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I've recently finished school and since i'm just working now, I find I have time to actually do things I want now.

Something i'm interested in is learning the skills to paint well.

I am satisfied with my current conversion skills, save using greenstuff, which I have not gotten into yet, but painting almost eludes me. I find it very difficult to do at all and I am not satisfied with my work. I have the Guide to Painting Space Marines book. And it is great at showing me what to do, but I feel I fall down on just how to do it.

I feel my basic skills are lacking. What can I do to improve them, without ruining models? Are there exercises I could do to improve and such?

it may be important to note that I am mainly a spray paint and brush strokes guy. No special equipment or anything like that.

Thanks for your time.

PS; what do people recommend for finding a unique paint scheme for my marines? is there perhaps a utility I can use to drag and drop colours onto the armour to see what it looks like?
 

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The biggest issue I had when I was starting out was hand shaking. So I suggest holding models in one hand while resting the heel of your painting hand on the heel of the hand holding the miniature; then any random twitches &c. in your arms/body won't cause the tip of the brush to move so much.

But the best way to improve is practice, so keep painting.

If you are using acrylics stripping the paint off is relatively easy with Dettol floor cleaner (or isopropyl alcohol) and a toothbrush, so don't worry about ruining models.
 

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As Dave pointed out the best way to get better at painting is to keep painting and often. I suck at painting as well so I understand your frustration.

I watch youtube painting tutorials for tips and tricks, read painting threads and ask for advice. Yes this means posting pictures of your work up and letting people judge it but generally most people want to help and have good advice.

I know there is a program called Space marine painter it lets you click and add paint to marines to try out various paint schemes so that might be helpful.

Floor cleaner (I use Mr. Clean Multi purpose)is good at stripping paint off plastic models with no damage to the plastic soak about 1 hour and little warm water and toothbrushing the paint is gone. Simply green works great on plastic or metal soak over night rinse and toothbrush. So any paint job you are not happy with can be easily removed.
 

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I have found that my painting has improved no end since I started looking at tutorials all over the internet and in books, when you say thespace marine painting book I assume you mean the old one pre 145 paints? Try getting the new How to paint miniatures book too, I would consider myself a reasonably good painter but the guides in there are really useful for simple schemes that are really quick (I use the TK one all the time now I love it). There is also youtube which will have some great paint guides where you can actually see how people achieve certain effects like OSL and weathering. The GW videos are incredibly good too. I perosnally always search online how to paint a model before I do it, not necessarily thatI may copy the scheme but so 1. I can see how people structure the scheme (order of doing colours styles etc.) 2. so I can use certain elements for colours I haven't painted before e.g. hazard stripes on a model or certain flesh.

The easiest way to learn is base, wash, highlight extreme highlight. that will give you varied lighting on our surfaces and the more you do it the better you willl get. AS for coming up with your own schemes I eventually have been able to get to the point where I can sort of visualise in my head what I want a model to look like, but as Mentioned above I look all over the internet for alternate schemes. Flickr and forums are always the best place for these. If you see something that you can use ask how they did or tips for acheiving similar results, at the end of the day the worst they will do is not reply, which leaves you no worse off and you have seen good inspirations for you next project
 

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As cliché as it sounds, practice is the best. Focus on developing your weak points, find what you're good at and play to those strengths. I am not the best at flesh tones, so I practice from time to time on bare heads to make sure I'm improving. Also I find that stepping away from what you normally paint and doing something wildly different will give you a new perspective which may help you power through those weak points. For example, I've been working for months on Emperor's Children, but this weekend I painted a Stegadon head that I found in my bits box. Messing with that helped me work on mixing washes to get the color I'm looking for. After 20 years, I've found that you get better with every model. Talking to other painters, hearing their techniques and watching videos will help you to find your own technique. Just paint EVERYTHING you can get your hands on. I'll get better. Good luck!
 

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In regards to stripping paint off of models, I've had terrible experience with dettol. I ended up with disgusting, smelly sludge all over my miniatures!

Propanol though? Works super fast (like a few minutes), evaporates at a low temperature and is CHEAP. Like. £15 for 5L on eBay. I've heard IPA is the 'active ingredient' in dettol and simple green when it comes to paint stripping anyway. :D
 

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Practice makes perfekt. And since stripping paint is easy don't worry for the minis. Just might be timeconsuming.
This exactly. There's nothing more to it. Nowadays an awful lot of people like to rely on internet painting guides, videos and so on and are utterly confused if they are confronted with a miniature they can not immediately find three youtube guides for.

What counts is sitting down, doing it. Over, and over, and over. All those internet guides are cute and an awful lot of people get a lot of internet fame for them but ultimately it's about you sitting down and practicing.
 

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I always recommend practicing new paint schemes on the spare parts you get in plastic kits. Watching Youtube tutorials is always good too.

One of the big issues new painters often have is layering on paint too thickly, so I'd recommend making a wet palette. I was really surprised the first time I tried it out and found if I left a blob of paint overnight it would often still be wet the morning after, where on a regular palette it's starting to dry straight away and your time is limited. But the point is you can thin the paint with a touch of water and the thinner paint is better for retaining the detail on a miniature after painting several layers. I made my wet palette with a disposable plastic bowl, a few squares of kitchen roll and a square of baking paper laid over the wet kitchen roll.

Bracing your elbows/forearms on a solid surface is a great piece of advice too. I just sit back on my sofa to paint so with my hands on my lap my forearms are already supported and I don't have to worry about shaky hands and involuntary twitches. Realistically the only thing to worry about would be having a sudden fit and spasming uncontrollably, maybe frothing at the mouth, but in that scenario at least I'd be using thinned paints so any wild brush strokes wouldn't be the end of the world.

Overall the best advice I'd give is to know your own limits and don't attempt to hit a standard way beyond the level you've painted at previously. If you can't paint space marine eyes well, leave them black. Use simple techniques like drybrushing and washes to do the work for you and bear in mind that excellent painters have put a ridiculous amount of hours into honing their craft
 

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Overall the best advice I'd give is to know your own limits and don't attempt to hit a standard way beyond the level you've painted at previously. If you can't paint space marine eyes well, leave them black. Use simple techniques like drybrushing and washes to do the work for you and bear in mind that excellent painters have put a ridiculous amount of hours into honing their craft
Maybe it's a personal thing, but I don't agree with this one. I would always say to push yourself and your limits, as that's the best way to get better. The only way to learn something new is to go outside your comfortzone and try new things - And again and again.

I get what you mean, but I think that staying inside your own limits is hampering ones progress - Not enhancing it.
 

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Maybe it's a personal thing, but I don't agree with this one. I would always say to push yourself and your limits, as that's the best way to get better. The only way to learn something new is to go outside your comfortzone and try new things - And again and again.

I get what you mean, but I think that staying inside your own limits is hampering ones progress - Not enhancing it.
You're right, and what I think I should have said was don't aim too high above the level you've previous painted at. It's obviously necessary to introduce new techniques and otherwise try new ideas now and then. That said, I do believe a simple, easier scheme painted well is usually better than a complicated, more difficult scheme painted badly.
 

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It depends on what you're painting, but most people will only paint the models they plan to put on the table. If you've got spare models/cash lying it round, you may find it worth your while to try some techniques out on one of those before putting them up on your real army, but certain techniques will improve over time and you may never get good at something until you've painstakingly spent that last 5 nights bent over a table and done it. That extra £5 box of 3 Space Marines just isn't going to cut it!

If you're up for possibly fielding some models which look a bit crap (You wouldn't look out of place in most Games Workshops!) then just paint how you please on them. Push your limits! Wet blending? Sure you've never heard of it, but that doesn't mean you can't do it. ;) Never gonna learn if you never try.

I disagree very strongly with Squire. If you're bad at Space Marine eyes, leaving them black is only going to leave you still bad at painting space marine eyes. So paint them badly! In the words of a little yellow cartoon dog:

"Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta good at something."


So paint your miniatures badly, because it's all practice. I'd much prefer to fight an army of poorly painted miniatures than to go up against grey plastic.
 
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