I’ve wanted to get down some thoughts about how I paint for some time, just never had the drive to do so. This is less of an instructive “how you should do it” and more of an informative “how I currently do it”. And I do mean currently. Painting, as with anything creative, should be worked, improved and practiced. I usually approach any new model or army with an idea of what skill or technique I am going to focus on. Some days its how to thin paint, other times its eyes, blending or even colour choice.
When I paint I usually have some music playing. I have a rather eclectic taste, so find something that works for you (I find I want music that calms me rather than makes me rush – some days that is trance, other days its rock). For Kaelyssa, I’ve been listening to Love Outside Andromeda’s self-titled album from a number of years ago. Its a little too aggressive in some places to paint calmly, but I do enjoy it.
I also use two lights – one warm and one cold, and I always seem to be blocking it no matter where I sit. The theory is that the warm and the cold cancel each other out and give a more balanced light to work with. Work with only one, and your perception of colour will be tinted accordingly. It’s all theory though, I have no real idea if it makes much difference. Every little thing helps.
Get a comfy chair, you’ll be sitting down for some time, may as well be pleasant.
For my tools I’ll be primarily using a #2 Winsor and Newton brush. Not cheap, but worth it from everything I’ve read. It is making a difference, but I’ve had good experiences with other brushes – you just want something that holds a point well and to look after it. I ruined my first W&N brush, but now I have some brush cleaner.
Get two sources of water on your table. One to wash your mixing brush and metallics in and one to wash your good brush in. You DO NOT want your metallic pigment in your really good brush – apparently that’s the path to the dark side and it will ruin a brush faster than anything else. I still think I’ll ruin it by being too rough before that happens. But if it is a small price to pay to put off buying a new brush – why not do it?
Get a palette for mixing paints. I use a $5 circle-thing I grabbed at some random store, other people use tiles. It doesn’t really matter in the end. I do own a wet palette, and it is useful – but not a mandatory tool. If you have trouble thinning your paint consistently, a wet palette may do the trick – it certainly helps me.
Discover how long you can stand to sit down, hunched over a table. For me, its 1.5 hours of a night. Any longer and I start to get impatient/rough/lazy. Some nights that point arrives earlier and I put my brush down and step away from the table. Better to take a night off than have to strip your model. Also only paint when you want to – not when you HAVE to. Unless you have to and then … you’re screwed.
I need to think about this one a bit more – get some diagrams together. Stay tuned.