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GuyWithCoolBackpack

Can anyone help me base coat faster?

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Evening, all,

 

So I've come to realize one of the big weaknesses I have in my technique is base coating.  As in it always takes too long.  I've started to pay attention to the reasons why and I'm hoping people can offer me some tips to streamline my process and not get hung up on what should be a pretty straightforward step.  

 

So I start with the blank mini and I'm immediately trying to figure out a color scheme. I'll usually pick a couple of main colors that offer good contrast, figure I'll use cream and brown colors on the less important accessories and I'm off to the races with my base coat, except that this almost immediately falls apart as I start trying to parse the mini into these handful of different colors.  Let's say I want to give a guy a green shirt and dark red pants.  I figure I'll use black for the boots, brown for his belt, no problem.  Except that I'll start painting and realize that his pants have a stripe down the side, or a fringe.  

 

Well I've already tried to settle on a palette, but maybe I don't want to use any of those colors for the stripe. Okay, maybe I'll jut use an bright red stripe, that's a diferent color, add it to my pallete.  And then I notice the belt has a pouch on it, and I don't want to use the same color for the belt and the pouch, so I need to figure out a different color for that. And then I notice he has a belt buckle that's made of a different material, and now I have entirely too many colors and I don't like tho look of the pallete anymore...I'm just trying to get on a base coat but I'm also trying to figure out how to paint this thing at the same time, and considering that I only get an hour or 2 to paint a night, the process can take days.  

 

So does anyone have any thoughts?  Other than just stealing color schemes wholesale from the back of the box (something I'm not too good for) can anyone help me figure out how to separate the "what paint goes where" problem from the "get the basic colors on the model" problem?  

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Pick a handful of colors that look good together. You might pick all primary colors, or all pastels, or "woodsy" colors, or maybe a "winter" theme. Then put the rest of the paint away.  Work only with those 8-10 colors. 

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I think you're focusing too much on the little details, rather than the larger, overall scheme.

If you feel that each belt needs to be it's own colour of brown, I can see why it would take you days to paint a single model. First of all, those straps, belts, and pouches can all be the same colour - don't kill yourself for the sake of 100% realism.

 

Don't get bogged down in the tiny details, and focus on the large areas first. I completely paint each area working from the 'inside-out'. Base, shade, and highlight the skin, paint the eyes, hair, and face. Hard part's done. Paint the shirt and pants. Then the boots. Then the belts, pouches and straps. Then the weapons.

 

Break it down into chunks, and focus on completing one part at a time. It goes faster, you see more of the model completed with each step, and the details become the easy bits you slop some paint on at the very end.

 

Don't let the details overwhelm you or your palette. Take charge!

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I almost always use a limited palette and just re-use things. Swap around highlight colors and shadows, mix in a few things to change them up rather than pull a new color in.

 

If you look at stuff I painted in tandem, like Zombicide survivors, it becomes a bit more obvious: https://cashwiley.com/2016/07/30/zombicide-black-plague-nelly-samson-and-silas/

 

So much re-use on these. Like the white apron and the dwarf's hair. Then I mixed some of that into the yellows for the elf's shirt for the light trim. But don't take this too seriously, I didn't mix colors as much as I normally do.

 

For a while I had a small paint case for my setup, so I was only using colors that fit into that. Once you have your white/black warm white/warm black in there, a few browns and greys, it gets tight quick. You can get a lot of mileage out of just those, I used some of DKS's browns for a nice variety of reds and yellows, too.

 

So in your case, if you want a red stripe on the dark red pants, start the stripe with your pant's highlight red and go up from there. Using value contrast rather than a new color. Or use a different highlight color on the strip than the pants.

 

For the belt and bag, maybe mix a little red (from the pants) into the bag to make it a warmer brown than the belt. This is also how you start to tie the colors in with each other and make the mini look more cohesive.

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Belts and such would realistically be 'bought' at the same time from the same vendor. Use the same base coat and then vary the amounts of wear on them with your shades and highlights...

Buckles are usually metal, so use the same colors as your weapons for them.

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I typically do each leather object in its own color or set of colors (contra Knarthex, I think it unlikely that you would buy such pieces in a set), but I do that for myself. It's unlikely that anyone else would notice.

 

In any case, though, different final color need not mean different base color. You can certainly use a different highlighting and shadowing scheme to shift the colors of different items in different directions.

 

Also, as Cash noted, it's OK to mix colors to shift base tones. This can allow you to keep a limited number of base colors on your palette while still getting color variety.

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I almost always use a limited palette and just re-use things. Swap around highlight colors and shadows, mix in a few things to change them up rather than pull a new color in.

This right here.

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Another option is to change the order in which you paint things.  Instead of giving everything a base coat first, do everything on the pants - shading, highlighting and details.  Then move onto the next area.  This isn't how I normally paint miniatures, but I've found it useful to vary things a bit when my brain keeps getting caught up in the weeds.

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So much win in this thread.  Another thing to keep in mind is to ask yourself "What am I painting this mini for?"  I say this because the target "audience" should dictate your choices quite a bit.  If you are simply trying to work on your painting skills and achieve "table top" quality (realizing everyone has a different definition of table top) then a lot of the little details won't matter a whole lot.  You're going to be looking at the mini from at least  a couple of feet away and you likely won't notice if the belt is a slightly different shade of brown from the boots, etc.  

 

I also agree with the idea of painting the little details (like belt pouches, buckles, etc.) last, especially if you get hung up on color schemes.  The advantage to this is that most of your mini will already be finished, which will make it easier to see what color(s) will go well and which ones are going to make it look like a box of crayons threw up on the mini.

 

Also, just a tip I have found, which may not be an issue with you, is to put all minis but the one you are working on.  I often get scatter brained when painting and jump from mini to mini while waiting for a wash to dry, or while trying to decide if I need another highlight, etc.  Of course, this means I get relatively little progress per model (even if actual progress is decent, if just spread over several models).  The old adage Keep It Simple Stupid really does apply much of the time.

 

By the way, also don't be afraid to simply call the model "done".  I think human nature is that we quite often tend to be our own worst critics.  Somebody might paint an absolutely stunning mini, but only see the perceived flaws, even while every one else is picking their jaws up from the floor.

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Somebody might paint an absolutely stunning mini, but only see the perceived flaws, even while every one else is picking their jaws up from the floor.

I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BEHAVIOR
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Somebody might paint an absolutely stunning mini, but only see the perceived flaws, even while every one else is picking their jaws up from the floor.

I'VE NEVER HEARD OF THIS BEHAVIOR

 

 

Well, hypothetically y'know?  :P

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I'll toss my One Kroner into the bucket also.

 

Please acquire (they're cheap) a color (colour) wheel.

Read it and understand it.  Look at the arrows for complimentary colors, secondary colors, tertiary colors.

If you want a rich shadow, use the colors compliments in the shadow.

I use linen white to create my highlights.

The key to my painting is using the color wheel, I pay no attention to TRIAD colors unless I am making them.

 

I spend a good bit of time building up my base colors.  Red and Orange especially. 

So, it isn't speed that is the problem, its color choice and your layer amounts.

(in my humble opinion).

Into the jar the Kroner goes !

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I very much agree with, CashWiley.

Once I figure my basic colour set....I tend to mix in these shades to one or two shades of browns/camel shades. To create different shades for pouches, belts, shoes, then play around with how much I hi-light and shade to give a different appearance of material. Glazes of the inks, after you've completed the miniature , can give a different look without adding a lot of time. Particularly on accessories.

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James Wappel paints armies quickly and has allot of great tips on how to economize your painting sessions.  A big factor is speeding up the base coat process can be as easy as using a larger brush. Believe it or not, he uses a #8 round pointed synthetic brush and mixes colors directly on the mini  for base coating. He even includes the first blocking of highlights and shadows on his very first application of paint, while it's all still wet. It's pretty amazing to watch. Painting your figure this way is very "gut feeling" and can be really liberating. It'can help get you through that first base coat much quicker. In his shaded base-coats class I got all my base colors on a 60mm figure in less than 5 mins.  It was eye opening. 

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