Where do these come from? well with work, house moving, a pneumonia and a small kid at home, my gaming time suffered a drastic reduction (read: was terminated) and I was limited to painting and collecting. I found this can also be a social activity, with plenty of forums and groups you can share your progress with, and events that can drive your motivation to learn, like painting courses or competitions. This is the summary of the most important things I've learned in the last 6 months and that I feel have really made me progress:
1-Use a wet palette
The wet palette is going to make the paint last much longer before drying, and by that I mean you can add some colours there and keep using them for some days. As long as there is water below, the paints won't dry.
The other great thing about wet palettes is how simple and cheap they are - all you need is an adequate surface, like an old dish or box cover, a sponge and baking paper. Check an online tutorial, like this one from Massive Voodoo.
2-Get a high quality brush
As most people out there, I've been using Citadel brushes for years and always been happy with them; they aren't that expensive, can last a while and generally get the work done. Nothing wrong with that eh? Well, I recently attended a painting course with master painter Volomir and if there was one thing he stressed all day long, was that it was imperative to use quality brushes! the best out there are the infamous Winsor and Newton series 7. Granted one of those costs like 3 Citadels but they are well worth the price. These brushes are very good at keeping a sharp edge and are extremely helpful for blending colors. I was hesitant at the beginning but after trying them, I know I'm not using anything else.
3-Study some color theory
Color theory is again something that most of us have a sense for but probably have never gotten too much thought about why some colors look good together (turquoise + orange on the example below ) or why that army is so catchy on the eye. At the end of the day, when we are painting miniatures what we are actually doing is trying to make a small scale look like it was much bigger, and because the light and color properties are much different in a 1/1 or 1/50 scales, we do things like edge highlightning or shadows. And the secret to great looking miniatures is creating contrast. Contrast can simply be shadow vs. light. lack and white, but can also be done in subtler ways like using complementary colors (wonder why Orks have red accents?), warm/cool and more. So my advice is read something on the subject and start playing with color combinations based in the theory: for example, use a complementary color for the shadows instead of a black (or even better, mix black with that complementary and a bit of the base color); choose color accents keeping in mind their relation with other colors (see the army above, the blue accent contrasts with the orange weathering), etc.
4-Attend painting competitions and courses
|This mini really caught my eye on the Games Day 2012|
|I was there... the day after this session|
Hope this was useful, it really reflects my thoughts after doing those points myself, and I think this is the biggest leap I have ever made in painting. Have you had similar experiences or other tips to share?