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Ok, the pics are of a square i painted onto a CD so I had a flat surface and something easy to photograph. Remember, It's been a while since I've done this, and the area I'm blending over is large enough, an airbrush should have been used.

Wet blending is the idea of applying two layers of paint such that the two paint colors are still wet and can be blended into one another right on the model. Oooooo, sounds dangerous right? Definitely sounds hard with acrylics, seeing as how they dry so fast.

See, the trick is to grab some ‘retarder’.



Now that you’re done snickering, let me explain…

Acrylic paint is water based (duh…) therefore it dries in air fairly quickly. It also means it is water soluble, and very easily mixed with other acrylics. Retarder is a chemical that extends this drying time. Not for a huge time, but long enough to be annoying if you are speed painting minis.

Remember, the idea of wet blending is to have two colors of wet paint on the mini at the same time, and, have enough time with both colors to carefully, and diligently blend them into the effect you want.

Seeing how the retarder will come in handy?

So, here’s the step by step.

1) Base the mini, prime it do all your painting on it and leave the blended portion to last. You don’t want to have to do the blending 2-3 times if you accidentally get paint on the blended surface.



2) Once the mini is staged and ready, decide on your darkest color and your lightest highlight. You won’t use your lightest color in the blend; you’ll want to use that like a normal highlight. Instead, go one shade darker (this can be a hand mixed color).

3) The best way to prepare the two colors for blending is to use a palette. Place enough paint of both colors on a chunk of plasticard, or even cardboard. I use about 1 drop of retarder for every 4-5 brush-fulls of paint.



( For those that dilute their paint a little before using it, do not do so before adding the retarder. Since you are adding a clear liquid to the paint, it will inheritably dilute the paint. I found that out the hard way… )

4) Once you have both colors prep’d, you’ll want to apply the color that has to stretch the farthest first, starting away from the area that the blend will occur. Bring the color up to the blend line (basically where the middle of the gradient will be) and quick grab another brush and do the same for the second color.



5) Once the two colors meet, you’re commited.



This first blending was obviously made with the brush that had green on it.

Once you've crossed the line, You'll want to grab a brush that's wet, but not soaking and had no paint on it to control the blending.

The End product looks lomething like this:



The gaps you see are because I, Like an idiot, did two light colors over a black base. I should have primed the area in the two respective colors so the base fills those in a little.

The point is, You can see how nicely the green fades into the grey.


(Note: be sure to grab more of a color off your palette if needed. You're blending paint, so do it however you want. Also remember, you can correct problem you find/create later. The idea here is to get the blend line all pretty, and finish the details later.)

Now, this is where you get to decide what you want to do. The way you blend the two colors together will determine the effect created. Biggest factors in this are the brush, the motion and the overall amount of movement you do.

You can use circular motions in order to blend the two colors. This will give you a little smoother blend, but it can be hard to control the blend line, and make it look smooth along the length of the blend the line.

When doing blends on cloth, it can be a better effect to use an older brush that’s a little splayed, and pull it across the blend line. It can cause striations that mimic cloth fibers, and can be really cool.

Be careful to not do too much over all movement. If you move the brush around too much, you'll loose the effect entirely and you'll actually mix the colors. You'll end up with big fat lines between your starter colors and the big 50/50 mix in the middle.

It's really an aquired art...

The prep work is the key to making it easier. Wet blending is a very advanced painting technique, and can be frustrating. Your best bet is to grab some plasticard, a few random colors, and some retarder and just spend an hour practicing.

I use Liquitex Slow-dri Fluid Retarder. A 2 oz bottle costs about $3.50 US and has a top on it that lets it be dispensed in drops. I got mine at Hobby Lobby, but the stuff should be avail. at any major craft store, in the paint aisle, near the acrylics.

I’ve used this for some Necron shoulder pads and other misc. features on models. It’s not an easily repeatable technique to use on basic troopers, but for characters, or important things, it can be very cool.

Good Luck, and please feel free to ask questions!
 

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Porn King!!!
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Yeah I would like to see some pics for reference as well. Nice article.
 

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I will have to give this a try to see if it works better than my last few attempts.
 

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Great article!
At the moment I'm at the stage now with my painting where highlighting and neatness Isn't a problem. Haven't really delved Into blending or shading as yet, although the above should give me the motivation guidance to at least give It a go!
Cheers!
LongBeard :D
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yay!!! Some pics integrated into the original!!!

The conditions are less than i'd have liked, but the examples work well enough to get the point across.

It takes practice, and patience.
 

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Porn King!!!
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How would you go about doing this yet still keep it thin enough to not remove detail?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, Wet blending isn't usually used across deatiled surfaces, but instead semi-smooth ones.

However, if you did want to do this across a textured surface, It'll most definitely be a challenge.

As best as i can think of at the moment, you could do one of two things.

prime the model like usual, then do two thin layers of wet blending. That should give enough coverage to completely portray the desired colors/effect

or

paint a thin layer of each color with a singel transition band in between, then wet blend over it.

As far as technique goes, I'm clueless. I'll admit. I've never tried wet blending over texture. If you want to try it, grab lots of paint, lots of water and lots of paint stripper and just keep tryin!

Be sure to post what you discover!
 

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How would this work with Citadel paints? I'm interested in trying to blend, especially for capes, but only have Citadel colors and am not sure what type of paint they are. Can anyone help?
 
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