Welcome to Offline: The small tabletop workshop. At this point we will from now on provide you with tips and tricks on the topics of tabletop games and pen & paper role-playing games. True to the principle: Not every funny game has to be played exclusively on the PC! It starts with a beginner-friendly guide on painting miniatures. If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably got one or the other unpainted miniature standing around at home and don’t really know how to go about the thing with the paints and the brushes. Do not be afraid, adventurer! We’ll show you how you can achieve professional results with just a few simple steps.
You need colors to paint, of course. But which? Stop by a model shop or nerd shop you trust and get advice there. Paints for painting miniatures are based on acrylic, but have a much higher pigmentation than the classic acrylic paints that are used to paint on canvases. This increases their opacity and ensures that you do not have to paint over individual areas repeatedly until you achieve the desired color result. In addition to the actual colors, you should get yourself a primer spray and at least one wash – you will learn later in the text what you need these strange things for. And then of course you need brushes. Fine hair brushes, called artist brushes, are suitable to distinguish them from paintbrushes and make-up stuff. The best thing to do is to get a narrow bristle brush for special techniques. Many brush manufacturers use size specifications; Size 1 to 3 should be well suited for your purposes, you hardly need a brush smaller than 1. Which brands you choose is a matter of taste for both the brushes and the colors. The most expensive product is not always the best and not everyone likes to work with the same materials.
Think first, then paint!
You have bought everything you need, so grab the colors and start brushing! You can of course start painting without a plan, but you don’t have to. Corrections are possible, but if you realize too late that the pink armor on your orc chief doesn’t look very daring, you just get annoyed unnecessarily. The desperate overpainting of already finished parts that you unexpectedly don’t like so much is not the only reason why you should think about which colors you want to use beforehand. When painting miniatures, it can be very useful to work in shifts. One coat of paint after the next, so to speak; from the basic color to the highlights and shades. And that works better if you have already thought about a bit in advance what color scheme the finished figure should actually have.
Step by step to the perfect miniature
If you are painting miniatures, it can help you to stick to the four-part process presented below. You should always achieve good results with this. No matter whether you bring a kite to life with bright colors or design an apocalypse-like Space Marine.
The first color you apply to your figure is what is known as a primer. This can be done with a brush and primer paint or with a spray can – depending on which technique you prefer. If you have enough space at home, using a primer spray is the more time-saving and easier option.
The primer has two positive effects. On the one hand, you can give your figure a suitable base color that you can use later to continue working more easily. Second, when applied, primer paint creates microscopic bumps on the otherwise often very smooth plastic surface of your miniature. This will make your colors stick better later. This makes the painting process easier for you and also ensures that you do not accidentally rub the colors off again by frequently using the miniature with your fingers. Make sure your primer is completely dry before you move on to the next step. Incidentally, this applies to every work step!
By the second step at the latest, you should know roughly what the finished miniature should look like. Now the task is to determine the basic colors. The one-color painting of entire miniature parts is called “blocking colors”. In principle, it is a matter of defining a colored base for later refinements. Let’s get back to our orc chief. For example, in this step you paint his skin dark green, the armor brown and the weapon in a beautiful silver. Theoretically, you could already stop with this step and argue that depressions, shadows and brightly lit areas in three-dimensional figures exist by themselves due to the natural incidence of light. But let’s be honest: our imaginary orc chief still looks pretty boring. That will change in the next few steps!
There is a sacred magic ink called Wash in the assortment of every miniature painter. This is a very fluid paint that easily penetrates into the smallest cracks and depressions in every figure. You can either wash your entire figure or just individual parts to highlight them. This gives the miniature more depth and details more clearly. Natural shades are created as if by magic. When applying, make sure that there are no puddles – if you have too much wash in one area, you can carefully dab it off with a dry brush. Especially for the beginning it is enough if you get yourself a shade of brown or gray, as these more neutral colors will suit most miniatures. In any case, it has to be
act a color that is darker than the basic colors you painted your miniature with so that you can see an effect in the end. Always keep the following in mind: Applying the wash will likely make your figure a shade darker as a whole.
The last step is the design of the so-called highlights. These are light reflections, lighter areas and tiny details. Think about which areas of the figure you want to highlight. Zones that are actually higher, such as protruding muscles or pieces of armor, are often suitable for this. If you paint them a little lighter, you will emphasize depth effects. But you can also set very nice accents on edges to emphasize contours. For your highlights, you often choose colors that are lighter than your basic colors. Simply mix the basic color with white until you have achieved a suitable result. In some extreme cases, working with a pure white shade can produce nice results.
There is also the technique of dry brushing for setting highlights. To do this, you take very, very little color on your brush and first strip it off on a piece of paper. This will reduce the color on the brush even further. You do this until there are really only a few color pigments left on the brush. Only then do you carefully paint over your figure. Works with a rather rigid brush (bristle brush). This process causes the paint to stick to the protruding elements of the miniature, making it stand out even more. In this way you can achieve good effects with little effort.
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