Sunday, July 01, 2007

Renaissance Ink
(This article is reprinted from the magazine in order to show more and larger photos of the entire process. The small photos in the magazine were due to my error completely. Also, the figures used are from Dixon's 25mm Old West line.)
While a wide range of inks are available, two main inks were examined here over varied colors and with different dilutions: blue ink over a mid blue color and brown ink over two shades of brown and yellow and with two different dilutions. Please note that the wash used only a single drop of ink so the bottle should last a long time.
I must admit that I used some assistance with this project as I have had limited success using inks before. I found that Ren Inks dilute and mix very well with water and, because they have a dropper type top, it is quite simple to guarantee the same dilution time after time (I also use a dropper to dispense my water). For all colors and washes I painted a plain base coat, applied the wash and finished with drybrushing. I was very pleased with the final results and were far better than those obtained with diluted standard acrylic paints.
Painting with blues can be problematic as the shadows really should be a darker shade of blue for the best effect. Using Vallejo 844 (Deep Sky Blue) I painted the cowboy’s shirt and let it dry before covering it with a 2:1 ratio (water to ink) wash of Ren Ink blue wash. Do not worry if it looks too dark at this point. After it dried completely, I drybrushed the original color over top and highlighted it with a light drybrush using a lightened original blue. You can see how the ink has left with darkened shadows in place without an unnatural look to the all over blue effect.
I used a similar 2:1 brown ink wash over Vallejo 953 (Deep yellow) and 843 (Cork Brown). The yellow shirt was painted exactly as the blue example though a very light painting with white could be used to allow for an even brighter shade of yellow, if desired. After applying the ink to the brown trousers, I felt I did not like how dark it was. The solution was quite simple – using an old brush (one that used to be pointed became useless for that and had the tip cut off to make a broad, rounded edged brush), I got it very wet with water and scrubbed it over the larger exposed trouser surfaces. In this manner, I diluted the original color, erased much of it and got a much more desirable final color. After drybrushing, the details of the pockets were more easily seen due to the rich shading produced by the ink wash.
For the final figure, the base color was Vallejo 825 (German Camo Pale Brown) and washed with two different dilutions of brown ink – over the front of the horse I used a 2:1 dilution and over the rear a 10:1 dilution to compare the final differences between the two wash strengths. After the final drybrushing, there is a subtle yet noticeable difference between the contrast of the front and hindquarters of the steed. Which method chosen will depend on personal tastes but either dilution gives a very nice shading effect.
Renaissance Ink inks come in white, black, brown, purple, green and blue.


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