Q and A with David Powell Part 2

Today we have the second half of the Q and A with David Powell if you missed the first part it can be found Here.

You said you moved on to larger figures for room would you recommend these for new painters looking to improve their skill?

Yes, but with a few caveats.  At the very beginning you've got to learn brush control, getting the color to go where you want, and how to get smooth consistent coverage.  With those basic skills its just important that you paint, less so what you paint.  Once you get the basics down, if you feel like you've stopped improving, switch things up and try a larger scale.  You don't need to jump to a huge 1/6 scale garage kit, but maybe try a 54mm figure instead of a 28mm.  54mm is a pretty common scale for historical figures, but there are more companies making fantasy and sci-fi pieces in 54mm and 75mm sizes.  Andrea Miniatures, Pegaso, Enigma, Nocturna, Scale75, Smart Max, and many others.  If you want to do display level painting it's definitely worth experimenting with what else is out there.  And many of these larger figures will be higher quality sculpts and casts than the regular plastic gaming stuff, which is helpful too.  You can also pick up some large 28mm figures.  A fantasy ogre is pretty close to the size of a regular 54mm human.  If you can get your hands on some of the old Rackham dwarves you'll find their heads are roughly the same size as a 75mm or 90mm scale figure's head.  Use the larger painting space to work on your blends and add more detail than you usually do.  Just look for bigger versions of what you normally paint.  So, if you want to paint people, an ogre will be more helpful than a dreadnought or warjack.  All that being said, larger figures are more expensive so not everyone wants to buy a bunch to practice with.  And, if you really just want to paint gaming figures, then probably better to spend more time on that scale.

What Brand of Air brush do you use?

I use a Grex airbrush.  It's double action and gravity fed.

What paints do you use?

The majority of my paints are Reaper Master Series and Scalecolor (from Scale75) for their metallic paints.  I also use pigments from Secret Weapon for weathering.  If you use a wet palette (and I recommend doing so!), I find dropper bottle brands like Reaper, Vallejo, and ScaleColor to be more convenient to work with than paint pots like GW and P3.  But all of these are good brands for mini painting.  Find colors you like and don't be afraid to mix and match between brands.  Any acrylic paint can mix with any other.

What do you use to thin your paints and to what ratio?

For most painting I just use regular tap water, some coming from the wet palette and some that I add while I mix.  It's hard to give an exact ratio as it's more by feel.  When I make my glazes (for tinting and thinner than regular blending), I'll do around 1 drop of paint, 2 drops of Vallejo Glaze Medium, and then 6-8 drops of water.  Since there is a lot more water than paint, a bit of glaze medium helps.

Is there a color which you seem to favor and like to add it to all your models where you can?

I was talking with a friend the other week and came up with a short list of colors I couldn't live without.  They were (all Reaper Master Series): Burgundy Wine (I use this in so many of my shadows - purples, reds, blues, and greens) and Violet Red (pure for reds or mixed with a medium gray for a nice purple), my skin colors - Mahogany Brown, Chestnut Brown, Rosy Shadow, Fair Skin, and Fair Highlight (the fair skin shades can double as highlights for red, black, and browns), and my off whites - Weathered Stone and Leather White.  I need other colors (greens, blues, yellows, etc) but that short list of specific shades make their way into a lot of my projects.  For the metals I haven't found anything that compares to the Scale75 Metal 'n Alchemy paints.  For water based metals (as opposed to alcohol based ones), those are by far my favorite to work with.  If I had to pick one from that list, I guess it would be Burgundy Wine since it makes its way into a lot of my shadows and I use it on almost every project.

What Technique do you tend to favor when painting to Blend?

I use the layering approach, thinned down semi-transparent paints and glazes to create my transitions.

Can you pass on one trick or technique or that you think newer painters would find helpful or a technique that you wish someone had shown you when you were a new painter?

Avoid black for shading and white for highlighting.  When I'm shading red, I might use a dark blue or a dark purple.  For blue, I might use a dark red or a dark purple.  To shade green try dark blue or dark purple.  To shade yellow, how about dark orange or a brown.  You can use a lot of different color combinations to create interesting effects.  For highlights, white tends to make things look chalky.  Skin tones are a good highlight color, working well for reds, browns, blues, and blacks.  To highlight a dark color (dark blue, dark green, etctry using a medium or light grey to help retain an overall dark effect.  I can't list all the different color combinations, but the point is experiment and see how different colors work together.  New painters often rely too heavily on black and white.  I use very little of either of those in most of my work.

Once you've got the basics of blending and shading, start working with glazes to add some tinting and additional color variation to your work.  Faces are a great example of where glazing can be very effective.  After the basic skin tone and shading is finished, some red glazes in the cheeks and tip of the nose add more life to the figure and some blue glazes on the lower face can be used to create a stubble effect.

Do you suffer paintbrush envy meaning is their a painter out there who you wish you could paint as well as?

There are a lot of painters I admire.  Even though I do a lot of historical figures, I get a lot of inspiration on color use and narrative basing from the fantasy artists.  So the MassiveVoodoo team, like Roman Lappat and Raffaele Picca, are painters I really look up to.  There's also Jeremie Bonamant Teboul, Karol Rudyk, Iguazzu, Arsies, Alfonso Giraldes, and Chris Panagiotou.  For historical projects, I really admire the realism of Sergey Popovichenko's work.

What does your work space look like? 

I've turned a rolling glass top computer desk into my painting desk.  There's two adjustable lights with daylight bulbs, a homemade wet palette, and a painting station from HobbyZone to keep my paints and tools organized while I work. 

We would like to thank David for taking the time out to answer the our questions and I am sure that this will help a lot of people on the quest to become a better painter.

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