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I'm currently in the middle of painting my space turkeys and decided to wander over here for some tips while my hand has a rest.
One thing I've seen mentioned a couple of times is the need to water down GW paints....
I don't really see anything wrong with the results I have been getting at the mo', but if I can improve it just by adding water, then it seems a must do.
So, can someone please explain how to properly water down GW paints and what the point of it is?
Okay, in a nutshell, watering down paints is good because it allows the paint to flow much easier. It releases colour over a more even area and reduces visible brush strokes. The down side is that the more you water your paints down the more layers you will have to paint on.
To water some paint down, you literally just add a bit of water to the paint. Dip your paintbrush into the paint pot and put it on a palette. Clean it off the brush. Now dip your paintbrush into a cup of water and mix it with the paint on the palette. Add more paint or water as desired.
It really is a trial and error technique. Through experience you will learn what paints benefit from watering down and which don't, how much to add for various effects.
Watering down paints was the first real skill I learned, and my painting improved INSTANTLY. If you go straight from pot to model, you'll have models that have too much paint on them. As a result, they look less like miniature soldiers and more like little pieces of plastic with paint on them.
There are some exceptions, as you'll find that different batches of paint will on occasion have different thicknesses, so SOMETIMES you'll find a VERY thinly-mixed paint will go straight to the model. Some Vallejo paint batches are like this.
Still, though, you shouldn't rely on that. Thin it yourself with water on a palette of some kind. An old piece of light-colored bathroom/kitchen tile will suffice, as will a cheap plastic palette that most craft stores will sell for less than $1 US.
As to how much, well, that does depend. If you find the paint flows a little TOO freely, and, say, runs down into crevasses while leaving higher points untouched, that's closer to a "wash" than paint (though that's a good technique to learn, too).
The only "bad" side to all this is, you'll find that even when properly thinned, you'll often need to go over an area more than once, which can be a pain, but the end results are SO worth it!
most people will tell you to thin it 1:1 paint to water
this was my biggest problem as a beginning painter because it was ending up too watery because all pots of paint are different thicknesses. i didn't understand what the problem was, i was just following the forumla i was given!
i'd recommend 2:1 at first then add more if you think you need it
A 2:1 ratio is a great beginning ground if you're not used to the flow.
If you're afraid of messing up, try a 2:1 ratio on the base coat. It will help you get a feel for the flowyness of watered down paint. If you watered it down too much, you can go back and add another layer with a mental note of how it feels.
Thanks for the tips everyone, much appreciated and very informative. I've tried the 2:1 and it works like magic.