layers, the smoother the blend. On the flip side, fewer, bolder layers lead to the cell-shading effect that the Pink Khador have.
You can often fake a blend with layering, followed by a glaze or two. If you’re going to do this, be sure to highlight and shade stronger than you actually intent, since the glaze (often watered down mid-tone) will help reign in those outrageous highlights and shadows. See the Forces of Warmachine: Khador book, the studio uses this “glaze after blending” technique.
This was the best example of wet blending I could find, and it starts about halfway through. The main difference between wet blending and 2-brush blending is that you have two colors wet on the mini at the same time, and you blend or feather them together. I don’t have much experience with this technique, though I do understand the theory.
It seems like this technique is best used when a quick, tight blend is required, such as on the folds in the cloak in the video. In such a tight space, 2-brush blending won’t work well, since there’s no room to pull or push the paint. Glazing and layering won’t work well either, since you need room and insane brush control to build a blend that small.
Wet … Layering?
DK here has an interesting method. He keeps his basecoat wet on the model, and keeps some of the basecoat loaded on his brush. He then mixes in a bit of his mid-tone using his palette, and puts this onto the paint that’s still wet on the model. I think a wet palette is perfect for this type of painting.
I consider this a mixture of wet blending and layering, since it uses two wet colors on the model, but only one brush. It also works in several stages – which is more of a layering type technique, rather than a blending technique.
I don’t know anything about airbrushing, so I won’t even go there. I can tell you that airbrushes make fantastic blends, they make blends on large, flat surfaces a snap, and they offer access to several other techniques that can only be achieved with an airbrush. The primary drawbacks are the expensive costs to get started, and the need for a dedicated area with proper ventilation.
Which of these methods have you tried?
How did it turn out?
I’ve tried glazing but always lose patience before finishing and end up either effectively two-brush or wet blending. I do like the effect of the look, particularly the smoothness of the pigmentation as it dries (an effect I can’t seem to get on my blending and which I consider a hallmark of the ‘european’ style painting you see on sites like Massive Voodoo).
I also have tried wet blending but not enough to really get proficient with it, again, I end up drifting towards a two-brush style as I go, since it’s what I’m comfortable with. Also, the only real difference between ‘wet’ and ‘two-brush’ is color on the second brush in my experience.
I do have an airbrush and have gotten really good results with it. See: Bile Thralls and this tutorial from Game and Stuff’s website Storm Strider.
If I can make a plug, I’ve gotten good results with any two-brush technique by using the Double-Ended Brushes that I developed.
Yeah, I use your double ended brush for 2-brush – primarily because I don’t have to worry about putting it back in my mouth correctly – I keep both ends moist, and I can just grab the brush and go, I don’t have to worry about accidentally getting it backwards, and wasting the time to flip it, and then get bathtub rings. It also hold a fine enough point that I can blend where I want to go, and the point is soft enough that it doesn’t cause streaks. I also love using it to mix paint. I can get one color with one end, the other color with the other end, and if I need to, I can dip back into the first color without contaminating it. I then clean both ends, and I’m off. It’s also my basecoating brush, because it has a big well, and a fine enough point to not get stuff all over.
How’s that for an endorsement?
Any word yet on when / if you’ll get double ended brushes in smaller sizes or with shorter handles? Right now, when I flip it, I have to choke up on the brush, which is just a touch too slow. If the handle were about an inch shorter, I think it might be perfect (for me, at least).
This is all great and very useful stuff!
I’m personally leaning towards getting an airbrush soon, but I gotta do more research first…
Be sure to blog about your research, I would love to pick your brain about airbrushes after you’ve had a chance to look around.