Monday, February 20, 2012

Speed Painting - Get Organized

Trying to crank out a new army in a short time requires a bit of set-up and organization to be in-place before you begin. I’ll outline the set-up I use and what works for me in speed painting squads of miniatures at the same time.

Paint set-up: An inexpensive plastic spice rack makes it a snap to find any of your paints quickly.

A solution for craft paints is the plastic organizer (less than $3.00 each at Michaels Art) – bottles lock-in upside down for easy identification.

Light 'em-up - The paint area should be clear and well lit. I use a folding “OTT” light for all my work. Fine tip brushes on the left, wide tip brushes on the right. I’m right handed – so the cup of water to clean the brushes is on the right.

Line them up - Group models according to pose, when you pick up the next model to paint you already know where the color goes.

Up close and personal – I use a $2 pair of magnifying lenses for detail work. They take a little getting used to but allow you to get up-close and personal for easy detail work.

Tools and worn-out brushes for dry-brushing and washes are on my right for easy access.

My key to speed painting: Only open a bottle of paint once and apply it to every model in the squad before opening the next bottle of paint. This means picking up a model from your left, applying the paint, setting it on your right and then reaching for the next model on your left. Continue with that color until all of the models have moved from left to right. Then open the next bottle of paint and move the models from right to left, starting with the first model you applied color to.

The best part of this style of painting – you get a feel for how long a shift from left to right is going to take and it makes it easier to plan your painting session: Only 15 minute? One pass or color. Have 30 minutes? Two passes or colors. It also gives you a firm stopping point, you never wonder where you left off!

By painting in passes you can see the progress on the whole squad. It really encourages you to grab the next bottle and add another layer!


  1. My wife helped me paint 40 Skaven Slaves this weekend using a very similar method.