Because of the multitude of products I use I will be breaking this part of the blog into several categories. Now each artist has their own preference on the materials they use but here are some of mine.
Paints, Mediums, and Brushes:
For the majority of my work I use acrylic paints. I am also branching into oil painting but I will not include these in this discussion as I, myself, am just starting in that medium. I also use a lot of spray paint for
different things but that will be covered in a different category after I do some experimenting with new things.
I use a combination of professional acrylics and craft acrylics. I also experiment with many other coloring agents. Many people prefer using only professional acrylics, but I have found that I can easily achieve quality work with either type so I utilize the greater color
range by using both types.
I will start with the professional grade acrylics. My preferred brands are Golden, Galeria, Liquitex, Old Holland, La Sonja, and Amsterdam.
I have recently tried Daler Rowney Simply acrylics, Artist’s Loft and Master’s Touch but am unhappy with their drying properties. They always end up drying sticky on me, sometimes even through the several layers of sealer I use. I am still experimenting with them as I think I can bypass this problem, with some ingenuity.
My absolute favorites are Golden Fluids, Liquitex Soft Body and Liquitex matte. You can create the
most realistic eyes or symbols with these. They are highly pigmented but flow almost like ink. The Liquitex Soft Body and Liquitex Matte are a little thicker than the Golden Fluids. For painting dolls I highly recommend Golden Fluids.
Now onto craft acrylics, there is a lot of difference in this
type of paint. Certain brands tend to perform better and others tend to flake and have weak color. There are some craft acrylics than perform almost like an artist fluid acrylic. I don’t stick with a particular favorite brand with these, as I tend to go for colors I need. But these that I will mention are the only brands I buy because I have found that these are easy for me to manipulate and to get the effects that I desire.
Aleene’s is one of my favorite brands but sadly is no longer made. I have had these for over 10 years and they still have an awesome fluidity and amazing colors which I have found none to match to them.
- Palmer is another excellent brand especially known for its fluidity. Its consistency is similar to Golden Fluid acrylics. The color range is decent and they have some excellent choices of pearls and metallics, which you can’t find in another line. They are also extremely cheap.
- Blick Matte Acrylics is a new brand that I started using and I absolutely love them. The fluidity again is amazing and the colors are again unique. The only downside to these is that some
colors change a bit when sealed.
- Another new brand that I love is the Martha Stewart line. The colors are unique and although not thin like ink, very manageable and easily thinned with water or thinning agent. These colors are very pigmented.
- Americana is a tried and true brand but it tends to be on the thicker side of acrylic paint. Again easy to manipulate with a little bit of work. They are very pigmented and boast a huge number of colors to choose from.
- Folk Art is a good brand as well. They tend to vary from smooth to thick depending on the type and color of paint. The metallics have always worked extremely well for me and I personally love the smooth texture of the paint. It should be noted that I use a thinner no matter what paint I use.
- Ceramcoat is an excellent paint all around. With a multitude of colors, a wonderful consistency and smooth matte finish when dry, this brand is one of my absolute favorites, especially for full body repaint.
- Apple Barrel is another decent brand. It tends to be smooth but not as thin as ink. There are many colors not available in other brands as well. Dries to a nice matte finish as well.
Just experiment with them and have fun, as an artist remember that is part of what you should be doing is trying to come up with new exciting things and ways to use your products. So be bold and experiment. I always have an experiment pony on hand to try new paints on so I don’t go in blind so to
You will notice that I made no mention of neither airbrush paint in the above section nor specialty paints, that’s because I believe they should have their own sections, which you will find below. I tend to really push the boundaries with what paints can be used as I like variety and some colors and affects you just can’t get with regular acrylics. Some of these specialty paints can be quite expensive and I would not
recommend putting a bunch of money into them all at once – especially when beginning.
Airbrush paints are really thinned down paints specifically designed to be used with an airbrush. I know you are thinking“well duh”. But you can also paint them on with
a brush. I find airbrush paints to be some of the best ones to use when customizing toys or painting in general as there are many affects you can get with them that is harder to achieve with your run of the mill acrylics.
Airbrush paints make wonderful washes and are an easy way to age a piece without hours of tedious painting. Well there will be hours of tedious painting just maybe not quite as many.
As far as my favorite brands for airbrush paints, they are as follows, Faskolor (not sure if this is still in production as my bottles are around 10 years old), Createx, Spectra Tex, and Com Art Colors.
Let’s begin with my oldest ones, Faskolor. As I mentioned above I have had these colors for almost 10 years and they are still going strong. They have intense colors and are very fluid even after all this time. It does take some building of color to make them more opaque but it is worth it as I have seen no other colors similar to them.
Onto Createx. This brand has so many different options and color choices that it is very fun to choose new colors from them. The iridescent line is my favorite followed closely by the neons. I have yet to play with their transparent colors and cannot wait to try them. Again, fluidity is much like ink and they are flawless whether done with airbrush or paintbrush.
Spectra Tex is another airbrush paint that I adore. The paint is smooth and vibrant with a slight transparency to it. You will need multiple layers for opaqueness. It dries so smoothly that you don’t notice any difference between normal surface and painted surface. I love this for symbols and eyes.
Com Art Colours is another newer (for me) brand I have tried and loved. It is just like ink and carries some wonderful colors. I am most fond of their range of grays. It is fairly transparent but after several layers it becomes opaque. It dries to a nice matte finish.
I decided to include several other acrylics which I use that are neither craft nor artist grade but rather more of specialty types.
These include gaming figure paints. To be honest I have only used one brand of this type of paint, which is Formula P3. I really like the fluidity of this paint, it is smooth and highly pigmented similar to Golden Acrylics with colors that can’t be necessarily found in any other line. They are slightly pricier but no more than professional grade acrylics.
Another good other type of acrylic is Lumiere by Jacquard. The paints are mostly metallic but they also have some interference colors which can be handy. The colors are gorgeous and the containers are generously proportioned. They do tend to get thicker with age but that is easily remedied by adding a tiny amount of water to them. Since I thin all my paint, I have no problem dealing with the thicker texture. I highly recommend at least giving them a try as there is some wonderful things that cannot be done with other paints
For all my blacklight reflective paintwork I use Zuper paints, which are available in the UK. They are highly pigmented and glow wonderfully. They do tend to be thicker than other paint but again this is no problem for me. The yellow one has a slightly grainy feel to it when not thinned well enough.
I love to experiment with all sorts of items for my art
and am constantly striving to find new paints to use.
As such I have an extensive list of ones that I have used and that have worked wonderfully for me.
Please note that some of these paints should only be used on sculpted areas as they can damage plastics. Some of these specialty paints are enamels designed for models. I have not tried
every single brand and am in no way an expert on enamel paint. Please remember that many model paints produce fumes so always work with these in a well ventilated area or wear a protective mask. They also require more than water to clean your brushes, I recommend acetone. The below paints also require acetone to clean your brushes afterwards.
House of Kolor Kustom Kolor, although it doesn’t say so on the bottle I am pretty positive that this is an enamel. Beautiful colors that work the best on sculpting (I do my sculpting with Apoxie Sculpt). My favorites of this line are the color shifting ones. They are awesome and lend such a neat affect.
Another favorite of mine is the Viva Precious Metal Colors. Gorgeous colors and dries nice and smooth.
Can be used on plastic and sculpt work. I love these so much; I plan to eventually own them all. These do take vigorous shaking before use.
Another favorite of mine is Liquid Scales which is used by taxidermy artists. They have a wonderful variety of metallic paints that dry to a nice smooth surface. This can be used on plastic or sculpting. It is acrylic based and a bit on the transparent side.
Another fun one to play with is the Pebeo Fantasy line. I have just started with these but love them already. These work best on sculpted parts. These have a strange smell to them though.
Spaz Stix paint is also one of my absolute favs. They specialize in color flip paint for airbrushes and I absolutely love love love them. I recommend it for sculpted parts but can be carefully used on plastic.
Gorgeous colors and wonderful affects can be achieved with these paints. Does have an odor so be prepared.
Another one that I enjoy playing with is Polytranspar Water Based Airbrush Paint. It is designed for taxidermy artists but the metallics are WOW! Again there is an odor and is best used on sculpted surfaces but can also be used on plastic. It can strip away layers of paint underneath if applied to hastily or overworked.
These specialty paints can be very costly and again have more harmful chemicals than standard acrylics. They can also react differently to different sealers so test these out on a spare bait if at all possible. But if
you wanna try something new and have some fun, go for it.
I have begun experimenting with inks this past year and so far have really enjoyed it.
Inks can be used in a variety of ways and
mediums. They are so versatile and I use them in numerous ways.
Some I use like paint, some like a wash, some as a tint, some to color faery wings.
My favorite inks so far are FW Pearlescent Acrylic Ink. Like acrylic paint it is water based. These work just like fluid acrylics and have some magnificent colors. I plan to eventually own all of these too.
I also like the Liquitex Acrylic Inks, although they carry more of your normal colors they also have some very pretty metallic colors. The white is awesome for making eye highlights.
I also have developed a love for Adirondack Alcohol Ink. Alcohol ink is not like acrylic ink and it dries incredibly quickly. It requires acetone to remove mistakes and to clean brushes. Some colors will stain lighter colors with no way to remove the stain. I like to use this ink for coloring faery wings and for tinting eyes and parts of symbols. Some alcohol inks can even be used for an alternative to full body repaint.
I also like Smooch Ink spray. It also comes in applicator style bottles like the turquoise one shown above. Remember that alcohol inks can interact with different sealers, so a little bit of trial and error is in order. The spray style gets easily clogged but can be brushed on as well.
This concludes the paint section - if you have any questions or want to suggest the next portion for the Material blog please leave me a comment!