I know I have only been at this whole “Painting Miniatures” thing for about two months now, but I really feel as if I have learn quite a bit since then. I have to say, much of that knowledge is thanks to many of my followers.
So here are a couple of things I've learned so far:
Make sure you have proper materials.
While I was painting my first few miniatures, I was using cheap brushes that lost bristles almost as much as I lose hair. That made painting very difficult because I would have to constantly try to pick out bristles and go over different areas two or three times to cover up the mistakes. Make sure you buy brushes that will last a long time and be sure to use the right types of brushes whenever you are using different techniques. What I mean by that is I have a designated dry-brushing brush as well as a washing brush. The brush I use when dry-brushing is smaller, with sturdy bristles that can handle this rough painting technique. The washing brush, on the other hand, is a larger, soft-bristled brush that can hold a decent about of wash. Make sure you do your research before you go out shopping for the right brushes for you.
Water down your paints!
Another mistake I was making with my first miniatures was not watering my paints down at all. This ended up making my miniatures look like they had layers upon layers of paint, when most of the time they didn't. I also noticed I lost quite a bit of detail by having the paint caked on. The small details are what make these figures look spectacular, don’t lose them! What I like to do is use a palate, add a few drops of paint then add a few drops of water. Citadel has what’s called Lahmian Medium that you can use to achieve the same effect. I happy with my water.
Don’t forget about your base.
While experimenting with color schemes on my Tyranids, it was pointed out to me by Oliver Bayley, that if I focused on my bases a little more, that would make a huge difference with how the mini looks as a whole. I couldn’t agree more! Simply by adding a few rocks and some greenery, my Tyranid went from mediocre to semi-decent. I feel that this is an easy step that can make your men look ten times better. I have also found that if you create a contrast between the top and the base and the sides, it makes the scenery you create really stand out. Don’t forget about your base!
Make sure each layer dries before moving on.
I’ve gotten excited and carried away many times, not allowing paint or wash to dry before applying an additional layer. As I’m sure you may have guessed, this did not turn out very well. This is especially important when applying washes. If you are looking for the most natural look, make sure you are allowing enough time before adding any additional paint or wash or else you will end up with unappealing lines.
Most Importantly: Have Fun!
No matter why you are painting, whether it is because you ultimately want to create the best looking army you can, or if you are like me and just enjoy painting, have fun with it! Never forget, this is a way to express your creativity and should not be viewed as a chore. If you wish to compare your work, compare it to your own to see just how much you have improved.
So, now I pose a question to you. What is one thing you learned while painting that you wish you knew before hand?