Wednesday, April 5, 2023

D is for Dry Brushing

For the A-to-Z Blogging Challenge this month, I'm going to be tackling topics relating to the wild world of miniature painting - by that I mean tiny models used in board games, tabletop roleplaying games and wargames. Stop by every day to learn a little about my newest hobby and obsession!


Dry brushing is a painting technique which uses a dry brush (duh) with barely a hint of paint on it. To do it, you load your brush with paint and then dab off the excess on a paper towel/rag/cardboard until only the lightest hint remains. You then brush it onto your model, and the light amount of paint should only pick up the highest raised surfaces first. The more paint and layers you do, the more surface area you'll hit.

Dry brushing also works great on terrain and bases. Here you can see a few different layers of dry brushing, in different colours. It givers the surface a more realistic texture.

It’s used to accentuate the detail of raised surfaces and textures on a model. Pulling out these area adds depth and CONTRAST (see yesterday’s post), which can really make your mini pop.

Dry brushing can be used to add highlighting, or it can be used to create a rust, dirt or weathering effect. It’s a very useful tool in your painting arsenal, and one that is relatively easy to master. The actual brush used for dry brushing should be one with stiff bristles and a large, soft belly. The quality of the brush doesn't really matter, as long as the bristles don't fall out. Make-up brushes (even the cheap dollar-store variety) actually work great for dry brushing.

Here's a couple of Stormtroopers I did recently with a white drybrush over a dark wash:

They're not perfect by any means, but they do retain A LOT more detail than the previous batch I did, which I just painted using too many regular layers of paint:

You can see how the dry brush really just picks up the higher points on the model, leaving the lower recesses untouched. It also leave a bit of dusty texture if you're not careful (which I still haven't quite mastered getting rid of), but it's still preferable to the lumpy shapeless blobs I used to do.

BONUS “D”: Darklining

Darklining, or blacklining, is kind of the opposite of dry dry brushing, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like - adding thin lines of black (or another dark colour) between colours on your model to make details stand out. It’s rather similar to the black outlining used in comic books and other illustrations. It’s not necessarily realistic, but as discussed yesterday, sometimes you need to exaggerate features in your miniatures in order to make the contrast more interesting. 

A very clean example of darklining a Warhammer mini.
Credit: Goonhammer

That's it for today. Join me tomorrow for edging! (No, not that kind of edging)

Hugs & kisses,


Birgit said...

Very cool. I love the effect of dry brushing but patience is required especially if you do wish to layer. I love how well you paint.

PT Dilloway said...

That seems like a lot of work.

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