Cyradis

High Altitude Painting

44 posts in this topic

Hello all, 

 

It has been a long time between my last round of painting and now. I'm trying to improve methods, which in general is going well. However, I am having some trouble due to climate regarding fine detailing. 

 

I live at high altitude with very dry air (Colorado). For things like eyes I am doing well.... but I don't know how to improve from here due to the altitude. I can get the pupils and irises and liner with the methods in the betty-something tutorial. However, I can't get reliably *round* shapes. Fine areas which can't have a specifically wet brush, and can't hold as much paint make my brush just dry too fast. If I'm using thinned paint and doing strokes with a reasonably wet brush, I don't have much issue. 

 

How do I get my brush to hold tiny amounts of paint without drying too fast? Additives? New methods? 

 

It is dry enough here to make people go through chapstick before losing the stick. Unless you moisturize like crazy, your skin is going to flake off like a shedding lizard. People are known to get altitude sickness from walking in the sun a few blocks, if they're visiting from the low-lands. Air drying laundry is a thing. 

 

Posted are some pictures of the eye-detail I can get now (some are WIPS, and I haven't re-setup my lightbox for good photos). I want to improve from here! Don't hold back on the critique please. 

 

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I moved to Denver from San Antonio not quite four years ago, and am STILL learning to deal with the difference in humidity. Notably, I make a point of using better brushes and thinning my paint more. That, and when it comes to details like eyes, I just make a point of dipping and getting stuck IN there, as opposed to steady, steady, steady, PAINT! And if I screw up, I go back and fix it. Reflex counts for a lot, but thinning the paint and occasionally using flow improver helps.

And wash your brushes frequently. Ruined a couple of good brushes before I realized paint was literally drying in my bristles while I was still HOLDING the dratted things.

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Dr. Bedlam, 

 

I totally get that! I wash my brushes after every time I use certain sticky paints (I just ordered some Reaper black, because I can't stand my Citadel black), and after rounds of a lot of one color, and at end of session. I have some good brushes, but may need a few more. I end up having to familiarize myself with the curl of the brush rigorously, and stiffness (my sable is soft and medium length, versus the synthetic which is more firm). 

 

I do a similar method for the eyes, and sometimes need more correction than others. Oddly, that darn gnome went smoother than the woman with the chain, and his eyes are tiny and behind glasses! Just that with the "get it stuck in there" I end up with a rather rectangular shape. That can substitute for round sometimes, but that's where I want to improve. I'd like to hit rounded shapes for it, and be able to get the reflection dots. 

For eyes, it is a very delicate balance on wetness - too wet, and the whole eye gets full of paint. Too dry, and no paint gets deposited. It is tough to get simultaneously thinned enough to flow and dry enough to not slosh the detail. At least for lining in stuff it is easier to correct a line on a cloak versus a face. 

 

Glad to know that there are fellow Denver area people that are in the same boat! Only going to get rougher this summer. Boyfriend actually suggested putting a humidifier in the craft room, haha. 

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Here where I live in Norway it's not uncommon to measure air humidity down into the low 20s...

Last year I bought a couple of small USB-powered air humidifiers for use when the humidity dropped that low,  but the weather hasn't been cooperating, and the humidity has barely dropped below 40% a few times, so they are still untested.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

Dr. Bedlam, 

 

I totally get that! I wash my brushes after every time I use certain sticky paints (I just ordered some Reaper black, because I can't stand my Citadel black), and after rounds of a lot of one color, and at end of session. I have some good brushes, but may need a few more. I end up having to familiarize myself with the curl of the brush rigorously, and stiffness (my sable is soft and medium length, versus the synthetic which is more firm). 

 

I do a similar method for the eyes, and sometimes need more correction than others. Oddly, that darn gnome went smoother than the woman with the chain, and his eyes are tiny and behind glasses! Just that with the "get it stuck in there" I end up with a rather rectangular shape. That can substitute for round sometimes, but that's where I want to improve. I'd like to hit rounded shapes for it, and be able to get the reflection dots. 

For eyes, it is a very delicate balance on wetness - too wet, and the whole eye gets full of paint. Too dry, and no paint gets deposited. It is tough to get simultaneously thinned enough to flow and dry enough to not slosh the detail. At least for lining in stuff it is easier to correct a line on a cloak versus a face. 

 

Glad to know that there are fellow Denver area people that are in the same boat! Only going to get rougher this summer. Boyfriend actually suggested putting a humidifier in the craft room, haha. 


I use a great many more brushes here than I did in Texas for precisely that reason.

And I wish I could give you a magic formula for the right mix of paint. I can't. Now I mix paints reflexively, and generally get them right on the first try; I use a ceramic palette and mix each dab of paint with water and KEEP IT WET for as long as it takes me to manage a given detail. I've gotten to the point where I can generally get it right on the first bounce now, but my first year here, I was a quivering mess of frustration. It takes time and practice.

And I'd use Apple Barrel before I used Citadel. Too durn thick, costs too much, and the bottles seem DESIGNED to not seal right and let your paints dry out. I prefer Reaper and Vallejo, if I'm going to use paints specifically made for miniatures. I also highly recommend Reaper Brown Liner; makes a great Bones primer.

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I haven't heard of Apple Barrel. Will take a look online for them. 

 

Unfortunately the local game shops for me are purely Citadel hubs. I'm still using some of my old ones (the ones that sealed well during my hiatus at least) and I prefer those; no thickness issues with the hexagonal pot older types. I don't like the new setup of them. Too many types of paint, and too much variability in goopiness between same types. 

 

I've seen Vallejo paints but not used them yet. Recommendations on favorites of theirs? And heck, got a set of favorite primers? I'm using the "foundation" from Citadel, and it's alright but I'm not thrilled right now. Haven't heard of using liners as primer before. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Cyradis said:

I haven't heard of Apple Barrel. Will take a look online for them. 

 

Unfortunately the local game shops for me are purely Citadel hubs. I'm still using some of my old ones (the ones that sealed well during my hiatus at least) and I prefer those; no thickness issues with the hexagonal pot older types. I don't like the new setup of them. Too many types of paint, and too much variability in goopiness between same types. 

 

I've seen Vallejo paints but not used them yet. Recommendations on favorites of theirs? And heck, got a set of favorite primers? I'm using the "foundation" from Citadel, and it's alright but I'm not thrilled right now. Haven't heard of using liners as primer before. 

 

 

I fear Doc didn't show enough sarcasm.  The point of that line was that he would even use the subpar and truly terrible Apple Barrel brand paint before using Citadel's.

 

There are many good quality miniatures paints.  Me, I use Golden Matte Fluid artists' acrylics, but I like mixing my own colors.

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Would drying retarder help?

 

 

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Bwahahaha gotcha! 

 

 

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11 minutes ago, Pingo said:

 

I fear Doc didn't show enough sarcasm.  The point of that line was that he would even use the subpar and truly terrible Apple Barrel brand paint before using Citadel's.

 

There are many good quality miniatures paints.  Me, I use Golden Matte Fluid artists' acrylics, but I like mixing my own colors.

 

Plainly, I need to hire Pingo to follow me around with a crowbar and pop my foot out of my mouth periodically. She is correct in her assessment of my blathers. Apple Barrel is a brand of acrylic paint they sell at Hobby Lobby that's pretty good for your granny to paint flowers and clowns on canvas with. It CAN be used on minis, but there are better things to use.

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Heh alright. Maybe if I decide to paint some pots for my plants outside then. And those are well.... the cheapest I can find. Frosting buckets from grocery store bakeries are free. Better on cost than a $12 pot, but looks pretty lousy. :poke:

 

 

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For metal minis, I just use Krylon flat white, held at a distance and carefully sprayed, to avoid clogging the mini's details. 

Trouble is, due to Kickstarters and poor impulse control, I have a LOT of Bones. And Bones don't play nicely with petroleum based paints and aerosols. The GOOD news is that as long as you wash the Bones with soap and water, you can skip priming... but I'm kind of a bear about a bottom coat, and I've found that Reaper Brown Liner makes an excellent primer and basecoat (tip o'the hat to Buglips the Goblin, as I believe he was the forumite from whom I learned this). 

For the helluvit, I tried it on prepped metal minis, and it works rather nicely there, too.

As to paints... well, if your local hobby shops are all Citadels, all I can recommend is what can be found at art shops and online. Reaper paints are quite good and comparable to anything in the hobby market, and frankly cheaper than Citadel Colors, if I remember correctly. And the drop bottles seal fine; I've got Reaper paints dating back to 2007 that I still use. Other than that, Vallejo is available at HobbyTown and Hobby Lobby.

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If you can't find a good miniatures paint line, Liquitex Artist Acrylics are quite good, although you will have to mix your own colors (Do not confuse them with Liquitex "Basic" Acrylics, which are no better than cheap craft paints).  I like Golden Artists Acrylics better, but Liquitex are pretty good.

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Humidity is not normally an issue where I live, except during the winter months.  This past winter I had a little indoor weather device that said my relative humidity was down in the low 20s, which is the limits of my dealing with low humidity.

  • Retarder does extend working time.  Obviously given enough time the paint will still dry out, but sometimes a few extra seconds are all you need.  I have Liquitex but other brands should be fine.
  • If you plan your order of painting, leave an unpainted area right next to the spot you are working on.  If the paint stops flowing you can use the unpainted area to get the paint flowing again and return to work.  Some people will drag the brush across the hand holding the mini since it is also close, but I prefer not to paint myself.
  • Raising the humidity helps a lot.  Saturate the air until water drops start rolling down your windows.
  • Vallejo has an extensive range of paints that are used by a lot of hobbyists. Many of their paints will separate in the bottle which will require you to do a lot of shaking before your paint sessions.  I would recommend adding agitators and purchasing a vortex mixer.

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22 minutes ago, Auberon said:

Humidity is not normally an issue where I live, except during the winter months.  This past winter I had a little indoor weather device that said my relative humidity was down in the low 20s, which is the limits of my dealing with low humidity.

  • Retarder does extend working time.  Obviously given enough time the paint will still dry out, but sometimes a few extra seconds are all you need.  I have Liquitex but other brands should be fine.
  • If you plan your order of painting, leave an unpainted area right next to the spot you are working on.  If the paint stops flowing you can use the unpainted area to get the paint flowing again and return to work.  Some people will drag the brush across the hand holding the mini since it is also close, but I prefer not to paint myself.
  • Raising the humidity helps a lot.  Saturate the air until water drops start rolling down your windows.
  • Vallejo has an extensive range of paints that are used by a lot of hobbyists. Many of their paints will separate in the bottle which will require you to do a lot of shaking before your paint sessions.  I would recommend adding agitators and purchasing a vortex mixer.

 

I don't think a humidifier would be capable of saturating the air that much, but it likely would help a lot. 

Drying retardant - will add to my shopping list. 

Way way back when I worked with enamel paints I had to shake those a ton (30mins+ per paint, every day), and they broke 2-3 paint shakers. That alone is the most major reason I swapped to acrylics. I also wasn't a fan of how my head felt after taking whiffs of the mineral spirits fumes. A bit of shaking? Eh I can deal now ;) I'll give Vallejo a try next time I'm in range of a HobbyTown or Hobby Lobby. I definitely could use a few paints here or there to add to the color list. I'm at a point of having a triad of each basic color, but not many varieties within that (say grass greens vs olive greens). 

 

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