The \"Milk Consistency\" Theory
Results 1 to 15 of 15

Thread: The \"Milk Consistency\" Theory

  1. #1

    Default The \"Milk Consistency\" Theory

    So I have asked numerous painters that I aspire to paint as well as about how dilute they make their paint and almost all say they dilute to the consistency of milk. But it seems that what people perceive as milk consistency varies. Some people say 50/50 water/paint and others say 80/20 water/paint, and so on.

    Since everyones perception of milk consistency is different what I am wondering is what should I see happening on my model if my consistency is correct? Should I see a lightly transparent layer coat the area I am painting? How many layers should it take to receive a solid coat of the color I am using? Since I know that not all colors have the same fluidity that is why I think some sort of visual description may help me figure out the milk consistency theory.

  2. #2


    Aren\'t you already a fairly experienced painter? I\'m thinking you already know what consistency YOU are comfortable with. So, why bother with exactly how much water others put in their paint? I don\'t even know how much I thin my paints. I just thin them until they\'re \"right\". And that varies a lot depending on what I\'m currently using the paint for, which paint it is, etc.

  3. #3


    Lately I have been having trouble getting the results that I want with my paint application so I am seeing how I can play around with paint consistency to get the results I want. I guess my main trouble is getting my highlights to blend smoothly.

  4. #4


    By all means, do play around with different paint consistencies. That is good and gives you more experience. Don\'t worry too much about how other people do things, though. As you\'ve already said yourself, people seem to mean different things anyway when they try to explain their \"ideal\" paint consistency.

  5. #5


    Of the painters you asked, if one has skimmed milk on their cornflakes & the other gold top, their experiences as to milk\'s consistency will vary. Throw a dairy farmer & a new mother into the mix & you\'ll be better off just mixing until it feels \"right\" I reckon :D B.

  6. #6

  7. #7



    This one has bitten me as well.

    I don\'t look at the \"milk\" theory as so much opacity but the control. For example, spill a tiny bit of milk on the counter - it doesn\'t matter if it\'s regular, 2%, or skim - the white part of the bead of liquid follows the shape of the liquid itself.

    You don\'t have clear water dribbling away and the white separating.

    When I thin my paints too much, I have the liquid fracturing away from the paint. I want to be able to paint a straight line without separation.

    And as said previously, it takes practice and knowing how much you water down the specific brand of paint.

    But to me, it\'s control rather than appearance. :P


  8. #8


    Originally posted by kathrynloch
    I want to be able to paint a straight line without separation.
    That is exactly what I want but it seems impossible or too idealistic as I can never get that consistency.

  9. #9


    Hey there,

    I don\'t know if this tutorial by olliekickflip really is what you are talking about, but anytime I\'m having trouble with the consistency and control of my paint, I tend to re-read this article and it helps me get back on track. Hope it helps.

    Just one way of looking at \'milk consistency\' but good info.

  10. #10


    Originally posted by Aliengod3
    But it seems that what people perceive as milk consistency varies.
    Milk varies; so you should take as a given that the consistency that is being referred to by different people is not exactly the same.
    Originally posted by Aliengod3
    Some people say 50/50 water/paint and others say 80/20 water/paint, and so on.
    You can\'t go by formulas.

    Right from the start consistency of Bloke A and Bloke B\'s paints might be different - two examples of the same colour might have come from the factory/off the shelf with some variation in consistency. Even assuming they were identical they could be quite different months down the line: if A typically works with their pots open a lot but B transfers paint out to a palette and closes his posts up tight they\'ll of course keep their paint more fluid over time.

    All that aside, people don\'t often describe every single step in exacting detail when they write down what they do - even if simply because they\'re not good typists and it\'s trying to write more! This is where hands-on experience and practice fill in the gaps.

    What matters is the viscosity that does what you want.

    Originally posted by kathrynloch
    When I thin my paints too much, I have the liquid fracturing away from the paint. I want to be able to paint a straight line without separation.
    If you\'re getting this commonly it\'s likely mostly a paint issue (as in the quality of it). Within a certain time window that shouldn\'t happen with any decent acrylic or vinyl paint.

    It is inevitable given time, especially with certain kinds of mixed colours which contain both heavy and light pigments.


  11. #11


    I kind of agree with Aliengod3.

    The "Milk Consistency Theory" has been a struggle for me as well, being newer to the painting realm. It seems to me that the more experienced painters like to protect it like the Holy Grail. I do, however, understand all the variables that go with it. Type of paint, water or "magic wash", etc.. But it would be nice to hear what seems to work for them like, its around 1 drop/brush load of paint to 8 drops/brush load of water.

    I'm not looking for formulas, just a starting point.

    Just my 2 cents...


  12. #12


    I don't think anyone wants to guard anything. It's just that I don't really understand why some get so hung up on paint consistency. I mean, you know how to thin down the paint, right? Then just try different consistencies until you find something that you're happy with. If you find later on that the paint consistency you're using isn't optimal, then change it until you're happy. It really isn't much more to it than that!

    If you're an inexperienced painter you need to do a lot of practicing of all aspects of the painting process. There will be no "magic" paint consistency that all of a sudden makes everything fall in place. You still need to learn how to control the paint, the brush, blend, place shadows and highlights and all the other things that you need to master. The paint consistency will not make a huge impact on this (as long as it's not thick and lumpy), and what consistency I prefer may not be the one you prefer. I generally paint with thicker paint than most people I know, so most people probably wouldn't like my method. But it works for me. You need to find out what works for you. Nobody else can tell you that. And it's easy to find out... just paint and try things out! It'll come to you.
    Combibo vestri peniculus quod fio a melior pictor.
    My gallery - go have a look!

  13. #13


    Hi Glen, just to reiterate Ritual's point really. There is no magic solution! Stop wasting time reading around forums, desperately looking for the Holy Grail to raise your painting level, instead spend the time painting (smile). Practice is where it's at. I've spent many hours over the last 25 years painting minis & it's only in this last year when I made a resolution to try & paint every day that I've seen my work improve dramatically. Get yourself a WIP thread underway, ask for advice when stuck, and enjoy (cheesy grin).

    Having said that there are no magic solutions there is some good advice that's helped me along the way, all simple stuff mind, no secret formulas! Different water pots for metallic & non-metallic paint. Use a mini-holder whilst painting. Allow layers to dry before working over them again. Look after your brushes. Find a pallette you like & keep it clean! Use appropriate base coats (trying to put 30 thinned layers of Sunset Yellow over a black undercoat is a waste of your time if you're wanting a clean bright yellow finish, try a white base coat). Many more in the sticky thread, see what you like & what you don't but don't stop painting!

    I have fallen into this trap myself, most recently I purchased the Citadel basing kit thinking it would save time & make my stuff look better. No. Still requires me to put the effort in to get the results!

    Looking forward to seeing your work on CMON. Cheers, B.

    (Just waiting for a set of smileys that don't make it look as though I'm an 8 year old girl posting! Although this toilet roll one sums up what I think of the cutesy design )

  14. #14


    Ritual & BPI, you both bring up great points.

    This painting thing is all about practice just like any other creative endevour.

    I guess for me I'm more interested in hearing about starting points. For example, that Ritual likes to uses thicker paint (and it works for you). Hmmmm Maybe I'd try that and not get hung up about thinner consistency. But as a newer painter when all you read about is "THIN YOUR PAINTS!" it can make your head spin...

    Now, I shall get back to painting...

    Thanks for the input.

  15. #15


    I use everything from neat out the pot to 99% water, it just depends what I'm trying to do.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Privacy Policy  |   Terms and Conditions  |   Contact Us  |   The Legion

Copyright © 2001-2018 CMON Inc.