I’ve finished, sealant and all, several miniatures from my Navia Dratp collection so far, and I’ve got it down to enough of a science that I thought I’d write a little bit about what goes on throughout the process.

When I am ready to begin painting, I go into my attic and retrieve the tin of paints, brushes, and the minis I intend to paint. From the kitchen, I find:

  • a small cup or jar, filled halfway with water, for cleaning and diluting
  • a paper towel, folded twice
  • a small paper plate, to use as a palette
  • a placemat to work on

I also locate this nice IKEA reading lamp we have. It would be nice if it had a true-color light bulb in it, but it’s a slightly cooler tone than incandescent, so it works as a spotlight. The lamp is useful whether I’m painting in the middle of the day or late at night; there are some nooks and crannies that are just hard to see without a spotlight handy.

Before I open any paints, I look through my brushes and check the tips to ensure there is no dried paint; I’ve found hot water with intermittent massaging helps to loosen up stiff bristles, although it’s better to just preventively avoid dried paint in the first place by cleaning often.

I’ll also look over the miniatures I plan on painting to review any that may be partially painted, check for missed spots, mis-paints, etc., assembling a mental to-do list for those. I try to get a mental image of what I want it to look like, running down the list of necessary colors and procedures in my head.

Color mixing is fun, and I think largely because it’s so mystifying to me. My brain does stuff when I mix colors, but I couldn’t begin to tell you what. The feedback I get from it is generally “warmer” or “colder”, referring to tonality. I try to match the target color from my limited selection of paint bottles, aiming for lighter shades if there are no direct matches, then I ascertain whether it needs to be made warmer (adding yellow, orange, red, and sometimes brown) or cooler (blue, gray, purple). I can match most colors with that approach.

I will never be a professional miniature painter (click it; you know you want to), but I don’t care. When I paint them, it makes me happy; I am pleased with the results, and it appeals to the part of me that wishes to hone something to perfection. I paint to paint, and there is something very satisfying about that.