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Lots of beginner questions

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Greetings ... first post of mine here in this nice forum.

After about 20 years I have decided to start painting minis again (kids are old enough to play Pathfinder with me now ;) ).


But ... I know almost nothing about painting, never did, even in my past.


Therefore, I have a lot of questions and if you can only answer one, it would be a great help (maybe I worry too much about certain things).


Let's start with priming a miniature ... do I use the primer right out of the bottle (I don't want to use a spray can for different reasons), or thin it down with a bit of water?

I'm using these primers: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lSlB0agZHdc/TFYdfmfzn7I/AAAAAAAAAgQ/yTH56hymVzk/s1600/Val.jpg


I know that "normal" colors should be thinned ... should I use water or thinner?


I also have noticed that due to age (or long hours in front of the computer), I cannot clearly see the detail on some minis ... doctor says I don't need glasses ... but would something like this be a good idea? http://www.doneganoptical.com/products/optivisor


I want to paint certain minis quickly (like orcs and goblins) ... would the following be a decent way of doing so?

- prime miniature

- paint it without worrying about shades and highlights (I have seen this referred to as base coating?)

- apply something like Army Painter Quickshade (not dipping, but with a brush)

- drybrush the miniature to get some highlights.


Do you start with the skin and then paint a miniature like "dressing" it? Or start with the larger areas and then move on the the smaller ones? Or the other way round?


That's it for the start, but I have more questions coming (if it's ok). Thanks for taking the time to read (and answer).


Btw. sorry for any mistakes, my native language is not English.

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1) Advice on priming will be different if you are painting Bones or metal.

1a) Priming Bones: I don't. Some do, but a good wash with a toothbrush and hot soapy water usually means you don't have to.

1b) Priming Metal: I have never thinned my primer out of a bottle. As long as there are no old dried chunks in the primer, it goes on pretty smooth.


2) Thinning paints:

2a) If painting Bones, don't thin the first coat. It's harder to get it to stick. After that, thin away!

2b) Painting anything else: Thinner is usually better. At least until you thin it so much you separate the pigment from the medium. Then it doesn't work as well. I still don't thin my paints enough, but what is enough? That is a skill you acquire with time.


3) Magnification: I personally don't use it, but I know many who do. It's sometimes surprising to me the detail my brush picked up, that I didn't see. (Though usually the opposite happens, and there is detail I see, but the brush won't pick it out. :lol: ) So try it if you want.


4) Technique: The one you describe above Basecoat, Army painter quickshade, re-adding highlights is a good one. Though I am less familiar with the quick shade, I have seen people go back in and bring up their highlights after they used it.


5) What to paint first: I usually paint the hardest to get to areas first. Because if I accidentally get paint on the more accessible layers trying to get my brush into the deeper layers, I don't ruin any previous paint jobs.


Now you just need to grab a brush and some paint, and start painting. It's something that takes some practice, but it sounds like you got the basics down. ::D:

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Welcome! Big fun ahead, so don't sweat the little things; just get painting!


That big-picture advice aside, here's some stuff about your questions...


Primer...if you're using brush-on primer, you can thin it or not. Either works. I find that cutting it about 25% with water makes it flow better, but then I have to do two or more coats. I'd also suggest using a beater brush, not one you're going to use for layering and highlights. The really important thing when brush priming is to go slow enough to avoid air bubbles forming on the surface of the.mini.


If you're using acrylics (which is what paints marketed specifically for miniatures are, as are "craft paints" that you can buy at Michael's), just use water to thin your paints. You'll find that certain techniques want thinner paint and others want it uncut, straight from the bottle. There are also mediums and additives that you can use for different effects (drying retarder is great if you're painting in a desert, matte medium will cut down on glare once the paint dries), but I think actually putting paint down is the important thing to start with, and water works for that.


I love my Optivisor. Magnification is often important if you want to hit the tiny details, and I can't paint eyes without the visor. Many people get similar results from the kind of cheap reading glasses you can buy in a drugstore, but the Optivisor has lenses with much greater magnification available, so it depends on how much you need.


Quickshade works well, and it gives good tabletop-quality results. If you want to paint to a higher standard you'll want to learn other techniques, but you can't beat "the dip" for fast, decent paint jobs.


As for what to paint first...do what you like. I suggest you start by painting the face, because it's usually the hardest part. In general, I block down all the major colors (skin, shirt, pants, hair, etc), then paint the face and skin, then go from there. I usually leave hair and flows fabric for last because they're my favorite thing to paint; if I do them first, the rest of the mini is a chore and might not get finished (do the hard part, then reward yourself with the fun part).


(although the whole process is fun to me...but some parts are challenging-fun and some are fun-fun)


There've been some other good answers in this thread so far, and I'm sure there will be.more! Again, welcome to the boards and welcome to the hobby! And don't forget to post to show-off when you finish something!

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Welcome to the forums. I won't add any advice, as the ones before me have covered everything I'm qualified to. However, if there is something you're having a hang upon down the line, I encourage you to ask. The amount of talent to be found here is amazing, and almost universally, the people here are glad to share all they know. That includes the pros.

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I would highly recommend the Reaper Learn to Paint Kits as an excellent source of paint, materials (brushes, brush-on primer, practice minis) and instructions.

I second the purchase of Reaper's Learn To Paint Kits: http://www.reapermini.com/OnlineStore/LearnToPaintKits/latest

Not only do they have everything to start you off (paints, primer, brushes, minis) but the instruction cards on the first few really give you a good run-down on the basic skills for mini painting. Some of which you've already mentioned, washes, dry-brushing, etc.


For thinning your paints, regular water is fine. (You shouldn't need distilled water unless the tap water at your house has more minerals than most.) So don't feel the need to go out and buy things like distilled water, flow improver, drying retarder, etc. etc. unless later on you decide you want them.



I also recommend reading through a lot of the topics here in the Tips and Advice section, many of your questions have been answering before. Reaper also have 'The Craft' section on their main site that has heaps of handy tips and tricks: http://www.reapermini.com/TheCraft

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A wet palette is good to make too. Here is a video. You basically use paper towel and baking paper and a plastic container. This will allow you to put paint in there and put a lid on it and not worry about it drying out. The only thing you have to be careful of it tipping it because the paint will run together.

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also pennies in the bottom help kill the stuff that gives it that funky 'wet pallet' smell


I've always been a little bit suspicious of the potential effect of dissolved copper on my pigments, so I tend to just replace the paper / sponges once in a while, but I will admit that my fear is mostly superstition.

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Next question: I watched a video on youtube about using washes ... the guy put some gloss varnish on the mini before using the wash. Is that necessary? Why? Would non-glossy varnish not be better (if you need one at all)?

I know that you should put varnish on the mini after painting it ... but before doing a wash?

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