Thought I’d clear up in my mind the difference between glazing and scumbling.


scumble_glazeGlazing is a layer of semi-transparent paint laid over another painted surface so the original colours still show through. It is usually dark over light. To make the layer transparent the paint is usually diluted with medium like linseed oil.

It’s a wet over dry process, so before putting another glaze on top you must wait for the previous layer to dry completely. You need to be patient if creating a painting with a lot of glazes.

Glazes are also used as the final touches to a painting to add subtle tone and colour changes to an area.

Good colours to use for glazing:

  • Alizarin crimson
  • Viridian green
  • Ultramarine
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber


Like glazing only the opposite, if that makes sense. Scumbling is a way of lightening an area by applying a layer of semi-opaque lighter paint with a dry brush and brushing until the paint below shows through. The more vigorously you brush the more dispersed the scumbled paint will be.

You don’t need much paint and you don’t need to add quite as much medium when scumbling because the dispersing of the paint with the brush creates the transparency.

It’s more of a dry on dry technique, so before you start scumbling make sure the layer below is completely dry or you’ll just mush all the layers together.

Good colours for scumbling:

  • White
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Raw Sienna
  • Raw Umber
  • Cadmium Red

Thanks for reading.

Ian Young

Glazing and scumbling
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