This article is a response to a friend of mine’s post in our local Warhammer Community page, here.
I love drybrushing. It’s a fantastic tool to quickly pick out texture on a miniature. Some, however, deride it as lazy. What utter crap.
An army finished is always 100% better than an army unfinished. The trouble with that is, our ‘canvas’ consists of anywhere from 10-200 or even more 28mm-ish sized miniatures. In addition, the ‘why’ behind our painting is totally different from other art forms. This art is your own – for your own enjoyment in the process and your own immersion in the game. It’s not for anyone else except yourself. We do this for fun, limited by our free time and our patience to achieve results. If the standard to which you paint is acceptable to you, then no one else has any right to criticize your work without your consent.
A caveat here is that none of this applies to the competitive painting scene. For those demigods of brushwork, one hundred to two hundred hours of work on a single miniature is considered adequate.
The goal of army painting should never be done ‘bottom up’ – that is, under an obligation to perform every task and technique prescribed by others. Instead, I would encourage you to approach it from a top-down perspective. Pick a standard at which you want to see your project when it’s finished, then identify the tools, techniques, and amount of time that will be required to achieve it. It’s like Yoga (which you’ve never done so are woefully ill-equipped to use this as an analogy – wife) – the instructor will give you all these poses and stuff (see what I mean? – wife) to perform, but if you can’t, then it’s not a reason to leave the class – do a modified pose with the time and energy that you have (please stop – wife).
For those unfamiliar with the term, drybrushing in this context isn’t an exfoliating technique (Note to self – pick up an aromatherapy body brush and lavender body oil and get scrubbi-wait, what was I saying). It’s a painting technique in which you use a dry brush (go figure), load it up with a little bit of paint and wipe most of it off onto a paper towel. From there, you lightly drag it across the detail of a model that you want to highlight it. It’s a lot easier than edge highlighting, but can be messier if not done properly.
I love drybrushing. It’s a fantastic tool in my arsenal of painting techniques that allows me to achieve quick results where time and patience are low relative to the demands of the project. Any detail, from fur to power armour edges, can be drybrushed. Sure, you *could* edge highlight your entire 200-model army of Astra Militarum Militarum Tempestus Tempestus Scions, but the question at that point is, will you finish before your eyes fall out of your skull?
And for those who say you can’t achieve good results with drybrushing? I want to leave you with this image of Maxime Pastourel’s Valkyrie from the July 2017 edition of White Dwarf (you can see his blog and more of his awesome work here):