Where do you start?
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Thread: Where do you start?

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Where do you start?

    Hi, I would like to hear where you start to paint. I am currently working on layering in my bid to improve, but I often wonder if trying to layer the whole mini at the same time is my problem? I water my paint's down, I move the paint where I think it should go, and i try not to overload the brush, but whatever I do when I photograph my mini's it's bad!
    Untill I photograph them I can belive i've got it, but then...............
    So how do you all start you painting? Inside the mini, working out? One section at a time? Biggest area first?
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  2. #2


    I paint in sections, generally working in the order of skin, then lower garments, upper garments, armor, weapons, belts, boots, pouches, then hair and then the base. I find that this helps me avoid overpainting generally, but if I overpaint it isnt hard to remix the colors I painted on a redo them. I make sure I use a wet palete and thing my paints down to skim milk consistency for a first coat and then I tend to glaze my layers using very very thin paint, always unload the brush on a paper towel first to avoid flooding the mini and work from midtone down to shade and from midtone up to highlight.

    Hope this is of use to you.

  3. #3


    I tend to start with the biggest area of colour first. Though it's not set in stone, just a default action. Similarly, by default I paint the shades as the basecoat and work up from there. My favoured method is what's known these days as layering, thin coats of successive highlights - back when it was all fields around here and Kajagoogoo were in the vinyl charts that was just considered blending before all the various techniques acquired names.

    Could start with the metallics. If doing blocks of troops, drybrushing metallics can be messy so a good idea to get that out of the way first. I ain't painted blocks of troops for years though, so ain't a process I've visited in a good while.

    There's something going for starting with the face. Faces are an area we humans focus on, and with that done it can set the tone and inform how one paints the rest of the mini. The levels of contrast and all that. Though, I reckon practice and the confidence that brings can make that inconsequential, intuitively understanding what the mini's tones will be without requiring a painted face with its suggestions.

  4. #4


    Personally I tend to paint from the "inside out" taking care of the crevasses and hard to reach sections before working out to the rest of the miniature. Just like Mercius, I also tend to work in sections. On a standard mini, I tend to start at the feet and work my way up. Just personal preference I guess.

  5. #5


    I start with what I KNOW is going to be a certain color (flesh, brass bits, hair color) and then go with what looks good from there.

  6. #6


    HI, many thanks for all of your great reply's. I haven't tried a wet palette before, so i'll give that a go. Just a couple of things though Mercius. How quickly do you take your midtone to shade/highlight, or how gradual would you say it should be? Also if i were to use 2:1, 3:1 wateraint mix and dab the brush on paper towel does that ruin the hairs, do you wash your brush after each time?
    Last of the silly questions goes to Wyrmypops, you said you start with the shade colour as the base coat, but do you use a colour from the pot or do you have a midtone in mind and mix the shade from it?

  7. #7


    Oh I'll know what the mid-tone will be, but those first stages of paint slapping could be either. Depends on the colour I want as to whether there's an appropriate paint to use as is, or mix one up myself. It helps that I'd be working on a black undercoat, so those early stages can incorporate a bit of layered tinting from the outset, letting the black undercoat get involved in the prelimary shades.

  8. #8


    For a basecoat I don't add any water other than what leaches through from the wet palette. For the layers I add water until I get an appropriate glaze consistency, which differes for each person, I prefer mine a little thicker than others do. Also, I tend to not push my highlights and shadows as high and low as a lot of the better artists on here, so I might not be the one to ask about contrast. For my wet palette I use a tupperware container with 4 layers of doubled over paper towels, I then fill the tupperware with water and drain off excess until the paper towels are very damp but don't have any standing water. I then put baking paper (non waxed) on top and mix my paints on that. I usually put my shade, mid tone and highlight on the wet palette and then blend them together to get my intermediate tones. Hope that helps a bit.

    This is what my palette looks like when I am shading and highlighting.

    Last edited by Mercius; 07-13-2010 at 08:48 PM.

  9. #9


    That's brilliant, I'm giving that a go now! Will try to post a pic for any suggestions later today. Many thanks for your time guy's.

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