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How to start mini painting?
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TOPIC: How to start mini painting?
#37615
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Hello all,

I continue top practice DM'ing D&D 4e with a group and we have progress to Level 3. I'm enjoying it and able to run a Lost In The Wilderness skill challenge that should be fun.

Regardless of that, I took a free class - of sorts - on mini painting yesterday. I got to play around with a Reaper mini (Justine, for those of you who are curious about such things) and it was a good deal of fun. Four hours just flew by as I tried to paint this tiny little creature.

I wouldn't say "I'm hooked" but I did enjoy myself. Looking through galleries of painted minis is a bit daunting because I haven't painted anything since crudely adding color to model airplanes as a teenager. The "professional" minis have shading and other detail I can't begin to fathom. I was jut happy to have a skin-colored face that wasn't bleeding into the hood of the mini; not sure how you pull off facial features.

If I was to get into this (and I know it can be expensive), then where should one start?

Thank you!
Swanton
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#37616
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Excellent question!

I'd recommend a few things...

1. There are lots of ways to get cheap miniatures -- lots of companies sell very cheap figs (Megaminis.com, for example, has a lot of $1 minis). You can also pick up a Games Workshop set of plastic figs for pretty cheap, depending on what you get. Some of their sets which sell for $30 or so pack enough figures inside to make each about $2 or thereabouts. Hard to top that.

You're going to want to spend $30 anyway, because you're going to want a good number to practice on. You will take time to improve, and you could end up regretting wasting $10 on a mini that will look kinda @!#$#@ next to figures you paint after you've gotten better. So for now, start practicing on cheap minis, and get enough to get a lot of practice.

You can always strip minis, people tell me, but that seems a big pain in the $@#@ to me. Still, it's a good thing to remember if you do decide that you have to paint a particular $6 mini right now and wind up really wishing it were better in a year, when you're that much better a painter.

2. Have good tools and a good workspace. I personally don't think it matters what paint you use. Reaper, GW, etc. all make good stuff, and I use basic liquid acrylic from an art store because I also use it for other projects. But whatever paints you use, get GOOD brushes, keep them in GOOD shape (lots of websites have extensive brush care tips, but it amounts to keep them clean and store them bristles UP), and make sure you have GOOD lighting.

3. Be PATIENT. Even only moderately well-painted miniatures took time to reach that state, and several coats. Your first coat of paint will NEVER look that great. The best painters realize how much damage you can do by trying to get your final effects in the first coat -- it invariably means you're putting too much paint on, and globbing over the details.

4. As a basic starter course in painting, remember these steps:

a) Do a very thin basecoat of the basic colors you want. You will see brushstrokes. You will see metal or plastic through the paint. It will look cheap and lacking in detail. THAT'S FINE. Just get the paint on, and remember -- ONE THIN COAT.

b) Do an inkwash. That means either use a special ink, or better yet, just dilute some paint with water. You'll have to use a trial and error method to determine the ratio, but usually, you're going to want mostly water -- just dip your brush in paint as if you were going to paint, then stick it in water and run it around a bit, then brush the result in the desired area of the mini. The best wash for fleshtones, and for a lot of things, is brown -- it gives things an earthy tone and makes shadows appear organic. But you can also achieve great effects on fabrics with different colors -- green, red, blue, whatever you've chosen, an inkwash of a darker tone brings out a lot of detail.

90% of great-looking figures start with a good inkwash. Even a novice painter can achieve details you would never have imagined by just figuring out how to inkwash well. It doesn't take long to figure it out - just practice on some cheap minis with different color combinations and dilution ratios. You should get the hang of it quickly, figure out what works for you.

c) Practice drybrushing. IHMO, this is the hardest part. Wipe most of the paint off on a paper towel, and then lightly run the brush over the surface in rapid motions. You get really great highlights. To do it well, though, it has to be SUBTLE. Otherwise, you get these glaring lines and it looks messy. You want it to be a slightly, slightly, SLIGHTLY lighter tone than the color underneath, and as you do more layers and more coats, you can go lighter each time to achieve a good blend. But if you go too light too fast, you get a harsh contrast that looks terrible. This one, again, is VERY hard to master. You have to remember, too, that if you're doing it right, you shouldn't really notice ANY difference after one or two strokes with your brush -- it has to be a good 20 seconds, up and down like a hummingbird, and then you'll start to see some color differences emerge.

Hope that helps! Enjoy!

L
Law
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"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play."

-- F. Nietzsche
 
#37617
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Thank you for the response. I'll have to post a picture of the mini I worked on, but I rushed through it and didn't really have any concept of techniques I should be using. A friend of mine that informed me of the class/group is going to apply a finishing solution of some sort to it, which he indicated will bring out more detail.

As a DM, I get annoyed when "my monsters" are killed; I can't imagine the personal attachment if I spent hours and hours actually painting them first!!
Swanton
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#37618
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
The secret of painting is practice, practice (like most things really!) and don't be disheartened by early attempts.
For roleplaying I would start off painting simple and multiple minion to practice on (kobolds, goblins etc) before moving on to more complex miniatures.
The quickest way to learn is to meet up with someone who is better than you and try to arrange a regular painting session with them to learn the ropes.
Dry brushing and inking (as well as a steady hand) is enough to get you by all but the highest standards.
Buy good brushes and good paints, you can't do a good job without them! Getting cheap tools is false economy.
Buy books/magazines on painting to get ideas.
Try copying paint jobs that you like. Write down successful combinations of colours or stages so you can replicate or hone them in the future.
Paint little and often rather than trying it once in a blue moon.
Good light needed.

Just a few of my top tips.

Dave
David Wasilewski
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#37619
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
Welcome aboard. Lead minis are what got me into gaming in the first place.

You don't have to spend a ton of money to start off. It can be rewarding to make a hunk of metal come to life, especially if it represents a character you play. And of course monster are fun to paint.

At your local hobby shop it may be worth spending a little extra money on sable brushes, if you can find them. The bristles stay straight for years. I like the p3 paints as they seem to flow the best. It's a relaxing hobby enjoy...
Djtherapy
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D&D since 83'...Figure painting fanatic.
www.coolminiornot.com/artist/DjTherapy
 
#37620
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
I'm also starting to paint my minis in april.
I bought everything but don't know how to do how to start how to...
If you have tutorials on internet please send me urls.
HeroQuestFrance
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Cavern & Cavernous passages set / Cavernous Lake & River & Wall set / Advanced Builder set 1 &2 / Room & Passage set / Narrow Passage set & Wicked Addition set 1 & 2 / Deluxe Room set & Octagonal Room set / Trap set 1 & 2 / Fantasy Floor & Starter sets / Den Of Evil set & Room & Wicked Additions sets / Medieval Building & Expansion set / ROTA set 1 & 2 & entrance / Hellscape set / All Accessories
 
#37621
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
There are numerous tutorials available. You can find some excellent tutorials here:

www.coolminiornot.com/go.php/go/articlephp/levels/99/expand/all?
www.chestofcolors.com/cofc-postnuke/index.php?name=Sections

:D
Kradlo
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Kradlo
Make Mine Master Maze!
 
#37622
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
With only 2 basic techniques (dry brush, and wet brush), and a lot of patience you can easily get awesome results.

I got from lousy painter to almost pro in a few days.
crioux
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Christian Rioux
Own one of each DF sets except DoE, HS and traps sets
 
#37623
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 7 Months ago  
You can never have too many bottles of black paint.
You can never have too many bottles of white paint.

While you are experimenting, try different sealants (matte vs glossy) to see what kind of effects you can create. Wood and cloth tend to be matte finishes, while gloss makes paint look shiny and/or wet.
jackattack
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#37624
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 6 Months ago  
Don't hyper-invest in Games Workshop's Mega Paint Set or, even, in many bottles of their colors that you don't have an immediate use for.

My set sat NEW and UNUSED for a couple of years and ALL the paints except for inks, had solidified. Not just thickened, COMPLETELY SOLIDIFIED. Games Worshop paints are notorious for drying out like this. It's the hard plastic bottles vs. the softer plastics that other manufacturers use (Vallejo, etc). I still have some fluid GW paints from over 15 years ago when they used the soft plastic bottles. My cynical side asks if maybe they designed the new bottles to sell more paints ??

Have fun with the new hobby !!
Myrthe
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#37625
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 6 Months ago  
as croiux said,
try drybrusching technique first on some miniature good suited for this.
That are in my opinion miniatures that have an overall base color with a stucture underneath:
wolves, bears, true elementals, golems come to mind

get one of these and try the technique and enjoy the results

Best thing would be: try to find someone experianced in your area to show you some tricks
Green_knight
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don't hate the character hate the game system
 
#37626
How to start mini painting? 4 Years, 6 Months ago  
Can someone explain dry brushing as if I'm a 2nd grader? I read about it, but I'm not sure I quite understand how it works.

I'm running two different campaigns over the weekend and may start gathering up beginning supplies in the coming weeks. I think it would be fun to paint minis for all the players in my group(s). That would be a task, but it would be a fun start. However, I also like the idea of starting with some generic monsters for practice. I"ll probably go with the second route.
Swanton
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