Are you trying to find the best inks for painting miniatures? Or perhaps you’re interested in learning how to create ink washes and employ inks on miniatures.
For painting miniatures, inks differ from standard acrylic paints.
They are a highly pigmented liquid art medium that, in order to work best on miniatures, usually needs to be thinned out or combined with other materials.
Different brands and types of ink exist. While some inks are resin-based, others are acrylic-based. In truth, “ink” has no exact definition.
To sum up, inks are an excellent tool for your palette if you’re painting Warhammer 40k, Infinity, military or historical game models, or even 3D printed miniatures.
In this article, I’ll go over a few of the essential qualities and applications of colored inks that are crucial for painting miniatures and models.
I also go over the top 15 inks that are suggested for painting models and miniatures.
The Top 15 inks for painting miniatures and figurines are listed below:
- P3 Inks Privateer Press
- Games Workshop/Citadel Shade
- Acrylic Golden Transparancy High flow
- Vallejo Inks
- Warcolours Inks
- Master Series Reaper (Liner Ink)
- Quickshade by Army Painter
- Badger Ghost Tints
- Scale 75 Inktense
- Color Inks by Andrea
- Acrylic Artist ink Daler Rowney
- Liquitex Inks
- Drawing inks Winsor & Newton
- Bombay India Ink Dr. P.H. Martin
- Armsterdam Acrylic Ink
Best Miniature and Model Painting Inks: Top 15
Here are my top 15 picks for inks to use while painting miniatures and models:
1. P3 Inks Privateer Press
P3 Inks Privateer Press are in my collection of paints. Turquoise and flesh are my preferred P3 ink hues (which also doubles as my rust color effect in NMM painting).
The armor (black/dark gray) wash, in my opinion, is also a respectable substitute for Citadel’s Nuln oil.
However, due to how black it is, you’ll need to dilute it. Brown is a fantastic P3 ink color that works well for special effects including dried blood or leather (e.g., dab the ink around the edges).
P3 brown ink offers clothing a beautiful color depth that is difficult to accomplish with paint alone if you mix in a little red paint.
When P3 inks are cured, they do have a slight glossy finish, but it’s not too horrible compared to other inks.
P3 inks work well as glazes, when combined with other common paints, and when used as washes.
P3 inks are quite runny and thin, yet they have a stunning color intensity that makes them versatile and easy to work with.
2. Shade from Games Workshop/Citadel
For novice painters, Citadel colors are the greatest all-purpose “ink” option (or veterans).
Citadel shade paints have the same thin consistency and function as inks even though they are not specifically labelled as “ink.”
When compared to standard artist-grade inks, most Citadel colors are more translucent.
They contain additional chemicals that make them available to everybody without the need to know how to mix your own color “cocktail.”
Which is one of the reasons why they are popular. They simply work!
Citadel colors perform best when used directly from the pot. No dilution is required.
The Citadel Shade is fantastic because they do exactly what their name implies: shade. They incorporate a darker shade of the color you’re using on your model.
They selectively darken the surface crevices of your miniature because they flow readily.
You can also airbrush Citadel colors. You will see that they work fantastically as a glaze as well. I have a few samples and uses of these paints elsewhere.
There are others who believe Games Workshop (GW) overcharged for these shade pots. However, you receive a tremendous time-saving convenience in exchange.
3. Acrylic Golden Transparancy High flow
One of my favorite go-to inks for airbrushing is Golden Transparent Highflow Acrylic.
They are thin-viscous acrylic inks with strong color that apply smoothly with conventional brushes or an airbrush.
Several factors to consider include the fact that golden high flow acrylics are transparent and dry quickly (e.g., colors underneath show through layers of this paint).
I work with the translucent paints to thin out other colors or to use as glazes, and I utilize the black and white paints to help me zenithal paint models.
Glossy inks and paints with high flow rate. So, keep in mind to varnish (here’s how) if you want a matte finish.
The twist top makes it simple to dispense precisely the proper amount of color.
The Highflow Acrylic Set is a terrific deal since, for the price, you get a lot of color to work with.
Since I started using these acrylic inks to paint miniatures a few years ago, I have not run out of a single color.
4. Vallejo Inks
Vallejo inks are designed for painting miniatures.
When you’re finished painting, all you need to do to take the shine off of the slightly shiny surfaces is spray them with matte varnish.
These inks function similarly to Daler Rowney Acrylic inks in many ways (below).
If you’re preparing a wash or glaze, they come in a variety of useful hues and thin well with water.
Due to their longevity, Vallejo inks are the finest for gaming miniatures.
Additionally, Vallejo inks are the ideal inks for tasks requiring a lot of color if you want a vibrant paint work.
For example, combine them with other paints to increase color depth. However, take care not to use them straight from the bottle as a “wash.”
They have a lot of colorful pigment, and the tone of their hue will overpower your complete model. When in doubt, apply a test layer on a surface other than your primary work surface.
5. Warcolours Inks
Shellac, a natural product that lends warmth and gloss, serves as the foundation of Warcolour inks, ensuring a consistent and smooth flow on your miniatures.
Warcolour inks are among of the most practical color palettes for painting miniatures, enabling you to give your model the precise shade and hue you want.
With a little practice, an airbrush can apply these inks just as effectively as a standard brush when thinned with a little water.
Use Warcolour inks as a glaze to subtly change your base colors and smooth transitions between paint layers.
Warcolour inks blend well with other water-based creative media, thinning combinations, and other acrylic paints since they are soluble in water.
These are some of the better-valued inks for miniature painters because you get a lot of alternatives for the price of 20 bottles in the set.
6. Master Series Reaper (Liner Inks)
For painting miniatures, Reaper Master Series liner inks are a more opaque ink.
They are perfect for “lining” the edges of models to make it easier to discern between different painted miniature sections.
I believe that the Grey and Brown liners are the most well-liked and adaptable. I enjoy painting models and using liners for other things.
To make a glaze to darken specific areas of your model, thin them out with water. With only a little brush feathering, they meld seamlessly.
Additionally, the Reaper Liner paints use incredibly fine pigment, allowing you to blend transitions without leaving behind dark blotches or uneven patches.
Reaper Liner ink works well with water and will run (and remain) into the crevices of your model if you want to create your own wash.
Here’s a helpful hint for using Reaper liners: Before using conventional colored paint, fill in all the shadow details with a water-thinned mixture over a white or other brightly colored base coat.
This will assist you in choosing the location of your midtones and highlights. Before continuing to paint further, make sure to let the liner dry.
You can also omit the “wash” or shading stage of your painting project by leaving some of the liner visible (rather than painting over it).
7. Quickshade by Army Painter
Compared to artists’ inks and other hobby brand “inks,” the Army Painter Quickshade Wash set is a little different.
The Army Painter Quickshade set employs media with a richer, darker color tonal range that is a little more viscous (thicker).
The delicate, strong, and dark tone washes in the Army Painter Quickshade set are the most widely used shades.
The “dark-tone,” which is a color that resembles black and fills in the model’s crevices and fissures, will give you an appearance that is almost comical.
Depending on which “tone” you choose and how you apply it, the other “tones” will give you a more realistic or gritty appearance.
These colors have values that darken and have a brownish tint; they can be used for a wide range of purposes.
I frequently suggest these Quickshade washes for enhancing contrast quickly when speed painting. Of course, if left alone for a long,
Army Painter washes and paints have a tendency to separate in their bottles. For optimal results, be sure to shake them vigorously.
You can use a tiny automatic paint shaker as I do.
The colored Quickshade washes have intense colors that resemble dark inks. However, they will easily flow into your model’s cracks and perform admirably as a wash (with a bit of thinning).
You may want to experiment with how you utilize them, just like you would with other inks. Inks should always be applied in tiny layers until you are familiar with how they appear.
8. Ghost Badger Tints
The company Badger Airbrush sells a distinctive line of transparent inks called Badger Ghost Tints.
They are colored “inks” that are airbrush-ready and are designed to airbrush at low air pressure.
As translucent hues, they function similarly to candy colors or “candies,” but were created as water-soluble acrylics for use on miniatures and models.
Ghost Tints adhere well to painted tiny surfaces and dry quickly. They function fundamentally like glossy clear glazes.
Making colored-metallics with Ghost Tints is a unique usage for them.
They can be used to change the color of metal without sacrificing its metallic sheen when applied over a basecoat that is silver or steel in hue.
Ghost Tints are so adaptable that they are my go-to pick if you’re searching for a collection of practical “special effect” paints.
9. Scale 75 Inktensity
A line of fundamental ink hues is called Scale 75 Inktensity inks. The Inktensity line dries even more glossy and wet-looking than other inks do.
When using these inks, I thin out the vibrant color and reduce luster by blending in a few drops of matte medium.
Others use Inktensity inks by blending them with common colors. These inks work best when you require strong coverage but a thinner paint because of their color intensity.
The amount of this ink needed to change the colours or tones of conventional paint is also rather small. They’re that powerful.
Inktensity colors were airbrushed onto many of my organic type models.
For instance, I glazed fascinating colors over a base of skin tone using my airbrush and these inks (which I had greatly diluted with water).
The Inktense Wood color, in my opinion, is the best of the Inktensity line’s colors.
Glaze Inktense Wood over your surface material to transform it into realistic-looking wood after applying a zenithal undercoat to provide contrast in black and white to your model texture.
However, be careful not to use too much water while thinning colored Inktensity inks. When overly thinned, they have a tendency to dry out quickly and clump.
Although I’m not sure why, the formulation that gives them their bright hue definitely plays a role.
10. Color Inks Andrea
The most popular inks for miniature artists are not Andrea Color Inks. However, their brand of acrylic model paint for scale models and miniatures is well-known.
The Andrea Color Inks typically dry with a more satin sheen than other hobby acrylic inks (which are typically glossy).
By slightly diluting these inks with water and glazing brilliant colors to add interest to your miniatures, you can utilize them similarly to other inks.
Alternately, use them to give your standard acrylic paints more brilliance.
The ink is packaged in 17 ml dropper bottles, about the same size as Vallejo, and is best applied with a dry palette (here are a few affordable dry palettes I recommend for working with thin media).
Unless you mixed them with more viscous acrylic paint, the inks’ viscosity would make working with them on a wet palette challenging.
11. Acrylic Artist ink Daler Rowney
If you’ve been painting miniatures for some time, you probably already know that Daler Rowney FW Acrylic Inks are among the most well-liked for the hobby.
In addition to being very adaptable as hobby inks, Daler Rowney Inks are available in a variety of colors and have built-in eye droppers.
Because you can manage how much you add to combinations or your palette directly, using them becomes considerably simpler (drop by drop).
The best way to create glazes and washes using Daler Rowney FW acrylic inks is to combine them with other techniques.
Use a very little solution to colour your miniatures using them (mixed with water).
Whatever method you use, either an airbrush or a simple brush will work nicely with these inks to glaze. When I’m painting the bases of my models.
I prefer to mix flow improver with the color Burnt Umber. By doing this, realistic-looking dirt is produced with little effort.
A dark hue or black basecoat can be airbrushed with zenithal highlights using Daler Rowney white ink.
Payne’s Gray and Burnt Sienna are two more Daler Rowney Inks hues that are popular for painting miniatures.
Because they are excellent for shadowing and producing realistic leather and wood textures. These inks are also suitable for airbrushing.
Avoid thinning these inks with water too much or you risk losing their ability to bind. Consider blending with a medium for airbrush thinning.
I adore the airbrush thinner made by Vallejo for the majority of ink painting applications.
12. Liquitex Inks
Another preferred art ink is Liquitex Ink. Keep in mind that thinning artist ink with excessive water will result in runny pigments and poor adherence.
Make careful to mix in some acrylic medium (such as matte medium) to keep the diluted ink under control.
I like how Liquitex inks have handy dropper tips that make it easy to dispense ink in tiny droplets, just like Daler Rowney inks do.
Liquitex Ink, an acrylic ink, mixes well with water to produce glazes and washes.
These inks can also be applied as a basecoat before using them as conventional paints. They are quite well covered and have superb color and pigment richness.
However, because artist inks like these aren’t the most durable hues, you should lacquer your miniatures to keep the ink from rubbing out.
The color intensity of artist inks is what I appreciate about them since it makes it possible to work rapidly and see results right away.
13. Drawing Inks Winsor & Newton
The dyes of Winsor & Newton Drawing Inks are dissolved in a shellac solution.
Because of this, these inks are durable and ideal for writing and drawing with dip pens on paper.
However, they are also helpful for painting with “transparent” color using your brush for the tiny artist.
I have a set of these for my fountain pens and enjoy using them to add variety to my small paintings.
Because they are not lightfast, they will somewhat fade in direct sunshine (UV exposure). To keep the colors vibrant and saturated, varnish your models after painting them.
14. Bombay India Ink Dr. P.H. Martin
For painting miniatures, Dr. Bombay India inks are probably just as popular as Daler Rowney inks.
This is probably because you can readily find them in the majority of hobby and art stores in your area.
India inks have the advantage of being lightfast and resistant to fading.
Dr. Martin’s Bombay India Inks are based on resin rather than just acrylic, though.
They may therefore be more difficult to remove from your brushes and other instruments, even when they blend nicely with other acrylic paints.
Avoid brush licking as these inks may be harmful. Rubbish alcohol is a good way to remove them.
Attempt to avoid using your pricey Kolinsky sables with this ink as well, as it may discolor the bristles and might clump up if not thoroughly removed.
15. Armsterdam Acrylic Ink
Use your brush or airbrush to apply the highly pigmented, waterproof Amsterdam Acrylic Ink.
The main advantage of these acrylic inks is that they are affordable for what you get and are simple to find in art supply stores.
In my experience, these acrylic inks are thicker than other acrylic inks. To get the pigments to blend properly, shake these bottles vigorously (you could use a shaker).
Mix inexpensive acrylic artist inks and acrylic mediums to keep them flowing and adhering to your model in smooth layers for the greatest results.
You could find clumps of pigment that are gritty if you overly thin these with water. In order to change up the color profile, I typically combine these kinds of acrylic inks with my normal paints.
Artist inks, in my opinion, work best when thinned with other paints to complement base colors without overpowering your piece when painting miniatures with plenty of organic features.
Artist acrylic inks are great to have on hand for quick color pops. Everyone should experiment with inks, in my opinion.
The effects you’ll come up with will astound you. Inks are a special and adaptable material that can lend realism (or not) to your work while painting miniatures for wargames like Warhammer 40k, Fantasy, or historical wargames.
In the world of hobbies, I’m constantly looking for new paints and instruments to play with.
I sincerely hope you enjoyed and learned from this essay.
I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on this subject. Comment here.
Have fun drawing!
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