Sunday, March 13, 2011

SPQR: Adding That One More Step

Regardless of what your goals are, an essential quality of speed painting is about efficient use of time. I would imagine that most people out there are already working on multiple hobby projects at once. I find generally that gamers tend to have some level of awareness at how to optimize things. However there's some value in exploring the topic in case there are little nuggets of wisdom out there. In terms of efficiency, there are two primary areas that I focus on: workspace and multitasking.

Having a dedicated workspace for hobby projects can make an enormous difference in terms of efficiency. My workspace has evolved over the years that I've been painting. It started as a box of paints and brushes accompanied by whatever mug I grabbed from the shelf. Later it turned into a large portable serving tray. Today I have a dedicate desk, shelf space, paint racks and lamp. There are many articles out there about workspaces, and I've included a couple in the list of references at the end of this article. Focusing specifically on efficiency, it's important to organize your workspace so that the most commonly used items are within arm's reach, and you know exactly where to find them. Having plenty of area also helps so that you aren't shuffling things around frequently to accommodate whatever you shift to work on. The key here is to evaluate your space every so often to ensure you are getting the most of out it.

As a visual aid to my philosophy on multitasking, I've included a photo of my desk. Since I wasn't able to put labels on the items, consider this a bit of a scavenger hunt. I've got a can of primer because I'm waiting for a model I just primed to dry. I'm working on basing the Spell Martyrs. My Gun Mages patiently await their next SPQR step. My War Hog relaxes on the styrofoam where he awaits the next step in his progress. And on my tool rack, a piece of clay experiment is drying (more on that another time). As you can see, I've got 5 different things going on at once. The value in doing this is that while one thing dries or cures, I can be working on another thing. In some cases, I'm waiting for inspiration to strike and having them within visual range helps. This is more ambitious that my typical, but the point still applies. If you're able to keep juggling back and forth between assembly and painting, you'll make good use of time when something needs to sit and dry/cure.

So back to my Gun Mages. As a part of my goal of speed painting in order to get better, I'm taking one more step on the coats. I'm going to two brush blend (2BB) to deepen the shading.

For reference, here's the UA model from the unit as of the end of the previous post.
And here he is after 2BB some P3 Coal Black into the deeper areas. As you can see, this definitely deepens the shading as the recesses have much more coverage at this point. The 2BB technique can yield pretty good results in a short amount of time once you get good at it, but it takes a fair amount of practice. I forced myself to practice it on models that I was speed painting in order to get that practice in. Combining washes and 2BB techniques like this can work well to step a model above just basic tabletop quality.

Total painting time: 30 minutes. This time it literally is 30 minutes to paint this step for all 7 in the unit. Although the 2BB technique is relatively fast for the results, it isn't as fast as wash techniques.

* Matt DiPietro's PP painting desk
* CMON Article about basic tools, including workspace
* YouTube video of Ron Kruzie using the 2BB technique at Gencon (terrible video quality, but you can get the general idea)

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