A Painting Journey - My (B)logbook

On January 2012 I embarked on an epic painting journey. This is the logbook that I decided to keep, in hopes that if I do not return, someone lucky will find wisdom in its pages. Use it wisely!
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Day 1 - Gathering supplies and Ghost Stories

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I had a vast collection of painted figures. Stories of my copies of Chaos in the Old World and Wrath of Ashardalon were stuff of legends. People came from far away lands just to see them. I teached them - the people. For I had learned from my journey. How to strike with the brush, either gently or fiercely as a snake. I knew how and where shadows landed and what light looks like on a dancing steel blade. I had mastered the art of painting figures.

I woke up sweating. A dream? A prophecy? Certainly, I had dabbled in painting figures in the past. My adoscelent years spent in a Games-Workshop emporium of metal, plastic, glue and paints. I remembered some things - how to drybrush, how to prime and how to pick colors. My hands had grown larger and shakier. Would I still be able to hold the brush?

It was decided. I would embark on this journey. A world of paint and color, to find that perfect shade of purple for a Night Elf's gown. I wanted to paint the rotten flesh of a Malifaux undertaker to perfection. I wanted to be able to reflect moonlight on a chainmail. It would take me ages - if I ever got there. Brave and foolhardy, I decided to take the first steps of a long journey.

I hope you enjoyed my cheesy narrative. As you dear reader have probably gathered by now, I am starting a blog that follows my adventures in painting. I am not completely new to this part of the hobby. I did dabble extensively in the games of Games Workshop when I was a lot younger. I had several Warhammer armies - some painted but most not. But that was more than ten years ago. I would need a fresh set of supplies and some figures to practice on.

Gathering supplies

After some research online, I decided to go for Vallejo's Game Color line. The only other real choice I had were Citadels paints. I decided on Vallejo for three reasons:

1) they were slightly cheaper than Citadel paints (2.50 € VS 3 €)
2) they were slightly bigger than Citadel paints (17 ml VS 12 ml)
3) I wanted to try something new

So, I visited my FLGS and gathered the following set.

Citadel Fine Detail Brush
Citadel Standard Brush
Citadel Large Brush
Citadel Chaos Black Primer (spray)
24 hand-picked Vallejo paints, covering most colors

A good start, to be sure. Now I just needed to paint something.

Ghost Stories

I decided to start by painting my copy of Ghost Stories. The figures were pretty simple and there were not a lot of them. A perfect project to start with.

I started with the ghosts. They were black plastic already, so I skipped priming them. These ethereal robed figures definitely needed some drybrushing. Well, a lot of it actually. I started by drybrushing them in three steps. First heavily with dark grey, then with stonewall grey and finally lightly ghost grey. This brought out the detail on their robes and gave them a nice ethereal look.

Next I painted the details. The ribbons on their back with red, the plate on their foreheads with gold, the armor with silver and finally the skull on the armor with white. The last step was to paint the insides of the hood and the sleeves, and the base with black. Done and done - took me about two hours, give or take.

Next I tackled the taoists. They had slightly more detail than the ghosts and I was always better when painting non-human figures. Still, to achieve mastery it was something I had to learn. As the ghosts were dark and terrible, the taoists needed to be light and heroic. I started by priming them white by hand.

First I applied the base coats of color. Primary color for the tunic, dark flesh for hands and face and boots, silver for the sword, purple for the cap, gold for the forehead plate and black for the hair. Next up - drybrushing the tunic, boots, face, hands and hair with appropiate colors. Final steps were repainting and fixing the white lines on the tunic and painting the bases black.

I painted the taoists during three days and it took me a lot longer than I was comfortable with. They came out pretty good all things considered but I am more happy with the ghosts. Still, it was good practice and I learned a lot about my new line of paints and how to use them. I guess I'll get faster with more experience. Overall I was happy to see that I could still paint decently well and I now have a cool painted copy of Ghost Stories.

With the first leg of my journey behind I was content. While I was still a small fish in a pond full of sharks, I would get there. Little did I know however, that I would soon find an ally and that my next project would be a fearsome one. But you will have to wait until day two for that story... until next time!
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