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Marion&AlanBall

St.Gallerstrasse41b
9325RoggwilTG
SWITZERLAND
+41(0)712455874
marionalanball@hotmail.com
www.mbminiatures.com


HowIpaintafigurewithacrylicsbyMarionBall

InthisarticleIwilltryandshowhowIpaintusingAcrylicsandpresentitinunderstandablelanguage
basedonexamplesofdifferentfiguresthatIhavepainted.Thereisaquantityofliteratureonusing
acrylicsandeveryonepraisesthetechnologyofthemedium.Iamoftheopinionsthatonceyouknow
thebasicsofusingthesepaints,knowtheirpropertiesandarecomfortablewiththem,thatyoushould
tryanddevelopyourownwayandstyleofpainting.Naturallyyoucannotdothiswithyourfirst
figure,ittakesalittletimeandpracticeuntilyouareproficientenoughtogoyourownway.
Patienceisthemagicword,andtakingthetimetorecordwhatyouhavedonetolearnfromthe
mistakesyoumakealongtheway,otherwiseallthatpatiencewillteachyounothing.

Sowecometothefirstimportantpoint.Brushes
ItriedmanybrushesoutuntilIfoundtheonesthatworkforme,andthatIwashappywith.Forme
theAndrearedseriessize1,Windsor&NewtonSeries7arethebrushesthatgivemewhatIam
lookingforandhavebeenproblemfreeinpaintingfiguresfrom54to90mm.Irarelyuseanysmaller
brushes
Aswiththebrushes,IprefertousespecificpaintsandtheonesIamhappywitharetheAndrea,
MaimeriPolycolorandVallejoAcrylics.TheMaimeriandAndreacoloursdrytoarealmatt,whichis
sometimestoomattfortheeffectthatIamlookingfor,fleshtonesforexample,inthatcaseIusethe
Vallejocolours,whichhaveasofterfeelandtendtolookmoresilkywhichisidealforfaces.This
silkinesscanbeannoyinghoweverwhenyouarenotlookingforit,soIfindthateachsetofcolours
hasitsownadvantagesanddisadvantagessoasyoucanseeitpaystoknowwhichsetofcoloursyou
wanttouseateachpointinyourpainting.
Ialwaysmixmycoloursonplasticpalletswhicharepracticaland,oncetheybecometoocloggedwith
adhesivesorpaint,canbethrownaway(formethisisverypractical,becauseIamtoolazytoclean
everythingcompletelywhenIamfinished).

AsimportantatoolissomesortofMountingthatyoucanfixthefiguretowhenpainting,asyou
dontwanttotouchthefigurewithyourhandsifyoucanhelpit.TheoneIhaveismadefromwood,
cheaplyandsimplymadethisallowsmetopainteverysideofthefigurewithoutanyproblem.
NaturallythereareothervariationsbutIcanonlyworkwithmyholder.Iamacreatureofhabit.


Picture1:Tools

AlltheotherthingssuchasDrill,sandpaper,eyedropper(orsyringeforwater)Idontneedtodescribe
indetail,asmostpeoplearefamiliarwiththem.Thenextimportantpoint,beforestartingtopaintyou
mustcleanthecasting.Makesureallcastlines;flashorholesareeithercleanedofforfilled.Ithendrill
andpinanyjointsusingeitherpaperclipsorsmallnails(especiallyatthearmsandlegs).Ialsohave
madeitahabittoputalongpinintoafoot,whichwhenfinishedwillsecurethewholefiguretoits
base,thisisattachedwithepoxygluethismeansthatIdontneedtotouchthefiguremuchatallwhen
thepaintingisfinished.

Picture2:Assembling Picture3:Finished

Thenextstepistheselectionofawoodenbaseandthecreationofthegroundwork.Thegroundwork
ismadeusingProntoorsomeotherlikematerial,andthefigurespositionismarkedonthiswhilethe
Prontoisstillsoftsothegroundisquicklyreadytoacceptthefinishedfigure.


Picture4:Base

NowIamreadytostartpaintingthefaceandallskinparts,inmyviewthemostdifficultpartofthe
figure.Thesameprinciplesapply,whetherpaintingafaceoranarticleofclothingetc.thebasisisthe
middlecolour,mixedtotheconsistencyofcreamandwitheachcoatingthepaintshouldbediluteda
littlemore.


Picture5:Before Picture6:After

OncethebasicshadehasbeenappliedtothefaceandbodyInextdotheeyes,itssimplertoposition
andpainttheeyesandpupilsatthisstagethanattheend,asitseasiertocorrectmistakesononlyone
basecolourratherthanacompletedfaceespeciallyasitusuallytakesmeafewattemptstoget
theeyespositionedcorrectlyandIfindthelefthandsidemoredifficulttogeteven.Ifyoupaintabust
youhavetheadvantagethattheeyesarequitedetailedandpositionedcorrectly,notalwaysthecase
ona54mmfigure. Inordertorepresentthepupilsona54mmfigureIusetheOilcolours:Black,Blue
andWhite,whichIapplywiththepointofadrillorneedle.Acryliccoloursarenotsuitableasthey
dryuptooquicklyonthebrushwhenusedinthissmallaquantity.

Pictures7&8:Eyes

WithaBustIgoovertheeyesattheendwithaglossvarnish,somethingIrarelydoona54mmfigure.
Onetheeyesarefinished,Ithengoonwiththerestoftheface.Youhavethemiddletoneofthecolour
alreadyapplied.Somepeoplemayaskexactlyhowmuchpaintofwhatcolourstousefortheface,I
willgiveyouagoodadvicedon`tstarttocountthecolourdrops.Youshouldgetafeelingforthe
coloursandtrainyoureyesforthem.Alwaysexperimentwiththemandtryoutnewcombinations.I
onlyknowformyself,Icanonlyguessforthem,andleaveittotheirownfeelingsastowhatlooks
righttothemandwhattheyarehappywithitisatrialanderrorprocesstoexperimentwitheachtime.
OnlyinthiswaydoIkeepthecoloursslightlydifferenteachtimeandadifferentfeeltoeachsetof
eyesIdo.

Butalwayskeepyourpaintmixesseparateanddon`tmixeverythingtogether.Thereforethepaletteis
great.


Picture:9:Paintpalette

Youshouldalwayschooseamiddlecolourfromyoudesiredbasecolour.Thatmeansforexample
Ifyoupaintfleshstartwithabitdarkerbaseandworkfromthereuplikeonapyramidtothevery
lighttones.

Picture:10

Somepaintersuseuptoeightormoredifferentlayers,whichtomeisalittlebitextremeandtootime
consuming,Iusuallysticktobetweenfourorfivewashes.Simply,youshouldeitherdarkenorlighten
thecoloureachtimeenoughtoseeasmalldifferenceinthetone.Whenyoucanseeasmalldifference
betweenthelayersthenyouareontherightpath.

Picture11:Eyes,facewithbasecolour Picture12:Facewithshadowsandlights

Picture13:Facewithhighlightsnoshadows

Itisimportantthatyoudonotcovereverythingyouhavejustpaintedeachtime,butleavesomeofthe
lastlayerstillvisibleotherwiseyouendupwithjustthelightanddarktonesandalltheintermediate
stagesarewastedandyoulosethesmoothtransitionofthecolours.Soinessenceeachlayershould
coverasmallerareainsidethepreviouslayerofcolour.

Picture15:upperbodyafter
Picture14:upperbodybefore

Dontbefrightenedifatthisstageitlooksquiteroughandraw,therearestillthedarkershadesto
add,(betweenthreeandfivewasheshereareideal)andthesearewhatgivethefaceitscharacter.Itis
veryimportanttopaintalltheseintermediateshadows.Alotofpaintersforgetthisbutthatisthemost
importantpartandwithoutthatyourfacedoesn`tgetdeepnessandcharacter.Thewashesshouldbe
quitewateryandtheamountonthebrushshouldbekepttoaminimumotherwiseyoumayflood
thefaceandspoilallyouhavedone.Itisimportanttopayattentionandstresstheareasbetweenthe
eyesandthenoseandthenostrilsandcheeks,forthisIuseathinwashofblackandred.

Picture16:Finishedface Picture17:Celtfront Picture18:Celtback

Whenyoupaintthehairandeyebrowsdontforgettoalsohighlightandshadowthesetoo.Every
smalldetailisimportanttogivethefigurelife.

Picture:19 Picture:20

Attheconclusionyoucanaddsomespecialeffects,likebloodordirtandsweat.Imostlydothese
withoilsandglossvarnish.


Picture21:Blood,sweat&dirty Picture:22 Picture:23

Dontworryifusingoilsandvarnishdontworkforyoufirsttime,ittakesabitofpracticeand
patience,italsotookmesometimetolearnthetrickandgettheeffectsIwaslookingfor.

Wenowcometotherestofthefigure,theUniform,accessories,weaponsetc.Theprincipalisexactly
thesameastheskintones.Youworkfromthemiddletoneandfromthecentreoutwards(orupand
downthetonalrange).InthisinstanceyoucanseethedifferenceintwofiguresthatIpaintedusing
differentcolours.Itshowsthatslightlychangingthecolourcancompletelyalterthecharacter.Ikept
theshadeslowerontherighthandfigure;onecanseethedifferenceoftheeffectbeautifullyonthe
whiteshirt.

Itisamazinghowitcanlooksodifferentinjustusingalteredcolourtones.

Picture24:Strongshadows Picture25:Softshadows

InordertoexplainthewayIdogoldonUniforms,sothatitdoesnotlooktolustrousandsharp,Istart
offbypaintingtheareawithamixtureofredandblack(toashadelikechocolate).ThisItouchupand
paintwithafullyellowuntilIgetthedesiredeffectafterwhichIgivethewholeareaaverythinwash
ofgold,justdabbingthison.Ithencoverthewholethingwithasilkorglossvarnish.


Picture26:Goldlaces

Iwouldliketofinishhereandhopethatmyexplanationshavebeenunderstood.Ishouldnotfinish
howeverwithoutaddingsomeofmymostusefulcolourblendsandsomemorepicturestoillustrate
thearticle.Trythemoutperhapstheycangiveyouwhatyouneed.
Sokeeppaintingandholdalwaysabrushinyourhand.
Colourchartiskeptseparateinarticles.

Picture27:CatsCradle Picture28:Waterloo