I personally use paper towels to wipe off excess paint. You can also use your hand. After lots of practice you could also use a wet pallet so you can reuse some of your left over paint.
All of the faces and musles were dry brushed on the troll to help make them pop.
What is and Why Dry Brush?
This technique is something that took me lots of time and practice to learn. Dry brushing is when you take your paint brush with a very little amount of paint and take it over the ridges, bumps, texture and details of your miniature to pop out extra details. Dry brushing uses a small amount of paint that will "dust" an additional color onto your miniature without taking away details or color that was already added into your figure. Dry brushing is a way to high light parts of the miniature
You will need to have something to brush your excess paint off with. Paper towels, brown paper bag, or newspapers are the three that I tend to use for dry brushing. You will also want brushes that match your mini. This means if you are dry brushing large areas, use a larger brush, if you are dry brushing in detailed areas, or doing smaller areas please use a smaller brush.
Things of Note
If you do too heavy of a dry brush in an area or if there was too much paint on your brush and it covers the thing completely you can let the paint dry and then go over it again with your base color. Then after the base color has re-dried you can go back over with the dry brushing.
You will have more paint on your hand/papertowel than on your brush.
Both of these buildings were primed black and then numerous dry brush coats of red,brown, tan, grey were applied to get the ruins look here.
Dry Brushing 101
Dry brushing miniatures gives more definition and brings out some of the details that are on your miniature.
Put a small amount of paint on the tip of your brush
Wipe the majority of the paint off onto a paper towel or your material of choice. When wiping your brush against the paper towel you should leave small streaks to let you know that it is ready to go on the miniature
Drag your brush across the texture, musculature, bumps and/or areas that you are adding tone or definition. It's best if you try holding your brush at a 45 degree or lower angle as you are not trying to fill in all the nooks and crannies. Use a gentle brush stroke and hit the higher parts, do not worry about putting this color into every spot or putting dry brushing in every area
*the paint layer with dry brushing should be so light that it takes a very small time to fully dry. Make sure that it is dry before continuing to a another color or putting detail work over it.
I personally use paper towels or silicone mats to do dry brushing on, as after a while you will get enough paint on it that you can reuse some of the paint instead of just taking more from the paint pot/wet pallet. Others prefer using their hands/arms to brush off paint but I personally am to much of a klutz for that and my paint on my body brushes off onto other miniatures, the table and my environment.
In the case of this lovely fellow he was originally painted a very dark brown base coat. All the other layers on top of it (with the exception of the pinks and the teeth) were dry brushed on to add the layer of color. In the case of this mini very little of the original base coat can still be seen. All of the dry brush layers are the details featured.
Play around with the brushes you use for dry brushing. I find that some brushes will surprise you. Doing the dragon in the picture I found that this dollar store make up brush was the absolute best for dry brushing the wings and large miniatures I have. It's all about finding what is most comfortable for you. Remember to use brushes that are equal to the spaces you're painting, such as not using too large of brushes when dry brushing smaller areas. It is easier to dry brush with thicker paint than watery paint, some pigments will dry brush nicer than others, and dry brushing is a learning process. It will take time and different experimentation to find the things that work best for you and what you prefer for your painting preferences.