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Are you passionate about role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons? Do you buy the pre-painted set as a matter of convenience but always have a twinge of regret that you didn’t spend the time learning the skill yourself? Painting miniatures is a great creative, detail-oriented hobby that teaches patience and perseverance.

No matter what level your painting is at, from beginner to Van Gogh, the following tips can improve your skill and cement your passion for painting:

Beginner? Start with less-detailed figures.

If this is your first time painting miniatures, do not start with an advanced, detailed figure. You’ll get frustrated with your ability and be discouraged by the experience. Like every other activity, painting miniatures takes practice. Your skill will naturally improve as you go, so start with easy figurines and continue to challenge yourself as the weeks go by.

Change your grip.

Although it feels natural for both seasoned and beginner miniature painters to hold a brush like a writing utensil, it isn’t the best technique. Holding the paint brush like a pencil obscures your view of what you’re painting. Because miniatures are so detailed, you need the best possible view of your work to get great results. Rather than hold the brush low, raise your grip an inch or so to clear your view of your work while still retaining control over the brush.

Practice brush control

Everyone, from Da Vinci to Monet needed practice in brush control before they could master their craft. This is especially true for skilled miniature painters. Painting miniatures hinges on the ability to put paint exactly where you want it without slopping it all over the figurine. Practice your steady hand on scrap paper, miniature figures, a canvas… anything you can get your hands on. The more practiced your hand, the better your miniature paintings will be.

Choose your colors before you start painting

The worst feeling in the world is to commit to colors in a painting before first determining that they work together. Test your colors out on scrap paper or a spare miniature before you start. This will ensure you like the way the colors look together and will have no regrets about painting with them.

Prime your miniatures before painting

No matter what color you prime your miniatures with, you should prime them. Some painters swear by white, others only use black or grey. It’s really a matter of personal preference, but it’s a good practice to get into. Some materials absorb paint better than others, priming allows your colored paint to be displayed properly, without losing any absorbed paint.

Have a spare

If you want to display your miniatures or use them in the game, consider painting a spare miniature at the same time. Test all your paint strokes, details and colors on the miniature before you test them on the real-deal. You’ll know what you like and what you don’t about your miniature and end up with a better result.