Monday, September 3, 2012

Painting guide

The beginner’s painting tutorial.

*This is going to be a tutorial using the products and techniques that I personally use when painting miniatures. I don’t pretend to be a great mini painter, but I do consider myself to be a fairly adept utility painter. There are more expensive/better brushes and paints that can be used, as well as additional steps that can be taken, but this is more of a nuts and bolts kind of tutorial.

Painting miniatures is just like anything else skill based, some people are going to be naturally good at it, and with a little work and practice, will be able to do amazing things, while other people are not going to start off at the same level, and will take more practice to get painting down.

One of the things that is very appealing to me about painting figures for HeroScape, is that while the quality of the official paint jobs aren’t terrible, it’s not very difficult to duplicate official looking paint jobs, or paint them just a touch better than the originals, paying more attention to the little details, and have an end result that doesn’t look out of place with the official figures. This also makes it great for the beginning painter.

A Trip to Wal-Mart to Get Supplies
(*For those of you who don’t shop at Wal-Mart, these items can be purchased elsewhere, but not everything at 1 store)

When you get to Wal-Mart, head to the Craft section, if you don’t know where that is, look for the old ladies cutting fabric, and you’ve found the right place.

For non-metallic colors, I use Apple Barrel brand acrylic craft paint, available at Wal-mart for $0.44 a bottle, and a bottle will go a long way.

I hear people talking about more expensive paints? Why should I buy this cheap paint? Isn’t the more expensive stuff better?
I’ve personally never used Vellajo paint, but, from what I understand, it’s just about the best paint there is for minis, but, it’s about 10x the price of the Apple Barrel. I’ve been painting minis for almost 10 years, and I used to be a big Citadel (another expensive, high end mini paint) guy, until a fellow painter introduced me to Apple Barrel, and I’ve never used any other paint since. I feel, for normal paints (not inks, washes, or metals), Apple Barrel is on par with Citadel’s paint. The one disadvantage to using Apple Barrel, is that there are not quite as many colors, but, since Apple Barrel mixes easily, you can make pretty much any color you could ever want. And, you may start painting, and like many people, decide you hate it, or that it’s too time consuming, and it’s a lot easier to swallow a 10 dollar loss versus a 30 or 40 dollar loss.

You’re going to want to buy several colors. I suggest getting primary colors (red, green, blue) as well as black and white. I would then get several shades of brown, and possibly several different shades of the primaries. Don’t be afraid to splurge, since 10 bottles will end up costing you around 5 bucks.

As for metallic colors, I use DecoArt Metallics, which run about 2 bucks a bottle. I would suggest getting silver and gold.

For brushes, I use cheap Plaid brand brushes, available in the craft section where you’ll find the afore mentioned paints. You can purchase a 5 pack of brushes that will include any brush you’ll need for less than 5 bucks. The sizes you’re looking for are Round 1, Round 0, and Round 0/3. Personally, I’m not at a level of expertise where I can really tell the difference between a 1.00 brush and a 10.00 brush. I’ve painted with expensive Citadel brushes before, and I honestly can’t tell a difference.

After you get your brushes and paint, you’re going to head over to the hardware section. You’re going to buy a cheap baggy or blister of nuts, get smallish ones, which should set you back 1-3 bucks depending on the quantity and size. You’re going to want 2 nuts for each bottle of paint you just bought. Why nuts? You’re going to put 2 into each bottle of paint to make mixing easier.

After you find the nuts, you’re going to head to the spray paints. You’re looking for Krylon brand Matte Spray Coat. This should be around 2.89 or so a can. You’ll only need 1 can. (you need to be 17+? to buy any spray paint product in GA, not sure how it is in your state, so you may want to have mom/dad go with you if you’re under 1

So, depending on how many colors you’re buying, you’re going to spend anywhere between 10-13 bucks on all the supplies you’ll need, which is equivalent to 1 “good” expensive brush. Not bad, eh?

Where to Paint?
Now you have your paints, your brushes, and you’re ready to roll. So where do you paint? I would suggest choosing somewhere with hard floors (easier to clean up paint), bright lighting, and water. If you can’t guess, I paint in the kitchen. If you choose to paint in the kitchen, make sure you put down plenty of paper towels in case you have a spill. The garage would also work, or anywhere else you feel comfortable, but it may require you to get some additional lighting. A lamp with the shade tilted works fine, and they make clamp lamps that also work great, but that’s extra money. I think the kitchen is the best place to paint, and if you can’t paint in the kitchen, use your judgment in finding a suitable substitute.

Time To Paint
So now you’re ready. As of now, you’re sort of on your own. I’m going to walk you through some basics, and try to answer some general questions, but it’s easier to show than to tell, so I’ll be adding a step by step picture guide as I paint a figure sometime in the next few days.

Where to start?

How much paint do I put on my brush? For starters, as far as preparing your paint, make sure you shake it very well, then twist off the entire top. With Apple Barrel, there will always be a good amount of fresh paint in the top if you twist it off. This is the paint I paint with. When it starts getting low, I put the top back in, shake it up, open it up, and start painting again. Now, to the original question… how much paint? It’s relative, although, you’re never going to bathe your brush in the paint. At most, you’ll use ¼ of the total brush bristle length. When you’re painting a larger area, you’ll get more paint on your brush to save time, when you’re painting smaller areas with a smaller brush, you may just get a single small dip of paint. You’ll get a feel for it.

If you’re repainting a pre-painted figure (HS figure, MK figure, D&D figure, ect) I would not recommend adding a base coat. A base coat is when you paint the entire figure a solid color (usually gray or white) before repainting the figure. The reason I personally don’t base my repaints, is that the details on a prepainted, mass produced figure are generally somewhat muted to begin with, adding an extra layer of base coat can mute those features even more.

I would suggest starting with something on the bigger side with minimal extra details, such as an extra Mimring. The number of colors you’ll use to repaint Mimring will be minimal. 1 for teeth, claws, and horns. 1 for the tongue. 1 for scales. 1 for under belly. And possibly another color for the wings, if you want them to be a different color than his scales or belly. And of course, you could always add or subtract the amount of colors you use depending on how much you want to put into it. Add in a wash, and you’re talking about a pretty simple, yet big, repaint. Why big first? There are less small details to worry about. No buttons or knobs or glasses, just flesh and bone, and the areas where the different colored paints will go are fairly defined.

When painting, I use a bottom to top method. Meaning that, I paint the lowest layer of a figure first, and work my way up. Let’s say we’re repainting Carr. I would start with his skin. Then I would paint his shirt. Then his pants. Then his boots, then his jacket, then his gun, and finally the glasses and hair. When you paint this way, you’re generally painting smaller things last. It’s a lot easier to touch up a big spot that gets a little paint on it than it is trying to touch up a small spot on an already small area, does that make sense?

Use a wash. Always use a wash. What’s a wash? A wash is a mix of (usually) darker colored paint, mixed with a lot of water. Want to know the difference between a figure with and without a wash? Look at Einar’s Flagbearer and a Tagawa Samurai side by side. Notice how the Tagawa have much more detail? That’s because they’ve been washed. For some reason, the Flagbearers didn’t receive a wash, or a received a very light one. Basically, it’s a simple, final step that will add a ton to your paint job. You take around 8 parts water to 1 part paint. 1 tablespoon of water to 1 drop of paint, roughly. Mix it thoroughly, and you’re ready to roll. Dip your largest brush into the mix, and run the brush over the side of your index finger. If your finger print turns black, and the rest of your finger remains just a shade darker than normal, you’re in business. If it’s too thick, add a touch more water, too thin, add some more paint. It’s a trial and error thing. After you have the mix ready, you’re going to dip your brush in, and go over your entire figure. What this will do is add darker color to the recesses, those adding more detail and shadow. It’s super quick and really, really easy, and adds a ton to your finished product.

When you’re completely done painting, and everything’s dry, you’re going to spray your figure with the matte spray. Holding the mini by the base, you’re going to dust over it a few times with light burst sprays. You want it to look wet, but not dripping. Again, trial and error. This will dry with a very light sheen, very similar to the sheen of official figures. This also protects your paint job.

WASH YOUR BRUSH AND DRY IT! Very important. After every color, clean your brush. They cleaner you keep your brushes, the easier they are to use and the longer they’ll keep their pointy-ness.

Stay away from glossy paints, stay away from enamels (Testors).

Hope this was helpful!

This tutorial will continue to grow as more things are added to it!

As I suggested, we’re going to start with Mimring. Why Mimring? 1, he’s big. 2, you probably have a few to spare. 3, he doesn’t have many different parts which require different colors.

Click here to see a large version

So what parts of Mimring are going to require different colors? Well, there are the scales, which cover most of his body(1-dark blue). His skin, which is on his face, feet, and wings (2-light blue). Of course, you could opt to paint these the same color as his scales, but let’s take it a step past the official paint job. His claws, teeth, and horns(3 bony white). These can all be painted the same color, or, you could opt for a bony white for the claws and horns, and go for white on the teeth, your choice. We’re going to paint them 2 different colors, so (4 white). His tongue will be red (5), . And finally, his under belly(6 dingy yellow-cream). So 6 different colors, but you could get away with 4 different colors.

I like to paint in a bottom up method. Which means I paint the lowest part of something first, then I work my way up. So we’re going to start with Mimring’s underbelly.

I mix 2 parts yellow with 1 part brown and 1 part white to get a dingy yellowish color:

Click here to see a large version

I then mix it together using my large utility brush. This is a high quality Crayola brush I took out of one of my daughter’s painting activity things a while back, and I love it. I use it for mixing, washing, dry brushing, and painting really large areas.

Click here to see a large version

After the paint is thoroughly mixed, I get my middle sized detail brush and I start painting Mimring’s underbelly. I’m going to dip a little more than the tip of my brush into the paint, and use short, strong strokes in a side to side direction, to ensure that I get all of the cracks and crevices in Mimring’s underbelly scales.

Click here to see a large version

One of the benefits of painting from the bottom up, is that you can save a little time by not being overly careful, since you’ll be painting over the surrounding, “higher” areas with a different color.

Also, don’t stress yourself out trying to paint underneath something or behind somewhere that no one will ever see. I tend to try to cover the whole figure, even spaces I can’t see, but I’m not going to take Mimring off the base so I can paint the pads of his feet, know what I mean?

Once you have the entire underbelly painted, go back to the part you started on and work your way back, checking for anywhere the paint is too thin. Once you do that, you should be left with this:

Click here to see a large version

Before going on to the next color, don’t forget to clean your brush out!

Click here to see a large version

The next step, and this is optional, but I think adds a lot of contrast. Get your smallest brush and your black paint. This is a good lesson, learning to let the model do the painting for you. The figure will have raised portions and indentations that serve as brush guides. As you see here, I’ve painted the outline of Mimring’s mouth black, using his lips as a brush guide to keep any black paint off of the yellow I’ve already painted.

Click here to see a large version

After this, make sure to clean out your brush. Then it’s on to the next level up, the skin. I’ve opted to paint the skin a lighter blue, and the scales a darker midnightish blue, for some contrast.

2 Parts blue, 1 part white

[img] [/img]


Click here to see a large version

I take my smallest brush, and start outlining the areas of the skin where it touches the yellow using the light blue I just mixed. Once this is finished, I can move on to a larger brush to paint the larger areas, and finally my big yellow brush to get the wings.

You may find that lighter colors require more than one coat. Mimring is a prime example of this since he is not only a darker color to begin with, he has a finish on him that may cause the first coat you lay on to streak a little bit. So you may have to go back over what you already painted. In the end, you should have something like this:

Click here to see a large version

Now comes the fun part, where you’re going to have to pay a little bit more attention. We’re going to paint Mimring’s scales. I’m going to mix 2 parts blue with 1 part black to get a deep blackish blue.

Click here to see a large version


Click here to see a large version

I’m going to begin by using my smallish brush and outlining everywhere the dark blue will touch anything I’ve already painted, including the few plates on Mimring’s head. This is my end result:

Next, I move onto my next larger brush to start painting the larger areas of the scales. This takes a few minutes, but by getting the more difficult painting out of the way first, I can take my time painting the larger areas. When I’m done, everything will be painted aside from the small details, such as the claws and teeth.

I will start out with the tongue, painting it red. From there, I’ll take my smallest brush, dip just a tip into white, and dot the eyes. I want cold looking white eyes on this Mimring. Then, I get just a smidge on my brush, and using very light strokes, I paint the teeth, being careful not to get any paint on the face.

Next, I mix 2 parts white into my yellow mix from earlier, and I come up with a nice off white color, perfect for the claws. I use my middle sized brush, and using the figure as a guide, start from the base of the claw pulling my brush to the tip. I repeat this with all claws and horns.

So we’ve painted everything, kept colors where they belong. And we’re done. Here’s our finished result:

Click here to see a large version

But something’s missing. It looks ok, but looks sort of flat. Let’s add a wash! A wash is really watered down paint.

I’ll add a couple of drops of black paint to my little dish.

Click here to see a large version

I’ll add some water and mix. Here’s what I get.

Click here to see a large version

Testing it proves that the wash is too heavy. I use my fingerprints as a guide. It it goes into my finger prints, and doesn’t do much else besides turn my finger a shade darker, while detailing my prints, it’s just right.

To heavy

Click here to see a large version

Add some more water, and it’s just right.

Click here to see a large version

So now I use my large brush, and I just slather the whole figure with this wash.

Click here to see a large version

Here is the end result detail of a wash and no wash. Can you tell the difference?

Click here to see a large version Click here to see a large version

And here is my final result:

Click here to see a large version

After finishing the wash, I’ve decided to dry brush Mimring some. When you dry brush, you’re basically just dusting the figure with a highlight color to bring out the raised portions. It’s sort of time consuming, and I’ve never really been very good at it. Regardless, I’m going to walk you through the steps. We’re going to dry brush Mimring’s skin with white, and his scales with blue.

First, get your largest brush, and dip the very tip into the white.

Click here to see a large version

Then, using a paper towel, we’re going to wipe off a lot of the paint.

Click here to see a large version

You’re left with a dry, white brush, ready to dry brush

Click here to see a large version

Make strokes against the raised surfaces of Mimring’s skin. This will leave the raised portions white, but, since the coat is so light, almost like powder, much of the under color will come through as well. Go over everywhere, then rinse your brush, and go to the blue. Repeating the process on the scales. Here’s my end result (sorry for the poor photo)

Click here to see a large version

After the dry brushing dries, it’s time for the matte spray coat. Take the figure outside, hit the entire model with a liberal amount of the spray, try not to stay stationary, instead keep the can moving as you make passing sprays on the figure. Bring it back inside, and allow it 15 or 20 minutes to dry. This step will make your figure smell pretty musty, but that smell will fade with time.

The end result

Click here to see a large version

Now, this really is the end of the Mimring repaint. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’ll be the first to say that I’m not completely happy with my color choices for this repaint. And I didn’t intend this to be a 100% follow me step by step repaint, but rather a step by step tutorial showing the steps I take and the techniques used. Experiment with your own color palette!

No comments:

Post a Comment