When I sat down to write this article I originally sat down to write a blurb about color saturation and the importance of contrasting color….. However as I wrote I disliked the article more and more, until I finally just decided to scrap it and come back to the topic in a later installment. What I did start to think about heavily, as it applied to article writing as well as painting and modelling, was the importance of pre-planning and then note taking when it comes to projects.
When one sits down to a project it is very easy to have an idea of what your model is going to look like in its infancy. However your plan, or vision, only lasts until you start putting brush to model. Somehow, for me anyway, there is always something that needs tweaking as you go along, small changes to the plan to avoid color saturation, to add contrast, to mute one color or bring another to the fore. I have found that planning as much of your model as you can ahead of time makes these things easier to deal with as they crop up. If you are working with a new scheme it may be best to have a test model that you can experiment on without fear of messing up the nice new model you are working on. I have a bin of old marines, daemons, dwarfs, and tyranids that I use for test models (its nice to have a variety of textures, both heavily organinc and inorganic, to have around to try things out.) Once I have tweaked a scheme to the point that I like it I just drop the test back into simple green to be used again later. Putting a bit of thought into your piece before you sit down can save you some headaches later on.
Note taking is what I really want to talk about and in all honesty it was part of why I thought Models-Workshop was so important when Larry and I started batting the idea around. I take fastidious notes on how I achieve certain looks, colors, blends, and appearances. I tend to keep Notepad open on the computer when I paint and simply jot down the method in which I paint certain things. This makes it really easy to go back to later on when you are working on a piece and that moment when the thought “Oooo I remember doing this on another model and it would look great now” hits you. If you take notes you wont have to waste time trying to remember how you achieved the previous result, you just open up the notepad and there it is. This is why some folks keep an online blog, not only are you sharing your work with the interwebs, you are simultaneously taking notes that you can go back and refer to later!
The longer that I work in this hobby, the more I have come to believe that anyone can be good. Anyone can go from the basics to the advanced, to having your models not passing your own muster (you are your own worst critic) to getting to a point where you are pleased with the work you are doing and your opponents are complimenting your models from across the table. All you need is to remember the fundamentals and fall back on the little things.