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Hi. I've recently started 40k and bought myself a bunch of boyz and nobz and the like. I spent nearly two hours today painting just three miniatures, and they still look like shit. Does anybody that's more experienced with painting have any advice for me?
3 words, practice, practice and practice! Seriously, brush control comes with time, it's taken me 8 years to get to the point where I can win a minor competition in my local GW for my painting skill. There are techniques you can use to help improve your painting quicker, the washes GW do are very much worth it. Other than that, I cannot stress enough that the 2 most important things to have are patience with a figure and practice lots!
http://www.armyroster.com Check out my ToP WIP in the projects section!
2 hours for three miniatures is not much. I spend like 4 hours or more for every model to paint if I want them ready for tabletop. I have discovered some shortcuts though to paint even faster.
What I say to almost everyone that's new to the hobby is just to paint and don't rush yourself to get better because you will get better with time. Thin your paints and give the model a good looking base and the rest will come with time.
AE and Almberg have it right - practice makes all the difference. In particular, search around here for help figuring out washes, drybrushing and maybe highlighting, and practice keeping your painting neat and tidy.
But a few helpful pointers never hurt!
So, first off... Try dulling things down a bit. Maybe you're going for the brightly coloured look - that's cool, in fact Orks wear it well. But there's a difference between Bright and BRIGHT. Look at a bright orange T-shirt - bright, but still an order of magnitude dimmer than those reflective safety vests you see on highway workers and crossing guards. A darker brown (scorched brown works well) for the belts and such would look less neon, too.
Second, bones and teeth are "white", but only in the sense that they're not blue or green or something. You'll find that they're much more convincing with a yellowed, aged look - try adding a bit of white to lighten up Bleached Bone (maybe 3 drops of BB to one drop of White), and adding a brown wash after it's painted to darken the recesses.
Third, practice neatness like I mentioned before. There's quite a few spots where one colour has slopped over on parts that ought to be a different colour, and that goes a long way to killing the appearance. your big, basic, crude blocks of colour (skin, pants and large leather bits like boots) can go on quick and messy, but make a real effort to keep the smaller areas that come later as crisp and clean as possible, cleaning up the earlier mess and hopefully not making more mess of their own. Don't be afraid to go back a bit and do some touch-up painting if it's needed - nobody gets it all right on the first try. You may even want to invest in some nice, fine tipped brushes if your current ones are a bit chunky for detail work.
As well as practice, one of the other important tips to remember is to always thin your paint.
Use a ceramic tile, a scrap piece of plastic, whatever you feel will work. Put a little water on this (wet your brush and wipe it across your makeshift palette) and then grab some paint on your brush and mix it with the water. The commonly supplied advice is that you want the paint to be "of the same consistency as milk" and it can honestly take quite a few tries to get even this right.
Once you do though, the paint will flow easier and you'll be able to control the application of it a bit more. Don't put too much paint on your brush, though, because then you just end up with it everywhere.
Finally, I notice you're using pink. This could be a major contributor to making your models look bad.
(That last point is a joke, by the way, just in case that wasn't abundantly clear...)
Giving it a wash of black or brown all over will instantly make the model looks 10x better.
Whoah an army of pink Orks would look so cool! Sorry just had to comment on the pink orks since i have not painted anything before.
Thin your paints. Start with 2:1 paint to water. It might make painting a little easier.
Next, don't try to use too many colors right away. Keep it simple so you can focus on getting nice clean painting first, then you can elaborate with more colors.
Finally, you need to know when to ignore some of the little details. Trying to paint tiny things like belt buckles is just too difficult for a beginning painter. E.g rather than trying to paint a belt brown and the belt buckles silver just paint all of it brown. A clean painted all brown belt will look better than a brown belt and a sloppy silver buckle.
Everyone will push you to try shading and highlighting and tell you to use lots of washes but, I find as a beginning painter it was better to not bother with those until I could get my painting clean and crisp first. Right now you're just trying to master brush control, a sloppy highlight will look a dozen times worse than a solid crisp color with no highlight. Not that washes aren't easy for a beginner just don't try to overload yourself with stuff to learn. Get the solid painting down then when you get the squads finished come back and try washes to give them a more finished look.
And yes it does take lots of time to paint. That's just the lay of the land. It took me 2 weeks to paint my first squad and I spent 12 hours on just the sergent to get him as clean as possible.
It's like when learning an insturment such as guitar, you need to be able to move your fingers and play single notes cleanly before you play chords and songs.
Last edited by Kelter Skelter; October 6th, 2009 at 09:45.
I'm not an experienced painter myself either, but I think I have some advice you should check out:
1. Basecoat. I painted few of my first figs without spray undercoat until my bro introduced me to this wonderful thing. Never paint a model without spraying it first! White or black, I think it's a personal preference. I use white, it teaches me to be wuite honest with my first layers.
2. Thinning paint. As said, thin them down. 2:1 paint to water or 1:1 (maybe little too thin, depending on the paint) is good, atleast for me.
3. Smooth coats. Paint the larger areas of the models first, and use the aforementioned thinned paint and do 2-3 layers of it so it'll look smooth and 'crisp'. After that you can focus on like belts or pouches or quivers and so on.
4. Washes. They help alot. I don't aim to become a professional paint-artist (well, maybe one day ) so I washes. They're an easy shortcut to good table-top quality.
Well, I guess practice is the key. Don't worry if your first models look sloppy and ugly, trust me, my figures did, too. They'll get better every time you paint another model. When I started developing my skills, I took a few steps ack and focused on clean and smoth coats, no highlights etc. Then I tried to highlight some parts and now I use lots of drybrushing, washing, highlighting and shading.
It's also good to remember that if you collect, for example, Orks (like I do), it's not necessary to focus 5 hrs per Boy. IMO, the beauty (yeah, wrong word) of Orks is in the mass, and colour-choices. If you collect a small elite army like Ogres or Space Marines, it's good to focus on each model a bit more.
I hope my advice helped you, and take into account all the possible guidance you might find here on the internet.
Good luck !
Take your time, there is no need to rush, and trust me this is coming from a guy who in my head if it doesnt look like the best thing in the world in 5 minutes, its complete crap. Ive just now started work on my Tau after working on a bunch of SM I can tell you now that Ive probably spent twice the time on each of the Fire Warrior Models than I have on any of the Space Marines.
Thin your paints for sure, and dont be afraid to coat it again, I see in some parts that. for example the pants, I can see what looks to be an basecoat. This is especially true with white, you may have to go over white 3, 4, 5 times before it looks good.
It is truly a good start though much better than when I started years ago.