Painting Tips: Lean over fat
Not one of us, Merlin and Benjamin Button excluded, are getting younger. Time, the world tells us, is of the essence. This is true whether you are trying to get that army onto the table to play or your masterpiece finished so you can move on to the next.
When I paint a miniature I usually begin with the larger areas such as skin and clothes before moving on to the details such as weapons and equipment. The same progression occurs when blending.
Start with the large changes first, using opaque colors to set your shades and highlights. Then, as you start blending add more and more medium to your paint. This way you get your highlights positioned properly before you start futzing around and avoid having to paint a million layers of essentially transparent paint to make a small adjustment.
I call this lean over fat, after the oil painting axiom of fat over lean to avoid cracking. This is where each layer needs more oil than the previous so that the outer layer dries slower and won’t crack.
The benefits of this technique is the speed and accuracy with which you can render your blends. Your highlights and shades are exactly where you want them, applied first so you can judge contrast and consistency over the entire model, and then blended together without worrying another them slowly creeping as can happen when just use glazes to build the colours.
This is how I painted my Infinity miniatures, both the painstakingly painted Zero and the rushed “Oh yeah, I was supposed to paint these quickly for the table” Intruder. Both styles of painting benefited from this technique. Not only because it let me paint them at a higher level but it noticeably sped up the process.
I can’t wait to paint my Knight Models Boushh miniature using this technique.
Do you paint this way or do you prefer to slowly build up colour? Give me your blending technique in the comments. You can also reach me on Google+ and Twitter. I’m also looking for guest posts so if you are interested drop me a line. Then Subscribe to see your name in print.