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Miniature Painting secrets with Natalya Melnik


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In regards to the Miniature Mentor tutorials, they do a decent job of showing painting technique in regards to painting areas of a miniature. The Jen Haley one in particular is a good tutorial for color selection (with such a really limited palette - since it was about painting a monochromatic style) and for freehand design work. Those two things are where the video shines - because it's easy to see while she's painting, the hows and whys.


Also, she paints very differently than other MM painters, like Laurent Esposito Mas, who did their basic painting video. They're both great painters, but the techniques differ greatly. Laurent, for example, uses dilution to control the thickness of his paint, primarily, while Jen seems to use thicker paint but varies the pressure on the brush. Some of Laurent's painting, especially first coats of any of his layers resemble staining - which would be akin to painting with washes - with many, many coats. Jen uses far fewer coats with thicker paint, and despite that, her detail work is phenomenal, and she doesn't have problems clogging up detail, like I've seen with painters who don't dilute their paints very much.


It's great to see multiple artists' techniques. Even Natalya Melnik's techniques are fascinating to watch. The problem is that she doesn't put much explanation behind her techniques, and (a bit more of just something that irked me a little) starting the tutorial with (paraphrased) "While you won't be able to paint like me after watching this, you might get something out of it." is not a great way to lead in your viewers. That could be attributed to language, but it just struck me a bit off. (The disc was filmed in Russian and dubbed over into English.) After all, it's a $50 disc set.


I won't say it's horrible, but you have to figure out a lot more on your own in the Melnik video. Hot Lead and MM's discs are easier to follow and give you more whys, which makes those products feel more complete.


Only flaw to Hot Lead is far too many transitions. There are times where it feels like Lazlo switched to a new section in the middle of a series of thoughts. Otherwise, the video is a great tutorial - especially because he starts with basics (painting with washes and drybrushing) and shows you can do decent work with those techniques, and then adds in the more advanced techniques like blending and layering and shows how much smoother the results can be.


Just keep in mind that information doesn't replace experience. I'm learning that one the hard way after 15+ years of buying figures but not painting. I've been reading for all those years, but I've got maybe two dozen figures painted. That's not good, since I have a closetful of minis to paint from multiple game systems.


But I'm learning. Even this old dog's trying to learn new tricks.


My 2 yen,



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