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Learn to Paint


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Specifically, I'd like to learn to paint. I tried reading a lot of tutorials, but all of them assume more base knowledge than I have. See, my idea of painting a model is this: Step 1, prime with a black spray-primer. Step 2, get out GW paints. Step 3, pick color, apply to brush. Step 4, paint area of model. Step 5, go back to Step 3 until all areas covered. Step 6, apply second coats and do touchups where paint got on the wrong area.

That's literally all I know how to do. I have heard of a wash, and had it described as a mix of a paint and water to make the color thin, so you can do layers (I'm hoping to try this on my Witchling's swords, as I have Boltgun Metal on the swords with splotches of Tin Bitz on that that would love a very thin coat of the metal over it for a rusty look). I look at all the models and pictures on the forums and see things like wood grain sticks on Gremlins, realistic shading on clothing, multi-tone skin, grass, mud, rocks, reeds, greenstuff-mods, and the whole gamut. I think it would be ambitious to try to learn ALL of that stuff quickly, but I guess I'd like to have some of the real simple basics explained, or a good (very basic) primer linked or something along those lines.

If it doesn't involve dipping a brush in the paint jar and then painting, I don't know it and I'm clearly missing something.

(edit) Mods: Sorry, wrong forum. My mistake. Could this be moved to Miniature Matters please?

Edited by higherbrow
Wrong forum (I'm an argtard)
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where do you live? im sure your resident neighborhood henchman would be more than happy to put you through the drills.

Short of that though i have a few bits of advice for begining painters

1: Keep it clean; its kindergarten but make sure that when you paint a cloak you only keep the paint on the cloak and dont let the paint stray. When your done with a color go back and clean up any areas that shouldnt have the color ( ie if you primed black go back and clean up the areas with some black) This will give you a table top quality model

2: If you want a more advanced look after you do the basecoat you can go back over the basecoat with a lighter version of the basecoat while keeping a little bit of the original color along the edges. You can do this as many times as you want and yeilds a nice highlighting affect.

3: Alot of painting is about k nowing the color combinations to layer. you can get this by learning about what other painters use. This is really the empirical part of painting. For instance my stock fleshtone goes: basecoat Tanned flesh, Midtone Dwarf flesh, Highlight elf flesh/dwarf flesh mix.

4: if you dont want to highlight and want a quick finish to your basecoat use the new GW washes ( they rock especially devlan mud, you aint cool unless you use devlan mudd). Just wash it over the whole model with a little watter added and let dry, Then reapply the basecoat to a more limited area for highlights.

5: paint paint paint, do it alot and practice. that will make you better :) just jump in and do the best you can alot of times. Somthign will come of it eventually

Just a few tips i picked up in my limited experiance. Im not the best painter but i make do and these where the basics that i learned.

HOpe it helps

Edited by AntiZombie
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I'm sure the mods will move this thread, but a good place to start is learning washes and inks. I think it is more important to learn shading versus highlighting first.

For starters, I'd just use GW devlan mud and badab black. They are the easiest and most effective place for beginners to start as they are natural undertones to any color. I'm not sure what models you will be starting with, but I would start with clothings and faces using the devlan mud over your under tones. Simply follow the steps you put up above, paint all areas then go back over and correct any lining mistakes. Then apply a healthy dose of the wash ALL OVER (it's hard to get your head around at first, but this allows you to get those black lines that makes the models look so good!). Then wait for the wash to dry, you should notice that all the areas of the model are now darker in tone than they were the first time. You just shaded your model and have a great undertone to work from!

Here is the largest difference between inks and washes, and I wish someone would have told me this oh so many odd years ago: inks will dry shiney and will leave more of a "wood stain" look on the model. It WILL seep into the cracks, but it definetly leaves more colour and does not run like a wash will. This is good for weapons that you want to dull down (see my post and look at Cletus, he has had this done to his tin cup of ale. I will dull the metal with an ink, usually black, and then hard highlight with the metal (either same tint, like bolt gun on boltgun, for a more toned down effect, or with one step up. I use bolt gun, ink, mithril silver. I am a huge fan of hard highlights!)

Now we can learn the fine art of highlighting. There are two ways to do this, but I would start with the layering effect, and only a single layer. Once the wash has dried on your model, VERY CAREFULLY take the colors you used previously and paint just the raised areas. You will need a small brush and a steady hand, but try to avoid recesses. This will make the colors on the pointy parts pop more. That's highlighting!

For multiple tones highlighting, I usually take the color I just used and add white in a 2:1 ratio. So if I am using red, I'll highlight the red with 2 parts red 1 part white.

When I get ambitious, I'll take pictures of my next gremlin and show you my process! It sounds like a lot, but I've been finishing one gremlin a day in my blog to a decent standard.

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If you don't have access to a local game store that can help you with painting (or even if you do) I would recommend getting yourself some of the Reaper Miniatures learn to paint kits. They are very good step by steps, with pictures!, that will help you get into the basics. They are very very good ways to start and will make it much easier to figure out where you want to go with your miniatures and what you want to learn/ask about to make that happen.


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Thanks for all the responses, guys. Fool's my henchman, and he seems like a good guy, so I'm sure he'd help me out if I asked him, but I get the feeling it'll take a lot of time, and I wouldn't want him to have to commit to teaching my unartistic butt how to paint.

I'm working on my Sonnia box set first, and it'll probably be pretty poor by most standards, but I won't lacquer it, so I can add the the shading and highlighting later. And I'll be picking up Pandora eventually, although that set looks really hard to paint (Candy's basket looks really tough).

Anyways, I'll see if I can't get some pictures up for the "Before."

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Here is the major thing.

You are getting paint in your figures. That's a lot better then a lot of folks. (myself included)

The big thing to do is practice practice practice.

Also, there is massive talent here on this forum and many folks are more than willing to help.

One major thing that will help a lot is to have you post some photos of your work. It can be daunting for certain but it will allow folks to really help you. Possibly with photo examples.

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely a video is worth a thousand pictures! Have you considered looking on YouTube for video tutorials?

Something like this perhaps: [ame]

[/ame] There are lots, and they help to show you what you need to know in the comfort of your own home. Plus, you get a wide variety of techniques and painting levels this way, so you can always find something at your level and something to aim for.

The main thing is to have a go, and not worry about spoiling the model; if it is metal, you can easily strip the paint off and start again if you don't like the results.

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