How I Paint – Part 1

Okay, so I showed some people at the store the gryffin from the previous post, and I got quite a lot of amazed reactions, much to my surprise. We are our own toughest critics after all. I know I am good at painting, but I don’t think I’m that amazing. Other people tend to disagree, so I would like to share all of the very simple, but extremely effective techniques I use in order to get the results I do.

Step One: Have your materials. Obviously, you can’t paint a miniature without a few key elements. The paint, a (set of) paint brushes, and the mini…

I use games workshop paints because those are the most easily available. I haven’t used any of the new ones yet, but I hear good things. The consistency of the paint is rather important for a good look. If it’s too thick it clumps and leaves paint lines. Some of my paints are rather poor right now. I do what I can, thinning them with clear Windex (tip credited to Blake).

I get a set of 3 detail brushes from a local hobby shop. Costs $3 and when the tip goes, I use that paintbrush for less important things like washes. If you don’t have a good tip on your paintbrush, then you might as well just flick the paint on there at random.

The mini I’m using for this “tutorial” of sorts is my set of Lotheran Sea Guard from the High Elf Army of Warhammer Fantasy fame.

Step Two: Get the “How to Paint Citadel Miniatures” book from Games Workshop (or have Blake order it) and read it. No seriously. If you really want nicely painted miniatures, looking at well painted miniatures (and the tutorials of those painting techniques) is essential. I mean you’re here reading this right? I’m not even that good. In addition I have White Dwarf Magazines (with High Elf and Empire articles) along with their Warhammer rules books. I look at them constantly.

Step Three: Cleaning and priming. Ah, so now we’re finally to the actual mini. Never underestimate the value of cleaning and green stuffing your mini. What use is a beautiful paint job if there are mold lines? In addition, what’s the use of a beautiful paint job if the paint chips off. I prime with black. I just like it better than white, yes, even with all those white high elf robes.

Step Four: The crappy paint step. I call it this because I tend to think my mini looks like crap during this phase. This is when I take the colors I have chosen and put on the foundation colors.

The gray is my most used because of all the white high elf robes. Basically I get all the colors down, then clean up the edges. It looks flat and horribly boring. However, it lets you make sure you have the colors in the places you want before you do anything fancy. This is especially important when painting a whole squad as opposed to a single mini. The little details are different on each mini, and you may find yourself changing things.

When in doubt, don’t feel guilty at all about looking up that particular mini and getting ideas. I had the hardest time with the gloves and shoes on these guys, wanting to paint them a metallic and not liking how much metal that was until I saw the ones in the book had brown gloves and shoes. It hadn’t even occurred to me before that. Developing an eye for colors is not really something that can be taught, per say. It’s the whole reason for Step Two. You just have to have the experience, and that comes with seeing what other people, who have put far more time into it than you, do.

Also, note that you want these first layers to be the darkest version of whatever color you want when it comes out at the end. I build up my color from darkest to lightest. You don’t even want to know how long it took me to figure out that technique…

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