May 2011

Brushes

You get what you pay for. This is especially true when picking out a brush to use.

Some things I’ve discovered, in no particular order. Kolinsky sable is the only hair worth using for detail. Having a huge selection of sizes is completely unnecessary (looking at you here, Games Workshop). You can do almost everything but drybrushing with a size 0 or 1 Round sable brush. And you could even use it for drybrushing, I guess, if you wanted to ruin it for everything else.

The Raphael brushes I use, #8404, size 0 is 13mm, size 1 is 15mm. Something like that, I’ll look it up and change it here later! Anyway, I paint 15mm figures with a brush that’s almost as big as they are, and I can do super-fine detail work without needing a tiny little brush for it. It seems strange, but it works perfectly (although you still have to slow down and take your time!). The 8404 is a watercolor brush, which makes it ideal for transparent blending. The tip is fantastically small, you can do eyeballs with it and the tiniest of lines.

Unless you’re doing competition-grade or “museum quality” work, there’s no need to have good sable brushes in 8 different sizes. Go ahead and buy them, you’ll end up focusing on a single one, maybe two, and not bothering with the rest. Get a pack of synthetics from a hobby store for drybrushing, priming, and varnishing, and you’re good to go.

Your brush is the direct outlet for all the effort and work you perform on your minis, regardless of what size you become most comfortable with. It will affect your technique and alter the output, and if you use cheap crap, that’s what you’re going to get for a finished job.

Faces & Hands

Flesh tones at 15mm are fairly simple to achieve. There’s some detail, but not a whole lot, and compared to a 28mm scale face there’s barely any work to do. Addendum - decided to experiment with progressive blending for faces. I just don’t like the way these guys are looking to the camera.

I use a three-pass recipe for speedpainting (all are Citadel colors):

  1. Elf Flesh or Bronzed Flesh - basecoat
  2. Flesh Wash - eyes, nose, mouth
  3. Elf Flesh - nose, cheeks, cleanup

For higher-grade pieces, I’ve worked out the following recipe (mixes are 50/50):

  1. Bronzed Flesh - basecoat
  2. Bronzed Flesh/Flesh Wash - shadows
  3. Flesh Wash - eyes only
  4. Elf Flesh/Bronzed Flesh - first highlight
  5. Elf Flesh - second highlight

I’ll let you know how this works out.