This is basically just going to be an introductory lesson about how to paint miniature figurines. I use it to paint figurines for the game Dungeons and Dragons, but it is the same concept for all miniature figurines … or even larger figurines.
First it's important to have the correct paint brushes. The largest size that I would suggest to have is a 2. You also want to make sure that you are getting these at a hobby store and not a craft store or painting shop. The brushes go down in number so you would have a number 2, 1, 0, 00, 000, etc. I would also suggest to get round and flat brushes so you can handle any area. When painting make sure that you do not allow paint to go under the metal part of the brush, keep the paint on the tip. Also, do not leave the brush in water or wipe brush on the bottom or sides of your water dish. This can damage the bristles. When it's time to clean up, use cold water and a gentle soap.
Now, let's move on to the paint. This will have to be your own choice. You can use oil / enamel paint or acrylic paint. Oil / enamel paints do take while longer in order to dry, but you do not need to use a base coat and sealer coat. Acrylic paints dry quickly, but you need to prime the figure first, then when finished, put a sealer coat on the figurine. I use acrylic simply because I believe you have to be more of an artist to use the oil / enamel paint. With the acrylic, you can also buy the acrylic inks which are good for adding depth.
Let's get started. The first thing is to prime your figure. I would recommend priming even if you are using the oil / enamel paints. You can buy the normal black, white, or gray primer, or there is some quick drying primer out in the market. This is what I use because my time is valuable, but it is a little more expensive. Once the figurines are dry, we start painting. I am an efficiency painter: I like to paint an entire army at a time instead of individuals, so I figure out what color will be dominant on the figurine. Recently I just painted a skeleton army so I used rotting flesh mixed with a little white. You want to make sure to cover all of the area and do not worry if you go over another section.
Once the main color is down, you want to put a base down on all the other areas. You want to be more careful at this point. For example, if the figure is wearing a cape, you want to put the color down that the cape will be. Continue this until all of the primer is covered up. Go back and touch up any spots that have gone onto the wrong area.
Now we want to work on the shadows. I like to use a little water to thin the paints and add a little black to darken the colors. You want to find the creases and drag your brush along the ridge. The added water will allow the crease to fill in. Do this to all areas you want to add depth to. Next, we will move on to highlighting.
Now, we want to do the exact opposite of when we were creating shadows. We want a brush that is practically dry and we want to add white to light colors: red, orange, yellow; and orange to dark colors: blue, green, purple. I usually use a peach to mix with the browns. You want to dust the highlights of the figure. Here you will see the figurine come to life. If you're not sure where you should add highlights, put a spotlight on the figurine and highlight the areas that the light hits directly. This method also works with shadows. I would suggest at this point to touch up any spots you do not like now.
Almost Done … Here we want to go back in and paint all the small details. Grab your smallest brush and paint any teeth, bandages, buckles, designs, etc … Once this is done, you are ready to put the final coat on the figurine. This is just an acrylic sealer. If you use oil, you may need to let each section dry before moving on to the next.
Now you're ready to play. If you're new to the game, tell the DM what figurine you have and I'm sure he or she will incorporate it in the next game of Dungeons and Dragons.