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- Welcome to another episode of The Joy of Miniature Painting. I'm Caleb Thompson and I'll be your host for the evening. I have prerecorded this talk. This is allowing me to focus on the live painting performance. As it turns out, I am terrible at multitasking.
I would have to pause whenever speaking and I don't know I'd get everything covered that I want to. Caleb, sit up straight. I paint. Whenever I tell people that, they understandably assume I mean on a canvas. I paint miniatures. Tonight, we'll be painting Reinholdt Gobber Speculator.
He's a happy little miniature used in the tabletop game War Machine. If you want happy paintings, happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news. In miniature painting, there are numerous techniques which can be used. Many of these, such as striping, glazing, or two brush blending, are time consuming.
Others like pigment shading or zenithal highlighting involve additional supplies beyond brushes and paint. If you've done any painting on canvas or elsewhere, you may recognize some of these terms. They are really not unique to miniature painting. They're just techniques we've appropriated.
In the interest of time, and because I would like to be able to complete something today, I'll be going over just a few tools in a painter's utility belt: dry brushing, washing, and base coating. I can't go over 45 minutes because we have a mean old organizer with no sense of humor.
Painting is sort of a general term. I also dabble in things like converting miniatures by changing them from what their sculptor intended, changing a pose or swapping body parts, in basing them by giving them interesting surroundings that help bring the models to life by showing them running over rocks on a bridge or crouching behind a fallen pillar, and in building terrain to make the battleground more interesting than a flat wide open field of green grass.
There are less glamorous parts of the hobby, like cleaning mold lines or picking the superglue out from under my fingernails after I assemble bits. But most of my time is spent painting. That's good because it's the most exciting to me. Painting is my hobby.
It gives me an outlet from work that I find more satisfying than lying on the couch and watching Netflix. It lets me step away from the technical and interpersonal demands of my job. It uses the creative, imaginative half of my brain that gets less exercise than the logical analytical hemisphere.
I can lose myself for hours getting the right wet blended color gradient for a rippling cloak or finding that perfect transition between the shadows and highlights of a muscular arm. I'm pretty terrible at free-handing woodgrain, but I do that, too. Having a hobby is super important.
People with hobbies are generally healthier. They're also at a much lower risk for depression and dementia. I came into this hobby already depressed. Painting helps me forget that. As all miniature painters soon learn, there are a few super easy ways to take a flat and boring piece and give it vibrancy and visual interest.
The very first step of painting a model is to base coat it. This is the step where you throw down the base color of each section. Paint a leather belt in a mid-brown. Stone is gray. Cloth may be green or blue or red. When applying the paint, you usually want to add some amount of water to thin the paint.
The amount can change drastically based on the brand of paint and even on the specific color. A common description of the desired result when thinning is that the paint should have the consistency of skim milk, just a little bit thicker than water. That's not super useful.
From what I've been able to gather when people say that, they're mostly regurgitating something that they've been told. But a painter does get a feel for the right amount of water for a paint through some amount of trial and error. Also not super useful. For basing coating, you might want somewhere in the neighborhood of two to one, paint to water.
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