What's worse?

What could be worse than a Space Marine Legion that fell to the Chaos powers and rebelled against everything they once respected? We don't know, but it was probably pretty bad.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Painting: Confessions of a Lazy Painter

My next few posts will include a couple of painting-related articles. While these forthcoming articles will detail a particular unit I’m painting, their intent is really to show *how* I paint in general.

So I thought it would be best if, before those articles, I laid out the type of painter I am and my styles of painting.

I am not an ‘Eavy Metal painter. I’ve never entered one of my miniatures into a painting contest, and probably never will.

I am not a Pro painter. I do not paint umpteen layers of wet-blended highlights or line/edge armor plates or etc. I simply have too much to do and not enough time to do it all.

But I do strive for a paint job that accomplishes two goals:

1. Much better than basic “Table Top” standard (i.e., more than simply three colors and based).

2. A finished product that amazes the pants off my non-gaming friends/family and even elicits the occasional “nice paint job” from the various gamers I encounter.

To this end, I basically utilize two painting styles, depending on the army I’m working on or what I want the finished piece to “look like”.

1. Painting with Inks

2. Dry brushing and Washing

Painting with Inks

For bright, sharp, crisper looking models, like the ones in my Eldar army, I primarily “paint” the minis with inks and then do details with regular paint. The process is rather easy.

Step 1. Prime white

Step 2. Then paint UNDILLUTED ink over the major parts (this is like a “basecoat”). With inks, the important part is to let them dry for a long time before proceeding.

Step 3. Once all the inking is completed (and dry), then it’s merely a matter of picking out details with regular acrylic paint to broaden the color palette on the mini.

By inking over the white primer, it’s like “killing two birds with one stone” in the sense that the flat parts will end up with not as deep of a color compared to the recesses where the ink pools. If I’m doing a “centerpiece” model, like an HQ Independent Character or something, then I usually go back and dry-brush some highlights to give a third level of depth to the model, particularly cloth or leather items (I guess this could be considered “Step 4 – Optional”).

If you look at those Dire Avengers above (sorry for the less-than-spectacular picture of them, it is an old one I had on the computer), I'd say that maybe even more than 90% of those models are covered in ink. The entire blue body and all the red on the helmets (plume and face).

Dry brushing and Washing

For dirtier, grimier looks, like my Deathguard, I use a series of dry brushing and washes. The process is rather easy (notice a pattern yet?).

Step 1. Prime Black

Step 2. Heavy dry brush of “basecoat” color. Be liberal with this step, but do leave some of the black primer showing in recesses.

Step 3. Medium-to-light dry brush of lighter color, typically similar to the color in Step 2, but just a lighter shade. The point in this step is to (a) not cover the Step 2 “base color”, but also to (b) liberally hit the high edges and details to lighten them up.

Step 4. Wash. Color is chosen based on the desired effect – brown for skin and leathers, black for chainmail, I’ve even used some purple washes for “bruised” effects.

Step 5. Once the wash is completely dried, I then repeat Step 3, but definitely lean towards the “light” and not “medium” scale for the dry brushing. The point here is to simply re-define those most raised edges and details that have been muted in Step 4.

Step 6. Pick out details using regular acrylic paints.

If you look at the Jetbike Autarch above, you actually see both painting styles (again, apologies for the poor picture). The Autarch himself was done primarily with the ink method. The Jetbike, particularly the front nose, was done with the dry brushed method. First, the nose was inked blue, midnight blue was dry brushed near the front/tip to darken it up, and a lighter blue (almost "Carolina Blue") was dry brushed at the handlebar end.

So there you have it, "Confessions of a Lazy Painter." Currently on deck for me to paint is a squad of Chaos Deathguard Terminators (dry brush/wash style) and a unit of Zombies (ink style). They will be my next posts to give real-world examples of the methods outlined above.


1 comment:

  1. Nice article.

    One of my big techniques is to paint with ink over a different base coat. My Daemonettes are purple ink over a white base coat. My Emperor's Children are purple ink over a black base coat that has been dry-brushed with silver. My Wraithguard are purple over pure silver. My Bloodletters are purple over red.

    None of these look the same. The Daemonettes and Emperor's Children look like they are part of the same army when on the table at the same time. So, don't be afraid to try painting with ink over different base coats.