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Basics of Painting Figures with Oil Paints

In the past, Iíve received quite a few emails and PMís from members of Armorama asking me for help on getting started using oil paints. So, I thought Iíd try writing an article that could try to answer some of the questions people have had.

Please keep in mind that this is just what I do when I paint. There are a lot of people out there that do things differently and are much more accomplished painters than I can ever hope to be. This is just what works for me. As you progress, youíll develop techniques that you find more comfortable and that work better for you.

For this article Iím not going to list any of the color mixes Iíve used to paint with. I did write 2 articles in the past that deal with this. And both are still available for viewing here on Armorama.

The first lists many of the mixes Iíve used for various colors

The second deals specifically with mixes for painting flesh tones

The only reason I was able to write those articles is that I write down every successful mix that Iíve used. I use 3Ēx5Ē index cards and list the main color, the figure I used it on and the colors I used to achieve the end result. Itís been very helpful to me for reproducing a color on another figure years later. I highly recommend doing this, especially when just getting started. Some mixes become second nature after a while but some will just disappear with time.

I havenít added any pictures of completed figures for this article since they would be pretty much the same ones you would see in my other two articles. But if you want to see other pictures of my work, you can view them on my website.

I hope that this article is of some use to those of you that have had a desire to try painting with oil paints.

About the Author

About Craig Whitaker (mongo_mel)

I've been building models since I was a kid back in the '60s. I did everything imaginable until the mid '80s when I decided to try and get serious about it. Like most of us, I credit the Shep Paine diorama sheets found in Monogram kits for my inspiration. When I made this decision, it was armor all ...


THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!!! I only have one more comment: MORE VIDEOS PLEASE!!!! Short and sweet, exactly what the doctor ordered!!!! Thank you everyone involved!!! This is still the number one reason why Armorama rocks the web!!!!
AUG 30, 2004 - 02:24 AM
Hi everyone, Me again. I wanted to address something that's been happening since this article was posted. I've gotten several applications (mostly people from Germany) to join my MSN Group where I post and store my pictures. While I appreciate the interest, the Group is only set up for me to keep my photos. There is no real value to being a member. So if I've denied your application to join, I just want to tell you that I mean no offence. Thanks, Craig PS: I've not had much success trying to figure out who these folks are because some don't seem to be registered members of Armorama. Of course they don't necessarially have to be. There's a possibility that they are getting there through my posting of the DC figure show pictures on planetFigure. Plus someone posted a link to them on Missing Link too. But I am getting the feeling that they may just be folks looking to "exploite" me Hmmmm.....
SEP 04, 2004 - 09:53 AM
Hi Craig, What an outstanding article it has inspired me to use oils as my medium, i am currently painting ww2 german figures could you please tell me how i can get a good leather effect using oils as i have to paint map cases and other leather items. Also could you please tell me how i can keep the oils thin if i use them straight from the tube, i have had some problems using burnt sienna shadowing with vandyk brown and highlighting with yellow orche. yours thankfully witmann
APR 02, 2008 - 12:52 AM
Hi Lee, Wow, was I surprised to see this thread come up on the HF home page It's been years since the last comments. I'm glad you liked the article and I hope it's helpful for you. I have a few mixes for painting leather, deoppending on what effect you're going for. Like clean and smooth, soft and worn, light or dark. that's what I mean by that. I'll have to look them up at home tonight and then I'll post them for you. In the meantime, take a look here and check the photos under historical and modern sections. See if there is an example of what you want to achieve for your leather. Cheers, Craig
APR 02, 2008 - 01:59 AM
Hi Craig, Thankyou for your kind reply i am not only a new comer to modelling but i am also a technophobe!!! I will try to acess that site for the colour of leather that you have kindly provided. I am really keen to get the skills under my belt and would be greatful for any advice you can provide me with. I would like to think that i have sort of grasped the basics of blending and paint application and i think i really need to put some hours in and much burning of the midnight lamp!!! I would value your advice and would find it very beneficial, that is to say if i can find my way back to this part of the site!!! yours thankfully Lee
APR 02, 2008 - 03:39 AM
Hi Lee, Couple of things that might help To get back to this page easily, you can bookmark it in your favorites. Also, you can subscribe to it so that you get an email whenever there is a new post. Look in the third black bar down from the top of this page. On the right hand side is a button that says subscribe. Click on it and follow the directions. I made a video a while back on blending using oil paints. Click on this link to go to that thread. Then clink on the link you'll find there to watch the video. Lastly, I've written a couple of other articles on oild paints that you might find useful. Easiest way to find them is to click on the "Profile" button under my avitar (the picture of Mongo from Blazing Saddles). If you realise that you need to practice a lot to develope your skils with oils, you're way ahead of the game Feel free to PM (private message) me anytime if you have any questions. I'll be happy to try and help. Craig
APR 02, 2008 - 03:56 AM
The video 'Stippling 02.MPG' of this article does not exist.
MAR 14, 2012 - 05:07 PM
This article is now about 8 years old and perhaps the video has been removed from its original site. Drop a PM to Craig and I'm sure he'll point you to the right direction. Mario
MAR 14, 2012 - 06:41 PM
Hi guys, Wow, 8 years old...I'm surprised that it's still being viewed MSN keeps killing the service I use to store my videos and pictures so I've posted the video on Dailymotion. Here it is... Stippling 02 by CraigW58 But I think my other video could be a lot more helpful to you. It's a lot longer and has an audio description of what I'm doing. DSCF0001 by CraigW58 Hope these help. Craig
MAR 15, 2012 - 12:30 PM
just read this and watched the videos... need to leave the office ASAP to try this out. have 4 DAK 1/35 infantry painted in enamels where the shadow/highlight just looks wrong, going to try this on the DAK tanker I also have lying around (already primed) - have nicked your German Uniform Grey mix for his jacket, will then look at the DAK "mid-stone" for his shorts.....
OCT 01, 2012 - 12:06 AM