Author Topic: Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)  (Read 8064 times)

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void trekker

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Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« on: March 03, 2008, 08:57:08 AM »
For those interested in learning to paint by a very quick method, here's how it is done. Of course, these figures will not look professionally painted, but they CAN be brought up to that standard.

The main advantage to the four color method is that the figures do not look bad, and a fair sized army can be completed in a short time. Of course, this will NOT be the method preffered by professional painters. However, it results in a good B grade paint job that can fairly easily be improved to an A- with a little additional detail. If you are a new player, or just somebody who wants to field a new army quickly, and still have it painted to a reasonable standard, here goes:

First off, let's start with a relatively simple figure. Say, a 40K space ork.

1. Get a can of auto body spray paint in the color that will end up covering most of the figure. Though our ork's skin is green, most of his body is probably wrapped in clothing, so let's start with a nice light brown. Use a lighter color than you think you will ultimately need. If the spray looks too light, that is good at this stage. Spray the figures standing up. Don't bother to turn them on their sides to coat the bottom. You won't ultimately need to. You'll see why.

2. SPRAY THE PAINT ON LIGHTLY AND ALLOW TO DRY FOR 24 HOURS. Trust me on this one. Do NOT just wait until the paint "feels dry" and then continue. You can end up with a sticky mess and a lot of heartache that way.

3. Now find the second most common color. In the case of an ork, this is probably his green skin. Paint the parts of him that should be green in a nice evenly spread acrylic. Oddly, GW paints are not the best for this. Tamiya is better if they sell it in your area. USE A LIGHTER COLOR THAN YOU ULTIMATELY WANT. Again, trust me. You'll see why later. If the ork's flesh looks electric green, that is good at this stage. Paint them assembly-line fashion (i.e., paint all of the orks green before moving on to another color). DON'T WORRY IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME KEEPING THE PAINT IN THE LINES. IT'S OKAY TO SLOP A LITTLE BIT. Again, you'll see why later. (Boy, I keep on saying that! but trust me, you will).

4. Find the third most obvious color on the figure. This will almost always be metallic silver (do NOT use steel, silver is much lighter, and much better for this technique), unless the color of the figure is metallic overall, as is the case with some rare figures like necrons. Paint weapons, sword hilts and other exposed metal in this color. This can generally be just drybrushed over the appropriate areas. Again, don't worry if you slop a little.

5. Now comes the final color. Black. This is done in two parts. First off, paint the base entirely black. Then, paint any bits of the model black that absolutely must be, but don't overdo it. LET THE FIGURE DRY COMPLETELY. As you are using acrylics, this won't take long.

6. Now, get a jar of ENAMEL black (NOT acrylic) and mix it about 1/3 paint to 2/3 paint thinner. stir well, so the paint completely dissolves in the thinner. When this is done, just take a brush and completely coat the figure in the diluted mixture. Let it dry, and you're done. This is called "washing" and has the effect of settling the black paint in all of the folds, cracks, divits and other low points of the figure. This creates a shadowing effect which brings out the detail in the figure to its fullest effect.

A word of explanation: Why do I say use enamel for the wash after you used acrylic for everything else? Because the oil based enamel will not cause the -hopefully now dry- water based acrylics to run. It will not affect the autobody paint coat either, provided it is fully dry. Also, contrary to popular belief, while enamels have many drawbacks, the oil will flow much more smoothly than water, and will really create a much better wash effect. Now, remember that I said to use lighter color paints for everything, and silver rather than steel? This is because the enamel wash will darken the entire figure, even in the high areas, just by flowing over it. So, when this is done, all of your colors should be about right.

Some painters prefer what they call the "dip" to a wash. This is done by buying a quart of Minwax Polyshades Tudor Satin (Tudor is an uncommon shade, you will probably have to order it from a hardware store). This is in some ways easier, as you just mix it up and literally "dip" the figure into it. You then hold it over the can and let the excess run off. Then wipe off the bottom of the figure with a little tissue, let it dry 24 hours, and you are done.

The advantage of the "dip" is that it is polyurethane mixed with wood stain. It will flow evenly and leave an iron-hard finish on the figure. The disadvantage is that it is much thicker than the "wash" method, and will have a tendency to pool on some areas of the figure, or harden in hanging drips on low points. To prevent this, just observe the figure about 10 minutes after it has been sitting, and wipe off the lower portions where any pooling or hanging drips may occur with some tissue.

Now, do we have a painting-competition-quality figure? No. However, you have a figure that is painted to a pretty reasonable standard. You can paint a whole army of -say- 50 figs in an afternoon. Turning it into a six color paint job only adds about an hour to the process, and then you have something that looks quite nice indeed.

Of course, you can add colors on later as you like, and can ad in an infinity of advanced techniques when you learn them, but this is very good for getting started.

Before the purists and traditionalists begin to howl, please note that this is a technique for beginners, or those who don't like painting, but also don't want to shuck out a lot of cash for a pro-painted army. Yes, I know there are better methods.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by void trekker »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2008, 01:45:17 PM »
Welcome to the board. Awesome read. I'd like to see some in progress pics. With that, it would be good enough to turn into an article in our How-To section.

ps: I'm the world's slowest painter :-)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »

void trekker

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 05:09:22 AM »
Sadly, I'm a HALFWAY decent painter, but no photographer.  Some day, I'll learn.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by void trekker »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2008, 04:11:04 PM »
No problem but I'd still like to see the end result even if it's poor quality.

I find the best, easiest, way to get a decent shot is to take the subject outside. Use the maximum resolution of the cam and don't use the digital zoom. Optical is ok but digital sucks. Better to take a really big picture with a small clear object and crop it out.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »

hamster_boy

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2008, 11:47:39 PM »
Good article. I have used the "dip" method on a few test figs, and I am VERY happy with the technique. They arent golden-demon winning, but they look very good. I can republish the article i found a couple months ago (with full credit to the author) but you have the essentials down.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by hamster_boy »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2008, 12:52:25 AM »
Hammie! Welcome Back! :woohoo:
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »

hamster_boy

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2008, 07:36:33 AM »
I've been around, just lurking. new article soon if i can get my act together.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by hamster_boy »

Highland_Piper

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2008, 07:20:20 PM »
Hey Hey Hamster!

As not to hijack this thread

void trekker-Good article.  I've started casting bricks again to make terrain, and I've bought a few unpainted miniatures (I suck at painting) but I will give your suggestions a try.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Highland_Piper »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2008, 04:29:46 AM »
Quote from: "hamster_boy"
new article soon if i can get my act together.

Can't you get my act together while you're at it?

Highland... take pics.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »

hamster_boy

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2008, 04:42:23 PM »
I took pics of the mordheim warband i am currently painting. The "base painting" is done, i will dip tomorrow and then show the results.

hamster
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by hamster_boy »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2008, 03:09:21 AM »
awesome. I have Mordheim but have never played it. I don't know anyone around here that plays it.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »

hamster_boy

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2008, 03:10:15 PM »
I have dipped, and taken before and after pics, but i want to take some "after after" pics, when i use a dull-coat spray on them. Man, they are shiny.

I am also disappointed in the dip color i have chosen (Antique Walnut Satin), i wish it were darker. There is definately a learning curve here, which is funny because my first couple figs came out AWESOME.

hamster
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by hamster_boy »

rob

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Re:Four Color Painting (A Technique for Noobs)
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2008, 12:07:07 AM »
consistancy is a universal problem. I have a difficult time keeping shading the same when I make terrain, especially if the bits are to fit together.

I can't wait to see this. I have hundreds of mini's that need a basic paint job.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rob »