Image courtesy Santa Cruz Warhammer
We all have our little tricks and methods when it comes to painting. It dawned on me the other day that most of us take for granted that everyone else knows the same tricks we do when it comes to painting.
I realised this isn't the case and more often than not, I'm explaining something that I take for granted to someone who's never heard of much less seen the trick before.
So... here are a handful of helpful painting tips from the members of the FTW Blogger Group. Some of these you might know, some you might not.
+ Washes will hide your painting errors, Washes will shade your little terrors, Washes will weather your standard bearers, Washes will make your models fairer.
+ Paint for yourself and no one else.
+ Move the brush in the direction you want the paint to move. So for example if painting shadows start at the lightest point and move towards the darkest. When painting the highlights start in the darkest part and move the brush towards the highest area. This way, the paint will pool in the area requiring the most pigments (and it will help loads with your blending!).
+ Don't obsess over models - sometimes a paint job just isn't working out and you have to call it a learning experience and move on.
+ And as my number one tip, always water down your paints.
+ I hosted a painting day for three new painters yesterday and they said the best advice from the day was not to worry about accidentally getting paint where you don't want it, it can always be touched up. It my painting mantra actually: "It's not how well you paint, it's how well you touch up."
+ Grab a pallete, use a water botlle with a dropper or a cheap pipette, and thin that paint!
+ Don't use a really small brush. A good sized brush (size 1 normally) will cover your model cleaner and will generally have more structure and give you cleaner lines. Only use a fine detail brush for FINE detail - there's a clue there...
+ When I paint, I always have a cocktail stick that I can chew one end. The wet end will easily clean off any paint that accidentally gets on parts of the model you don't want it on.
+ Take your time cleaning and prepping the model. And ALWAYS undercoat a model before painting it. I see so many models that would so much better if only the flashing and had been removed and the paint wasn't wearing away from where people had touched it.
+ Buy yourself a high-quality paintbrush holder.
+ When trying to strip painted models, Concentrated Simple Green is by far the best stuff I have found that works. You can keep your models in it forever and it won't damage plastic, resin, or metal models. When you go to clean them, just run the models under warm water and use an old toothbrush to peel the paint right off. Dip them back into the Simple Green as many times as needed to get all the paint off. Let them dry and after your ready to Prime once more.
+ One thing I learned from somewhere else is that you should always base something before you prime it. It saves on painful painting later. At least my bases look nice if nothing else does.
+ Painting yellow is easy if you do it over light grey.
+ Painting Harlequins can be done if you take it in steps.
+ Washes. Best time-saver there is for doing flesh, fabric, or anything else with folds. Gets the job done quick, fast, and in a hurry.
+ Here are three ways I've learned to paint yellow.
+ One thing that helps me is to only focus on a few models at a time, to take my time, and if I start getting shaky from concentrating I take a break.
+ The nice thing about old paints are that even dried up ones can be revived with a few drops of water and some mixing.
+ Overzealous use of the Citadel Washes. That's the way that I paint pretty much all of my rank and file troops. Wash the whole model with either Badab Black or Devlan Mud with an airbrush. The wash adds in shading without having to worry about blending and highlighting.
+ Keep both hands on whatever you're painting, because people's hands shake in different patterns. Keeping the model in contact with both hands means all the shaking is shared among both hands and the model, and you wont have to correct for it.
+ Always plan before you paint! Having a good idea in your head of how you want the model, unit or army to turn out will save you time and tears in the long run.
+ Basically, you need at least 3 colours on your model. Typically an army has a main colour, an accent colour, and a detail colour. Some careful planning will get you some great results.
+ Natural Light... There is no substitute! Painting in natural light (light from the sun) yields the best results no matter what the skill level. Natural light allows you to see more detail, eliminates reflection common to light bulbs (even the "full spectrum" bulbs) and eliminates most shadows cast on models from directional lighting (natural light fills a room where as a lamp directionally brightens a small area). Try painting during the day in a room filled with natural light, you'll find it hard to paint your models any differently afterward.
+ Start with the basics. Know what you're going to paint and paint a test model.
+ Use surgical spirit (AKA rubbing alcohol) to negate the effects of varnish 'frosting'!
+ Stop worrying and learn to love the color wheel.