Tutorial: Quick and Dirty Brush Tricks for Object Source Lighting (OSL)

So you want to learn to OSL but you don’t have an airbrush, NO PROBLEM! OSL, or the glowy bits, can really make your model pop if it’s done right.  It can also turn out horribly wrong. This is my simple three color guide that will have you rocking and glowing in no time.


First what you’ll need: I am using greens for my light source, so I am using a base green and bright yellow-green and a wash. You could also include white if you are feeling ambitious. Any color can work for this, you just need a base darker color a brighter color and a wash to add some shadow. You will also need a soft brush, I use a Windsor and Newton series 7 size 0 that after many years has lost its point.

The first step is to make sure that your model is painted, if this is your first time coat your model with a varnish. This coupled with some mineral spirits and a Q-tip will allow you to go back a step without ruining your mini. Here is my base coated model Gorman De Wulfe.


The next step is to apply your base color. You are going to do this as if you were dry brushing as you want some of the original pigments to show through for a more realistic diffusion of light. I use my thumb for dry brushing most of the paint from my brush off of until it feels like the right consistency.


This is what Gorman looks like after the first coat of dark green. you will notice that not only did the source of the light get a coat of green but the area right around the vials too. light emitting from a source doesn’t stay in one place, it’s not static.


The next step you will need to do is add your bright color. This is the pop factor, where the light or heat is the strongest or where the light is being reflected back onto itself like a fold of cloth.


The last and easiest step is to add a wash. The surface of Gorman’s vials isn’t smooth so adding a wash will bring out the shadows a little bit more, which I find enhances the effect. You can also add the wash to the opposite side of a fold of cloth that has a bright highlight to represent the light barely touching it. After that dries you can add a little white in the very center for an added bight effect.


I hope you guys liked my OSL made easy, remember to “like” us on facebook and share the love!


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