A quick look at wet blending colors

About a week or so ago, Michael from The Unforgiven Angels emailed me and asked how I would go about blending colors... specifically on something like a horse. Looks like he's started a new blog on Wood Elves (no, they're not 40k) and was looking for some ideas.

My example isn't a horse but would work the same since both most likely have somewhat larger areas you can do this on. This is one of my techniques, I use a different approach when I am using colors that are transparent but in this case, both are opaque.

Here's what the final result looks like. That part that we're talking about is the black that runs just behind the length of the banner pole.

It's fairly easy to pull off but it takes some practice.

First (left pic) I repaint the area the base color... this way it's "wet."
Then I add my second color where I want it to go. Here it's a thick line of black under the banner pole.

Second (middle pic) I clean my brush and leave it slightly damp and begin blending the black into the green.

Third (right pic) I'll clean my brush again, leaving it slightly damp and then blend the green back into the black.

I keep repeating this until I get the gradation I like. Something to remember though is the paint dries fast so you don't have too long to work unless you add some kind of medium to slow drying time.

UPDATE: I've since posted again about wet blending in a more in-depth article that can be found here.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. That leaves a great effect. I think I might have to try this out with some browns, greys, and black for a weathering look on some buildings.

  2. Brilliant, thanks very much for sharing this mate. I think that my problem was that I wasn't trying to keep the paint wet, but was allowing it to dry before adding a lighter/darker colour variant to mix it. Because of this my results would come out either blotchy or uneven and the colours wouldn't look uniform, but random! I am planning on using your technique for my next unit's banner as it happens, so this tutorial works nicely with my aims. Quick question though, between blending the two colours, would you add any further paint to the brush (after cleaning but before reapplying), or do you simply clean the brush, leave slightly wet and then blend immediately?

  3. I've gotten to where I don't need to add any more color but say for example... you pushed the black out too far and you wanted to push it back behind the banner pole... clean your brush and add a little green then go back to blending.

    The more you do it, the more you'll get a feel for it.

  4. ive just started trying techniques like this, i use wet blending on my oop grey knight on the sword and the banner and it worked fairly well, and yeah... the paint does dry fast but i found that as soon as i applied the paint to the model, i dipped the tip of my brush into water, just a little and then went straight back to the area i was blending, im still working out my technique though.

    good post mate.

  5. I use a lot of wet blending techniques as I'm an oil painter at heart. I would suggest another technique - use two brushes (or three) to blend. This allows you to demonstrate really sophisticated blending by smapling wet paint from the different brushes to highlight/colour and really add texture. It also allows you to wet blend in highlights in an alternative shade.

    The only problem with 'wet-blending' in GW paints is they dry too quick to adjust - I recommend slight watering down.

  6. Great technique. I've tried the blending once or twice, I'm just not sure I have the patience for it. It looks great when done though!

  7. Like everything else, I've found it to be useful for some applications and no good in others.

    Sometimes all you need is a wash and then go back with you base color. It really comes down to the end result you're going for.

  8. If you use matte medium it not only retards the drying time but it also increases the translucency of the color making blending significantly easier. Michael's sells matte medium for about $16 for a huge bottle, I've been using mine almost daily for over a year.

  9. It's also helpful to prepare a second, clean brush and quickly switch brushes for blending. I'm much
    faster this way, then by cleaning my first brush.

  10. I'll have to give this another try. Thanks for posting the step-by-step, Ron! :)

  11. Charles and n00byfied: Both very good points, thanks for adding them.

    Master Darksol: Good luck, make sure to let us know how it goes.


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