• d4 on the Floor

Painting Tips for Beginners

Updated: Oct 14, 2018

By: Brian

There are several unpainted miniatures staring you down. You want them painted but you have never painted a day in your life. You are not sure where to begin and you don’t want to ruin the models.

Quit worrying, take the plunge, and follow my simple tips for beginner painters:

1. Be cautious on what painting videos you watch on Youtube when you first start. I see so many people that will sit and watch all these different techniques on how to paint and get discouraged. If you are just starting out, start with beginner videos first. While Youtube tutorials on painting are typically helpful, when you are first learning, just focus on getting some painting done and getting the basics down.

2. Paint. If you don’t paint, you won’t learn. Don’t be afraid. I don’t think peoples’ heads have fallen off from painting just yet. Practice and experience are the two basic things that will help you improve.

3. Paint between the lines. Remember when you use to color in coloring books as a child and someone taught you to color in between the lines? Then when you started to color in between the lines there was an “awe moment” because the Spider-Man picture you just colored looked way better. It is the same thing for miniatures. Try to make sure you don’t have runoff from one area to another. For instance, when you paint a model’s helmet silver, and the face a skin tone, you don’t want any silver on the face or skin tone on the helmet. Keeping the colors in the spots they are supposed to be in makes a HUGE difference. Even a little runoff makes a negative impact.

4. Choose brighter colors than maybe you were thinking. I see a lot of beginners paint with dark colors. I use to be one of them. I love gritty and dirty looks for models. However, remember, the models will be several feet away from people on the gaming table. If everything on the model is dark, it will be hard to make out the details of the model. You want to exaggerate colors so the details on the model stand out.

5. Color block. Use different colors for different areas. I had a massive undead Cryx Warmachine army for years that I painted in Earth tones. However, when I first started painted these undead, I painted almost everything the same color of brown. There were so many things that were brown the models’ details did not stand out nearly as much as they could have. A lot of them looked like brown mush with skulls on the gaming table. If you have a model that has belts and pants, paint the belts brown. If you want the pants to be brown too, maybe go for a much lighter brown than the belts so the two articles stand out on the model. Again, making each area stand out helps with seeing the detail when the models are on the table.

6. Talk to local gamers that enjoy painting at your game store. Pick their brains and if you can get them to show you things first hand even better. I learn best when I see someone in person show me an example.

7. Paint and practice.

8. Paint and practice some more.

9. Have fun.

Here is an example of my early years of painting:

Here is an example below of the progress I started to make over the years.

I wanted to keep pushing myself and get into competition painting. Here is my 2016 Gen Con P3 entry.

Over time you still start to see improvement. With the 3 pics above, you can see the progress I made over time. Once you start to get these basics down then you can start to push yourself further if you choose and watch Youtube videos on different techniques. Again, just keep painting and practicing.

I hope this helps. Take the plunge, the brush, and these few tips and start painting your way to a fully painted army for the tabletop. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor and you will have better dice roll results when you have a painted army (Gamer Fact).