Non-metallic metal (NMM) painting is the technique of using regular paint (without metallic content) to give the illusion of a metallic, reflective surface. In general, NMM requires high contrast painted with smooth transitions from light-to-dark. There are many technique you can use to blend color in the NMM style of painting miniatures. You can wet-blend, layer and glaze, or use the loaded brush technique. Keep reading below to see how you can quickly paint NMM on a miniature sword using the loaded-brush approach for blending acrylic paint.
Things you’ll learn in this article:
- Understand how to create reflective surface using a high contrast painting style
- Use an advanced painting technique, i.e., loaded brush blending, to create the NMM miniature painting effect
- How to blend color quickly without an airbrush
In this article, I show you how I use the loaded brush blending technique to paint a NMM sword.
Loaded Brush Blending for NMM
I felt it best to make a video of how I paint miniature swords using NMM. There are a number of other sites with great tutorials. I tend to borrow a number of techniques and mix them all together whenever I feel it fits the need.
In this case, however, I have found that the loaded brush blending approach is the quickest for small surfaces that are flat.
With video it is easier to visualize the actual application of paint. Check out the video here (about 7 minute runtime):
Loaded brush blending involves the use of two paint colors “loaded” into a single brush.
The key factors you should keep in mind when practicing this technique are as follows:
- Use a kolinsky sable brush (see article about these brushes here)
- A hair dryer can speed up the process of each paint application (see here for why and what I use).
- Start with small, flat surfaces, like swords or other blades.
- A smooth base coat layer is very important for the loaded brush blending process.
- It is easier to load a darker color first, then use a highlight color on the brush tip
- For non-metallic metal (NMM), contrast is more important than color.
- Use a “kick” color as a glaze in the final step to “tie” the blended transitions even further into a smooth-looking surface
- Practice, practice, practice!
Miniatures Painted with Loaded Brush Technique
I paint a lot of miniatures with swords and other semi-reflective surfaces (a completely reflective surface). Here are a few of my favorites in various states of completion.
The loaded brush blending technique is a fun, fast, and fairly straight-forward approach. The reason I would recommend painters learn how to use it regularly is because loaded brush application of paint is versatile. It can become the foundation for producing high-contrast quickly, which you can then use for other neat effects.
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