My least favourite part of painting is cleaning up the models in the first place, but it has to be done. So that I can avoid using that as an excuse not to do it, and so that I don’t make a mess of something valuable, I’m going to start with a few models that I’d already cleaned up ages ago. I was going to show you a photo, and indeed I shall. However, my camera + skills are not up to taking a decent photo with what I have in the dark. I need the great daylight bulb in the sky to get a halfway decent shot. Photos will have to wait till tomorrow.
The models I have dredged up are a mixed bag, as you might expect. That’s not the point. They are a means to an end.
I’ll also show you a couple of my old models so you can see that I used to be an OK painter. I never was fast though, and that’s something I need to fix.
Oooh ! Photos ! I need to see !
Actually, I find the cleaning/prepping process to be quite relaxing, and a good way to “read” the miniature and think about the colors you’re going to use… Maybe you’ll see a detail you hadn’t saw before and you’ll re-think the way you wanted to paint the miniature, or even pose it and convert it…
I’m usually taking way too much time prepping my minis because I’m quite compulsive about having the cleanest possible mini, with no mold line or defect whatsoever. i’ll even resculpt bits if I’m not satisfied.
Priming goes much faster, but it really reveals the miniature IMHO, and you see details in a new light… It makes the miniature more “legible” so to speak, especially if it’s metal. Priming also reveals every mold line you’ve forgotten, which is frustrating, but a huge favor.
I usually prepare and prime much more miniatures than I’m actually going to paint… They sit on a shelf, white and tempting, but never as tempting as the fabulous and well known “next project”…
Apologies again for the lack of photos. I don’t think it’s my camera’s fault – more a lack of skill on my part. However, it still means that I can’t take decent photos in the evening. Tried with a daylight bulb as a light source to no avail. I either get things that are bleached out or way too dark. A problem to explore another day. But tomorrow is another day, and the sun will presumably come back to help out.
I agree with all your comments on cleaning and priming apart from the enjoying it bit. I do like the excuse to examine the model in detail, the opportunity to really understand and admire the sculpting, etc. I also like reposing and “correcting” and converting figures. I just don’t like the tedium of cleaning off every mould line, especially when I understand from working with various professionals when mould lines and flash are there because the sculptors, mould cutters and/or casters are just being lazy…
I actually prefer priming models by hand, just to be perverse, as it really does allow you to look at the model carefully. I’m not a big fan of spray paints as I find them so easy to flood details with. Another ineptitude on my part, I’m afraid. I will have to learn to use them more effectively though as they clearly save a lot of time.
Indeed, spray is the way to go for me : It gives you a nice, even, powdery coat, and that’s the idea…
Most people want to paint the mini white (or whatever priming color they choose). This is NOT the purpose of priming.
Priming is getting your miniature coated with a fine layer of powdery paint so that the details are more legible, and so that paint adhers to the miniature better, on something that’s not shiny.
It’s also perfectly all right if some recesses of a miniature aren’t covered in paint, if they’re hard to reach, and if another spraying in that direction will “flood” other parts.
Priming to this end is very tough to do with a brush, actually, unless you use multiple layers of dilute paint and have an EXTREMELY good control of your brush so as to avoid paint pooling in the recesses.
Comparatively, it’s ridiculously easy to do with a spray can… In my opinion, at least.
As for photos… Well, studio painters and I have a common friend in Photoshop ! I’m not talking about correcting painting mistakes (although that’s certaily common…) but mostly tweaking brightness, hue, saturation and contrast so as to show miniatures in their best light, so to speak…
I wonder if i’ve actually seen a single GOOD picture of a miniature that hadn’t been touched up in that way, just to reveal the “real” colors that somehow never directly shine through the camera’s perspective !
I’ve already surrendered to the inevitability of sprays 🙂
I used to use a specially made primer to prime with as I understand the function, and you’re right that it took 2-3 coats to get a solid colour. However, one coat was enough to give the miniature a key to grip the paint and that’s all they usually got, regardless of the sightly patchy surface. Pooling was occasionally an issue, though not more than with watercolours, which I’m fairly used to using in 2D work. Half the battle is knowing that it’s prone to that problem and being ready to pounce on it to correct it quickly.
I can have a look at the photos and see how much I can correct them digitally, though I’m struggling with GIMP as I can’t afford Photoshop. Yet. Perhaps I’ll do a page to show what they start as and where I can get them.
You might want to take a look at Corel Draw x5 $400 vs $680 for Photoshop. Capability is very similar and it is just as hard to learn to use properly. We do graphics work professionally and most of it is done with Photoshop but for some things where Corel Draw can do a better job I get involved. Corel also has an useful entry product called Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X3 Ultimate currently on special for $30 that is also easier to use the link will take you to it.
I have setup a figure photo rig but have not had time to use it much. I will see if I can move that project forward. The rig did not cost much but even with it’s small foot print the space it takes is vexing me and I am looking for a crafty way to have it available but out of the way. Any flat spot cries out to have things set on it and a photo area piled with junk is not much use.
My next project is a paint booth. I already have the fan and a design that will place the paint booth in the air space over my chest freezer. Once I have the booth I will be able to get back to doing more with an airbrush and be able to prime figures when the weather is poor.
You’re streets ahead of my planning and clearly much more hands-on than I. I’ve always been happy converting and building miniature things, but once they get to be bigger than my cutting mat I lose interest and ability. I’ve always been rubbish at 1:1 scale DIY.
I’ll have a look at the Corel Draw. I’ve never tried it (but then I’d never tried GIMP before either). At present I was thinking that spending more time on GIMP as I have that already and it is supposed to be fairly complete. Will see how CD compares. I’m sure I’ll mention this topic again 🙂
Corel Draw includes Photo Paint you can down load it for a free trial and give it a quick test to see if it gets you where you want to be without a lot of effort. Nice work can be done with Gimp but I have not spent much time with it. My guess on both what you want to do and how hard it is to get the guessed effects in Gimp is that Corel Photo Paint might be faster and easier for you. For photos in low light a tripod helps if your camera lets you change the exposer time. Getting it right from the start takes the least time and effort.
The 1:1 scale DIY saves money, gets you exactly what you want and soaks up LOTS of time. Just added a coat rack this morning so I can clear some space for a game table that I can leave setup and get the gaming stuff off the dining table. Wife will be happy to get the dining table back and I will be happy to have my own space. I hope to get a gaming table done this weekend. 🙂
It’s the “soaks up LOTS of time” bit that’s particularly unhelpful at the moment. Life is busy enough without adding (more) major time soaks. I’m a big fan of DFY (Done For You), preferably by someone competent 🙂
You’re right that getting the picture right in the first place so you don’t have to fiddle digitally is always best. A tripod is on my shopping list. Like I said though, you’re streets ahead of me!