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Painting Challenges 101 #3 - All the Technical Stuff!

Announcements for ArcOpen have been coming thick and fast. With celebrities and influencal hobbyists choosing to be a part of this exciting new event. Best of all we are seeing hobbyists looking to step up to the challenge of this event. Many for the first time… We hope anyone who shares our passion for painting futuristic and Fantasy Miniatures Might consider taking up the opportunity to participate.

What do you need to know to enter a painting challenge like ArcOpen?


In this third article designed to help new or emerging entrants it’s time to focus on how to get the technical stuff right. And with all well executed projects it starts with a plan.


Planing helps anyone embarking on something new work out what they need to do. Writing a checklist of all the things you need to consider and ticking them off as you prepare

the model to be painted, and then continuing on through the painting and basing process is a methodical way to progress.

A painting notebook helps map your ideas - it might include sketches of the composition of your entry. Even swabs of colours that your going to use. And you can map out your project into stages and check everything off as you get to it.


Next is preparation - It might seem obvious but clean all the mould lines - you’d be surprised how many pieces are ruined by mould lines not being removed or gaps not being filled. A well built model with a smooth finish is a great starting point for your paint to bring it to life.

If your going to build the model in subassemblies ask yourself how will it help you?


What impact on your schedule will making repairs, filling gaps, and repainting add to the project.


And what gains you might make if you don’t. Can you keep track of the source or direction of the lighting you create on the model when the separate parts come back together?


What I mean is will your highlights be in the right place.


In your first few pieces always opt for less rather than more when it comes to subassembly - the less complex the project the less that can go astray. It may also impact on your ability to see the model as a whole, how it’s final pose with look and how each part impacts on the source of lighting compared to the rest of the model.


Fresh pointy brushes, clean water, new bottles or pots of paint, and a clean pallet… Oh and excellent lighting for your organised work area.


If you’ve got a wet pallet then this is the project you want to clean it up for. Nothing should be contaminated. New membrane and paper are both good ideas.

Jan Zar - painted by Squidmar.

If you are mixing colours to blend and going back and forth to create transitions then having paint stay moist and usable between sessions will impact on your time and limit the variation between parts of the model painted in different sessions.


You may have chosen your model, posed it, converted the bits you need to help support your story, and it’s time to paint it right?


Wrong… well maybe not completely, but it’s worth having a few pieces to practice things on. Colours, techniques, composition can all be tested and trialed on other pieces.


It’s a bit like a carpenter measuring twice and cutting once. Or my Airbrush course trainer explaining that practicing the shot before attempting to execute on the artwork was a lot like any other sort of skill training. You practiced what you were going to do until you could do it exactly the same every single time - and then that was the moment to take the shot!


So efficiently operating an airbrush is about practicing before taking the shot and testing everything - thining the paint, distance, angle, pressure, flow, movement…

To get a curving lifting line in the correct spot ant the right thickness and the appropriate blending in the tail. Happens first time every time right - sure does - but only after lots of practice!


It also runs true for brush painting. So, do you have a regime of testing, learning, and practicing before you execute? Some of it you’ve been doing all along. Every model you paint is part of the practice.


But like every skill - the more you do it the more you’ll master it.


ArcOpen is an opportunity to challenge yourself. It could be that you’re bring all that experience and skill, or you want to push towards new techniques or styles. Maybe it’s a new type of model you might never have painted. What ever it is you’ll have prepared and practiced, shown us what you know and have mastered.


When you can execute all your technical know-how on the best possible miniature then you’ll be rewarded with a great entry.





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