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Newt
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Hello everyone and happy Saturday night.

 

I'm relatively new to the world of minis and have read enough over the last few days to make my old, tired brain explode. I have this crazy urge to try to paint a mini for myself but have these problems:

 

1) Severe lack of talent

2) Shaky hands

3) Bad eyesight

 

But, I can follow directions and I'm a good learner, even if I don't have that artistic eye. What I've done is read many of the threads on this site along with all the Craft articles. I've also looked at ( easily ) 150+ painted minis across this and various other sites to get an idea of what a bad/ok/decent/good/great/spectacular mini looks like after it's finished. Even though I can't do much more than draw a stick figure, I do have an appreciation for well-done art and that's exactly what I believe some of the minis I've seen are - works of art.

 

So, here's my plan, which is ready to be tweaked, modified, reworked, or even plain scrapped after seeing what you guys think:

 

- Buy a mini that I like but isn't full of detail. Maybe something like these:

Two-handed Melee

Cleric in Plate

 

- Buy either the Learn To Paint Kit #1 or #3. I know they come with their own minis, but I want my first mini to be one that I'm actually interested in painting. I can use the ones that come with the kit to practice the different techniques I see you guys discussing.

 

- Acquire the thinning agent I choose to use for washes, etc. I've read about many of the different 'solutions' and will just pick one to start with and see how it works for me.

 

- Paint and cuss.

 

As I mentioned, I've been reading a lot and have a lot of great information to start with. One thing I think would be great would be a list of painting terms you guys use and matching definitions. I've been able to figure out most of them, but I think having a page of terms and definitions would be an asset to the Reaper site or maybe just a stickied post. Someone with no background in this field would have no clue what "Dry Brushing" is. They might be able to guess, but having it defined would be a boon for beginners.

 

What I'm asking of you guys:

Is my plan above a sound one? Would you recommend attacking this in some other way? I know my mindset is going to be a big part of this, especially since this isn't the kind of thing I will be good at, but I want the best shot at accomplishing something that I can at least smile at. Any suggestions / tips for this beginner are very welcome.

 

Thanks for reading and I hope to gain some valuable insight from your talented brains!

-Newt

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Howdy and welcome and all that.

 

You know, you sound alot like me when I started, except for the shaking hands.

 

You really can't go wrong with the Learn to Paint kits, that's how I got started, not that I'm accomplished or anything. ::): But my wife remembers me spending hours working on that freaking rat! And you can't ask for a better bunch of people than the ones around here. A really cool bunch!

 

Your plan sounds great, take things at your own pace and just have fun with it.

 

I know I myself have been through the thing where I put too much pressure on myself and expected too much of myself and had to realize that it's just a hobby, so just have fun and do what you want to do with it.

 

Welcome aboard!

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Hello everyone and happy Saturday night.

 

I'm relatively new to the world of minis and have read enough over the last few days to make my old, tired brain explode. I have this crazy urge to try to paint a mini for myself but have these problems:

 

1) Severe lack of talent

2) Shaky hands

3) Bad eyesight

Welcome!

 

Hey, that sounds like me a year ago! Or, at least, how I pictured myself! Okay, I still have the bad eyesight and relatively shaky hands. And, I should have kept at painting 12 or so years ago rather than giving it up for 11+ years.

 

- Buy a mini that I like but isn't full of detail. Maybe something like these:

Two-handed Melee

Cleric in Plate

 

Good idea. Something that is interesting enough to paint, yet lower level of detail. Some of the Townsfolk are good too (Bandits, for example). There are also some Warlord figures (mostly the grunts) which are good as well, but you'll probably want to avoid anything that requires much assembly to start.

 

- Buy either the Learn To Paint Kit #1 or #3. I know they come with their own minis, but I want my first mini to be one that I'm actually interested in painting. I can use the ones that come with the kit to practice the different techniques I see you guys discussing.

Try to find the ones marked "now with Master Series Paints" since they're incredibly good deals right now. Also, #1 and #2 may be more helpful than #3 to start. #3 is about learning NMM, which isn't what I'd recommend for beginners. *I* should probably be picking up the #3 kit, even after taking Mengu's class at GenCon.

 

You'll also want some primer. I happen to like Duplicolor Sandable Primer, found at most auto parts stores for about $5 a can (including tax). White is my favorite color (though it's not carried at all of the stores).

 

- Acquire the thinning agent I choose to use for washes, etc. I've read about many of the different 'solutions' and will just pick one to start with and see how it works for me.

Hobby Lobby and Michael's are your friends, especially with the 40% off coupons commonly found in the Sunday paper this time of year. Hobby Lobby often has 40% off coupons on their website as well.

 

You don't mention it, but picking up a good set of brushes to start will also make life easier. You'll get some brushes in the Learn to Paint Kit (which you'll find useful), but spending some money up front to get some Kolinsky sable brushes will make life easier (and give you better results). I use Winsor & Newton Series 7 (regular) brushes purchased from Dick Blick. I recommend picking up a #2, a #0, and a #3/0 as well as a ceramic palette. Should run you about $38 (including shipping).

 

Oh, and pick up some brush soap, like Master's Brush Cleaner, and use it religiously after every session.

 

You also might want to pick up a package of turned, unfinished craft wood (like some candlestick holders) and some poster tack. I turn the candlestick holder upside down and then stick the mini on top with some poster tack. Makes it easier to hold the mini. and you're less likely to rub off paint.

 

Hmm, I really should get around to writing that "Beginner's Shopping List" article that I have had in the back of my mind for quite some time...

 

- Paint and cuss.

Of course. And, you just need to keep painting, even if the first efforts aren't as good as you'd like them to be.

 

The Brush Thralls website has quite a bit of good information and tutorials. Another good resource is the painting guide in the Warlord rulebook.

 

Also, check the list of upcoming Black Lightning events. If you happen to be in a city which has a Black Lightning member, he/she may be hosting a painting event soon.

 

And, continue to ask questions as you go along!

 

Ron

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I'd also recommend picking up some brushes exclusively for drybrushing if you are going to use that technique. It's murder on good brushes, and you don't want to plunk down $15 for a WN Series 7 and then use it to drybrush.

 

The suggestion of using something to hold your minis while you work is great advice. I myself use poster tack and water bottle or juice bottle caps. As an added bounus, once you are done and ready to seal your mini, you can turn it upside down to make sure you get a good coat on those hard to reach places.

 

If you have a local game store - one that caters to RPGs and table top games - you can ask around there for advice. Most stores have a core of regular customers that just love discussing their craft, and they are only too happy to help if asked.

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Welcome, Newt! It's great to see someone else new to the hobby.

 

I can kind of relate to how you feel since I don't have any artistic ability at all, either. I can't draw, paint a portrait, sculpt; any of that. I started into the hobby just a little over a month ago (mid-September of this year, IIRC and apparently I can paint minis), so don't get discouraged.

 

It's tough getting started. Knowing which supplies to get that work best for you is a bit of trial and error, although there are plenty of people here and in other forums that will offer advice if you ask. People around some of these forums are some of the best and have been incredibly instrumental in helping me improve so much in such a short amount of time. Don't hesitate to ask questions.

 

Then there's actually painting the minis. My advice is to just jump in and start painting. Starting with one that doesn't have much detail sounds like a good plan since you'll get used to brush and paint control first.

 

The LTP Kits are great. Not only do they have some helpful instructions, they also come with a good selection of paint. If you order them from the Asylum online store here at Reaper then they'll come with the Master Series Paints. Wonderful paints, btw.

 

Just start slow; don't worry about trying to turn out a masterfully painted mini on the first attempt (or even the 20th). Like I said, work on brush and paint control, as well as how to thin paints. Once you learn how the paints act and react, then you can move onto more and more advanced techniques. And don't hesitate to post your work on here and ask for feedback. One piece of advice, though: if you post your work and ask for it, be ready to get critiqued on everything. Just remember that people are offering constructive criticism and help and they do it in the nicest way possible; it's not personal. Besides, they almost always mention the positives as well, not just the negatives. And it can be the greatest source on how to improve, IMO.

 

(I was going to mention photography, but this is already pretty long and that's a subject in and of itself).

 

Again, welcome to the hobby and don't hesitate to ask for help, suggestions or advice.

 

Hmm, I really should get around to writing that "Beginner's Shopping List" article that I have had in the back of my mind for quite some time...

 

Yeah, vutpakdi; what's up with that? Where was that when I was starting out? Hmmm??

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Have you seen those "helping hands" or "soldering workstations"? Electronics hobby places sometimes have them.

 

They have little alligator clips and a magnifying glass. It can really help to get to know the mini before you start, it can hold the mini still, and it can save you a lot of eyestrain checking wether you've missed your mark.

 

Good lighting. If you can get one of those lamps on the long poseable arm, they're good. More light is better.

 

Your plan sounds good. Highly ornate miniatures can be very demoralising. I know, my first models were all Eldar. ENOUGH WITH THE GEMS ALREADY!

 

Fun models to paint are ones that respond well to drybrushing. Skeletons, wolves, etc. need very little accuracy to look good.

 

Finally, if you really have trouble manouvering the brush, consider a high contrast, deep shadow approach with black undercoat or black primer. RMS are not at their very best with this, but I prefer it because errors and misses are much harder to see, and it is easy to get very dramatic shading. I keep a few select Vallejo Model Colour around for times when I need fast coverage over black, but the lighter RMS also cover very well.

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For the eyesight, it depends in part on what the problem is. If you're having trouble with near vision, there are plenty of ways to aid that, from reading glasses, magnifiers that clip on to your existing glasses, to binocular head sets (optivisor is the one I use). Lack of depth perception or poor 3-D vision is probably a bit more difficult to overcome, although I might be able to find some tips for that.

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Here's what I do when my hands are shaky (Yay caffeination!!!). Get a pillow or something to place on your thighs and plant your elbows on them, leaning forward. Brace your forearms on the edge of your desk/table/painting surface area thingy. Put your mini on a spool, or cork, or old film canister, and put both hands on it to support each other. The five points of contact really help me keep everything put on the twitchy days.

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Hello and welcome to the boards. ::D: I've been progressing with my painting as well and I can't say enough about good brushes. I was using mostly cheap brushes and these aren't bad for things like large areas and dry brushing, but for any detail at all your brushes really make the difference between poor to mediochre and good or great. The folks here are great with getting you headed in the right direction and are the friendliest bunch around.

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Huzzah for new hobbyists!

 

As many have noted, you sound like me at some point in the not-too-distant past.

 

You've got a great plan to build from...here's my tuppence.

 

I'd spend more money on good paint than good brushes to start out with. You can get the Winsor&Newton AwexomeBrush 20x6, and it'll be fantastic...but for a beginner, Testors ModelMaster brushes or the Reaper brushes are just as good. And good paint is, ultimately, more important to me. The Reaper Master series is what I use mostly...though I have a healthy smattering of Citadel and a few Vallejo here and there.

 

Do check out the helping hands, or the various other means of putting a "handle" on your minis.

 

Get a good hobbyknife with a standard blade. It is important, if you can see the minis in their blisters before you buy, to find one that fits your desires AND has very little flashing, but I've never had a mini that didn't need a little trim somewhere.

 

Get good glue, but just use it for putting a mini to a base; my first mini ever was a big WH40K solo piece (because it looked cool, not because I play 40K), and I had a harder time assembling it than I did painting it.

 

The best thing, though, is something you've already done: find a group of friendly people who are all too happy to confuse the issue with lots and lots of advice and anecdotes. This forum is honestly the most fun I think you can have on the internet without Flash animation, and a great resource for new folk, which so many of us are.

 

Oh. And feel free to cuss all you like, but don't be too bothered if your first few minis look crosseyed, bugeyed, walleyed or blind. That happens to all of us. And by "first few," I mean "several" or "many" more than I mean "few." ::P:

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Also, check the list of upcoming Black Lightning events. If you happen to be in a city which has a Black Lightning member, he/she may be hosting a painting event soon.

 

Ron

 

Welcome Newt,

If I were to throw in my $.02, it would be on the lines of the above. I've spent the majority of my time in one hobby or another working in a vacuum. You've found a great resource here! Try also to find local clubs, paint groups, the Black Lightning team is an excellent suggestion...nothing is going to get you answers faster than seeing your questions demonstrated (which is why I'm astounded that I haven't seen more video on the subject of mini painting :blink: ). Check out local and not-so-local conventions and events where you can rub shoulders with painters...and don't feel intimidated to ask questions and talk to them. I've never met a painter at these types of events not willing to help and enthusiastically critique work, discuss technique, suggest tools, etc...why would they be there if they didn't want to interact? ::D:

 

Anyways, I'm looking forward to seeing your first posts in the Show Off section.

 

Thanks

AWhang

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Wow, thanks for the great welcome and the great information. Since I posted the message, I've read some more articles on the subject, including all of the ones at BrushThralls.com.

 

I searched the Black Lightning database and found 1 person in a 50-mile radius and emailed him to see when the next event / demo is.

 

A (semi)LGS has the LTP kits and after reading your comments and reading on what NMM is, I've decided to go with Kit #1. All the kits had a sticker saying they were with the Master Series paints so I'm set there. I ordered some brushes and a pallette.

 

The candlestick / juice cap ideas are great - thanks for mentioning them. I'll decide which is for me and go with it. Later, if I stick with this, I'll look at Helping Hands or the Soldering Workstation or something like them.

 

When I was at Lowe's today, I tried to get the Krylon Primer mentioned on the BrushThralls.com site, but they didn't have that brand and I didn't want to buy one that wasn't specifically mentioned by a painter. I'll try to swing by an automotive store and pick up the Duplicolor Sandable in white and in black tomorrow or Tuesday.

 

Brush soap: Is this something that is very specialized? Is there something I can get relatively cheaply that will provide good results?

 

Critiques: I plan on taking pics of my first mini as I go along to post in the WIP section. I'm wide open for any critiquing, good or bad. My goal is to get better, not to get empty praise, so do your worst!

 

A good friend of mine just painted his first mini last night and he and his wife are really into photography so we'll have some fun taking some pics when we get finished with them. Both of our wives crossstitch, so we're looking at having a 'craft' night where they stitch while talking about how bad their husbands are and he and I will paint and talk about important things like reflex saves and the benefits of using 2-handed weapons over sword and board.

 

My wife has a nice Dazer lamp with the magnifier in it that I bought her 2 years ago, but she'll kill me if I commandeer it for this. I'll just have to do with what lighting we have in our kitchen for now.

 

Great advice(s) for the shakey hand syndrome. Thanks.

 

Hobby knife: Is that an X-Acto knife with the interchangable triangular blades?

 

Again, thanks for the great welcome. I'm sure you'll be bombarded with questions from me relatively soon after I get started!

 

-Newt

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