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Author Topic: Finding in-person painting help?  (Read 826 times)

ccprince

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Finding in-person painting help?
« on: 30 August 2021, 22:45:48 »
Years and years ago, during my RPG days, I did some miniatures painting. Now that I've picked up Battletech, I'm trying to start again, and I don't seem to know what I'm doing.

Specifically, I just can't get my paint consistency right. I've been using Vallejo paints (mostly Game Color, but I'm trying some Model Color) and nothing seems to work. The paint never flows out of the brush, and at the same time, what does come out is just runny, and doesn't cover anything. I'm trying to get to the "two thin coats" stage of things; I'm getting to three or four coats, and still don't have anything that looks like coverage. I accidentally did get it right once, so I actually know what it should feel like. I just can't make it happen again.

I was trying water as a thinner, but when that didn't work, I tried glazing medium and airbrush thinner. Still, nothing like what it should be. Since I'm the common denominator, I think I must be missing something important.

I'm at the point where I think my best bet is to find someone who'll sit with me and help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. I've tried watching YouTube tutorials (so ... many ... videos ...) and talking with a (non-miniature) painter friend, but that's not getting me anywhere.

What's my best bet for finding someone?

Sapphirus

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #1 on: 31 August 2021, 00:34:36 »
I was trying water as a thinner, but when that didn't work, I tried glazing medium and airbrush thinner. Still, nothing like what it should be. Since I'm the common denominator, I think I must be missing something important.

have you tried using Distilled Water gallons? (the ones you get at grocery stores)

Sartris

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #2 on: 31 August 2021, 01:14:14 »
posting some pictures of your results might help refine the advice you get here. otherwise sometimes game shops have live painting sessions

Cache

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #3 on: 31 August 2021, 05:17:58 »
What are you using for primer?

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #4 on: 31 August 2021, 08:00:10 »
What are you using for primer?

Army Painter, Uniform Gray


have you tried using Distilled Water gallons? (the ones you get at grocery stores)

I haven't. I'll add that to my list of thing to try.

posting some pictures of your results might help refine the advice you get here. otherwise sometimes game shops have live painting sessions

I can try that. In fairness, this is my first request for advice. Since it seems like my trouble -- or at least, the goal I'm striving for -- is more tactile than visual, I haven't really given that a fair shot.

And I'll definitely keep an eye on my FLGS (Games Plus, Mount Prospect, IL) for painting stuff.

RabidFox

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #5 on: 31 August 2021, 09:19:04 »
Years and years ago, during my RPG days, I did some miniatures painting. Now that I've picked up Battletech, I'm trying to start again, and I don't seem to know what I'm doing.

Specifically, I just can't get my paint consistency right. I've been using Vallejo paints (mostly Game Color, but I'm trying some Model Color) and nothing seems to work. The paint never flows out of the brush, and at the same time, what does come out is just runny, and doesn't cover anything. I'm trying to get to the "two thin coats" stage of things; I'm getting to three or four coats, and still don't have anything that looks like coverage. I accidentally did get it right once, so I actually know what it should feel like. I just can't make it happen again.

I was trying water as a thinner, but when that didn't work, I tried glazing medium and airbrush thinner. Still, nothing like what it should be. Since I'm the common denominator, I think I must be missing something important.

I'm at the point where I think my best bet is to find someone who'll sit with me and help me figure out what I'm doing wrong. I've tried watching YouTube tutorials (so ... many ... videos ...) and talking with a (non-miniature) painter friend, but that's not getting me anywhere.

What's my best bet for finding someone?

How is the paint in the pots/bottles?  Are you mixing them before use?  Try adding some agitators to your paint bottles to help mix.  Sometimes I find if I don't mix the paint enough, it comes out watery where you're getting more of the paint medium vs. the actual paint pigment + medium.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #6 on: 31 August 2021, 09:40:53 »
How is the paint in the pots/bottles?  Are you mixing them before use?  Try adding some agitators to your paint bottles to help mix. 

I do shake them pretty thoroughly before getting it out of the bottle. Vallejo uses a dropper bottle, so when I squeeze it out, it does look pretty thick and opaque. I definitely could get some ball bearings to drop in there, as long as I can figure out how to pop the nozzle off and back on again.

RabidFox

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #7 on: 31 August 2021, 12:55:50 »
I do shake them pretty thoroughly before getting it out of the bottle. Vallejo uses a dropper bottle, so when I squeeze it out, it does look pretty thick and opaque. I definitely could get some ball bearings to drop in there, as long as I can figure out how to pop the nozzle off and back on again.

I don't have any Vallejo paint, but if they are anything like the other dropper bottles, you can just grab a pair of tweezers, pinch the tip of the bottles and the top should just slide/pop out of the bottle.  If you inspect the paint and see that the paint is really thick and clear liquid is sitting on top, tryin throwing in the agitators and a little bit of flow improver and shake away.  It might help get the paint mixed a bit more.

Lairian

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #8 on: 31 August 2021, 13:22:28 »
Vallejo uses a dropper bottle, so when I squeeze it out, it does look pretty thick and opaque.

Like a house wall paint, or like a paste?  I like Vallejo, but have received a few dud bottles where the contents extruded instead of flowed.  Trying to wet down those ones was more trouble than I found it to be worth.  I'm sure you've read the "whole milk" guideance online already, though personally I have better luck with heavy whipping cream.
Have you tried a wet pallet?  A square of parchment paper on a wet paper towl is all you need, and it helps a surprising amount with keeping your paint tuned where you want it so you don't have to re-add water due to evaporation as much.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #9 on: 31 August 2021, 19:44:49 »
Like a house wall paint, or like a paste?  I like Vallejo, but have received a few dud bottles where the contents extruded instead of flowed.  Trying to wet down those ones was more trouble than I found it to be worth.

I'm not sure how to answer that -- when I squeeze out a few drops, it comes out thick, but still as actual drops, and less like extrusions. And it's been consistent across half a dozen different colors, so if I'm getting dud bottles, I've gotten a lot of 'em.

I don't have any Vallejo paint, but if they are anything like the other dropper bottles, you can just grab a pair of tweezers, pinch the tip of the bottles and the top should just slide/pop out of the bottle.  If you inspect the paint and see that the paint is really thick and clear liquid is sitting on top, tryin throwing in the agitators and a little bit of flow improver and shake away.  It might help get the paint mixed a bit more.

I've seen some things on YouTube with putting agitators into Vallejo bottles, and it looks like you're right; all I should need to do is grab it and pull. I'll probably give that a try.

Lairian

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #10 on: 01 September 2021, 01:14:17 »
I'm not sure how to answer that -- when I squeeze out a few drops, it comes out thick, but still as actual drops, and less like extrusions. And it's been consistent across half a dozen different colors, so if I'm getting dud bottles, I've gotten a lot of 'em.

That's not the problem then.  Echoing the above, see if the local game store has an email list or facebook group, you might be able to find some in person help.  Have you checked out people streaming mini painting?  It's not in person but you might be able to see their paint or ask in chat for them to go over and answer questions.  Surprising number of good painters on Twitch.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #11 on: 01 September 2021, 20:03:47 »
Have you checked out people streaming mini painting?  It's not in person but you might be able to see their paint or ask in chat for them to go over and answer questions.  Surprising number of good painters on Twitch.

No, I haven't. I've sort of tried it -- watching other painting tutorials, and trying to keep an eye on the brush and palette, more than the miniature -- but not to any great extent. And I definitely didn't think of Twitch, because I am officially An Old.   :P

Bedwyr

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #12 on: 01 September 2021, 23:30:09 »
I have Vallejo bottles. Some things about them:
- They are quite high quality.
- Particular colors love to separate so they do need vigorous shaking.
- Agitators are a godsend but please make sure you have at least real stainless steel beads (Amazon has a lot of fakes). Good would be a reliable brand like army painter beads. Best would be glass beads because they're inert.
- The droppers pull right off, but don't jerk the bottle so paint goes everywhere.
- Vallejo absolutely needs to be thinned. Milk is ok for airbrushing, but it's a bit thin for regular brush application in my practice.
Alas poor Photobucket. I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #13 on: 06 September 2021, 19:06:37 »
Well, I've tried some things, and I think I'm having success. I did get some agitators (Army Painter's stainless steel mixing balls) which drop right into the bottles as easily as was promised. I don't know if they're helping, but they sure don't hurt. I also got myself some non-Battletech miniatures, so I could practice on something I don't particularly care about. I threw a base coat onto a few of them today, in three different colors.

The blue thinned down beautifully, and after the first coat, I could probably have gotten away without a second. I tried a tan/sand which was also super-easy to work with. And then I went back to the red I had been working with ... just like before, I could not get it to a decent consistency. Right out of the bottle, it wouldn't flow, and also wouldn't cover. Thinning it down a little -- with water, Golden medium, or Vallejo airbrush thinner -- got it flowing a little better, but it still didn't seem to cover well. However, after a second coat, the result wasn't bad. It was really hard to work with, but the results were OK.

So, I think I'm going to try another brand of red. And, now that I'm starting to maybe get the hang of the paint consistency, I get the whole "work fast, 'cause your paint's gonna dry out, real quick" thing. When I'm trying other paints, I'm probably going to get myself a wet palette, too.

Lairian

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #14 on: 07 September 2021, 12:14:14 »
What are you using as a primer?  From tan's aquilla, it looks like it's a grey of some sort.

It might be worth trying to swap over to black primer which tends to shine through transparent colors less.  It's also possible the brand you're using to prime just doesn't have enough tooth at miniatures scale.

Bedwyr

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #15 on: 07 September 2021, 16:29:09 »
What are you using as a primer?  From tan's aquilla, it looks like it's a grey of some sort.

It might be worth trying to swap over to black primer which tends to shine through transparent colors less.  It's also possible the brand you're using to prime just doesn't have enough tooth at miniatures scale.

Let me agree with and add some more to that. I would suggest having at least a black, gray, and white primer around. There's different situations you want to use one or the other depending on the inherent properties of the base color.
Alas poor Photobucket. I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #16 on: 08 September 2021, 11:37:36 »
It's Uniform Gray, from Army Painter. Should be good for miniatures.  :)

I'll definitely keep the other primer colors in mind. Last time I was into miniatures, back in the late Stone Age, my only options were white and black, and I hated trying to paint skin colors on black, so I stuck with white. I think my mental model must still be thinking in terms of light primers.

I'm not sure that's the issue with that red, though -- even on the palette, it's way more transparent than the blue and the tan, and never flowed as nicely. Sure, my palette paper is white, so it doesn't say anything about how it would go down on black primer, but still...

All of that said, I'm not unhappy with it after the second coat. I could make an argument for a third coat, since I can still see some gray underneath it.

five_corparty

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #17 on: 08 September 2021, 20:02:37 »
And I'll definitely keep an eye on my FLGS (Games Plus, Mount Prospect, IL) for painting stuff.

There's quite a few people here that play at Games Plus (what a great store!!) and I'd bet a solid dollar that they either have clinics or regulars who come in often enough you could probably learn in person.

Good Luck!

abou

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #18 on: 09 September 2021, 09:21:28 »
Red is tough no matter what you do. It is a transparent pigment regardless of paint brand, and will take numerous layers to build up. Painting over light gray or white primer will make it easier. Same with orange.

So it isn't just you or the paint brand. It is just red.

Taking 3 to 4 coats to get a solid color of red can be expected. Although because of the transparency, that does mean you can get nice transitions between highlights and shadows.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #19 on: 09 September 2021, 10:51:59 »
There's quite a few people here that play at Games Plus (what a great store!!)

Yes! I joined in last month's game and enjoyed it immensely. :)

Red is tough no matter what you do. It is a transparent pigment regardless of paint brand, and will take numerous layers to build up. Painting over light gray or white primer will make it easier. Same with orange.

So it isn't just you or the paint brand. It is just red.

Huh! OK, that's really good to know.

abou

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #20 on: 09 September 2021, 11:19:23 »
I was going to post earlier, but work got in the way. I get it though - you have to mess up a lot to get better, but you want the help where you can get it.

Look up Vince Venturella on YouTube. He has a series on paint colors and techniques. The dude would have a Ph.D in mini painting if it existed. Also see:

Trovarion
Miniac
Squidmar
Lyla Mev
Midwinter Minis - good for speed painting and tabletop ready play

Get a pot of coffee, and spend the weekend learning.

Most of it is GW stuff, but there is a lot of great information. And their video libraries will cover different skill ranges.

ccprince

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #21 on: 09 September 2021, 21:52:52 »
Look up Vince Venturella on YouTube. He has a series on paint colors and techniques. The dude would have a Ph.D in mini painting if it existed. Also see:

Trovarion
Miniac
Squidmar
Lyla Mev
Midwinter Minis - good for speed painting and tabletop ready play

Yup. Been watching all of them. :) Also, Tabletop Minions, Duncan Rhodes, Camo Specs Online (obviously!) ... I'm having to pull myself away from watching YouTube, and actually, y'know, paint something!

Kerfuffin(925)

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #22 on: 10 September 2021, 00:53:15 »
Yup. Been watching all of them. :) Also, Tabletop Minions, Duncan Rhodes, Camo Specs Online (obviously!) ... I'm having to pull myself away from watching YouTube, and actually, y'know, paint something!

So I watched some videos and I painted. Then watched more and painted. I’m on my third round of watching, I’ll start painting again tomorrow.

I learn a lot by doing, so watching is good but until I try (and fail) I won’t really learn. Each time I watched a video I picked up something new to try and started to get the hang of it

MarauderD

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #23 on: 10 September 2021, 11:35:31 »
I learn a lot by doing, so watching is good but until I try (and fail) I won’t really learn. Each time I watched a video I picked up something new to try and started to get the hang of it

This.  I watched a ton of videos.  It only helped marginally.  Painting minis helps more.  Brush control, using the right amount of paint and thinning it, all that stuff is learned (for me) by making small mistakes and correcting them.  The community here can help you with all sorts of issues.  I've come here for help and folks have stepped up to help with solutions 100% of the time.

Psycho

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #24 on: 13 September 2021, 14:36:48 »
I watched a ton of videos.  It only helped marginally.  Painting minis helps more.  Brush control, using the right amount of paint and thinning it, all that stuff is learned (for me) by making small mistakes and correcting them. 

I can't argue this enough. We now live in such an age of everything immediately, it's easy to forget that learning a new skill takes time. Videos can put the instruction into your hand any time you want, but it's still up to you to work at it.

Also, re: reds. Try a coat of brown first. I like a dark brown, but I also like a lot of range in my reds. Going with something in a medium-dark should give you room to build from it and get a nice rich red. It will still take a few layers overall, and maybe some practice blending, but the results will be better for it.

Bedwyr

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Re: Finding in-person painting help?
« Reply #25 on: 13 September 2021, 15:44:19 »
Right. None of us get good at playing the piano without practicing scales even if we see what a virtuoso does (and explains what they're doing) when playing Rachmaninoff. This is an earned fine art skill that many, if not most of us, get to the equivalent of "working knowledge".
Alas poor Photobucket. I knew him Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.