Pirate Monkey Painting Basics – Feathering.

HI there! This is the third part of the basic technique and knowledge series i’ve been writing to help out newcomers to the hobby! Check out the Video tutorial on this topic HERE.

Check out the previous posts on Glazing and Layering through the links! All three of these are just tools to help you define volumes described in this article. You can also find all of Pirate Monkey Paintings tutorials here.

If you liked this article and want to see more in depth tutorials come check out Pirate Monkey Painting’s  Patreon!




What is Feathering? Essentially it is a unique brush stroke where pigment is drawn out in a controlled (or not so controlled) zig-zag manner. Feathering has many different names, 2 brush blending  and loaded brush blending fall within this family of brush stroke in my opinion as they use a similar method of pushing and pulling the pigment.

Why is this technique important? Once it is learned properly it gives someone the ability to create very nice transitions very quickly. It is also helpful in creating high contrast more quickly as well.




1 brush feathering – Is the process where you take a small amount of paint and place it in the area you want that color. Then using a zigzagging motion the paint is drawn back and forth carefully to create a transition over the color underneath it. This is done with paint that is a base coat or layer consistency generally. You can do it with very thin paint as well though to clean up a transition. Large areas of paint can be placed down and then feathered out as well.

There are two different methods within 1 brush blending

  • Feathering without cleaning –  As you can see in the Gif above the brushes tip is loaded with paint and is then feathered until the paint is exhausted from the brush. The trick with this is practicing how much paint should be on the tip of the brush according to the surface it’s applied to. Practice this a lot before transitioning to Loaded Brush.





  • Feathering with Cleaning – In this method after the paint is applied  the brush is cleaned quickly (in water or spit) and then the clean brush is pushed towards the paint creating a damp zone for the water to naturally diffuse through. This makes the transition much easier because the paint doesn’t have to be played with quite do much.





2 Brush Feathering or Blending – This is the method popularized by the Privateer Press Studio Painters. The same process as listed  above occurs with the big exception that a damp second brush is used to pull out and control the paint. The second brush is generally held in the main brush hand or in the mouth so that the wet paint can be reworked as soon as possible.




The main advantage here is two part

  • First being that the wet diffusion area can be effected much more easily
  •  Second being the dampness of the brush can be controlled to a point where pigment is soaked up into the brush the more pressure is applied to the surface while the transition is being done.





These two things are the advantage of 2 brush blending over one brush. The only con is having to hold your miniature a main brush and then a second brush. It’s just a matter of preference though as most things and both methods are highly effective!


This is my version.


I’m not going to get into Loaded Brush at the moment as it is very complex and involves a good understanding of both mechanical technique with brush and consistency as well in part of color theory. I would recommend getting a high level of competence with one brush blending though before attempting it though as it is the foundation of the loaded brush. Ill devote another article at a later date once I cover the basics.
Thank you very much for stopping by! Hopefully you found this article helpful and I would love to continue writing on technical topics in the future please let me know what you would like to see going forward.
Finally I’ve started a Patreon that has some great video tutorials on both NMM and color theory check that out here.















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