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Dry Brushing with Enamels


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Hey guys, I recently added a tutorial on "dry brushing with enamels" on my website. (frenzyrumble.com) (no dreadlocks allowed please)


Most modelers have a serious desire to be able to paint tiny tiny detail with the skill of a master. Little did we know the master was using a simple technique called dry brushing. The name tells it all.....you are painting with a brush that is almost 100% dry.


One of the biggest misconceptions about enamel paint, is that it's difficult (some say impossible) to dry brush with. However, this is far from the truth. In fact, it's actually easier and the results often better than dry brushing with acrylic paint. I've made this tutorial for those inspired to try this technique using enamels. You'll find the versatility of enamel paint and the window of dry time needed; make enamel paint the perfect choice for dry brushing.


Materials Needed:

· bottle of flat paint (I prefer flat paint over gloss, because it provides a more worn realistic effect)

· a paint brush (never throw out those old brushes, they work perfect for this) stiffer, wide brushes are also ideal for this technique.

· paper towels

· an area to get excess paint onto

· small bottle of paint thinner (or lacquer thinner)


OK! Let's begin.


The most important part of this process is the brush.*You will want bristles of a very high quality, and that are also stiffer than a detailing brush. In my case I'm using a brush that is a #8 (Sapphire S60; $4.00 at Michael's)*You don't have to get this exact brush.....any decent brush will do.....a wide type brush works better.


We begin by painting the area we will be dry brushing with a FLAT black. Your color choices are the most important part of this entire process. For an end result of silver for instance, I use black as my base coat (this tutorial) and silver as my dry brushing color choice. Other common color combinations can be found at the bottom of this tutorial. Following those recommendations will provide a great custom!


1. In this particular tutorial, I will be dry brushing the upper legs of a Transformer's Alternator. I've base coated the entire section with Krylon Fusion flat black, about 2 thin thin coats. I've also allowed this section to dry for about an hour.



2. Wildly shake your paint for about 20-30 seconds. Enamels are composed of many solvents, and need to be correctly mixed in order for the paint to bond and remain color-fast (keep it's natural color longer) Once shaken, I take the lid off and use that as my paint container. Because I'm using enamels, this reservoir of paint will remain wet for a nice and long time. If it were acrylic paint, it would gunk up and dry up in minutes.


3. I take the tip of my brush and dab into the paint...I want a VERY small amount on my paint brush.




4. Remove 95% of the paint from the paint brush by wiping it on some paper.*Too much paint will ruin the painting you are trying to do.*Too little paint is never a problem.




5. Take your almost dry brush and swipe it back and forth lightly across the raised detail you want to highlight.*The movement of the bush is almost a quick and gentle "dusting"*motion.*Just pretend you're using the brush to clean some dust off the area.*The goal is to highlight the raised detail.*If you feel your area needs more dry brushing, you can always come back and do a 2nd pass. It helps to keep your brush strokes perpendicular against any raised areas and against the detail. Remember, you ARE NOT painting, you are dry brushing.







Well, that's pretty much it. You'll quickly learn this is a simple and easy method of not only bringing out every detail on your custom, but also a very effective way of adding depth and a range of color to any otherwise bland looking area. Every detail will jump into your eyeball. In many cases, It's even recommended to dry brush in more than one stage. This will add even more depth. For example, rather than going straight from black to silver like seen here, I would probably have dry brushed a dark gray, then medium gray...then...the silver. Try different things out. There's no limit, just remember to use VERY LITTLE paint!





(Top colors symbolize color to dry brush with, bottom colors are your base coats)



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Great tutorial, F_R. I've been wary of trying enamels because I'm so used to acrylic, but I'm gonna have to try my hand at these. One question - how much do you usually thin your paints? I don't typically thin my acrylics at all but it seems you sort of have to with enamels.

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during the dry brushing...not at all. the resevoir in the lid is thin enough to just dab into and begin with. When regular painting, I don't thin much either. only on the initial 1st phase of base coating (if not sprayed on) I will sometmes thin out that run so it's almost like a wash. this helps it get into every crack/detail/crevise. usually thin that about 3:1 (thinner:paint)

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Don't know who the F*ck gave this a 2 star...but anyone who takes the times to produce documentation is worth at least 3 stars. I gave it 5...mostly because the photos are spot on and imformative.


mmmm sake.

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Appreciate the Tutorial, FR. Gave it Five stars. (Man, we need a sticky with all these techniques and tutorials.)

Gotta ask you, tho. Do you pour your paint into the lid, or by all the shaking you've done, the proper amount of paint is already on the lid?


You also list the small bottle of paint thinner, but nothing else is mentioned. Is it just for cleaning the brush after the project is finished?



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2 stars?!?!?!?


I'm sorry but I provided this tutorial to the board to help people out. If someone's got a better method or better tutorial, or simply a reason WHY such a low rating PLEASE explain.


I'm sorry but with a rating like this, it's a slap in the face, and unless there's some reason why, I'm gonna edit this thread deleted, and not post any more tutorials here.

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Don't worry, frenzy_rumble--I appreciate the tutorials you've been posting (as do many others). Screw those that can't see good HELP when it is given. Keep 'em coming and don't worry so much about the rating crap. The rating system is cool and all, but it just gives jackasses the chance to be dicks about it (ie. the 2 star rating). I'll keep ratiing them 5 stars because not only are they good, through tutorials, that took time and patience to get them out here to everyone.


Thanks for posting them up for those of us that DO care.

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First of all Great guide.

Out of interest what brand Acrylics do you use?

I only ask beacuse you mentioned them drying up in very quickly.

I have only used enamels a couple of times in the past and my main gripe with them was that they dried much quicker than Acrylics.

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