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madams1971

I need some beginner advice

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I painted minis as a kid, but hadn't painted any until about two years ago, when I started painting again. Up till now, I've always used a pretty simple method of painting. I just paint a base coat/color, and then apply a black wash (black paint heavily diluted in water) to add a shadow effect. Just recently, I decided to try the more in-depth method in painting a base coat, then shadowing, then highlighting, and then applying a gloss coat. But I've got a few questions from my first attempt, which has left me frustrated with my results.

 

First, since I'm trying the more involved method for the first time, should I just stick to using the colors out of the bottle for my base coats instead of trying to mix colors? I've got a pretty good selection of the standard Reaper paints and some Games Workshop paints. If I do mix paints for base coats, what tools are best for mixing them in? How do I keep them from drying out in case I have to use them later to correct a mistake? Should I just pour them out of the bottle, or use a dropper or something? And how do I know what colors to mix to get other colors? Are there any references or rules of thumb? I found out I'm not very good at making up my own.

 

Next, I think I know what a wash is -- diluting a color in water so it settles in the crevices. How do I know what color to use for a shadowing wash for my base coats? Is there a good rule of thumb? Do I simply use the next darker shade of a color from the base coat color? If I mix colors for a base coat color, do I use the darkest color in the mixture for the wash, or do I use some other color or more than one color for the wash?

 

Same goes for highlight colors. How do I know which color to use for highlighting? The next-lightest shade from the base coat, or the lightest color of a mixture? Also, do you generally dry brush on the highlight color, or apply it some other way? I know you can't wash on a highlight color because it would settle in the crevices.

 

I read a few of the painting articles on the Reaper website, and they gave me some good ideas. But they also brought up these questions, so they really didn't help much other than show me how to mix specific colors and how to shade and highlight certain colors. Is there a good How To article anywhere? Any help would be very much appreciated. I don't want to go back to my old basic way of painting because I was getting bored w/ it. But I got really frustrated w/ my first try at the base coat/shade/highlight method.

 

Thanks.

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Welcome!

 

I'll answer a few of your questions and leave some for others. ::):

 

First, since I'm trying the more involved method for the first time, should I just stick to using the colors out of the bottle for my base coats instead of trying to mix colors? I've got a pretty good selection of the standard Reaper paints and some Games Workshop paints.

 

I find it simpler to just use the colors as they are from the bottle than trying to mix unless I'm trying to layer colors for shading / highlighting smoothly. Doing so does mean that you'll either have a limited palette of colors or spend more money on more paints.

 

 

If I do mix paints for base coats, what tools are best for mixing them in?

I use a ceramic palette like this one. You can also use plastic disposable plates, cups, cds, or ceramic tiles.

 

How do I keep them from drying out in case I have to use them later to correct a mistake? Should I just pour them out of the bottle, or use a dropper or something?

If you are going to reuse a color, you'll want to pour it into a bottle of some sort. I find that dropper bottles like those for the Reaper Master Series Paints are the easiest to use.

 

And how do I know what colors to mix to get other colors? Are there any references or rules of thumb? I found out I'm not very good at making up my own.

Yes there are, but color theory is quite a broad topic which I'll leave for someone else. It'll help to have a color wheel, and you might want to go by Michael's or Hobby Lobby to glance through one of their "color" books in the artist section.

 

For the highlight and shadow colors, if you want to cheat a bit, just pick up triads from the Reaper Master Series Paints. The Reaper MSPs come in triads of a highlight color, a base color, and a shadow color. For the shadows, you can also cheat by pick up a related liner (for example, Brown Liner for any of the browns) and use that as a wash for quick shading.

 

While geared towards Warmachine, the Brushthralls website has some really good tutorials on painting for many levels. Also, where do you live? If you live near a Black Lightning member, they may be running painting clinics or "Paint and Takes" that you can attend. It can really help to have someone who can answer questions or show techniques "live" (so to speak).

 

Written tutorials are also available in the Warlord rulebook (a rather good one) and in the 4 "Learn to Paint XXXX" kits.

 

In any case, welcome! Please continue to ask more questions here.

 

Ron

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Ron, thanks for the advice. It all sounds pretty good to me. I hadn't had anyone recommend the triad colors before, so I think I'll get a couple and try them out.

 

As for live clinics, I live in the DFW area (Rockwall), so I can go to one of the Asylum clinics and get advice from a good source. I think there was one yesterday that I found out about yesterday. Too late to go, but I'll make time for the next one.

 

Thanks again. And any more advice (from anyone) will be most welcome.

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Ron, thanks for the advice. It all sounds pretty good to me. I hadn't had anyone recommend the triad colors before, so I think I'll get a couple and try them out.

 

As for live clinics, I live in the DFW area (Rockwall), so I can go to one of the Asylum clinics and get advice from a good source. I think there was one yesterday that I found out about yesterday. Too late to go, but I'll make time for the next one.

 

Thanks again. And any more advice (from anyone) will be most welcome.

 

You're quite welcome. The triads really make doing the highlights and shading easier if you're a touch lazy or just starting out. I definitely recommend picking up a few triads to try them out. I tend to use a dilution ratio of 3 parts paint to 1 part water (or gunk) for base coats (or even 2:1 for some colors) and then 1:1 (or 1:2 or more) for layering highlights or shading.

 

I'm just getting into layering, so I still do a drybrushing (straight, no dilution) for highlights and washes for shading/darklining for grunt minis.

 

You should definitely get to the Asylum since you're in the DFW area: you'll be able to see some top notch painters demonstrate techniques and get all the help that you'll need (as well as get to try out the MSPs and pick them up). I wish that I lived closer at times...

 

Ron

 

PS: "Gunk" = water + flow improver + slo-dri

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Just to let you know Madams, the Paint Club at the Asylum is every Saturday from noon till four, though people often show up earlier and stay later. Be sure to bring any palettes you use, brushes, minis, and that sort of thing; you can leave the paint behind, as we have full racks of MSPs for use in the store.

 

Unless you have another brand of paint you want to use, which is ok. You'll just make Vaitalla cry. ::D:

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One very good online tutorial about acrylic paints can be found here:

http://www.ttfxmedia.com/vallejo/cgi-bin/_...elcolortecnicas

 

Sometimes, as a beginner, you may feel that your mini doesn't quite look like how you'd like it to look, like other minis you see online. The key is really how many colors you use in your shades and highlight, the more shade and highlight colors, the closer it becomes a gradient where you don't see abrupt transitions, and the nicer it looks to the eye.

 

Attending a painting meet is a really good idea if you live in an area where that's possible. You'll learn heaps more actually watching people paint than just reading about it.

 

Keep practising and keep at it!

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I've found that with switching to MSPs, I've gotten more comfortable with mixing within the triads to get smoother blends and the like, which has slowly taught me to be able to eyeball mixing paints to the right color if I need to go back to fix it up. This has slowly translated to being able to mix other colors outside of the triad system for more variety with much more success than I have had in the past. I second the recommendation that you try some of them out if you can. I don't have any formal or informal training in color theory, so all of my color mixing techniques are built on experimentation, so I have no good advice for you there.

 

I would suggest not mixing colors for your basecoat, but to experiment with mixing in darker and lighter colors for shades & highlights, respectively, but my style of painting is to base-color everything and then slowly work outwards from the center of the model or hardest to reach places on the model with highlighting up from the darkest color - so it is very rarely the shaded/highlighted places I have to touch up - usually it's the base color.

 

/ali

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Add some flow improver to your washes, and pick up the Liner for the colours you want to shade. These only need a tiny bit of extra flow improver and some water to make a really good shading wash.

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Yes, yes, come to Paint Club on Saturday! Goldeneagle and I will be able to teach you a lot. Learning in person is always more efficient than learning online. ::): If you need directions to get up here just ask! You can probably MapQuest it as well, our address is 9062 Teasley Lane, Denton, TX 76210. We're in an industrial complex with a huge radio tower in it--can't miss it. ::): Also, when coming north on I-35E, the Swisher Road exit is shut down, so use the exit before it--I think it's Denton Road--and follow the frontage road up to Swisher. ::):

 

Hope to see you here soon!

 

--Anne ::):

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