10 Things Beginners Can Do To Improve Their Miniature Painting (Part 1 of 3)

 

10. Be In The Moment –

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your “head in the game.” Be at your comfortable desk, in your comfortable chair, and wearing comfortable clothes you don’t mind spilling on. Have your favorite, non-caffeinated (more on that later) beverage nearby, hopefully not in a cup similar to the cup your dirty brush water goes in. Play some audio that inspires you, whether that is music (metal works for me) or a 40k Podcast. Shut the door, and make sure you have everything you need (paints, water, drink, music, miniatures, maybe a snack that doesnt make crumbs), sit down, and get to work.

This guy does NOT look comfortable. Or sane.
This guy does NOT look comfortable. Or sane.

9. Use Dropper Bottles –

I like Citadel paint. Some people don’t, but it does the job for me. The only thing about them that annoys me is the lack of “portion control” with their pots. I use an old brush, trying to establish what a “drop” of paint is, and it’s always as random as Orks firing barrage weapons. Putting paint from pots into dropper bottles is a tedious pain in the rear end. But mixing and thinning paints is exponentially easier after you do it. I even put my water in dropper bottles (slightly larger ones) to get more portion control and ease of use. Better mixes, better control, better results.

Dropper bottles keep your mixes accurate! You can also squirt the cat if he is being a dick.
Dropper bottles keep your paint mixes accurate! You can also squirt the cat if he is being a dick.

8. Thin Your Paints –

I REALLY hated this one when I was a beginner. People always tell beginners to THIN YOUR PAINTS! There’s even a meme with Batman slapping Robin, telling him to “drill his barrels and thin his paints”. But until you have been shown the HOW and WHY of paint thinning, Batman might as well be speaking Aramaic.

The WHY of thinning paints is pretty simple. Less is more. The thinner your paints are, the more the model detail, or, as you get better, the more the previous paint layer shows through. Thin paints make your blends smoother. Which makes your skin tones more realistic. Everything looks better with thinner paints.

The HOW of thinning paints is pretty simple too. Most of the “high end” painters will tell you that what I do isn’t enough. But I don’t have 800 hours to put into one miniature. I’m not trying to win a Crystal Brush or a Golden Daemon. I just want a hot looking army, and not have to quit my job, neglect my family, or spend thousands on commission work to achieve it. For most paints, I have found that two drops of paint to one drop of water (preferably distilled) is perfect. I also try to only use this much paint at a time, to avoid the paint drying out and getting gloppy results and damaged brushes. Citadel Foundation paints I mix with water in a 1:1 ratio, because of their higher pigmentation. Start with this simple step, and watch your paint scores jump!

Do not do this. Ever. Also, this image is NOT borrowed from Spikey Bits. Certainly not.
Do not do this. Ever. Also, this image is NOT borrowed from Spikey Bits. Certainly not. Hi Rob!

 

To Be Continued!!!

Go Ahead To Part Two

Go Ahead To Part Three

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