Tips and Tricks
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Learning from a Paint and Sip

Recently I went to a paint and sip with my wife and found it amazing that twelve people, mostly with no painting skills, all managed to paint a great picture. It got me thinking about how we could apply some of the techniques to our own painting and tutorials.

Learning from a paint & Sip

If you haven’t done one of these events, you show up to a room of empty canvases and a cool looking painting hanging at the front of the room. Each person takes a seat with a plate will the primary colors, white, and black paint, a couple of large brushes, and a cup of water.

Over the next hour or two, the whole group is walked through each step and brush stroke to complete that same beautiful painting at the front of the room.

This was the second of these type of events that I have done and I reflected on the remarkableness of it. I wanted to take away how the instructor was able to get so many people to accomplish works of art. I wanted to learn how to make my own tutorials better.

So below is five points that I took away from this paint and sip event. In each, I tried to distill what we can use in our own goals to improve our hobby skills.

Everyone Paints the Same Piece

One of the first things the programs do is simplify the process. Everyone paints the same picture. Some may have come wanting to paint flowers or maybe a sunset. But in only two short hours, no one would have learned or accomplished much.

Painting Mt. Rainer at a Paint and Sip

To relate this to our hobby, sometimes you should break away from the miniature you want to paint, and replicate the picture of a tutorial.  Attempting to replicate another style, another genre, or another range can help you break through a challenging color or concept.

Small, Easy Steps

During the painting session, the instructor took us through small, easy steps. She showed us the part of the sky we were about to paint and how to mix the colors for that area. Take a little blue and a tiny bit of black and make a line across here. Each section of the painting seemed easier and we were one step closer to a completed piece.

Have you ever looked at someone’s miniature and wondered how they ever got it completed? With so many details and color blending, and weathering there could be no way you would be able to achieve the same result.

Lots of small, easy steps.

Limited Color Palette

When we sat down at our easels, we didn’t have row upon row of paint jars with funny names. On our plates were blobs of green, blue, yellow, red, black, and white. Six colors to paint a mountain, hills, sky, and wildflowers.

Paint Palette

But it kept it simple for anyone who hasn’t used paints for anything other than school craft projects. There was no question of ‘which blue’ or ‘what shade of red.’ Sure, we had to mix colors, but even that was as simple as grab a bit of the blue and the white.

With the vast color selection in a single company’s paint line, let alone the dozens of lines we can choose from, it is easy to rely on finding the right bottle. I am very much guilty of not wanting to mix paints and would rather buy the whole Vallejo Game Color line than mix a few colors together.

Sometimes it is helpful to know that bottle of slightly purple blue will always be there when you are painting an army. You could paint a miniature ten years later and have it still match.

But it is also an easy trap to fall into. One of my takeaways from this realization is that I should not be afraid to mix paint to get the desired look. It doesn’t need to be the whole model, but details, highlights, and shading can all be made better with a bit of mixed color.

Take it Home

At the end of the evening, everyone got to take their painting home. It may not have matched the instructor’s artwork or even your neighbors, but it is yours. The sense of ownership and pride every time I walk by our paintings on the wall removes any fear of painting another canvas.

Taking the physical painting home removed the barrier of fear.

I didn’t just sit and watch someone else paint. I didn’t just dabble at a training session. I made art. I took that art home.

When you paint each miniature, you are creating a small piece of art and removing another layer of fear and doubt. Yes, it may not look like a Golden Demon winner or even a contender at your local game store.

But it is yours. Your accomplishment with paint and brush. From taking an empty gray plastic to life with color and character. So take it home and use it for inspiration for your next project.

Your Thoughts

Have you ever done one of these painting events? Either way, I would love to hear your thoughts on the event and my takeaways. Is there something that struck you or challenged you with your hobby projects?

Let me know in the comments below and let’s start a conversation about it.

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  • Blazmo

    Interestingly, I had a similar revelation at Salute. I took part in a 25 minute speed painting competition with completely unfamiliar brushes and paints. The model was really ugly, but it didn’t matter, and I had a lot of fun just letting go of all of my usual practices. It actually made me change techniques completely, focusing on wet blending in contrast to my usual airbrush and glazes. The color palette was really limited too, but I was actually quite happy with the end result! Well worth a go.

    • That’s awesome. Something that forces you out of your comfort zone and try a new technique. Are you going to post pictures on your blog 🙂

      • Blazmo

        Yeah, when I get a chance, I’ll put up a little info on it. The drawback is that the mini is really bad (in terms of sculpting … it could’ve been made of clay!), but it is very interesting technique-wise. The paints were by Army Painter and seem to be formulated with wet blending in mind (very log drying time). I will get some and do some experiments with the technique soon, as I’ve been hit with inspiration!

  • I really want to do one of those with you and Greggles for orks!

    • that would be fun! It would have to be renamed “Paint and Whaaaggh!” and it could get pretty messy 🙂 Though if I could find a way to do it virtually that would be pretty cool too

      • Google chat is a thing you know? It would need to be small to account for increasing bandwidth.

        • good point, I will think about how to organize a hangout for something like that. I need set my desk back up first, the garage is a disaster at the moment so I’ve been painting on the couch.

          • I normally paint on the couch.

          • aka “stop making excuses Joe and do a hangout!” 🙂
            Ok, I’ll work on figuring that out