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Acrylics-wash, glaze and veils?

Discussion in 'Acrylics' started by chailey, Aug 23, 2015.

  1. chailey Active Member

    Before I throw up my hands in despair and go back to my tried and tested oils, can some kind soul point me towards an idiots guide to what differentiates a 'wash' from a glaze, and what in Christ's name is a veil???
    Yours in desperation..........

    Scotty likes this.
  2. housecarl A Fixture

  3. Tubby-Nuts2 A Fixture

    Quite simply a, 'Glaze', is a successive layer (s) of very thinned coats of colour ! gradually building up to whatever your requirements want. This can be anywhere between, 6-9 coats. (Time consuming).

    A wash! is a one off of a thinned coat of colour, usually on the darker side of things to accentuate detail, which usually covers the whole or selected sections of the piece.

    The 'Veil', element I have not heard of ?? Perhaps its another term for 'Misting', which is an Airbrush thing.

    However, there are 'Opaque and Extra-Opaque', Acrylics .. which I think are geared towards the glazing method. I could be wrong:cautious:


    chailey, napoleonpeart and Scotty like this.
  4. Babelfish A Fixture

    Just can't get on with acrylics (and God knows I've tried). I use them fine for basecoating, but to me all this "slowly building up thin layers" malarkey is a 'black art' that I just can't seem to master. So I stick to oils for shading & highs.

    Good luck!

    - Steve
  5. Claude Portsmouth Active Member

    The Veil is the Spanish and Italian painters term for a glaze from what I can determine............different words for the same thing.

    garyhiggins, zane666, chailey and 2 others like this.
  6. chailey Active Member

    Ah, that would make sense as it's mentioned in my latest acquisition 'Painting Miniatures' by Danilo Cartacci, who I would guess is Spanish?
    I'm afraid I'm much like you Mr.Babelfish, I find it hard to learn new tricks, however the results I see week on week must mean I'm either missing out on something important or else the world is suddenly full of 'Master Craftsmen' !
    Jeff T and Babelfish like this.
  7. chailey Active Member

    One more question in my endless quest for knowledge if I may, does every glaze need to dry before adding another, and if so for how long?
  8. gforceman Well-Known Member

    Check out the video tutorials on the painting budah website. They use acrylics with two techniques that were new to me : wet on wet blending and the loaded brush. Gave it a first try yesterday and was very, very happy with the result. I was able to paint a face in about 2.5 hours and i found the results better then my previous work. Many of the video's are on fantasy.Sci Fi themed figures but the techniques can be easily used on historical figures too. I hope this might help you as I find acrylics a great medium to paint with which can give very nice results rather quickly.


    JonG, garyhiggins and chailey like this.
  9. Ferris A Fixture

    There are some quite simple basics to acrylics, but if you come from oils they may not be intuitive. I remember my despair when i first tried them. I just couldn't understand why people were doing anything with acrylics.... Looking back the basics were all described in books and articles, but they only hit home after some practice.

    Here's the list of what I would have liked to know at my acrylics start (maybe you already know some of this):

    1. They need to be thinned. Depending on the colour, add 30-50% water for basecoating, more water for highlights and shades.

    2. Build layers. A nice basecoat should take about 3-4 layers. You can use this reference to check your diluation as well.

    3. Let each layer dry before continuing. This is not sacret however and there are painters that use drying retarder and wet-on-wet techniques. I let each coat dry and speed that up with a hairdrier.

    4. Unload your brush. With all that water in your mix, a brush readily sucks it up due to capilary action. If you then apply it to the figure, it will flush it (this is like applying a 'wash'). The thinned paint will pool without control and the colour just settles where the water settles. To avoid this, touch a piece of kitchen towel with your brush after loading it. Yes, this will suck out most of what you just put on the brush, but you'll be needing very little paint anyway. If done correctly, the brush now leaves a thin, but controlled wet layer, that will dry transparent. You keep doing this to build up highlights and shades.

    5. I find it very difficult to know where to place highlights and shades. On some places, like folds on arms, it is quite easy, but on others it can be hard, such as vertical folds. Study master painter's work to get a feel for this. Try to find other's versions of the figure you are painting. You will see what works and what doesn't. Alternatively, study the base-coated figure under overhead lighting (in the evening, under a lamp).

    6. Most texts start with the basecoat and build up, using very thin paint, the highlights and shades ending with the highes/deepest highlight. Problem with this approach is that each step has very little contrast with the previous one. I do things slightly differently now and feel it gives more control: start with the basecoat and build the steps using low dilution 60-50% water?). This gives more visible results, but higher and very unsmooth contrast. Never mind. Acrylics are very good at covering whole areas transparantly and this property can give glowing results: when done with coarse highlights and shades, go over the midtones with a 70%? diluted layer of basecoat. This is a 'glaze' or 'veil' (there just names and not scientificly defined ones, and different painters use them differently). Over the highlights/shades, apply a glaze/veil of the tone one step down the highlight/shade scale. Take care to properly unload your brush each time. It has to be a controlled layer. This going over earlier contrast both tones it down and softens it. You can now keep 'toggling' (increasing contrast again with lower dilution paint where needed, or toning it down with a thinned veil, until you get the smoothness and contrast you want. Use a bigger brush for the veil than for the highlights and shades.

    7. Ensure your paint mixes don't unmix. The water and pigments start to separate quite rapidly, especially at high dilution. Keep an old or cheap brush ready to mix before using the paint. I wish there was a trick to prevent this unmixing as I really dislike it.

    8. Mix in a touch of Tamiya X21 matte medium to get a totally matte result. The medium also lowers the surface tension of the mix and eases application. If the result has white stains, you have used too much of the stuff...add water or prepare a new mix.

    9. Get a good brush cleaner. I found an oily version that not only gets out old paint when the brush already seems clean, but the oil also keeps the brush in shape when not in use. It dissolves in water. Wish to be more specific, but am sure art stores have some similar form of brush cleaner.

    10. When highlighting and shading each successive step of highlight or shade has to stay within the area of the previous one and the highest lights and deepest shades should only be applied on very small areas. It is very tempting to paint the whole highlight/shade area at each step, but it will just result in stark and unrealistic contrast without transitions. The further away from the basetone, the smaller the area of application. This is really key to getting smooth transitions and pleasing contrast, but it is hard not to go overboard. Less really is more when it comes to deep shades and extreme highlights.

    It has grown into quite a list, but for me each step was a small "aha moment". Bottom line is it's just paint and with a bit of patience and perseverance we all can get good results. I really believe this.

    Anyway, most important things are to learn the different effects the paint has at different degrees of dilution, and to unload your brush to avoid pooling of water/paint.

    Hope this helps, if even to hear my take on wash/veil/glazes...

  10. chailey Active Member

    After such a spirited and concise explanation on the use of acrylics, I'll lock myself away in my shed for the next few days with my little box of paints and see if progress can be made.......should you see ' selection of hardly used acrylic paints' suddenly appear on a well known auction site, you may presume my foray ended in failure!
    Thanks all for taking time to try and educate and encourage!
    garyhiggins and Ferris like this.
  11. Babelfish A Fixture

    I've lost count of all the books and articles I've read and all the tutorials and demos I've watched on acrylics (always looks so easy doesn't it?!). I know all the "theory" inside out. It just never seems to work in practice (or in even more practice!) for me.

    - Steve
    garyhiggins and chailey like this.
  12. chailey Active Member

    P'haps tis true bout auld dogs and new tricks my friend!
    Babelfish likes this.
  13. mick3272 A Fixture

    Hi Adrian. Thinks for this post. As you say its all simple basic stuff, but reading it through it has put a lot of round pegs in found holes for me. def worth a beer at euro. If unable to come and your thirst can wait till next winter will buy you a chang down your neck of the woods.
  14. Ferris A Fixture

    Hi Mick,

    Glad to hear you find the info useful.
    I'd be happy to down that beer together, but I'm afraid I will not be making it to Euro (have been trying for several years, but it has not worked out so far).
    Do let me know when you're in Singapore...Chang, Tiger....I'm in for it.

  15. Ferris A Fixture

    By the way, I added some points to my post...forgot a couple of things.
  16. mick3272 A Fixture

    Hi Adrian.

    The Wife & I will be over in Thailand for the UK winter 4mths, We have done all the other surrounding countries but not Singapore, so we are looking to go there for a couple of weeks, You know what the Thais are like with there visa's.
    Thanks again
    Tubby-Nuts2 likes this.
  17. Alex A Fixture

    May I add something to the tricks before.

    You can also use acrylics like oils with a wet palette. It works perfectly well.

    Acrylics have one big advantage over oils and it is not the least one : you can paint extremely precise and minute details with acrylics within a very thin layer of paint. And this is something impossible to do with oils even if you use tons of thinner which will weaken the paint film by the way.
    When I am talking about minute details, please visit ruvit.ru to get an idea. All these figures were painted using acrylics.
    chailey and garyhiggins like this.
  18. arj A Fixture

    Many thanks for your no-nonsense 10 point aide memoire for acrylics. I've saved your post for future reference.

    Ferris likes this.
  19. artillero Member

    Claude is right. In Spanish we use "veladura", meaning glaze. Someone probably translated it into English using "veil" which sounds close but it is a totally different thing ("veil" translates into "velo"). Cartacci wrote his book in Italian and the Spanish version was taken from there. In any case, Cartacci´s book deals mainly with oils.
    Tubby-Nuts2 likes this.
  20. garyhiggins A Fixture

    Take heart Chailey, you can teach an old dog new tricks:). My old Terrier has learned quite a few from the puppy(y).
    chailey likes this.

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