Blackwashing or Antiqueing

Blackwashing or Antiqueing is the technique similar to washing where one uses a thinned paint to bring out the highlights of a miniature. I also then drybrush with a light color (normally white) when done. See the technique section below for instructions.

The times when I use blackwashing are:

  • High Contrast Painting
  • Quick and Dirty Painting

High Contrast Painting

If you have ever basecoated with a dark color and then tried to get light highlights or used a white basecoat and then tried to get truly dark shadows, this blackwashing technique may provide you with a method of getting the best of all worlds.

Since the areas of the miniature that will be in shadow are basecoated dark, the shadows will be easy to get sufficiently dark. The same goes for highlights, which will have a light basecoat and thus will be easy to get bright paints not to "die" on a dark background.

Blackwash painted miniature of a Peg-leg Pirate

This pirate figure was blackwashed and then drybrushed to bring out highlights of the miniature without spending a lot of time on it.

Quick and Dirty Painting

Another time when blackwashing is wonderful is when you want to get a mini painted quickly for use in a game and don't have the time to do the piece justice, though you will likely want to paint the piece well later on at your leisure. Applying a blackwash and drybrushing afterwards makes the details of the piece stand out on a gaming table without the time needed to complete the peice in normal painting techniques.

Technique - How to Do It

When blackwashing, mix black with water and apply to the miniature heavily. The wash should be just thin enough to flow over the miniature but not to get everywhere. This technique tends to be messy, so put newspapers or other absorbent materials over your work area before beginning.

Let the paint dry before proceeding. This can take some time, since the painted areas have a lot of water on them. You can speed this process by placing an incandescent lamp which produces heat near the miniature.

When the miniature is fully dry, drybrush the miniature fairly heavily with a light grey or white.

Next Topic: Converting Miniatures >>

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