Dry Brushing

Dry brushing may be frowned upon by competition level painters, but it is an invaluable basic technique to master. I frequently use it when I am faced with a lot of tiny details with raised texture, like on a sand covered base or along the ribs of feathers.  It's a quick and easy way to give a little pop to the very top edges.

Never, ever use your good sables for dry brushing!!! This is where you want to haul out your ugly synthetics. The first step is to give the area a nice base coat, using the darkest shadow color you will want. Then move to your midtone color, using a pretty thick consistency similar to canned evaporated milk. Using your old synthetic brush, dip into your color and then wipe off most of the paint onto your blotting towel. If your brush looks pretty dry, you've got it right. Now take it over to the mini. The idea is to lightly dust the surface ridges, using the same motion as you would with a feather duster over a coffee table. Back and forth, up and down, back and forth again, grazing over the tips. If you run out of paint on your bristles try to pick up more off of the blotting towel instead of the pallet.

When you are satisfied with the result it's time to switch to your highlight color. You will want this layer to be a little thicker than the previous one, so that means even thicker than canned milk. Feel the texture of the paint straight out of the bottle. Depending on which paint you have chosen you might not need to dilute it at all. Just like before, load your brush and then blot off almost all of the paint. Use the same dusting motion that you did with your midtone color, but an even lighter pressure so the highlight rests atop the midtone but does not obscure it.