When it comes down to it, it doesnt matter how good a painter you are if the materials you are working with wont co-operate with you, you wont be happy with the final piece.
In my time i have read many blogs on the topics of 'how to blend' and 'paint smoothly' and all those such topics, and so thought id do my own based on my own experiences.
So to begin with lets take a step back from the painting step, and delve into the preparation of the material you will be applying to your pre-cleaned/treated and assembled miniature.
For many people starting out with miniatures of the Games Workshop range, and even some veterans out there, they will be using Citadel paints. As most have or will find out, Citadel paints as a whole (Foundation paints being a prime example) and very binder-heavy, so the paint is very thick and has little flow to it "NOTE: this DOES NOT mean that the paint has good coverage/pigmentation". Using these paints straight out of the pot and onto your miniature is highly unrecommended for many reasons that i really dont need to go into, just dont do it. Prior to using any citadel paints, i will use this:
- FLOW MEDIUM - one of the best things you can go out and purchase for yourself for a good few solid reasons:
1. Longevity - adding this stuff to your paint, as well as making it easier to paint with, actually increases the shelf life of your paint.
2. Flow - as the name suggests, this product aids in the ability to evenly spread the paint out on the miniature, with the benefit of keeping coverage AND it also prevents the paint from beading up on you.
3. Cost - lets face it, paints in general are expensive, maybe not individually, but over time they add up. Using this product reduces the amount of paint i use each time i paint my miniatures, so while i did have to fork out for the product in the first place (roughly the same cost as 4 pots of Citadel paint), it increases the amount of workable paint i have by almost double.
When i first started out using this product i would top up the remaining space of a new pot of paint til it was almost completely full, close the top and give it a good shake for a minute or 2 to mix it, and then the paint is set for use.
After experimentation with the product and various colours, i have found that, depending on the opacity of the colour, you can pretty much add equal amount Flow Medium to paint, and get the same coverage. As I said though, this is colour specific, so some experimentation on your own part will give you the amount you need to add. Also for this reason, as well as for convenience, I have begun to transfer all my paints to dropper bottles, as this helps reduce waste and helps increase shelf life of the paint itself.
Now my paints are ready to use, its time to start painting!
When it comes to painting, even with the use of the Flow Medium i still will thin down my paints on a pallet prior to painting. And the way i go about it is using this:
- WINDEX - another of the 'tools of the trade' I personally recommend to up and coming painters, as well as some veterans out there too.
Now i know a lot of you will be thinking to yourself "wtf is this guy thinking" and i assure you, when I first heard about this i was of much the same opinion "that guys whacked out or something", but believe me, its a great material to add to your shelf for the following reasons:
1. unlike water, Windex dries quickly and thus helps the paint to do so, but not so quick as to affect what your working with on the pallet, so you can get more miniatures done in a shorter period of time.
2. when water is mixed with the paint, even after using fluid medium, it does affect how the paint will flow onto the miniature, resulting in poor coverage and/or visible brush strokes.
3. the layers of paint you put on become very thin, but will still have the same amount of coverage, so your using less paint again, also saving you money.
Im not sure about the range of Windex products out there, so i stick to using "Windex Glass Original", and i use it like so:
First off, instead of placing a cup of water in front of myself, I have a cup with an amount of Windex relevant to the amount of cleaning i will need to do, 2 if i am doing metallic colours. I also place a small shot glass size amount of Windex in front of myself also, for use of application.
Once I am ready to paint I will dip my brush into the Windex (either glass at this point) to moisten it ready for use, but I wont remove the excess from the bristles, and i then gently massage the tip of the brush into the colour I intend to paint. Once done with that colour, I rinse well in the larger "cleaning glass", dry it off, then dip into the "application glass" ready for the next colour.
When using paints with added Flow Medium in conjunction with windex, you will find your paint will flow out evenly across the painted surface, and dry quickly leaving a surface thats brush stroke free. You can also mix paints with added Fluid Medium with some Windex at a ratio of 1:1 for use in an airbrush, but keep in mind when using an airbrush to build up the paint coverage, not to go all out in 1 hit. You dont want to get runs or build up on your miniature.
Well, thats my tutorial on using Fluid Medium and Windex to increase productivity with your painting, as well as keeping that lil extra cash in your pocket. If I havent covered anything in enough detail, or even if you have a better way of doing this, please let me know.