I see lots of newbie painting questions, but haven't seen this particular idea, so I thought I'd throw it out here for general consideration. I'll preface this with the comment that I'm new to Malifaux, but have been doing 40K for a long time.
What I do is keep some "junk" minis around to test techniques and color combinations on. You can pick up 4 or 5 elder or tau, which are similar in size and delicacy to Manifaux, for about $15 on eBay. Strip them, prime them, and go to town. Try the same techniques on a couple of them. For example, try the same colors with black primer on one, but grey primer on another. See what you like, then strip them again. They get beat up, but you do't care - it's just cheap practice.
Anyway, it's something to consider if you haven't thought of it.