Monday, November 3, 2014

Painting Tips: Buy or Mix?

Hey again!

As a quick preface I'd like to say that I am not showing how to mix paints in this post.  I think there will be some good info in here though so read on!

Tonight I was fooling around here at my hobby table, had YouTube on, and was digging through and looking at various paints and supplies here around me.  I made a trip to one of the hobby and gaming stores not too far from me earlier in the day.  I purchased a few paints and the newest weekly White Dwarf.  

Normally I don't get any of the White Dwarf issues unless there are very particular topics of interest to me and this time that was the case.  A new Warhammer 40,000, Tyranid release for the Toxicrene/Maleceptor model is being featured and it includes the rules for the model.  I am big on the ol' space bugosaurs and so I wanted that one, but looking around at the painted models inside and then the paints I had bought I had a seed of a question forming.

Here is an example of two 
similar "bone" colors.
So now, at my table, I looked over at a couple of the shades I thought I would definitely use soon.  I was surprised when I looked at one of the new ones again but had actually picked up an older paint pot.  They looked nearly identical but there was a very small difference, mostly in the brightness.  I'm not surprised that those closely matched colors are for sale, I knew that already.  I was surprised though that I had known so certainly that I needed this new color, even though they are barely different.  So then it lead me to the question...  Would I have been better off just choosing to mix and blend the older paint when I needed it brighter?

Now, first thing is I can say from experience that this type of thing is common among all companies that make paints that I am aware of.  Various and similar hues, shades, and values, are produced depending on multiple factors.  I have to say this is really a positive because more options is almost always better.  But we still want to know if it's really better to buy more colors, or just mix to achieve what you want.  Truthfully I had asked this question to myself long ago but it came back to me consciously today. For me the answer is both and I think there is no right or wrong answer to this one.  Each person painting will know what they really want in their mind's eye, and they'll likely have a good idea of their own skill and budget.  If they know these things the choice becomes very easy anytime that question is asked.

Different company, similar situation.  
Tricky to tell these reds apart.
Let's say perhaps you're a bit like me.  I believe my skill level is quite good and so I'm comfortable mixing colors at will.  I have a background in art and lots of experience and so I can choose what I want and have success at realizing it.  However I also often buy new colors as my projects and knowledge expand.  Many times these new purchases make mixing paints unnecessary and so there are easily times I don't choose to mix colors.  Those similar but slightly different colors can be a time saver for highlights and gradients and they also have the bonus of being consistently the same color when you use them.  Mixing always carries a margin for error.  This is why it's good to make precise measurements and notes when you mix colors.  You can repeat them with good success later on.  

If you're a newer hobbyist and maybe have a limited budget, mixing paint can actually be very good.  You gain more skill the more you work with paints and also mixing to make colors saves money.  You should always plan your project though and make sure you have a grasp of some color theory.  You can do your own searches on this topic but I have found a link here that seems to be good to start with.  NYU Color Theory link  I am not affiliated with anyone connected to that site but the information looks good and also it didn't seem to be related to any purchasing or selling.  You might find a lot of that while searching.  For how to mix paint I recommend a lot that you can find easily on YouTube.  I haven't written about that as of yet.

Of course if you have the extra budget and you want the colors I say go for it.  Having more options is better in my opinion and if you're putting more time into your hobby it usually pays off sooner or later.  I've certainly amassed a big collection myself.

Well, that's it right now.  Thanks for reading if you did and share, comment, and definitely come back!