Joseph Bloch - August 31, 2014 at 10:21 PM
A technical mini-painting question if I may, since I'm currently on a tear painting a bunch of old 25mm Grenadier AD&D miniatures for my forthcoming 5th Edition D&D game.
Do you use Quickshade or any sort of analogue in your own painting? I was startled to see just how much better it made my minis, and was wondering if you had used some sort of similar inking wash. Especially since you seem to work in considerably higher volumes of miniatures than I do...
Great question - let me see if I can give you a decent answer!
I generally don't use any of the Quickshade or 'brand-name' washes on my figures; I use good-quality latex paints and a wet brush, and I can get the kind of look that I like that way. Let me run through the process, if I may.
First, I clean off any flash and sprue - like everyone does, and then I prime the figures with a flat white enamel metal primer. Hardware (ironmongers, for our UK readers) and the 'big-box' DIY stores have this for cheap. I normally do not prime with black, which is what GWs suggests in their painting manuals, or with grey; if I do use these, I make sure to use a flat paint as it holds the paint better. I use white because I can get a lot more 'depth' to the paints I'm using, and they tend to look brighter - which is a look I prefer for my Tekumel figures.
I use acrylic-fiber brushes; you can get some very nicely pointed ones in some of the 'student' ranges for a lot cheaper then in the 'pro' or 'artist' ranges. Find a brand that you like, and stick with it; I admit to being a 'brush hog', and I have probably several dozen brushes that I use. I use wider brushes for larger areas, and finer ones for finer detail; everything from 10 'O' up to 1/4". I have a separate set of larger brushes for scenery and terrain work; they make the work go a lot faster, because I can cover larger areas more quickly and more controllably. (And yes, I do use airbrushes, but that's another story for another time.)
I prefer the 'Liquitex' paints, which are available from artists' supply shops and crafts stores; these will thin out with water to really fine washes. I also use the various 'crafts' and 'hobby' paints, as needed, and depending on what colors I need for a specific figure. Again, all of these are acrylics.
I keep a pot of clean water on the workbench for thinning paints, and a pot of 'dirty' water for cleaning the brushes. If you are like me, and like to sip your soda, coffee, or tea while painting, use a covered travel glass or mug; mistakes can happen, like the time I rinsed out my brush in my Coca-cola, drank the paint water, and then - adding insult to injury - sprayed my Oreo cookies with Dull-coat varnish.
I 'mass-produce' my figures; I usually do them in whatever units I need, such as the ten City Guards or the twenty slinger girls. I also usually have a number of personality figures that need doing, and they'll get whatever colors they share with the units at the same time. I 'work from the skin out', painting fist any skin, then tunics or kilts, and then the armor or other clothing; details like belts and weapons are done last. I also try to do the lightest colors first, working from light to dark in the color scheme - one has to be flexible in this, of course!
I shake the bottle of paint really well, and then load up my brush with clean water. I dab the end into the paint, and stir the tip around until I get the density of pigment that I want. The slinger girls, for example, got a thinner coat of leather color to bring out the folds in their tunics; same with the green I used for the kilts. The paint tends to settle in the deeper folds, as well as along any sculpted lines, and you get much the same effect as you would with the 'Quickshade' washes.
I work my down the line of figures, and normally the first color on the first figure is dry about the time I finish that color on the last figure. Start again at the head of the line with the next color, and repeat until you are satisfied.
Generally, this process will do the trick and I'll get decent-looking figures; have a look at the pictures here and on the Photobucket page and see what you think.
And, having said all that, I do use washes as I think needed to bring out the detail on a figure - I'll use dry-brushing for the same reason. I just don't do it as a matter or regular practice; I do use it in 'special' figures like personality figures, though. I prefer to use thinned out-colors from my normal paints, and also thinned-out inks from calligraphy suppliers. I really like to use a thinned-out black ink on mail, for example; it settles into the links, and makes them really pop out. I also use some of the fancy 'iridescent' colors that one can find in the various 'fantasy colors' ranges; I like to use these to put a shine on areas of cloth to makethem look like silks or such, and this usually works pretty well - the metallic elements in these paints settle into the folds of the garment, and pop out the fabrics really well.
I have also used thinned-out enamels for this kind of thing, and also thinned-out wood stains - especially on wood! I do not use some of the various 'home mixes' I've seen suggested on the Internet; I hate stripping a paint job because I messed it up with a dodgy wash.
I've seen the various Quickshade products used on figures; I just don't use them, myself. If they work for you, and you like how they handle on your figures, then you are doing the right thing - the goal, after all, is to get playing!!!