So I wanted to share some of the tricks that made the biggest difference to my painting and enjoyment over the last year. I hope these help!
1. Thin your paint
Thinner paint flows more easily, and allows you to build up more coats without glugging up your details. Thinner paint is also more translucent and results in subtler shading and transitions. If you find your paint pools into crevaces, it's not that your paint is too thin, it's that you are applying too much at once. See tip 2.
2. Less paint on your brush
I was stunned when someone talked about this on line. Less paint equals faster layers. What?
If you take up some thin paint on your brush, tap it against some lint free towel, so that your brush is merely damp, then stroke this across the surface, you get a fine layer of pigment that dries almost immediately. Blow on the model to speed it up further. This let's you build up subtle transitions really quickly. Too much paint and you get a bead or droplet or puddle on your model that has a larger surfacearea and so evaporates less quickly.
I use heaps of Vallejo Matt medium in my shading layers. It pushes the pigment particles apart, making the resulting paint translucent but not runny. This means I can do the above technique with thicker paints than "juicing", and get smooth transitions in less time.
4.varnish before freehand
Before trying to paint on fine details, protect your shading with a coat of varnish. This gives you a little time to wipe off your mistakes!
5. Radiograph pens
An old eighties trick for dotting eyes in!
6. Citadel washes
Painfully good. Badab black is excellent for doing final black edging on the mini as it naturally runs into edges and transitions softly. If your painting armies, the other colours such as mud brown and sepia are time savers. One tip- hang your model upside down using chopsticks- the paint runs into natural shading crevaces.
7. Colour control
My art teacher said, each additional colour you add steals from the ones before. Pick one of two strong colours then tone down the others.
8. Testors dull coat
Spray this on after a few good spray layers of tough gloss varnish and the Matt efect magically returns! Vmc gloss varnish can then be brushed onto the wet bits.
9. Mount models on handles
I use corks and bottlecaps.
10. Retard details
Retardant can be mixed into acrylic paints to keep them wet longer. This is vital to painting fine details. Follow mixing instructions carefully, it can cause cracking on your models.
11. Face first
Make your face brilliant and the rest of the model will feel more finished as it draws the eyes of the viewer away!
millijuice is vital to super smooth finishes!
Hope these help!