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Dry Brushing ?

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Hi tess, drybrushing is used for paint chips, mud, dirt and other misc bits, you do it after the main colours and washes are complete, you take a brush, dip it in the paint then take most of the paint off on a piece of kitchen roll, until the brush is virtually dry, then just brush lightly across the high spots or corners just giving a hint of colour. HTH.


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Dry-brushing is the classic way of bringing out raised detail. The trend at the moment is to add depth by darkening the recesses; way back when, the main way was to lighten the sticky-out bits.

You do it by putting a dab of paint on a brush, wiping almost all of it off, and then gently flicking it back and forth over the parts in question. If you wipe off so much that you think there's none left, there will still be enough to dry-brush with. It appears as if by magic on the very extremities, and makes edges and such appear much more 3-D. My advice is to do it very lightly, in multiple coats - it's surprisingly easy to remove too little paint from the brush and smear it all over the parts. Even then, though, you can easily wipe it away and start again. Part numbers on sprues are very handy targets for practice.

You can also use progressive shades to add further depth. For instance, in a cockpit you might kick off with basic interior green, then a strong dry-brush with a lighter green, and finish off with light grey or aluminium. That would give the impression of shadows as well as wear on the exposed edges and lumps. Also, if you dry-brush in only one direction (downwards in the case of the cockpit), you can add the impression of directional light.

The best tool is a knackered old brush that you don't mind damaging. The process is very hard on brushes, so don't expect to get much use out of one before you need to replace it. A broad brush cut short is good - over-long bristles give you less control.

This hardly needs saying, but dry-brushing isn't much help with recessed detail. It's sometimes possible to bring out panel edges but that's fiendishly tricky. Of course, with some types, you don't know where recessed ends and raised begins - eg the ribbing on an SR-71.

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Wear and tear or weathering.

How by Phil Flory

Ahh, so thats what it is & how to do it, now I know how the cockpit dials are painted so they show up

Thanks for the help chaps


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Hi Tess- just to add a couple of things here - as previous posters have covered most things.

The paint you want to use for drybrushing is the thicker gloopy stuff you find at the bottom of the bottle/ tin. Use a cocktail stick or similar to drag a glob up from the bottom onto your paint palette. Then use a little of this as the start point in your brush wiping. If the paint is too thin to start with, you'll wipe all of it off before you dry brush.

Another trick I find helpful is, when you have your dry brush ready, do the first flick of the bristles over a spare bit of sprue with some part numbers on etc. I find its usual for the first swish of the brush to still have too much paint on - so this way you get rid of that on a junk bit of plastic. You can always build up the effect, but its hard to tone down an area thats had too much applied.

You can also dry brush using a scrubbing action - this won't highlight edges etc, but will add a thin patina of a highlight colour to flat areas. To give an example - paint cockpit colour (lets say a grey green), then do a scrub dry brush with a brighter, but tonally similar, green. This will add some subtle colour change to the base colour. Then progress with the normal bry brushing using ligher versions of your base colour.

Above all - try to avoid using white or bright silver over other colours - the former gives a sugar frosting effect, and the latter can be just too bright; though to break my own rule, just a flick of bright silver over a duller silver will work, and ditto with white over a very pale grey.

I find that a flat or chisel shaped brush is best for dry brushing, so either buy a cheap one and sacrifice it , or if you have an older one thats becoming a bit knackered for painting proper, use that.

I have 3 brushes I use, one of which must now have less than 1mm of bristle on it. The thing is, you get a feel for your dry-brush brushes - and its takes a while to get used to them, and then it takes a longer while to train a new one in too!!

Hope this helps


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I must say a HUGE THANK YOU to all the replies I got to my questions about dry brushing. Ive taken your advice & watched the tutorials & the resuts I got are amazing

Thank You Thank You Thank You

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