Getting started with oils
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Thread: Getting started with oils

  1. #1

    Default Getting started with oils

    So I am interested in giving miniature painting using oils a try. Having never used oils on any medium I am looking forward to the challenge. Does anyone know any good resources for learning to paint miniatures with oils? or can offer some beginner advice.

    Cheers, Wombat

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85 View Post
    So I am interested in giving miniature painting using oils a try. Having never used oils on any medium I am looking forward to the challenge. Does anyone know any good resources for learning to paint miniatures with oils? or can offer some beginner advice.

    Cheers, Wombat
    There are Water Soluble oils made by Winsor and Newton which are very handy to use as they thin with (Surprise!) water.
    Oils are a very smooth medium to work with but do take a lot of drying time naturally, but there are a lot of products to assist.
    http://www.winsornewton.com/products...ms--varnishes/

    One thing a lot of mini painters who use oils exclusively do is make an oils drying cabinet.
    Basically wooden box in which a 60 -100 watt bulb is enclosed above the figure. (just like a putty oven) but usually larger and vented to allow any fumes to disapate.
    I've not done this myself but have read that it can "cure" the oils to be painted over again in 24 hours.

    As for other sites, well The Basement have a lot of highly experienced painters using oils and you can pick up a lot of info there.

    One big thing with oils, you will only brush lick once!
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
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  3. #3

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    planet figure has some great oils advice too
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v433/freak-in-a-cage/freakinacage-1.jpg

  4. #4

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    what kind of primer would you use for oils? would a regular GW primer work or do you need an oil specific primer?

    cheers, shakes

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    So I am interested in giving miniature painting using oils a try.
    What scale(s) are you hoping to work in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    Having never used oils on any medium I am looking forward to the challenge.
    Hope you enjoy colour mixing

    Basic starting-out advice is going to be tricky because there's a lot of stuff to cover (think about all you'd want to suggest if someone were starting from scratch using VMC).

    These are just the first few things that occur to me:
    buy a whole new set of brushes (you can use a brush for more than one medium but it's better not to), so I would stick with synthetics only for now to keep the costs down. You don't normally rinse out brushes with oils but instead use a fresh brush for each colour or colour type, so you might need quite a number at the end of the day, but to begin with maybe two in each common size.

    Get the best paints you can comfortably afford. Oil paint is major-league expensive, but within limits the higher-cost brands are worth it for their pigment levels*.

    Although you can clean up and clean your brushes without it you'll need mineral spirits - get low-odour spirits (OMS)* if solvent fumes are any issue - and hardware store variety is fine, don't be suckered into getting one made specifically for artists (the quality is great but it's too expensive).

    BTW, you don't throw your solvent out when it's muddy, you let it settle and then pour into a fresh container.

    A drying box is a very good idea. If you find you're still getting issues with shine (some colours are much more prone to this than others) you can soak out some excess oil from the paint by putting the blob of paint onto some paper for a short while.

    I would recommend you get a small painting knife for mixing your major colours.

    Thought about the starting palette you'll need?

    *If you need recommendations, gimme a shout.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach
    There are Water Soluble oils made by Winsor and Newton which are very handy to use as they thin with (Surprise!) water.
    I wouldn't recommend them. Regular oils will generally be better paint (hence the higher pricetag) apart from anything else.

    Einion
    Last edited by Einion; 04-19-2011 at 04:21 AM.

  6. #6

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    Golden paints have come out with a line of slow drying acrylics that works just like oils. I like them since they are less toxic and I can mix them with my regular acrylics. One thing I have found with oils and the slow drying acrylics is that they don't seem to cover as well....that said, it can work to your benefit if you want to use them as a wash/glaze.
    Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn R. L.
    One thing I have found with oils and the slow drying acrylics is that they don't seem to cover as well...
    Read a number of mentions over the last couple of years from people who have used them that the Golden Opens aren't as highly pigmented as regular acrylics. Can't remember if this is also true of the Chroma Interactives.

    Oil paints on the other hand should be really opaque if the colour is inherently that way, because an oil binder can support a far higher pigment level than acrylic or vinyl paint.

    Einion

  8. #8

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    Wow thanks for the reply's. The scale im wanting to start with is the 28mm area, in particular War-machine minis have caught my fancy lately. Could you go into more detail on not rinsing your brushes? is this only while painting or do you never rinse them? I was looking to start with WN oils, with a palette for a mini Im currently working on, then just expanding colors as I need them. On that what sort of pallete should I use, are there any special requirements? Also does Fat over thin apply to mini's, and if so, what exactly does it mean?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    Could you go into more detail on not rinsing your brushes? is this only while painting or do you never rinse them?
    While painting. You don't have to rinse to clean brushes afterwards either - if you had to avoid any solvent use at all because of a health concern for you or a family member for example you can clean brushes with oil, oil + soap and water or just soap and water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    I was looking to start with WN oils, with a palette for a mini Im currently working on, then just expanding colors as I need them.
    I think that's often a good way to start. W&N artists' oils are quite good incidentally, in the upper echelon of their class. You planning on buying from a bricks-and-mortar place or online?

    Because of all the mixing necessary with artists' paints it is tempting to eventually get a fair number of colours but I would strongly recommend aiming to end up with a palette of no more than 10 or a dozen paints*. For years I painted with a palette of twin primaries, a few earths, white and black and that's pretty darned versatile as it is; add in one green and one violet and you're set for life, for virtually any subject. Many professional painters use smaller palettes than this (as few as four) but the common range is 7-15.

    Similarly I would recommend single-pigment paints as a rule, since they're usually a better bet in the long run. For example lighter versions of Naples Yellow are often a simple mix of a base colour with white, that pigment by itself though is much more useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    On that what sort of pallete should I use, are there any special requirements?
    Not sure if you mean mixing surface or colour palette but presume you mean the former. Glass, tile, or Perspex or similar hard plastic are probably the best to mix on. Just be sure if you use plastic to clean it before the paint dries. If it dries on glass or glazed tile you can easily push it off with a single-edged razor, even months down the line, but this is much more difficult on plastic (especially once it gets a bit scuffed, giving the paint something to grip).

    A sheet of tempered glass laid on a mid-value neutral-grey paper is probably the best palette for a fixed painting area. Glass because it's easy to mix on and clean, and the neutral grey to allow the best judgement of colours. Barring incident it'll last practically indefinitely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    Also does Fat over thin apply to mini's, and if so, what exactly does it mean?
    Fat over lean. You might also see references to thick over thin and slow drying over fast drying; they're all aspects of the same thing. This doesn't really apply to miniature painting, partly because of the very thin coats we use but also because of the rigid surface we're painting on.

    These basic rules of thumb are intended to help prevent faster-drying layers from being applied to slower-drying layers, which can lead to drying cracks and other issues like wrinkling.

    *If you'd like feedback on colour selection I'd be only too happy to help.

    Einion

  10. #10

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    Ok so color selection:

    I'm looking for a general use white, general use black, a mid tone grey (I use grey allot so this would be better then just mixing B and W), a red, a yellow (for NMM mainly), and neutral colors useful for painting a monks robe look. I checked there website but have no idea what colors would be the most mixable.

    Cheers

  11. #11

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    Hi!

    There are a few things that you would need to know and are important (been doing oils on minis for a good while...). Some colors dry faster than others. The browns do dry fast (within a few hours to a day), followed closely by black. Pure white is a slow dryer and red is the worst (a few times it did took over a week for the red to dry out! Did not used a dry cabinet as mentioned above, would be very worth it to have one!). The other colors are in between, only experience will tell you. I do recommand the red and yellow cadmium based color, they are good and strong colors, sadly not cheap thought.
    Covering power is a little different from one color to the next, those that cover well are browns, black and cadmium red. White and yellow can cover well if almost not diluted. Some colors are more transparent than others, check the color chart of the company from which you will buy or, if in a artist store, ask a clerk in the oil paint section.

    Also, clean well the cap before putting it back on. It will save you on trying to take off the cap without overtwisting the tube (there is real danger of breaking the tube and having a major paint leak). And if for a reason you lose the cap, it is not much of a problem, Just squirt some of the paste out of the tube and let it dry just ouside the tube exit (can flatten it a little), it will make a good air barrier, just cut it off when you need the color again. A tube can last for years without wasting.
    The oil tubes are a bit sensible to temperature change, do not let them get too cold nor too hot, as the oil will try to go out of the tube and can break the cap or pierce the tube itself at the base (by overpressure). Up to now I have only lost one tube of color that fully hardened beyond hope (a sky blue color, could not find out why this one and none of the others...)

    My basic color choices: ivory black, titanium white, 3 browns (burnt sienna, natural raw umber and ochre), a good red (cadmium based and costly), 2 blues (prussian blue and ultramarine blue), a green (emerald green), a good strong yellow (cadmium based and also costly), others as fancied or needed. The grey choice is good, because it is hard at first to get the same grey mixing recipe of black and white. Most oil paints are made up from pure pigments, i.e. one pure color so there is no surprise as when you mix a brown and a white, it will be a real light brown. (Not the case with acrylics where I once ended up with a pinkish beige! Arrrgh!). A color wheel for color mixing is sometime useful, but not absolutely needed.

    Hope this help!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    Ok so color selection:

    I'm looking for a general use white, general use black, a mid tone grey (I use grey allot so this would be better then just mixing B and W), a red, a yellow (for NMM mainly), and neutral colors useful for painting a monks robe look.
    Great, that includes a few things I was going to cover anyway.

    I would go with Titanium White and Mars Black for the white and black.

    I don't really know what to suggest for the grey/neutral since many oil lines don't include any greys and W&N's selection doesn't include any good choices. It's easy to mix a mid-value neutral yourself (white, black and a bit of umber) but in oils storing it is a problem since it'll oxidise with exposure to the least amount of air. Covering mixtures with water is sometimes used but it's not ideal. Most of the painters I know that have much use for neutral greys mix their own and then tube them up themselves; it's not hard to do but it's a lot of effort if you're used to just reaching for a jar of colour most of the time.

    If you really feel you need to have a readymixed one have a look at Warm Gray in the Blick Artists' Oil Color line, the Cold Grey in the Schmincke Norma line or maybe one of the Portland Grays

    Best red in many respects is a cadmium, ditto with yellow. They're expensive but they provide the highest opacity in their respective colour zones. I'd go with Cadmium Scarlet and Cadmium Yellow Pale. If you need a magenta-type red then Permanent Rose or Quinacridone Magenta.

    In terms of blues, French Ultramarine is the colour that will give you the most reliable matt drying. If you want to pair it with a green-side blue I would recommend Phthalo Blue GS which is Winsor Blue Green Shade in W&N naming. It'll tend to want to dry glossy but it's the best other blue in terms of colour range. I would strongly recommend avoiding Cerulean Blue and Cobalt Blue as they are expensive (very, over twice the price in oils) and anyway don't give you anything you can't mix from the ultramarine and phthalo.

    A few earths are very useful to help with mixing duller colours (although this is doable with just primaries and white if you had to). My top picks would be Yellow Ochre Pale, Venetian Red and Burnt Umber. Alternates for the first two would be Naples Yellow Deep and Indian Red.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat85
    ...and neutral colors useful for painting a monks robe look.
    Generally speaking you need to get used to mixing this sort of colour with oils (most artists' paints). This is why I said above that I hope you enjoy colour mixing!

    Einion

  13. #13

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    Hey, sorry to repeat my question, sort of a double post but not really :P How do you go about preping to paint with oils? Do you use a primer and if so can you use the same primer you would use to paint with acrylics or do you need a different type.

    Shakes.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by shakes
    Do you use a primer and if so can you use the same primer you would use to paint with acrylics...
    Briefly, yes and yes.

    A lot of painters like to paint oils over an undercoat (usually a similar colour to the midtone) instead of directly over the primer surface. This can be something like Vallejo or, more traditionally, matt enamel paint.

    Einion

  15. #15

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    What thinner do you recommend, I understand that all the different thinning oils have different properties, what works best for minis?

  16. #16

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    Mineral spirits/white spirit from the hardware store. Get a low-odour variety if you need to worry about fumes or you're working in an enclosed space with no real ventilation.

    Generally speaking you won't need any oils, but if you want something to aid in making true glazes I'd suggest having a look at an alkyd medium (standard Liquin or Galkyd) since this will speed drying at the same time.

    Einion

  17. #17

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    In regards to mix colours as stated above you usually just need a few of them, I am to lazy and not good enough to master the mixing, instead i buy a lot of diffrent colours but if you want to learn more about mixing colours and some theories behind it i can remommend the following book. Betty Edwards Color

    http://www.betterworldbooks.com/Colo...585421992.aspx

  18. #18

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    Ok so how thin do I want to be thinning oil paints for normal work. Like milk as for acryllics? or some other consistancy.

  19. #19

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    Different opinions on diluting oils. The old advice in modelling circles was "spread it out don't thin it out" but many current oil users (including some of the best of them) do add spirits, either turps or mineral spirits, to take the paint to a thinner consistency that's easier to apply with softhair brushes, as well as to aid in painting details and edges neatly.

    Einion

  20. #20

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    A consistancy that I like is a very smooth cream, not milky, the amount of thinning agent used is a bit different from one color to the next. When you lift your brush from the paint, it should not leave an upright point, the paint should fall back flat to a smooth look within seconds. I usually keep the white a bit thicker than the browns because of transparency reasons. The best way to know if you got the right consistency is to paint a small, near flat, surface and you must leave almost no brush streak (no streak at all is even nicer!) while the color is not transparent. It takes a little bit of practice but it is easily attainable. Also use good quality brushes, I test the ones I want to buy by the feel: very smooth when you brush your fingers over it.

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