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What would YOU say to a newbie?

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It is hard to say because the industry is so different than it was 15 years ago when I slopped paint on my first mini. Literally slopped it on, no primer, no highlights etc...



I would like to have someone help spell out the basics



Use Primer

Thin paints

Try improving only 1 or 2 techniques at a time

Take your time, but don't wait for perfection

Practice practice practice (a minimum of 2 hours a week)

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Learn to thin your paint now!!! It is the basis for all advanced techniques.


Allow yourself to make mistakes. You will. You'll get better. Don't get down on yourself.


Challenge yourself. Don't be satisfied with the basics. Struggle to achieve mastery, even if your attempts look foolish, amateurish, and just plain awful. The more you push, the more you'll learn, the better you'll become, the more pleased you will be with your accomplishments.


Above all, enjoy yourself. You will get frustrated. You will get depressed. You will have fits of extreme anger. And the end of the day, however, you should be H-A-P-P-Y with the fact that you were painting.


Oh, and learn to thin your paint.

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Just to put a little emphasis on what Whiz said...

Learn to thin your paint.

Start now, don't paint a mini with anything but thinned paint. It'll look like crap about the first 1000 times you try it...(I'm currently on about number 400) ::):


Oh yea..don't use paint that hasn't been thinned.

...and learn to thin your paint.


#2 is brush control.


You get these two things down, and most everything else will fall into place (or at least I'm hopin').

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THIN YOUR PAINTS (in case you missed it the first five times)


If you're a compulsive person don't take up this hobby.


Try only a few paints from each line at a time before deciding the line you like


Designate a comfortable work area away from any distractions


Don't be afraid to try new things


Go to mini sites and study the figures done by others



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Sure, thin your paints. But sinee that's been said, I would have liked for someone to cover all the basics with me, e.g. - What's a base coat? What's blacklining? How do you use inks? etc. Before this wonderful medium filled with very helpful folks, I was mainly self-taught + what I gleaned from websites (although there are more and more of these that are VERY helpful).

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Well, since I started this, I'll throw my newbie tips in.


Don't buy itty-bitty brushes with golden taklon bristles.


Go hang out where there are other painters and learn from what they do. Or better yet, find a mentor.


The way to learn all those techniques, (eyes, NMM, shading, etc.) is the same way you get to Carnegie Hall - Practice, baby, practice!


Oh, and thin your paints! :lol:

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Make sure to buy the proper equipment, it's an investment that must be made.


Good brushes, don't have to be the most expenise, just not 10 for a buck. a few of the standard sizes should be fine.


Proper lighting and work area


and you know it, here it comes, thin your paints!



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I'll start the seriousness, since the learning process is VERY fresh in my mind....

I'll list out my major breakthroughs for the past year...that I wish someone had either shown me or explained thorougly to me....(these are not necessarily in any order)


1. Brushes. I started out using very cheap brushes and told myself that I didn't need anything more expensive. I was WRONG WRONG WRONG. A high quality brush improved my brush control by an easy 100%. It still needs work, of course, but it was a major breakthrough. Using a low-quality brush CAN and WILL inhibit your perceived skill level.


2. Paint selection. I spent a tremendous amount of money on paint I didn't necessarily need because I didn't understand any shade/basecoat/highlight system and how to mix the runs appropriately. I have a very basic understanding of it now, and the actual colors I use have been reduced. I expect as my understanding grows, the amount of money I actually spend on paint will be reduced.


3. Brand of paint. I started using craft paints. Although there is nothing wrong with these and for the most part they are workable, when I started using higher quality paints, I never looked back.


4. Micron Pigma Pens....nuff said.


5. Miniature preparation. It sucks, but take the time to do it right. I still fall short in this area, but I'm workin' on it. Sanding, priming, etc.


6. Basecoat. In my own work, a bunch of mistakes can be covered by just having a good, even, basecoat. My first basecoats were too thick (painting from the bottle). After I started thinning my paints, they were way to thin----this, at least for me, was a killer. I have just recently started focusing on making sure that my basecoating has ample coverage, even if it takes me five or six coats (I overthin sometimes). This makes the finished product look much better---at least for me. I no longer shortcut my basecoating efforts. This makes life much easier when you move onto the stages of highlighting/shading.


8. Thinning Solution---A must have for me...although some folks do just fine with water. When I started, I didn't even realize there was such a thing. "Dammit Jim, I'm an engineer, not an artist!".


9. Absolutely, positively get a mentor, multiple mentors, etc. Seek out those people that are willing to assist you.


10. Don't drybrush unless it's ABSOLUTELY the only way to accomplish the task at hand. I consider this a technique of last resort...especially when trying to learn more advanced stuff. It's a crutch, a quick way to get something done. Some might disagree, but I feel pretty strongly about this one...since it's been a major hill for me to get over.


Now on to the personal notes....


Listen to advice. I'm a firm believer that no matter how good or bad a person is at any skill, they still have the ability to think. Don't believe because Joe has been painting for 2 months, and you've been painting for 2 decades, that he can't possibly offer good advice. Great ideas sometimes come from the most unexpected places.


Practice. Don't ever believe this is easy as some of these guys and gals make it look.


Practice with reason. When you paint, have a SPECIFIC goal in mind..."I want to improve x, y, and z today", and then do it.


Be bold. Put yourself under time constraints, try new color mixes, try new techniques. If a question pops in your mind, try to answer the question on your own before appealing to someone else. Don't just do it a certain way because "that's what everyone else does". Experimentation is where you will learn the most.


Above all else....it's supposed to be fun. When the fun stops, you might as well take up another hobby.


And one final note...

If you have no level of tenacity, you might consider trying to buy some.



My limited wisdom in a few words,


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I've only been painting a couple of years, just kind of winging it, and thus, I am still a big newbie, but I'd like to add on:


- Eyes are not really that hard

Everyone will tell you that eyes are difficult. (I know I heard that multiple times, and even got a lot of bad advice on how to do them)

Sure they're tiny and can be intimidating, but with the right brush, and the right technique they are simple.

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