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Revision Log
31 August 2006page first published

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MiniWargamer writes:

Jennifer Haley - Details

While sitting in Laszlo's class, I also heard some commentary from Jen Haley (as she was next door).

One of the things I heard was that her cat likes to lie in her lap as she paints. Now, my cat is 15 pounds or so of white fur - and I try not to let him anywhere near my painting, as he sheds into everything!

Jen's painting position was unique and worth emulating. She takes a pillow, and places it in her lap so she has a place to rest her arms - and so removes some of the shaking one normally gets while painting. She also has a keyboard wrist rest that she places at the edge of the table, and rests her forearms on. She claims that these also help reduce the risk of repetitive motion problems that come from painting over long periods of time.

Other general suggestions she had for us were:

  • Test out the brushes we were going to purchase while at the art store
  • For glazes, if you can put it on a piece of newsprint and can read the text through it, it is thin enough
  • Don't use old brushes to mix paint, as they will shed and have to have hairs dug out of the paint
  • Use matt sealer for thinning glazes
  • Rubbing alcohol on a brush can be used to remove paint in an area where you have made a mistake, if the primer is solidly on
  • Use a glaze of Burnt Umber for a 5 o'clock shadow on a miniature, and use it more in places that are darker

We asked her to go into more detail on how she paints eyes and tattoos, so she pulled up to the table and began work. She stressed a couple of things here.

First is that the finer the line you will be making, the less pressure you should use. Second, the finer the details you want to paint, the smoother you need to have the paint, so ensure you continue adding water or flow improver to it.

As an odd aside, I have heard people on mailing lists constantly telling others not to lick their sculpting tools or put their brushes in their mouths as you'll get cancer, bulemia, gas, cooties, and worse. If this is the case, then in another decade we'll be seeing a whole new crop of painters and sculptors come into their own, as the current ones won't be around!

What brought this particular thought on was that Jen said she sucked on her brushes after cleaning them, to make sure she got all of the paint out. Heck, if that's what I have to do to paint like her, then I'll go buy more brushes!

When Jen starts on painting a miniature's eyes, she takes a black glaze and fills in the eye sockets with it, so that it outlines the socket but does not obscure the detail. She prefers black to brown, as it makes the eyes "pop" out more (meaning they are more noticeable).

Then she takes creamy ivory, and paints in the eye between the outlined eyelids. This requires a couple of things steady hands, thin paint, and a small brush.

Next, she uses a liner brush and adds the pupil - and after that, adds a spot of ivory to the pupil for a sparkle. (Although this sounds like overkill, it is noticeable on a figure that is held at 1218 inches away from your eyes.)

Next, she started on a tattoo on an arm. Paint the arm first, using whatever blending/glazing techniques you normally use, then start the tattoo. Very simple patterns that are repeated are more effective than complex patterns.

She took a light blue, thinned it down to almost a glaze, and added a tattoo around the bicep of a miniature. After several light applications of the paint, she had the tattoo opaque enough, and, moreover, it looked as if it had been in place for a while and not like a new tattoo.

Then she took the glaze she used for the skin highlights, and ran a couple of thin coats along the high points of the muscle to lighten the tattoo.

This was a very effective technique.

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