Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Time For A Quick Wash

(a cross-post with the Frugal blog)

They say that time is money, so I thought that a tenuous enough link to be frugal with time - a post about quick painting with inks and washes. Now as ever I must say that I'm no expert painter, and this method of painting is truly the mother of all fast painting techniques so your not going to win any prizes. But for quick naked to tabletop colour it's very satisfying.
Before we start your going to need your inks and washes. I've collected a few colours now for a reasonable variety. I don't want to waste time mixing colours if I can help it. The aim is to do one quick coat and thats all.

As I've been playing a bit of Heroquest with my son recently I am using the Adventurer minis for an example. Usually I just paint the same type of figure to minimise colour changes between figures, less colour changes meant less time! So this will be a comparitively slow job.

The process can basically be boiled down to 4 steps: White basecoat, skin, clothes, metal.

Step 1: White basecoat.

It has to be white otherwise the colours won't show!

Step 2: Skin

Next job is the skin. Get your skin wash (I've used Vallejo skin wash here) and apply it to the exposed flesh areas. Once this is done give the still wet wash a quick dab with your finger, being careful not to put your now inky/washy print on the pristeen white on the rest of the mini. This adds a slight highlight to the raised areas. Don't use a tissue as this has a tendency to soak up some of the wash from the non-hightlight areas, which we don't wont.

Step 3: Clothes.

Let the skin dry, and then your chosen apply colours to the other parts of the figures. Have a reasonable amount on the brush, as we want dark pools of colour in the recesses, but the ink/wash should sit more thinly on the raised areas, automatically giving you a highlight that would be missed using conventional paint. As ink takes longer to dry than your normal paint do one colour on one mini then move onto the next to give more drying time. Also try to colour areas of the mini that are not adjectent to each other, as this lets you keep progress moving along without risking the inks running into each other at the junctions. Multiple layers of ink (either when the first one is dry or wet) can produce some intereting effects if you fancy. As a note I ink chainmail black in preparation for Step 4.
Step 4: Metal.
Get your metalic paints and paint the metal areas of the figure. No, no - stop shouting "cheat" ( I'm listening to Slayer on 11 so I can't hear you anyway!). I said it was using inks and washes - I didn't say excusively. As these are for Heroquest (ie a bright high fantasy setting) I just leave the metal bright and shiny.

And voila, a painted base and good to go. With all these being individual minitures the colour differences and model changes really ate up the time. These actually took a comparitive while to colour - just about 2 hours all told (under 30 minutes each). To prove my own earlier point I afterwards inked the 4 goblins below, which came in at a much more reasonable sub 45minute time (I wasn't using a stop watch, OK?).

Like I say, not award winning, but on the table in quick time with a reasonable appearance.

Have fun.


  1. I love painting with just inks, here are some links of my Raptors space marines, painted in a camo scheme using just the GW washes.
    Test Mini
    Work in Progress
    Assault Squad

    Also, my Orcs & Goblins are painted with just washes, but over a grey undercoat.
    Goblin Archers

  2. Nice work, Tristan. That camo looks great. What colours are you using?

  3. I have it written down at home, but basically, it's;
    * complete wash of gryphonne sepia
    * complete wash of thraka green
    * spots of ogryn flesh
    * spots of devlan mud
    * complete wash of gryphonne sepia
    * complete wash of thraka green

  4. Cheers for that. I'll have to do something that I don't do very often - visit the local GW store. I don't play many GW games so its a bit awkward when approached. A bit like a vegetarian buying broth mix from the butchers shop!

  5. Your LGS doesn't carry GW paints?!? Gotta say the washes are WELL worth it.

  6. Technically GW IS my LGS. The next nearest one is around 45 minutes drive away.

  7. How would figures done in this style look if dipped in some of that tinted varnish stuff? I use that for my quick and easy shading, and I wonder if it would clash with using inks?

  8. Dipping could work, but it would need to be a very light coat. Keep in mind it's multiple layers of inks that give the tone, this is essentially a really strong brown layer.

  9. Yes, this is what I'm thinking. I would imagine that using a tinted dip would clash with this technique, as they're doing more or less the same thing.

    It's a moot point, as I have no inks anyway, but I thought I'd ask.

  10. That is a very cool idea for making these figures stand out from the crowd, I like it very much, the minis look great, I may have to try that with one of my two sets.....