Saturday, August 22, 2009
5. The greatest inventions since sliced bread
Two inventions stand out in the history of miniatures painting: acrylic paints and the wet palette. Before acrylics, all you really had were enamels, which stink, and their brush cleaner/thinner stinks too. And they're hazardous substances. I once spilled a jar of brush cleaner; it ran off the table onto my ankle. It burned the lines of my sock into my skin! When I "discovered" acrylics for myself, I've never looked back. That's a topic many others have covered better than I can here. Just remember: water clean up is a good thing. My latest "discovery" is the wet palette. I know I come to this game waaay late. For years I used a plastic bowl. I'd put paint and a little water in it, it would last a short time, then it would dry up. I think I wasted nearly as much paint as I used. Then I switched to a ceramic tile. It made cleanup a little easier. Before, when the paint dried in the plastic bowl, it had to be soaked and scraped out. Not hard, but not easy. With the ceramic tile, I could let the paint dry as much as it ever would, and it would rub off with just a little water and a fingertip. Now, however, I use the wet palette. I don't know why I waited so long. It's the easiest thing in the world, and practically free. Get a plastic tub with an air tight lid. Put a folded paper towel in it, add enough water to soak the towel, then put a single square of kitchen "parchment paper" on top (it's also called baking paper). The water won't soak through the parchment paper, but it will keep the paint you put on top just damp enough to not dry out in the usual three minutes. If you don't finish the paint, just pop the lid on and come back later. I've had paint stay usable for days! Here's my setup with the lid on. Open it up and you can see the paper here. It doesn't look very appetizing, but it works great. Thanks for stuffing those ballot boxes for me for Emperor Of The Known Universe.