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Tip O' The Day

Drybrushing with artist's colored pencils




Submitted By:

Ward Shrake


Drybrushing is a painting technique widely used to bring up the highest points of any raised textures on objects. You may want to consider trying a similar technique, but with artist's colored pencils instead of a brush.

Artist supply stores now carry colored pencils in many different colors, including some excellent metallics. (Silver, brass, copper, gold and bronze, perhaps others.) And the non-metallic colors can often be useful, as well.

Basically you just sharpen the pencil as sharp as you can get it, then you sand the tip flat at a slight angle. You can use regular sandpaper or nail shaping sanding sticks. The end result should be a small area, perfectly flat.

This gives you a "broad" (in scale, anyway) but flat tip that is easy to run over raised details with, leaving just a little pencil each time you do it. Think of it something like using a magic marker, if that helps describe it well.

The reason I sand the end flat is that I get more control that way. I can go over the same area a few times, lightly, without having the pencil be darker in any one area than another. It is easier to avoid the equivalent of brush strokes, if you have more surface area covered per stroke.

I generally use this as a last step, after "normal" drybrushing with a brush and paints, if I want to simulate things like worn paint on bolt heads; that sort of thing. But you can use it in other ways, limited mostly by your creativity. For instance, it works great on bringing up tiny raised details on cockpit or dashboard gauges.

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Tips database last updated 21 July 2014

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DISCLAIMER: These procedures and practices represent the recommendations of the members of the Starship Modeler readership. These ideas are not necesscessarily endorsed for their saftey or results by the staff of Starship Modeler. The reader assumes full responsibility for any and all results stemming from the application of the procedures and practices listed here.

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