Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Stargazer's Painting/Malifaux Corner - Painting in the heat

Guess who's back, back again.... you know the rest ;) yes I am back guys finally!!! Exams are over and the summer has begun hence me posting this quick post before then continuing my series of Malifaux tacticas.

This is something that has been on my mind over the past couple of days. Here in the UK we have just had 2 days of scorching weather (well for us anyway) and so I thought I'd give a few tips on what you can do to carry on painting even when it's 30 degrees

So what do I use at the moment and will it "do"? To the right is what I currently use to paint. I use a citadel pallette (this is good because it's plastic so easy to keep clean after each session although a bathroom tile will achieve the same kinda thing) Any old jam jar or similar for water and a funny looking dropper bottle.

This is probably one of the most important things. It's "Matte Medium" or "Mixing Medium" depending on which company make it.. The one I use is the P3 mixing medium as it's the most cost effective one at my LGS, I think this 30ml bottle cost me about £3 so not bank breaking and that will probably last me a good 2-3 months at least.

So what does it do? Well it's used to mix into your paints to help thin them as well as aiding the flow without the use of water. So basically water your paints down slightly less than you normally would and add this stuff. It will keep the colours more vibrant rather than making them look washed out and pastelly (sp?) So in this kind of weather when normally when your paint is drying on the palette instead of adding more water and completely ruining the colour of the paint you can add this stuff and carry on painting happily without constantly remixing colours.

So that's what I use normally and it can be used in hot weather if you can paint quickly and don't need large amounts of colour for large areas of the model. However that's not the only way to do it.

So next up is the wet palette. Some of you probably already know what this is but for those that don't it's basically very thin paper over the top of a wet absorbent layer, the water then seeps through the paper to your paints which are on top of the paper keeping them wet. Sounds perfect right? However the problem with these are the price tag, many people aren't too happy to shell out £12 for the palette then another £8 for the refill sheets (privateer press versions of both btw). But don't worry about that I'll show you how to make one with stuff you probably have lying around the house ;)

So this is what you need to start -
On the table there I have an old ice cream tub lid (although any small saucer or dish type thing will work, basically it just needs to be able to hold a shallow amount of water..), A sponge like the ones you get in most blister packs, I think that's a large one from a malifaux starter pack, and some baking parchment/greaseproof paper/whatever you want to call it.

Next up you can't see very well in the photo but soak your sponge in water make sure it's completely saturated to keep your palette wet for longer. Then put maybe half a cm of water in the bottom, this is basically just to keep feeding the sponge water as it dries out.

On the right is what you are looking for after you've put the paper onto the sponge.
The darker area that you can see is where the water is beginning to come through, this is what you want as the paper is semi water permeable. Don't worry if the patch is confined to one part of the paper, once you have used the paint slide the paper over the sponge and the dark patch should then move on the paper (this is quite hard to describe but just experiment and you should get what I mean) Also don't worry if the paint looks like it isn't sitting in one "puddle" the paint should still stay wet so no worries.

That's basically it. I know some people use kitchen towel instead of sponge but I personally can't vouch for this. Anyway enjoy people and don't be afraid to experiment!

Stargazer out.


  1. Kitchen roll does work just fine.

    But make sure you recycle kids!

    With the matte medium, do you add water and the medium and if so... shat sort of ratios are we looking at? When I bother putting a lot of effort into minis I usually dilute about 1:4 with just water.

    Edit: ha ha... my password for this comment is 'flatio' - just one letter out to Atreides' favourite pass time.

  2. tbh on the ratio's I think it differs from brand to brand, also with the p3 it makes the paint shiny if you add a lot, which can be easily solved with some matte varnish afterwards. For normal painting just to aid flow I would literally dilute pretty much how you normally would then get a small amount of medium on the brush and then mix it in. Definitely less than a drop from the dropper bottle. This is enough to break the surface tension but not so much that it goes really shiny.

    When it gets warmer though I tend to add more maybe an actual drop from the bottle and less water and just put up with the shine lol

  3. Venerable Brother28 June 2011 at 12:59

    I'm going to have to change that intro line I think before Atreides gets pissed off at it/me!

    Nice cheap wet palette..I use the P3 one with their branded paper...it's a good bit of kit, but if you've not bought one..I strongly suggest just using this method!

  4. Nice - this is something I really mean to get around to, but I guess I take short cuts with paint prep - its something I really need to work on as I think I'll get better results overall.

    I have a couple of days off this week, so might hav a fiddle with making this up while I make my display board for brighton as well (and have a fiddle with airbrushing!)

  5. Good tips, as an Aussie I mostly have to paint in the heat. It seems to me like the paints are designed assuming cool weather use. They dry up so fast. I'd add a couple more tips:
    - Always close the lids. I have a habit of leaving them open while I paint, but in summer I can lose a pot of paint in a few days if I don't close them every time I extract some.
    - paint outdoors in the shade if you can. I have an old table on my porch. Natural light is the best, and you may as well take advantage of the nice weather!