🎨 Paints

Updated at 2023-01-29 10:11

You can paint miniatures fully with oil paints. Oil paints have a steeper learning curve, but they can be more efficient to work with if you like to paint vibrant colors or smooth blends.

You can generalize painting with oils into three steps:

  1. The first pass is painting the main colors and blends using opaque oil paints.
  2. The second pass is painting the details and adding extra saturation with transparent oil paints.
  3. The third pass (optional) is to add extra details with acrylic paints. Mainly for things that you might've missed.

You should wait for the oil paints to fully dry between each step. It might take a day or two but using a drying accelerant cuts that to overnight.

There are three different categories of oil paint opacity:

  1. Opaque: good coverage but more desaturated colors
  2. Transparent: highly saturated colors but worse coverage
  3. Semi-Transparent / Semi-Opaque: somewhere between; usually the ones to avoid as diluting them will make the pigments separate more easily

As a simplification, you can think that you should prefer fully opaque for the basecoats or fully transparent for the highlights. The in-between are not that bad but this helps to cut down the selection in the beginning.

Most oil paint manufacturers have two lines: studio and professional. Studio paints are less pigmented and meant for art students. Professional paints are highly pigmented but also more expensive. I would recommend just jumping to the professional line of the brand of your choosing as you are using such little amounts of paint anyway.

You generally need a lot less oil paint colors as one of the main benefits is that mixing them works so well.

You generally use synthetic brushes with oil paints. The softer brushes like kolinsky sable can be used for the blending though. But avoid using the same brushes for both acrylics and oils.

You can use almost anything as a palette. Just don't use your wet palette with oil paints as the oils will make the palette go bad.

Avoid diluting paints on the first pass. When blocking out the basecolors, it's beneficial not to dilute your paints in the beginning to get a feel how they work. Oil paints dry slowly, so you have plenty of time to remove if you notice you placed too much paint somewhere. You'd usually slap a thick layer of paint somewhere and feather it our with a brush damp with white spirits or other dilutant.

Cotton swabs (q-tips) are not the best when retouching and cleaning an oil painted miniature. They work but swabs leave tiny strands of cotton everywhere. Buy some dense sponges to cut down or those makeup sponges that are on sticks.