Wet Palettes, and more.

A couple changes to my process tonight.


Like most hobby desks, mine is in serious need of cleaning.

I’ve only ever used a wet palette at painting classes. It seemed like something people did when they were taking a class. The other day I was in Michaels and picked up some parchment paper (baking section) and made it happen.You need:

  • A plastic lid, or styrofoam plate.
  • A piece of paper towel and get it moist (but not soaked).
  • Parchment paper and place it on top of the moist towel.

I’ve had that dark grey, and the lighter grey next to it, wet all night long. I’ve been painting for 2 hours, judging by the episode of Chumphammer I’m listening to. The big bonus of this is that I can go back and forth with my colours. If the dark got too dark, do a layer of the light, and vice versa. And this is how you do glazing! I’ve been doing it with a dry palette for a few years, and mixing new paints/water when I needed them, but this…this is way better. Highly recommended.

The other new thing on my desk is a dedicated clean water bottle. For years I’ve been using water out of my cleaning pot to water down my paints. The other day, I noticed that my grey was red. >.< You’d think I would notice that sooner (there’s a good story from my GW days, working with Owen, here), but my eyes have a very hard time discerning the difference between similar shades. (And don’t even get me started on navy blue/purple). Clean water bottle, also a total win.

I like having a back-log of posts lined up, and I don’t want to post spam, so we’ll get into the actual end result of the glazing…tomorrow.

Lizardmen Blood Bowl – Pahaux Flamewalkers

I’m pleased to present the Pahaux Flamewalkers! Hailing from the City of Ash, this team has been sent to win at Blood Bowl by their Slann Relic Priest, for reasons that no one really understands. He mumbled a bunch and the head skink pointed at a few guys and off they went.

The painting of these guys followed a similar pattern to the Krox. After the dark wash, grab the colour that started underneath (or a similarly bright colour). Mix a bit of water and a lot of acrylic medium with it and apply gently to the affected areas to create a soft and sloping highlight.

I’m officially a big fan of the acrylic medium.

Looking back now, I wish I had taken the time to assemble the models better. These are some of the best models I’ve painted in years, and they suffer from rushing through the assembly, as you may be able to see with some of the photos below. However, Adepticon is in 11 days (holy hell) and I’m playing in a Saturday/Sunday tournament with these guys, and they needed to be finished!



Ready to beat people up and think about scoring goals.


I used GW ‘ardcoat on the helmets, finally finding a situation where I needed a glossy coat.




This guy has frenzy, rawr!

P1040675 P1040676

Masterclass 2 – Day 2

It’s been a while since I took this class and wrote these notes. So this should be pretty short, as I flail and desperately trying to figure out what my notes meant. Click the continue to see some cool pictures and laugh at my recall!

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Masterclass Painting 2 – Airbrush

Airbrushes have an odd mystique about them. Some people say “that’s not fair, he cheated and used an airbrush!” Some people try to use them as the sole method of painting. But an airbrush is just a tool, and it can only really speed up something that you were trying to do anyway. He painted a solid base/shade/highlight in about 10 minutes, which took us 3-4 hours to get done right. They have a steep learning curve. Be prepared to swear for at least 2 months.

Just about every airbrush brand has a good model, so don’t worry so much about that. Except for Testors/Aztek, which apparently have some technical flaws to them. You want a dual-action airbrush, so you can control airflow through the brush. You want a top/gravity-fed airbrush so you can use less paint. Side-feed are ok too, but with siphon/bottom-fed you have to mix a lot of paint in order to get the little hose to be able to suck on the paint. You want a brush that can have a nozzle somewhere between 0.15 and 0.6 size. 0.4 or lower is preferred for our uses.

Compressors should put out 15-30psi and have a regulator so you can control the amount of air coming from it. You can use a cheaper power tool compressor, but you’ll have to buy an adapter and a regulator and probably an extra water trap since they put out a lot of heat. One with a tank is nice since it only has to run when the tank depressurizes. Otherwise the compressor is only good for about 45 minutes before it overheats. His cost $1500!

A few accessories of note:

  • A quick connect adapter means you can detach the airbrush pretty easily for cleaning or changing paints.
  • An airbrush holder lets you put the brush down for a moment.
  • A cleaning kit.

He took apart his airbrush for cleaning. Remove the back, pull the needle out without bending it. Remove the front and the nozzle. Use rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip to clean everything and inside the metal casing of the brush. The nozzle can get clogged, so there is a tiny little accessory to poke out the clog. When done painting, put thinner in the bowl and spray it until clean. Brush out the bowl and do it again. Then it’s ready for the next colour.

You can buy airbrush specific paint, but GW/P3 paints work out ok if you thin properly. It can clog the nozzle, so watch out. He creates a thinner that is 85% water and 15% isopropyl alcohol. Mix that 1 part paint to 5 parts thinner.

Then use the same techniques as painting with a brush – use a succession of thin layers. He painted on a base colour, then shaded to black, then highlighted to white. Mask off areas you don’t want covered with paint, let it dry before the next coat and spray away from the tape in case it isn’t stuck down completely.

Just before we finished he passed the model around and someone commented that his base colour was almost gone. He agreed and then thinned out some of the base colour and sprayed it all cover the work he’d just finished, creating a pre-blended piece of work that looked great!

Masterclass Painting 2 – Day 1

This weekend of Masterclass Painting is about vehicles. We’re painting a Dark Eldar Helion glider thing (no rider). This morning started at 9am, and we immediately got into base coating, shading and highlighting this model. We had lunch in the middle and at about 1pm we got into the meat of the new material – various weathering techniques. After dinner we talked about airbrushing for a few hours and then ended the evening, exhausted, at 9pm.

Tomorrow we start again at 9am and I think we’re going to get into basing. But for now, hit the jump and we’ll take a look at some of what we did today!

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Masterclass Painting 1 – Day 2

Day 2 started out pretty well – I caught the right bus, I knew where I was going, I found a McDicks to get a McGriddle at (praise the evil genius who invented the McGriddle!), I ate breakfast with a fellow painter who was pretty awesome and then we walked to the shop to get our paint on!

We waited for a bit. 9am rolls around, which is when the event starts and we think “Oh well, the keyholder just slept in a bit, no big deal.” Everyone is pretty cool. Another 15…then another…then it’s 50 minutes later and we’re trying to figure out how to get ahold of the guy so we can get into the shop!

The fellow is found and is properly apologetic and we get excited to finally get our thing going. And then…we find…that the door lock has been glued shut. As in, the key hole has been filled with glue. The kind of glue that fills a hole really good, and then sticks really good. Curses, frustration…and resignation. It’s going to be a while to get a locksmith over to fix it…so a bunch of us head to the toy shop across the way (convenient, really).

If you ever get a chance to go into Toy Traders in Langley (God help you if you need to be in Langley…) I highly recommend it. Fantastic toy shop! Board games, barbie dolls, massive sections of comics and collectible action figures and LEGO and Brio and building blocks and if you look up, the owners of the store clearly have a hard-on for Star Wars. Awesome shop.

At about 11am we get into the store and get going. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover and not a lot of time to cover it in. We order pizza in, and we ended up skipping the last section of the class. Sadness. 🙁

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Masterclass Painting 1 – Day 1

17 people at Game Stars in Langley!

It was a few months ago, probably at Astronomi-con, that Mr. Dyer mentioned organizing painting classes in Vancouver. I said yes, please, that sounds great! I have been looking forward to these classes for months now. My painting style has grown, I think dramatically, in the last year or two and the chance to take a class to try to solidify some new skills wasn’t one I was going to pass up. The downside – this is the busiest February I’ve ever had, I’m moving, I’ve had a few weekends packed up, and now I have two complete weekends filled with painting classes. I don’t regret it…but the timing is poor. 🙂

The teacher for the weekend is Mathieu Fontaine (Blog) – a winner of multiple Golden Demon awards (that’s good), a phenomenal painter, and a general bastard (in a good way). It turns out that he’s also a phenomenal teacher – able to explain difficult concepts while jet lagged, with a friendly and patient attitude. I would recommend him.

I took some notes while we went, and I took some photos. I painted for about 20 hours, and I didn’t finish the model. (No one did – that wasn’t the point). I learned some lessons about photography while I was at it. 😛 Hit the jump to read my (cleaned up) notes, and see some photos!

Continue reading Masterclass Painting 1 – Day 1