Best Miniature Painting Tips And Tricks (Updated)
Miniature painting is a traditional style of painting. It is defined by detailed subjects on small-sized mediums, often smaller than 1/6th of the original size. Miniature painting traces its roots back to the medieval ages as illuminations, painted to have the smoothest surface. It is speculated that it was influenced by the medallions and pendants of Ancient Rome as well.
Interestingly, the word “miniature” has nothing to do with the size of the painting or any other thing. The term was derived from the word “minium”, a type of red paint that was used in illuminated manuscripts and such for detailing, or there was the word “miniare” which boils down to "coloring with red lead", according to Latin.
In the modern world, miniature painting is one of the most popular forms of paintings that cover a wide range of subjects, from landscapes to portraits and so on. With the rise of social media and other platforms, miniature painting has found its modern roots as a definitive form of expression.
So, whether if you are an uninitiated novice or a painter with basic knowledge of paint and palette, we will cover some practical tips and tricks for miniature painting in this article. Although they are best suited for those who have some experience in the art form, you can learn valuable lessons from it nonetheless if you have just started out.
Here we go:Using A Primer That Is Not Black
It is a common practice that you start with established norms in any field and work your way out of it. This is good to give you a smooth start that will turn it into many fruitful years and, hopefully, making you the thing in the field you wanted to be in the first place. Sometimes, it is the opposite. You are just stuck inside a cage with invisible but solid bars and you cannot find your way out.
In the world of painting, there is a recommendation that comes in handy. Beginners are better off priming their miniatures in black. This can be great to get a start, but if in the coming time, you just stick to it, you are missing out on many other great opportunities. There are many painters who suggest that you come out of black as soon as you get comfortable with the new medium. You will see radical changes in how you perceive images and draw them on the medium.
If using a red or yellow coat is too hard for you because it takes 3 to 4 layers of color, then there is a viable alternative.
Use white Or Grey!
In practice, you will find out that the details are easier to pick out in the white background. Overall, the small things in the picture are more pronounced.
After giving a hand to white/grey/brown (they go with all colors really well), try your skill on priming the medium with the color which is going to be the primary basecoat in your painting. From there, you can prime it whatever color you want!Stick Your Models On The Miniature Base
In the course of painting, there are times when models are knocked over on the medium when you are applying spray over them. Or your sticky fingers leave marks on the freshly-painted surface that stays. If you are sick about this and looking for a way out, there is a simple, yet effective, solution to this.
Fix your models on the surface by using sticky tape or other material that can bind it for the time being as long as you are done with spraying. This results in two positive things:
• The models will not be knocked over on the base due to the force of the spray can.
• The models do not to be on the base in the course of being primed.
There is a two-fold benefit to it. Also, you do not have to worry about getting things right in the first place. There will a “clean” room for you to do the work and finish it with your signature style.Spend More Resources On Basing The Medium
This will come off as a weird tip but this is beneficial to your work directly, so long as you do it right.
If you study your miniature army from an efficiency perspective, what elements require your most time? Which of the elements will give you the most value for the long hours that you put in your work?
In one word – Bases!
You can make a badly-painted army look marvelous on a well-done base. Contrary to this, your masterfully painted army has no chance of winning on a half-cooked base.
If you can recall, have you ever seen a truly remarkable army on bad bases? It is unlikely that the answer could be yes. So, go hard on your bases until they are finely done.
Everything you do on the medium is your work. So, you need to allocate time and resources accordingly to get the job done.
Pro Tip: As far as the detailing goes, you should focus on the faces and hands of miniatures. This what the eyes of beholders focus on whenever they lay eyes on them.Use The Right-Sized Brush
If you are a slow painter, you pay much time detailing the pictures. There are healthy chances that your paintings will never get finished. Most of the slow painters use the detailed brush for almost every aspect of the drawing.
There is an experiment that you can conduct on coloring a base. Check how big a brush you can use to color the basecoat, not the entire basecoat but the big areas, such as chest, back, legs, and other open areas. After doing it, check if you see a difference. There are some areas that you do not want to paint, but you are going to do it anyway. You will save a lot of time and sweat by getting the right tools.
Pro Tip: This goes true for all vocations. You need to use the right tool for the job at hand. You cannot do with a hammer what is done with pliers and vice versa.Invest In Learning Color Theory To Avoid Schematic Errors
While you are starting out, it is the fact that you do not know many things about painting, especially the things that you think you know. To learn how to paint, you need to study from the colors, not only how they live in isolation but also how they bid in the company.
Paint a lot and keep a log of how colors change by interacting with others. This will give you an idea about what to expect when you mix different colors. This the field that you can invent your signature without spending a lifetime. It is true. You can invent a hue, a shade that is best suited for the majority of your paintings and you use it widely. This will help you in distinguishing your work from the paintings of other artists by merely giving a look.
Invest some time in learning the color theory. You can prevent a number of mistakes and futile hours in the future by spending some time in the mix. Research and improve yourself as a painter as you go.Use A Wet Palette
From the memes of pop culture to the teachings of the greatest masters, we know one immutable law of the painting – using a dry palette is as bad as painting goes. But even after knowing the importance of a wet palette, many people are hesitant to use for painting.
If painting is your “full-time” hobby, you should think about ways that can help you save time and money while still giving the best results.
If you are still in limbo on how to get a new wet palette from the market that will give you all the wiggle room to paint with ease, fret not. You can make your own at home. All it takes is a plastic household box, some cotton wool, water, and scraps of parchment papers, and you are ready to rock. This apparatus will cost you a couple of minutes and dollars to have your customized wet palette.
The small investment will give you much consistency in the painting. Combined with some other practical tips, you can get much more from your paint than you were getting already.Do Not Use Water For Diluting Your Paint
There is a lot that you can get from just thinning your paints right. If you are still catching up on how to do it the perfect way, this tip will shorten the long-distance and get you in the loop in the least possible time.
Using water as paint thinner is the most versatile and safest way. But it would be beneficial for your work to abandon water as your go-to diluting agent. It is hard to let things go, but you need to do so by opting for the things that will add value to your work and efforts.
The reason is that water evaporates quickly. This results in your paint changing consistency over the course of time while you are busy with your easel, taking the paints in slow and small chunks.
There are a number of thinners available in the market that can solve the problem of dilution. For instance, Lahmian medium and Vallejo thinners are superb for short- and long-term projects. If you cover your palette with a lid, the consistency of the paint will remain the same for a few days!
You can save a lot of paint and time by doing this simple trick!Take Care Of Your Brushes
There is one thing that almost all beginners struggle with is brush care. Like every artist and craftsman, you need to keep your tools in the best condition to get the best results from them. You need to have some basic knowledge about the composition and characteristics of brushes. If you do not know already, bristles of brushes that are made of wood are hard to paint with. They would take much time and resources without giving you the best result.
In order to avoid the brushes that cannot keep a neat point or split in half after the usage of two minutes, you need to take care of the serious care of your brushes. In a way, it is not so hard. There are little things here and there, from the selection of brushes to the post-work regimen that will keep you going.
Pro Tip: Get the best brushes that come in that price range. You won’t be disappointed!Get Excellent Brushes
Again, it is not easy to take care of your brushes while you are starting out. There is a lot to be done and you just find time to do the “menial” task of cleaning and maintaining supplies.
But if you have managed to take care of your brushes, the other thing you can do is to buy better brushes. A common mistake that novices make is that they do not invest enough in purchasing the right stuff. You can get better highlights and it is much easier to work with efficient equipment. There is a reason why pros are pros. Aside from practicing each day, they use quality tools and equipment to ensure everything works out the way it should.
It is certainly not ideal to but ultra-expensive brushes the moment you are starting out. But if you are in the game for some time, you should think about investing in supplies and other materials that can help you get better results in your work.
Pro Tip: The tools will only help you with improving your work. You can only get good at the painting by actually painting.There Is No Such Thing As Perfect Tool
If you want to encapsulate in a word what your tools are, they are just tools. There is a dilemma that most novices fall prey to. It is that a new tool or gadget will somehow magically solve the problem that you were facing with the older tool. Of course, you are in a better position to tackle the task in a new light, but you are sure to take time to get to the end.
If you are starting out and have no prior experience of neither buying nor using the tools, rest assured, you will get better only with the passage of time. in any form of art, “pay-to-win” is seldom a sustainable strategy.
Pro Tip: Never fall into the trap that buying new tools will magically make you better. It takes more than that!Quit Innovating & Start Stealing
As people are starting out, they make a cardinal mistake of thinking that they need to do something out of this world, that it will shake the core of the discipline itself. For the most part, it is outright incorrect. If you are set on doing something unique, you still need to start from the base and work your way up until you do the wonders without realizing them.
If you need to stand out from the crowd, start stealing ideas from the masters, but do it wisely. Looking for something that has never been done before could be a waste of time and talents.
In essence, art is all about sharing passion and love for nature and saying things that are unsaid for most of the part. So, start doing things in a way that will inspire you and make you do in the best possible way.
Get an idea from someone and then use it with a slight twist. Steal the essence and work on it. It is much better than shirking real work by thinking you need to make something really unique.
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