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Advice for getting started with or returning to painting

tips beginner

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#1
Rik Lightstar

Rik Lightstar

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Hi all,

 

I'm going to apologise in advance if any of this comes across as condescending or too basic, but it's easy to miss fundamentals ESPECIALLY when you're coming back to something or really excited to push forward with it.

 

I think it's really important to view it in the same context as learning/relearning pretty much any skill. The key to success and progress with most skills is identifying the core techniques, prioritising them and getting them right through practice.

 

If anyone spots anything that they disagree with in any of these posts, then just say and I can add alternative opinions into each block.

 

I’m going to try to keep individual topics to a separate post each.

 

Rik


  • Brother Ramael likes this

The Codex Astartes: Taking Away The Freedom Of The Astartes To Pigeonhole Themselves, 
And Restricting Them To Supreme Flexibility Since M31
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#2
Rik Lightstar

Rik Lightstar

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The first thing for me to cover really is the main question you're probably thinking of now you're here:

 

Who are you and why should I bother reading these brain dumps of yours about painting?

 

I’ve been painting on and off for over 30 years now. I've painted a pretty wide variety of miniatures from pretty much every GW setting if not quite every faction, as well as having recently started getting into painting display busts as practice for different techniques.

 

I’ve previously worked for GW in their retail side of things way back when an impressive display cabinet was seen as a requirement and offering both basic and advanced painting lessons was a standard thing to do.

 

I’d like to think I'm pretty competent and churning out above average gaming armies in a reasonable time frame and producing decent quality Characters to lead them.

 

I’m not going to be winning Golden Demon or Crystal Brush any time soon, but I’ve learned a lot of the lessons the hard way and I’d like to save some of you guys the pain of doing the same.

 

 

Followed by the next question:

 

What are you going to talk about?

 

I'm intending to keep it to "core principles and techniques" to start with.

 

If this is well received, or I'm still motivated despite a wall of silence then I might get into some more detailed, advanced or technical stuff especially if there are specific requests for things. If I don't know much, or anything about a topic though I'll own up to that and say it straight out.

 

Rik


Brushes; using them and caring for them

 

Your two types of brush you're likely to find for hobby use are natural hair and synthetic. You'll probably want a few of each as they have different properties, in general these are:

  • Natural will tend to keep their point better, they hold paint on the bristles better (as natural hair is not perfectly smooth so more paint will stick to it), they will often be a bit more expensive. Metallic paints will damage the bristles over time due to the metal flakes in the paint that give the effect. Washes and inks can also be rough on them as they tend to be absorbed further up into the bristles making it harder to clean out.
  • Synthetics are often cheaper meaning you can use them for the rougher jobs like base coating, dry-brushing and metallics without being so concerned about damaging an expensive brush. The point can often "fish-hook" but they can be reshaped a few times by using hot water and your fingers, you can also clean them with detergents with less risk of damage.

A good brush soap is a great investment as it will pay for itself over time in saved costs of replacing brushes and better results from the brushes you're keeping.

 

Try to avoid getting paint more than halfway up the bristles of your brushes and this will make them easier to keep clean.

 

After cleaning a brush, dry it on some paper towel and if there is any colour coming off on the towel clean it some more.

 

It is often tempting to try to use the smallest brush possible within our hobby, a lot of the time you're actually far better served by a larger brush with a good point to it. The larger brush will hold more paint in the bristles meaning it won't dry out as quickly on your brush making it easier to get the outcome you want.

 

TL:DR;

 

Brushes are your number one tool, get the right tool for the job you want to do, and take care of your tools to get better results and save yourself some cash long term.

 

Expensive brushes won’t make you a better painter, but low quality ones or ones that haven’t been looked after will certainly make you worse.

 

Rik


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The Codex Astartes: Taking Away The Freedom Of The Astartes To Pigeonhole Themselves, 
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#3
Rik Lightstar

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Your work area

 

Regardless of whether you have a permanent dedicated hobby space or you do your painting at the kitchen or dining table or at your computer desk, wherever it is there are some ideas that apply to all of these set ups.

 

Keep it tidy

 

Try to limit what you have in your immediate painting area to just the things you're going to need. If you have 30 pots of paint out it's going to take you longer to find the one you want each time. If you have other models around then you're just inviting more trouble should there be an accident with a spill or similar.

 

If possible try to have a couple of small trays that you use. One should have the models you're currently working on, the other should be the paints you need for those models. This will make it easier to pack stuff away or move it around should you need to but also lets you keep your workspace tidy and organised.

 

Other than making your life easier for tidying, cleaning and reducing accidents, a work area with a small group of models and a defined set of paints on it can often help to keep you focussed on the project you're doing and is far less daunting psychologically than looking at an entire army all waiting to be painted.

 

Basic requirements

 

Water pots/cups

 

I like to have 2 water pots on the go, one will be for cleaning my brushes and the other will be for thinning paint. You don't want to be dumping murky grey/brown water into your paints and then wondering why they're never as vibrant on the model as you'd expect.

 

My water pots sit right at the back of my painting area They're normally the tallest item on the desk so they're still easy to access, but I'm not reaching around them to get to anything. This minimises the risk of knocking over a half a pint of water onto the desk.

 

Change your brush cleaning water out regularly, it's easy to be lazy about this but if you change it whenever you get up for the bathroom, to get a drink or snack, or whenever a family member etc interrupts you then it's going to improve the lifespan of your brushes and it really doesn't take long at all.

 

Paper towel

 

Get a roll that you keep with your painting stuff, yes a whole roll, you'll use it every time you clean your brush, you'll probably be using it when you dry-brush too.

 

If you have plenty, then when you inevitably knock over paint or water you can minimise the spill quickly, it's less likely to ruin your current project, your work surface, your clothes or your carpet.

 

Brush rack

 

Whenever you wash your brush some water will remain in the "belly" of the bristles and if you store your brushes point up this will soak further down into them and can potentially damage the bristles, a brush rack will hold them horizontally and keeps them all in one place. There are some really cheap ones on ebay and at arts and crafts stores, it should probably cost you less than a couple of half decent brushes.

 

Palette(s)

 

Thinning your paints is pretty much essential for good results in most instances, even when you're not thinning them you'll want to ensure they're properly mixed at the very least and that there are no lumps in there before you start slapping it on a mini.

 

Palettes can be broken down into two broad types, "dry" and "wet" they both have a purpose, at their most basic level a palette can be any surface that you decant your paint to before applying it to your mini.

 

Dry Palettes are often as simple as a ceramic tile or could be a purpose made palette from an art or hobby store.

 

Wet Palettes are only a little more complex they can be homemade or purchased, but the key concept is that a reservoir of moisture under a permeable membrane will keep your paints "workable for longer".

 

Ideally you'll want one of each.

 

Protective Covering

 

You will want to protect whatever surface you're working on, you can use newspaper, a disposable tablecloth, a cutting mat, an A3 pad of paper, some left over vinyl flooring, or whatever else you have to hand. But do it, the one time you don't will be the time you knock over a pot of paint, just get in the habit.

 

Rik


  • jaxom likes this

The Codex Astartes: Taking Away The Freedom Of The Astartes To Pigeonhole Themselves, 
And Restricting Them To Supreme Flexibility Since M31
.






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