Diorama Painting Techniques: Crashing Waves Using Artist Tube Acrylics

17 August, 2012 1 comments Leave a comment

 To paint Crashing Waves you'll need;

  • Flat White spray paint or Flat White primer and these artist tube acrylics;
  • Ivory Black
  • Titanium White
  • Goldocker
  • Burnt Umber
  • Primary Cyan
  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)
  • Satin Glazing Liquid
  • High Gloss Acrylic Varnish
  • Ultra Matte Medium for slowing the drying time of the paint for blending.
  • 1/4" flat paint brush
  • # 3 paint brush
  • # 0 paint brush
  • Tap water, for cleaning brushes and for keeping the brush moist while painting.
  • Paper towels
  • Mixing tray
  • Popsicle sticks for mixing paints on your tray.

 The brand of these supplies doesn"t matter, buy what you can afford. Remember, these paints will last longer than model paints that come in small jars or tins. Also, all of the mixing proportions listed in this article are only approximate and you'll have to adjust them to mix the exact colors you want.

 When using acrylics, it's important to paint several thin coats rather than applying one thick coat. This way, fine details on the piece won't be filled in.

 After thoroughly washing the plastic or resin parts in warm soapy water to get rid of any release agents, spray paint the waves with Flat White primer. Let dry for 24 hours. After the white has completely dried, paint any sandy shoreline brown by mixing Goldocker and Burnt Umber 50/50. For painting rocks on the shoreline, refer to the article, "Diorama Painting Techniques: Stone Walls And Bridges" elsewhere in this section. Paint the first coat of the waves with Primary Cyan very diluted with water. Brush in a downward direction towards the bottom of the waves. Let dry for about 1 hour. Paint the second coat with Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) very diluted with water, brushing in a downward direction towards the bottom of the waves. Let dry for about 1 hour. For the third coat use Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) mixed with a small amount of Ivory Black. Then add this mix to some Ultra Matte Medium in a 1:1 ratio for blending. Paint this mixture on the waves starting at the bottom and working upwards blending into the lighter shades of blue. Let dry for about 1 hour. For the fourth coat mix 70% Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) with 30% Titanium White plus about 12 drops of Satin Glazing Liquid. Paint only the top parts of the waves brushing in a downward direction and blend into the darker blue a bit. Let dry for about 1 hour. For the fifth and final paint coat, make a light grey glaze using 95% Titanium White and 5% Ivory Black plus about 12 drops of Satin Glazing Liquid. Apply this glaze very thinly over the entire waves. Let dry for about 4 hours.

 A glaze is a transparent coating of paint that allows the color under it to still show through. Make sure to let each layer of glaze completely dry for about 4 hours before adding the next glaze layer. In the modelling world, artist glazes are referred to as filters.

 To paint the froth on the tops of the waves and any froth that you wish to add at the bottom or midway down, use Titanium White. Let dry for about 4 hours. Touch-up any paint on the rocks or shoreline, let dry for about 1 hour, then apply several coats of High Gloss Acrylic Varnish to the waves and any parts of the rocks and shoreline that you want to appear wet. Now you're done! For reference, have a look at the photos of the painted diorama,"Road By The Lake".

 Happy diorama modeling!

David Gurinskas / Owner of Full Circle Hobbies



  1. eystiekntt March 25, 2021

    Muchas gracias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion?

Leave a comment

Pay securely with:

payment methods