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I might be teaching someone... How do I do that?


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Okay so, we got a new person in my gaming group and he wants to learn how to paint, simple enough. Right? Except he asked me to teach him and in my ecstasy I said, YES. Then I realized I have no idea how to teach someone how to paint. So, that's a minor problem. I would ask my father but in many ways I have surpassed his painting skills  (not bragging, or at least not tring to) and he gets kinda grumpy when I ask him about stuff. Thus my dilemma, I don't want to send my friend to a video or whatever because it's easier to learn from a live person. So, help?

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TGP has a better suggestion than I.


This someone, how old? If young, suggest that they pick a couple of colours, and stick to it, my daughter wanted to paint ebonwrath gold, got 1/2 way through and changed it to green. 


Lean their forearms or elbows on the table for steadiness, have a good light source.


After that, id suggest, dipping their brush in the paint very shallowly, do light coats. 


If they are into more than just base coats, drybrushing and using washes for shadows are a good intermediate starter skills.

Edited by davor
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   I know it sounds silly for something so informal, but I would suggest actually writing a syllabus as it will help organize your thoughts.   How many sessions will you have with the person?  Is it a one shot thing, or can you do it over several times, allowing the person to practice what they've learned in between session.

 Off the top of my head, I would say something like this:


1) Outline paint and brush types; Figure Prep, mounting and Priming.  By next time student should have 3 or 4 prepped and primed figures


2) Block painting, simple color theory.  What to paint first, second, last, etc. (I start with skin and work outward)   By next time student should have 3-4 block painted figures.


3) Shadows and highlights.  Teach a few of these techniques.  By next time, student should have 3-4 figures with shadows and highlights


4)  Details, finishing, base decoration.   Student should be ready to finish their figures.

Edited by Chris Palmer
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Major topics for the first time:

  • Prep
  • Brush purchase and care
  • Paint consistency
  • Basic brush strokes
  • Pushing contrast
  • Highlight and shadow placement

Once that is understood and the student has decent brush control, you can go on to more interesting stuff, but that will get you to a halfway decent figure and can be taught in 1-2 hours.

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Do you have the Bones Learn to Paint Kit? That would be a great starting guide (whether you actually give them the instruction manual, or you just you it as your own syllabus). Rhonda Bender's already done all the "how do you teach someone to paint" work.


Go through the steps together. So, you both paint the skeleton archer, then the orc, then the knight. That way you're going at the same pace, and can answer questions as they come up in real time.

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Firstly, patience. Everyone learns differently. If you're having trouble with them listening to you, then adjust and try teaching by doing.


Secondly, a syllabus is a good idea. Just sit down and work out what you do to a figure. My syllabus would be


- setting up a paint workstation, focusing on comfort and lighting. Lay out the equipment you use & explain the purpose. I also include the things its a good idea to get into the habit for, like a paint diary.


- brush care. I tend to wash my brushes both before they are put away and once I take them out again.


- prepping a figure for painting


- priming a figure if using metal


- base coating


- whatever basic techniques you're going to show them to get started. I like to cover lining, washes, and dry brushing for a beginner as a good way to get a solid desktop quality figure.


- finishing the figure - basically highlights & shading, and sealing the figure. Base work is probably too advanced for a beginner short of painting a base so its a flat color.


- cleanup. Disposing of waste correctly, cleaning brushes, packing stuff away.

Edited by Laoke
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He already knows some stuff. Though but he has crappy pictutres so it's hard to judge what I need teach him. Or do I still go over everything?


In that case, I think you need to have a chat with him before you even get to the first session so that you can get a baseline of what he already knows (or thinks he knows).


Particularly if he learnt on his own, it's entirely possible that he has completely missed some aspects that are important to painting.  As a silly example, maybe he doesn't know about the importance of priming his models as his first exposure was to a Bones model and he doesn't realize that Bones are very different to other miniatures.


On the other hand, it could be a case that he has done a lot of reading already so knows about the importance of prepping the model and is able to do that - but wasn't able to get his head around how to thin his paints or how to control the paint from just reading a blog/watching a video.


With that said, don't sweat this too much as the initial chat won't give you a complete picture (although it might give you an idea of where to start).  And once you do start, keep an eye out for any bad habits he may have picked up on his own.  As a relatively newbie painter, I can attest to the fact that I very often don't even know the right questions that I should be asking.

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