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🎨 Paints
Pigments

Updated at 2023-01-11 19:44

If you take away the liquid medium from your paints, the main thing that is left are the color-giving pigments. You can buy pigments separately (or grind them yourself cheaply from various color bars) for more advanced use.

Using pigments can often seem wasteful as only portion of the pigment gets stuck on the surface but this all depends on the techniques in use. And pigments are generally really cheap.

Pigment are usually used after painting but before you varnish the model. Painting over pigments can smudge them.

Most pigment techniques require you to seal the pigment. If you don't seal the pigment, it will fall off over time or get smudged by later varnish step. Seal with pigment fixer; or diluted varnish as fixer is simply a thinned varnish with usually a bit of spirits in it. You can't seal pigment with mineral spirits or acrylic thinner alone.

  • Load the bush with fixer, so it's dripping and slightly touch the pigmented area using the edge of the brush. The pigment should suck some fixer off the brush.
  • Or, use a dropper to apply small drops of the fixer.
  • Or, use spray-on matte varnish, and even hair spray can work wonders on large areas, but might move the pigment a bit.

Use an old brush, a q-tip or a toothpick to apply pigments. You don't want to use your proper brushes as the pigment can be hard to clean.

The most common way to use pigments is "dry pigment stippling".

Dry Pigment Stippling

  1. Apply pigment on a surface.
  2. Apply fixer on the surface.
  3. Apply a bit more pigment on the surface to get that dry look.

Place pigment dust on a dry surface, the pigment bottle cap is usually great for that. Then use an old brush to take and apply the pigment; stippling with a stabbing motion it on is the fastest, but you can also tap your brush to shake some of on the desired area before smudging it in with another softer brush.

For more "natural" look, make sure recesses get most of the dust. Especially around raised details. You can use your brush to spread the pigment around afterwards, or use you fingers to remove excess.

If you are going for more "wet" look, use a brush to add a bit of PVA on the areas that you want to catch most of the pigment before applying the pigment.

If you get pigment on areas that you didn't indent it to be, use a damp brush to remove the excess. If this is not enough, you can use a brush loaded with some acrylic thinner for more cleaning power.

Wet Pigment Texturing

If you add a drop of water to your pigment, it becomes muddy, and you can use it like a runny "mud" texture paint. Use an old brush as this can be hard to remove.

This can be quite uncontrollable, however. It might be easier to start with the right color of texture paste and dry stipple pigment on top.

Using Pigments as Paints

You can mix pigment with Lahmian Medium or other acrylic mediums to create thick grainy paint that doesn't need fixing. Might be worth a shot sometimes.