First of all, when it comes to painting figures, there is no definitive technique. What works well for one person may not work well for another. So my first tip is to just experiment. See what works well for you. I'd suggest trying on a figure that doesn't matter if you're worried about ruining your figures.
In this section I cover information on miniature selection as well as painting tips. I hope you find this useful.
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My first few tips cover brushes. There are a few things you may or may not be aware of about brushes. I've found that the bigger and rougher the bristles the more you risk getting line marks in your pain.
The brush tips are very important, especially for detail work. Always rinse brushes; avoid putting them down without cleaning them. Depending on the weather, water based paints tend to dry much faster than non-water based. They can dry in your brush and ruin your brush.
Never, ever set your brush in your rinse water and leave it. The tip of your brush is very important to detailing. If you set your brush down bristle first in the water and let it sit there even for a few minutes you can damage the bristles and/or bend the bristles.
Watch your brush tips. If they start looking frayed, you can trim them a bit. You have to do this carefully and you will need to use an X-acto knife with a new blade and cutting board. Make sure you use a cutting board of some sort, as you will be cutting whatever you are cutting on. Get the finest point on your brush as you can and then trim it with the knife. Some brushes may be too damaged to even fix this way and may require replacing.
Rotate your brushes. I know this may sound a bit odd, but I find that if I buy a new brush especially for detailing, they tend to last longer if I rotate them. You'll find yourself getting brushes you like using. After a while the brush tip frays or begins to wear out. You can still use this brush for other things such as larger areas, or larger areas requiring detail work. So get a new brush for the finer work and use your old brush for the other work.
I find buying the little more expensive artist brushes for about 3 and 4 dollars each are better than the 69 cent specials.
I did list the brands of the brushes I've found to last a bit longer. I've picked up some brands that have fallen apart from constant use. Eventually, they all do, but there are some that wear out much more quickly.
Watch for bristles to start falling out. You'll see them on the figure as you paint and will need to get them off the figure before they dry and ruin the figure. This most often the first sign your brush is on it's last leg and it's time to throw it away.
Once your brush wears out cut the bristle part off and keep the wooden or plastic handle. Most I get are wooden, but you can do the same with plastic. You can use these for terrain making or to stir your paint.
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