Learn How to Perfect Your Painting!

Text and photos by Jennifer Danza


Supply List

White Acrylic Paint (or gesso)

Liquitex Glazing Medium

Liquitex Modeling Paste

Styrofoam Plate


Cardboard strip

Skim Milk

Old, stiff paint brush


Painting correctly is essential for creating the look you desire. Whether you are looking for a smooth, flawless finish or a textured appearance, the products you choose can either make or break the project.

Keep It Smooth

A smooth surface can only be achieved with a properly prepared medium. The one product in your arsenal of painting supplies should be Liquitex Glazing Medium. This transparent water-soluble substance is a paint-extender that is the key to a really smooth finish. This medium can be used with both the body color and the application of white markings such as socks, stockings and facial marks.

The preparation of this medium is the same for the markings as it is for the bodywork. For this tutorial I will explain how to prepare it and use it on markings because this is one area of customizing where artists drop the ball and get sloppy. In many cases adding markings is the first area a new customizer will try. This "smooth" method can be achieved on an OF. It will look good and the paint work will blend in better with the original factory finish. Here's how to do it:

1.  Take your acrylic paint and add a squirt on a Styrofoam palette. Next to it add about the same amount of the Liquitex Glazing Medium.

2.  Mix the acrylic and Glazing Medium together and add about 3 to 4 brushes-full of water to the 50-50 mix. Keep mixing water in until the paint takes on the consistency of skim milk.

3.  Test your "skim milk consistency" by placing your mixed paint on a piece of cardboard. This test is the best way to tell if your paint is going to be smooth. If this concept s difficult to grasp then take some skim milk, put it on your brush and apply it to the cardboard and compare. Then, get your paint to this consistency.

4.  Apply paint in several layers to achieve a smooth flawless effect. Let the paint dry after each later. Don't rush this process.

Sometimes a horse, like this chestnut Thoroughbred, will require many, many layers of paint. Be patient as you build the color.

1 2
Supplies needed for smooth paint application. Mix equal parts white acrylic and
Liquitex Glazing Medium to skim milk consistency.

3 4
Apply prepared paint in layers.
Go slow! It will take several layers.
Smooth new stocking added to OF.
(Approx 8-10 layers of paint)

5 6
Mix acrylic paint with Liquitex Glazing Medium and water till it is the consistency of skim milk. Add mixture to horse. This paint will require several layers.

Hairs to Texture!

Hairy surfaces are a bit trickier, but with good hair pattern reference and a little patience you can achieve a nice texture. The main difference with this technique is that it is applied at the very beginning of the process during priming and not during the painting process. The main ingredients for this recipe are acrylic paint (or gesso), Liquitex Modeling Paste, an old sponge, and an old beat up brush that's a bit stiff. Here's how to create a hairy surface:

1.  Squeeze out a bit of white acrylic or gesso onto a clean Styrofoam palette. Do not add water.

2.  Add a bit of Liquitex Modeling Paste to the acrylic or gesso and mix.

3.  Take your sponge and dab a bit of the gesso/paste mixture on the horse. Patting is a nice technique to get it on.

4.  Using the old painting brush, follow your hair pattern reference and run the brush along the body. Let the brush create marks.

5.  Let the hair set up a bit before adding another section. It shouldn't take long.

After the hair has been added and allowed to dry for 24 hours, re-prime the horse and paint!


1 2
Supplies needed for hairy texture. Mix Paint and Liquitex Modeling Paste.
Do not use water!


3 4
Horse that has been primed and is ready for hair texture application. Dab on mixture with sponge.


5 6
Create hair by running an old brush along the modeling paste mixture. Be sure to follow your reference. Finished hairy section.