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Beginner looking for advice on washes, eyes, etc.


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Hey guys! I'd always meant to get into painting, but never got around to it. I went whole hog on the Bones Kickstarter to get a pile of cheap minis and the assortment of paints that they offered so I could finally get started. I read a bunch after the minis arrived, but I was pretty nervous because I've got minor dyskinesia (my hands shake whenever I try to write or do other small movements) and I'm red-green colorblind, both terrible things for painting miniatures, but I'd really like to get into Malifaux and other skirmish games one day, and I'd like to be able to do them justice.

 

It took a few months to get around to it, and it's pretty infrequent that I actually paint, but now I've got a couple to show off my meager skills, and maybe get some advice before I can get locked into bad habits. So far I've been painting directly onto the minis with undiluted MSP paints like I've seen some guides suggest. 

 

http://imgur.com/a/xe07v

 

While you're here, I'd love some opinions on a few things:

1: How do you deal with eyes? They're so tiny that I have a hard time getting a solid color on them, let alone attempting irises or pupils.

2: I'm sure I'm doing something wrong with washes. Most of the time the pigment seems to settle around the edges of the nooks and crannies and leaving the deepest parts glaringly bright. Any idea what I'm doing wrong?

3: Metallic paints: good or bad? They seem really nice for me as a beginner, but am I handicapping myself by using them instead of practicing representing metal with highlights and such?

4: That brush-on sealer that I got along with the paints: Should I even use it? Is there anything I should know before I do? I've had so many minis come out worse post-wash that I'm nervous about potentially messing them up with the sealer.

 

 

Thanks!

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Hey guys! I'd always meant to get into painting, but never got around to it. I went whole hog on the Bones Kickstarter to get a pile of cheap minis and the assortment of paints that they offered so I could finally get started. I read a bunch after the minis arrived, but I was pretty nervous because I've got minor dyskinesia (my hands shake whenever I try to write or do other small movements) and I'm red-green colorblind, both terrible things for painting miniatures, but I'd really like to get into Malifaux and other skirmish games one day, and I'd like to be able to do them justice.

 

It took a few months to get around to it, and it's pretty infrequent that I actually paint, but now I've got a couple to show off my meager skills, and maybe get some advice before I can get locked into bad habits. So far I've been painting directly onto the minis with undiluted MSP paints like I've seen some guides suggest.

 

http://imgur.com/a/xe07v

 

While you're here, I'd love some opinions on a few things:

1: How do you deal with eyes? They're so tiny that I have a hard time getting a solid color on them, let alone attempting irises or pupils.

2: I'm sure I'm doing something wrong with washes. Most of the time the pigment seems to settle around the edges of the nooks and crannies and leaving the deepest parts glaringly bright. Any idea what I'm doing wrong?

3: Metallic paints: good or bad? They seem really nice for me as a beginner, but am I handicapping myself by using them instead of practicing representing metal with highlights and such?

4: That brush-on sealer that I got along with the paints: Should I even use it? Is there anything I should know before I do? I've had so many minis come out worse post-wash that I'm nervous about potentially messing them up with the sealer.

 

 

Thanks!

First off, WELCOME to the forum!

 

Secondly, you are off to a great start. There are people from all different skill levels here from novices like yourself to pro painters and everything in between.

 

To answer your questions:

 

1) Eyes - I'd say take a look at these two guides: a) Bette Davis Eyes (beginner eyes) and b) DKS paints eyes (a bit more advanced).

 

2) Washes - These are thinned down paints (with water and/or flow improver) meant to get into the crevices and darken up those areas, make sure to add a tad more paint to the brush if it's not getting deeper into the crevices.

 

3) Metallics - I personally use them, but I'm in the minority as I do TMM (True Metallic Metal), but that's a bit more advanced technique to get down, for now concentrate more on your highlights and shadows. Use those metallics until you are comfortable with a bit more technique and with blending your colors.

 

4) Brush-on sealer is like magic in a bottle. I use it in some of the lighter pigmented paints (a small drop) to remove chalkiness. If undiluted and applied after you are done painting, it ends up being kind of semi-gloss, but if you add some water to it, it will become much more matte. Most people around here use a varnish (I personally use Testors Dullcote and spray it on during a dry day). So use the sealer after you are done, you can even paint over it. It's also great for mis-casts where the surface will be pocked or rough, you can apply a few layers to even it out.

 

Any other questions, please ask.

Edited by ub3r_n3rd
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Welcome to the forums!

 

1. There's a method of dealing with eyes, I don't know who started it, but it involves painting the eyes before the rest of the face. You paint white over the whole eye area, not worrying about how big a spot you're making. Then you dot pupils more or less where they go, not worrying if they go too high or low (but try to keep them in the proper right-left orientation). Then you paint a dark brown or black eyelash eye-liner line around the edge of the eyes, taking care that the inner edge is more or less where it should be and not worrying about how thick the outer edge is. At this point your person will probably look like the Green Arrow or something, with a raccoon mask around the eyes. The last thing you do is paint skin color over the face, covering up most of the eyelash eye-liner color but leaving a thin line of it around the white and the pupils.

 

I'm pretty sure there is a more coherent tutorial about this around here somewhere.

 

2. It sounds like you might be thinning down the washes too much. They are meant to be used more or less as they are from the bottle.

 

3. That's a religious argument. I like how metallic paints look, and the illusionistic painting of metal is a tricky business. I've got no problem with metallics, although I appreciate a virtuoso NMM. Do what is comfortable for you, and you can always expand in the other direction later if you feel like it.

 

4. Sealer does not have color in it. It protects the paint layer from rubbing off during the wear-and-tear of use. It's a good idea.

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 First, wecome to the hobby.

 Second, you're doing better than I was after my first five years. I started out using the same Testors hobby enamels and brushes I used for my plastic models and they looked like they were fingerpainted by a five-year-old.

 

1. Don't worry about painting good eyes unless you're entering a competition - it takes practice to get really good at them.

 

2. Don't thin the paint quite so much, and don't put quite so much on - you ideally want to paint on the wash in the spots you want it to go, rather than just glopping it on and hoping it gets there.

 

 3. Start off with metallic paints. Non-metallic metal is sort of an advanced technique that can wait until you've mastered the basics.

 

4. Always seal your minis with something, unless you're going to store them on a shelf in an airtight vault where nobody will ever touch them, lol.

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Thanks, guys, this helps a lot!

 

1) Eyes - I'm definitely going to try out that 'Bette Davis Eyes' method next time! I especially like that you do it right at the beginning, so I can't mess up previous steps. And wow, that method from DKS really does look amazing, but waaaay more advanced than I want to risk just yet.

2) Washes - So far I've been diluting the RMS Walnut Brown paint with water, and it sounds like Mad Jack hit the nail on the head. I've definitely been glopping a lot on (someone assured me washes worked miracles and that's all I had to do), so next time I'll go for a less diluted, precision application and see how it comes out.

3) Metallics - Sounds like I'll be sticking with metallic paints for a while. Non Metallic Metal can look awesome, but I guess I can stick to easy mode on a few things.

4) Sealer - Thanks for the suggestion! At first, I was worried about making it impossible to remove paint in case I ever want to make a second attempt, but I should probably preserve these guys as a reminder of where I started and (hopefully) how far I've come.

 

Thanks for the links, guys! Now my biggest problem is going to be choosing which of the Bones is going to be my next guinea pig! Speaking of: Wow, those miniatures are awesome! Almost too awesome: it's so hard to pick which ones to sacrifice to my early practice.

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I'm not going to go into every question since there are good answers already.. Just gonna say, give that True Metallic Metal article a read-through.  I don't bother with the advanced stuff like horizon lines and reflections and what have you, I just use washes and highlights/drybrushing with different metallics to create depth.  The problem with metallics is just painting something in flat silver doesn't look right.  I picked up the MSP Triad, so I start with a black basecoat, go Blackened Steel on everything metal, then slap Tarnished Steel on everything light would touch, then highlight raised edges, top-view areas the sun would be directly on, and rivets with True Silver.  I do a careful black wash to dull the shine a bit and accentuate details (around raised bolts, between chainmail links, etc.), then additional glazes with reds/browns/oranges depending on how rusty and corroded I want it to be.

 

Reaper has some other neat metallic colors you can use as well to tint your metals.  I have their Adamantium Black, Gunmetal Blue, Emerald Green, etc.  These can be used to create different tinted metals.  If you're doing gold rather than steel, I work up from a Tarnished Brass, through plain Gold, and again highlight with True Silver.

 

Best part is it doesn't require any careful calculations.  Once you have your first metallic coat on, look at the areas that are brighter in normal light, and that's where you use your brighter metallics.  Just use that natural glint to determine where you put your highlights.  It won't look as good as a master of NMM or TMM, but it's a fraction of the work, and it's a big step up from just using a single metallic coat.

 

Oh, and a final note:  Don't worry about "sacrificing" Bones miniatures.  My first guinea pigs when I was much younger were boxed sets of Ral Partha Forgotten Realms Heroes / Dragonlance Villians worth like $60 each.  The ones I didn't break or lose I completely ruined.  I wish there had been a product like Bones back then.  :D

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1. For eyes, start with monsters first. That is, paint monsters whose eyes you can paint red with no pupils. Undercoat with pink.

 

2. For washes, you sometimes need more than water. Matte medium and soap are common additives. For six bucks, you can save yourself some work with a premade black wash, and premade brown one. For tabletop, I use Secret Weapon wash Soft Body Black for pre-inking and blacklining. Secret Weapon wash Sewer Water, Baby Poop (yes, we've heard the joke before), or Dark Sepia are useful brown washes.

 

3. IMO, Metallics has at least three completely different techniques: Chainmail and other details (drybrush or overbrush on black; no reflections), Straight-edged weapons (basecoat Shadow Steel, Steel on reflecting surfaces), and Freehand and curved surfaces (same, except that you have to determine the reflecting surfaces yourself -- total PITA). Read up on NMM, because the principles of reflection in NMM can be applied to metallics.

 

4. I don't bother with sealer. I figure I'll use it when I'm a better painter, or have game pieces that frequently have play or rough handling, such as painted coins or something. 

Edited by ced1106
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I do not recommend adding soap to paint. While it reduces the surface tension, thus making the paint flow around the model better, it also makes the paint water soluble and prone to rubbing off.

 

There are surfactants formulated to do that safely with acylic paint. They are called "wetting agents" and they are very powerful and are to be used in only the most minuscule of amounts.

 

Personally, I find water with the addition sometimes of a touch of acrylic medium to be sufficient thinner.

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Ping is right matte medium is Great stuff, get a bottle and play with it.

3 X 1 mixture of matte to paint makes a great base coat for the larger bone miniatures imo.

Yeah, for washes I usually use a 1:4:8 ratio of paint : mixing medium : water. When I make my own, that is (Payne's Grey, Burnt Umber, and Burnt Sienna specifically).

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.... so I'll throw in my own newb question here to keep the main page a little tidy.

 

I'm going to start up myself some time this week, but I still have a spot of confusion.

 

I've seen people use a wash very early on, possibly even the first step (?) for the "no primer needed for bones" folk, or at the very end.

 

When you put wash on at the beginning, is it more of just a way to pull out detail and then you paint over it? And then apply a wash AFTER painting to "redo" all the detail shading?

 

So. Much. To. Learn :D

Edited by Magnum9
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.... so I'll throw in my own newb question here to keep the main page a little tidy.

 

I'm going to start up myself some time this week, but I still have a spot of confusion.

 

I've seen people use a wash very early on, possibly even the first step (?) for the "no primer needed for bones" folk, or at the very end.

 

When you put wash on at the beginning, is it more of just a way to pull out detail and then you paint over it? And then apply a wash AFTER painting to "redo" all the detail shading?

 

So. Much. To. Learn :D

Yes -- or at least that's what I do it for.

 

My ageing eyes are much helped by a preliminary wash to pick out all those great, tiny details.

 

Then after painting another wash can help bring them out again.

 

There are many more sophisticated ways of painting, but that's a good basic one that produces decent results.

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