Hello again! I’ve been quite a busy boy this week but mainly with assembling new toys. I used to really enjoy that part of the hobby, particularly when I’ve been kit-bashing or converting figures but recently I’ve been making figures ‘as designed’ to show them off in this column. I don’t mind that one bit but it does take a little of the fun out. As a result I’ve come to enjoy being creative with paint a lot more.
It may surprise some of you (particularly in light of the fact that I write a column on the subject) but I don’t regard myself as a good painter. I frequently see figures on the internet and in real life that outshine my own and I would always describe my models as painted to a high table top standard. In fact I was talking about painting to one of my friends last week and he insisted that it isn’t for him. Now he is quite fortunate in that he can afford to buy the models and ship them to a painter for a fee. His figures look good and he’s happy but what if you want to paint your own? Or just can’t justify the extra money to get someone else to paint your toys?
I responded at the time with “it’s just painting by numbers” and I think it really is. Sure you have to learn how to hold the brush and use the tools but I am a firm believer that with practice most people can learn most skills. Sure you may hit a glass ceiling at some point and I thought I had until recently when I decided to push myself and try new techniques. I’m learning to use an airbrush and my next project will include quite extensive use of object light sourcing (more on this later on).
I would recommend that anybody who is in doubt as to their skills with the brush do the following things;
a) Get figures that interest you to paint. If you aren’t motivated to make them look good then you just won’t. I really like the idea of an Eldar army but find painting them a huge chore so no Eldar army…
b) Assemble them in full. Yep a lot of the time you’ll see guys have the bolters off Space Marines to paint their chests. We want table ready not semi-pro so if you can’t see it then don’t bother.
c) Buy a spray can that is the right colour for the basis of your force. Blood Angels? Get a red can. Don’t faff about hand painting red all over your figures.
d) Paint in the ‘other colours’ carefully but don’t worry about going over the edges. You can always go back. It is important at this stage to do multiple thin coats so that you don’t obliterate the finer details of the figure. If something looks too small or fiddly to attempt then it probably won’t be visible on the table anyway…
e) Apply any markings and transfers.
f) Grab a wash (Nuln Oil is meant to be good) or an army painter dip and go nuts. This’ll pick out the shading and detailing on the figure. Once the wash is dry go back and pick out some highlights. Pay particular attention to the face and other areas you want people to focus on. If you use the army painter dip you’ll want to matte varnish them before the highlighting.
g) Complete the figure by putting sand/static grass or whatever on the base.
Done, for an example of this see my In Midnight Clad tutorial. They look plenty good enough at three feet away! Now I’m not a pro and my quick and dirty painting style won’t work for everyone so I’d definitely check out other tutorials for hints and tips. The important point to take away is that you shouldn’t be afraid of trying to paint. Practice and time will make you a better painter and the feeling of someone complimenting your work is great so I’d highly recommend giving it a go even if like me you’re not a natural artist!
Oh I said I was going to give up the goods on my Concord for Gates of Antares. Well the figures haven’t arrived but they are going to be based on this…
I’m going to try to do OLS for them and it’ll be challenging but hopefully rewarding in the end! Stay tuned for greater progress on the Mirakuru Crew, my Gates of Antares starter set and maybe even some buildings… Until next week happy painting-Mark.