Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to be a better painter: part 2 The brush.

 Having a look through the archives and pages of tutorials I realised that although there are a thousand videos of glazes and layers nothing really explains the process. Once you have it its easy but most people are half way there by the time they stumble onto a video that gives a half way decent explanation of it. So here is my back to basics with lovely drawings.

Layers and glazes:

I'm going to be talking about bits of the brush a lot so excuse the monty python esque drawings but here they are.

I know right. What the hell does Ferrule mean. But the rest is pretty self explanatory.

First off lets talk consistency. I'm sure you have seen the mandatory "WATER YOUR PAINTS" reply s to people just getting into the hobby or a rough finish to their miniatures, and while there is a place for the rough finish I want to talk about smoooooth jazz... blends. Smoooth blends.

The most common saying is "like milk" when people talk about how thin your paint should be for regular painting in layers. And while that's sort of helpful its difficult to understand. So let me put it like this.

It should look like this:

If you dip your brush into your paint and it looks like this...
 Then something has gone wrong. This is either straight from the pot, or just too thick.


So you have your set up. Your paint is the right thickness, you have your kitchen roll (right next to your pallet), your wet pallet and your brush, size 1 ideally. And heres why.

When you dip your brush into the right thinness of paint it should suck it up like a sponge. Have a close look at how a larger brush with a point, breaks the surface tension and sucks super thin ink into the well and see what I mean.

This is where most tutorials jump to painting something. And when you try this at home it will cover your model with thin "milky" paint. Or leave pools of paint that leave coffee like stains on your beautiful base coat and you'll think its something you've done. It's not.


Filling your brushes well/belly is half the battle. Brush it onto a bit of kitchen towel a couple of times gently. (Your beginning to see the benifits of a larger brush. A bigger belly.)

Not only will this get off any excess water and paint, but it will distribute the pigment throughout the brush head evenly. Effectively turning it into a felt tip pen.

Now dragging your stroke, with your brush at an angle to the surface of the model, and towards the edge or target of the heaviest colour. It will leave the perfect layer. Make sure it is dry before going over it again. 100% dry. If its a little wet it will tear holes in your layer. Thankfully if its done right it will not only dry quickly but because your paint is the right thickness you can just leave it on your brush for a few seconds while the layer drys! GENIUS!

Try this first on a white undercoat and red paint to see immediately what's happening. Painting blue on black will take a lot of layers to show up.
I know this may seem like a lot of effort but it takes seconds to do and is well worth it.


And now for how I learned most of my miniature brush work.
A couple of years ago I was desperately searching for books and videos on painting miniatures. And I bought a ton. Historical diorama books using materials that were no longer legal, Cool mini or not dvds that were ... a struggle. etc. etc. And then I got an order that I had nearly forgotten about, the dvd set from painting buddha.

Season 1.1 - Target Identified that is sadly no longer available as it sold the hell out. You can get it as part of the Bundle of love package though. That I also bought. Pretty much anything they touch is solid gold.

And I'm going to tell you why. This is what Painting Buddha do. They just teach people to paint to slayer sword standards. No dry-brushing and calling it done. Or settling for second best. The best artists teach you exactly how its done.

Take their last bunch of free videos:

Solid HD camera actually in focus on the miniture. No hair or hands in the way and properly lit.

Another camera pointed at the artist (so you can see how much he licks his brush. It's a lot.)

But best of all is the pallet cam. Exactly what consistency paint they are using,what colours, how much they put on their brushes, how they mix it.

And if you've been following my OTHER BLOG you'll see the marble technique I stole as best as I could from the Matt Cexwish Painting Buddha horus video, that I now see is also free on youtube.

Watched the same 10mins about 4 times. This way my first attempt using this technique and got this.

Anyway, what I thought was my secret stash is now very much in trouble of not existing anymore. So they've started a great way to fund their videos.

$1 donation gives you acess to all their videos. The wording on the site is horrific. So let me sum it up. No matter what you donate per video you get access to all the videos they make. Once you have picked your pledge amount you can limit it so if they make 10 videos and you donate $1 per video with a $5 cap you will be supporting 5 videos but still have access to all 10.

I've gone with the $14 per video with a $28 cap. That gives me access to the artists lounge hangout where I can bug the artists and accuse them of witchcraft to my hearts desire.

So give what you can. And lets not allow them to vanish.


Longest. Blog post. Ever.
Happy painting!

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