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Stirlz

Best lessons/tutorials for an experienced artist but new mini painter?

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Hey tga community! You all have been really great at answering a number of my questions already! I have my first "start collecting" box (daughter of khaine) in the mail and am eager to get started painting some snake ladies!

I am an illustrator and feel very confident in my traditional painting skills but obviously theres a lot of new stuff to learn transitioning over to painting plastic miniatures. I have been doing some research but 1. there is a LOT of content on miniature painting and it is hard to sift through whats useful and whats not.  2. a lot of the things Im seeing on youtube and whatnot are aimed at helping folks paint quickly or helping folks avoid mixing their own colors etc. Many are also hyper specific and granular, just listing the pots of citadel paints a person used to paint a certain type of sword or whatever. 

Do yall have any particular favorite lessons, channels, videos, etc. aimed at fundamentals and best practices for learning high-end miniature painting?   obviously some of it will just be a question of trial and error, but with such expensive little models, Id like to avoid unnecessary error where possible!

 

 

thanks in advance for your help!

Edited by Stirlz

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Or if you dont have a favorite tutorial, I do have some specific questions:

1. Are washes or shaders paints or these sorts of things universally used? I see them a lot in tutorials and whatnot, but the 2d painter in me is resisting the idea, and just mixing my darker and lighter tones and applying them with intention. Does this end up creating too many layers and/or do folks run into difficulties with deep crevasses and things? tldr do I have to use shader paints?

2. underpainting? I see the "zenithal" priming method which makes a lot of sense to me and I expect that I will use that. Do you or other folks then continue painting in just black/white to establish your lights and darks on top of that but before applying color? 

3. any tips in general? I am less concerned with efficiency, batching, and speed, and more interested in taking a long time and trying to learn to make showpiece models! I am starting with the daughters of kaine, if that inspires any specific tips!

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Even within the display painting world there's a lot of different styles and approaches so I'd say it's hard to recommend something without knowing what you are looking to achieve. Personally I like the clean and vibrant 'eavy metal style and for that style I think some of the best tutorials have come from Darren Lathams youtube channel (he also has some shorter tutorials and tips on his instagram) Another style of painting that's quite popular is one championed by Youtuber Squidmar Miniatures , He has some good beginner tips on his channel and recently released an hour long masterclass tutorial focused on display painting you might want to check out.

1 hour ago, Stirlz said:

1. Are washes or shaders paints or these sorts of things universally used? I see them a lot in tutorials and whatnot, but the 2d painter in me is resisting the idea, and just mixing my darker and lighter tones and applying them with intention. Does this end up creating too many layers and/or do folks run into difficulties with deep crevasses and things? tldr do I have to use shader paints?

1. Yes I'd say they are used by almost any miniature painter but depending on the level of the painting they are used quite differently. Display painters generally use them with a lot more control and more like glazes rather than washes. As opposed to soaking an entire area with a wash and let it settle in the recesses which is more of a quick and dirty technique to get some definition going fast. You definitely don't have to use them at all if you don't want to but most display painters do use them some degree even if 90% of their painting just regular layering/blending.

1 hour ago, Stirlz said:

2. underpainting? I see the "zenithal" priming method which makes a lot of sense to me and I expect that I will use that. Do you or other folks then continue painting in just black/white to establish your lights and darks on top of that but before applying color? 

I don't really use the zenithal priming method but my understanding is that it helps you get a quick overview of where highlight might go on the model but also because you're layering/blending paint over it that isn't quite opaque so  some of that inital zenithal highlight will shine through and help make your blends smoother and quicker than if you would have done it manually.

1 hour ago, Stirlz said:

3. any tips in general? I am less concerned with efficiency, batching, and speed, and more interested in taking a long time and trying to learn to make showpiece models! I am starting with the daughters of kaine, if that inspires any specific tips!

If you are already a seasoned artist the biggest thing you have to learn is how to work the paint. Getting the right consistency, working with your brush etc to get even strokes, not letting paint pool and so on and in my experience there isn't too much you can learn from watching tutorials you just have to put the hours in and learn by doing. That said of course have a look at some tutorials but just saying don't spend too much energy on trying to find the perfect one because there's no magic tricks to painting as you probably know.

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Vince Venturella makes a lot of great painting tutorials on his YouTube channel and has an extensive back catalogue.  He's a competition painter, but does cater for us lesser mortals.  I find it good for tips, even if I don't take them to the same level and I appreciate that he explains why and not just how.

He also has a Wednesday AOS-focused show called "Warhammer Weekly" with Tom Lyons that is well worth following.

Hope that helps.

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I am quite interested in this topic as well and am pretty excited to exchange ideas and references here. By and large, I find the best pictorial content on Instagram. I don't know that tutorials themselves are that useful - outside of, like you said, ultra specific things (how to make a base, principles of nmm, etc.) From a learning/growth point of view I find it much more interesting to look at what some of the good painters out there do. There's the basic stuff like figuring out what consistency of paint you prefer for different colors and things, but outside of the mechanical aspect I've found a huge range of things to learn just by looking at the WIPs and finished pictures of others. I'm nowhere good/patient enough to get to the level of those folks, but I feel it still helps me with improving bit by bit.

Since you are also interested in painting Daughters of Khaine, here are some of the things I've found inspiring and interesting on those models.

Daughters of Khaine inspiration
kaha.katarzyna.gorska has a really distinct and vibrant style with many painted light effects. Here she has a stunning and unique interpretation on Morathi:
daemonrich does really nice work as well, you can see some super smooth blends and unique light things on his Medusa here:

georcs_workbench was the first person painting witch elves I found that made me think - wow, need to really get that range of values going and get super smooth. Don't need many colors if executed cleanly and smoothly:

coderevenge has some insane precision, if you think about how much stuff is getting jampacked into the pupils on a 32 mm model.

 

Since you originally asked for painting tutorials

There is certainly a lot of stuff out there targeted for folks who are trying to paint fast or get to that subjective thing that is "tabletop standard." Here are some other sources that I've found useful that are more aimed towards "painting well." (Apologies for some of the vague terminology, as I think there is a lot of potential discussion on what that means, but this isn't really the thread.)

https://www.youtube.com/user/paintingbuddha - insight on competition level painting

https://www.youtube.com/user/SicarioRimini - nice balance between high tabletop standard and speed. He uses alot of oil filters, airbrush, etc to speed things up. I imagine this covers alot of skills needed to be a good commission painter.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzcOMfoojPy/ - sorry, the above is about it for tutorials I know of, the rest are just amazing painters on insta :D

https://www.instagram.com/p/B2AA1csHum4/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BzDHEQ9ISIx/

 

My opinions on some of your other questions

I honestly don't think you need washes at all unless you are going for speed. Thin down other paints and glaze them for more control. The painting buddha tutorials teach a technique called loaded brush, which is also cool to try, although I've personally had difficulty mastering it and stick to wet blending and glazing. When I do use paints labeled as "washes," I use them as glazes. I don't think you ever want to wash the way GW advertises unless you are trying to paint fast. On the related topic of GW's Contrast paints - they are basically glorified washes, so I wouldn't suggest specifically seeking those out unless you are trying to go for speed, or just want to paint normally but spend more money. :D

Zenithal is really good for learning. I think it is sometimes over simplified though. The underlying idea that I learned (taught by this wonderful guy) is that zenithal teaches new painters how light works on most regular surfaces. Without zenithal, you sort of get stuck in a 2D cartoon world where washes end up in recesses and highlights get placed uniformly on edges without respect for the direction of light (an exaggeration of the old GW house style.) I find zenithal mechanically useful for 2 things:

  1. Figuring out your light placement. You then layer on top of your zenithal but use it as a guide for placing your shadows.
  2. Alternatively, for speed and a very loose water color style, you can just glaze acrylics or lay oil washes on top of a zenithal. This is more of a speed painting approach, and you allow your zenithal underlayer to show through and play a part in the finished model.

And (this may be obvious) zenithal does not need to be black and white. Airbrush is almost a requirement for zenithal if you want to have precision I think - spray cans work to an extent but are very hard to control and it's easy to blast away all of the gradient/shadow if you push down too hard.

There are also painters out there who don't do zenithal and just place their lights manually. It's a preference thing.

 

Edited by Ggom
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I second Vince.  Binging his videos absolutely made me a better painter and I'm just a layman. I imagine someone with more experience would find his methods much less daunting. He's also the strongest proponent for Zenithal highlighting that I've personally seen.

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@Stirlz

For me some of the best tutorials or learning have come from finding a painter I like and if they have a patreon subscribe for a couple months. 

The better ones have a lot of great content and it is definitely worth it to watch someone paint in a way you find appealing. 

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