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Oil Painters...I need your beginners list!

Discussion in 'Painting Techniques' started by Tanksplus, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. Tanksplus New Member


    So I a new oil painting figures. Did armor and Aircraft for a lifetime..

    So now I'm totally bitttin' by the figure bug and want to use oils..I have a great starting list of oils to procure from another site but I'd like to get your take on WHAT ARE THE NEEDED OIL PAINT COLORS...I'd like to be able to do Medievel to WWII figures plus some scifi/fantasy lord of rings'ish stuff.

    Any and all help is great!

  2. Meehan34 A Fixture

    Here is what I did since oil tubes can be very expensive. I went to hobby lobby and bought a 24 color set by Reeves for $12.99. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to oils so I bought this cheap set. This set turned out to be gold, it has every color you will need for awhile. The are lesser quality than artist oils but they still look very good to me. I still use them as my only oils.

    Hope this helps.
  3. Paul20100 A Fixture

    As a starter you will need some must have, i.e.:
    Titanium white
    Ivory black
    Burnt Umber
    Cobalt blue (or close to)
    Cadmium red (or close to)
    Cinnaber green
    Chrome yellow
    Ochre yellow
    There are not many tones you cannot obtain by mixing any of the above.
  4. kansas kid Well-Known Member

    Hi Donny. . .

    Hi Donny and welcome to Planet Figure. I notice from your forum post count
    that you must be relatively new to this site. I think the suggestion from
    Mike Meehan is a good one. The tubes are small. But if you're painting the
    figures correctly, you don't want to use much paint. I started painting figures
    with oils because I had them left over from College courses. They last for
    ever. . . almost. And you want to apply the oil and keep spreading it out so
    it is just like a film, not any thickness to the oil paint on the figure. That way
    most oil colours (the lighter the colour the longer it takes to dry, usually) will
    be dry the next morning or the next day.

    When I started I did the base tone colours in el cheapo acrylics like Apple
    Barrel and Anita brand. Then I used the oils over the acrylic base coats.
    I now use acrylics only. But it has taken a lot of effort to learn how to
    layer. With oils you blend the colours. With acruylics there is no blending,
    you layer the paint.

    At first I couldn't figure out how to get rid of the brush strokes
    left behind with the oil paints. It took a year and a half before,
    by accident, I realized if I used a chisel headed or flat top small
    brush that was completely dry and stroke it back and forth over the
    wet oil 'film' that it would take the brush strokes away. I searched
    web sites for a long time and never saw that topic even mentioned.
    So I just learned by accident. Oils are very forgiving and the
    most easy medium to work with of all mediums.
    You can blend tones of two different shades together rather easily.

    And of course, we do LEARN BY DOING. I suggest buying some styrene
    plastic 1:16th figures by Tamiya and DML to learn how to paint figures. As
    they do not cost very much. The smaller the figure in scale, in my view,
    at least, the more difficult it is to paint.

    I use only Winsor Newton Series 7 (Black handles with the chrome ferrel)
    Kolinsky Pure Rd Sable watercolour brushes. They keep a good point, for
    painting eyeballs and stripes. They are expensive and
    I take very good care of mine. Wash them out in mild hand soap
    at the end of each session.

    You know, good modelers also have good discipline. I
    think most of the time Dick Blick Art Supply on line has less
    expensive prices for Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes, than
    say Cheap Joe's on line. But shop around. And hopefully, more
    Planeteers will chime in.

    I am sorry this is long. But I suggest that you go on line and print
    out a copy of the colour wheel. So you can learn how to mix any
    colour you would want, You understand all colours are made from
    the primary colours, Blue, Red, and yellow, . . . and black and white.
    A colour wheel will also show you about the complimentary colours.
    If you can't find a colour wheel print out, send me a personal
    message (PM) and I will send you a jpeg colour
    wheel to your e-mail address, so you can print it out in hard copy.

    Good luck, . . . since you're a long time modeler this will not be as hard.

    The Miami Jayhawk
  5. jimias A Fixture

    I agree with Paul. I personally whould add burnt sienna, deep naples yellow and sepia. In my opinion its better to invest in good quality artists colors. In the long run they r not as expensive as they might look.
  6. Tanksplus New Member

    Thank you this is the type of feedback I'm looking for!

  7. Paul20100 A Fixture

    Oils colours are a lifetime investment. In still have most of the tubes I bought when starting, 15 years ago. They work perfectly and I do not regret the USD 100 I spent at that time. I will not recommend any particular brand but in Europe, Winsor & Newton, Old Holland, Schminke-Mussini, Bockx, Rembrandt, Sennelier, Lefranc Bourgeois are classics. The important is to use EXTRA FINE OILS.

    On the other hand, the brushes will require permanent care and check. Wash them with soft soap and dry them, but not to often. The will also require reinvestment. Those who can produce 2 to 4 figures a month - I am not of this category - will probably buy a new brush every month. Not only because they wear out, but also because working with a good number of brushes will allow to work and blend colours more comfortably. In addition, metallic colours - if you ever use them, which is not a must - will probably require dedicated brushes for obvious reasons.

    I wish you a lot of excitement with oils and you will not regret your choice. It will not be only about modelling, but about art and culture also. Take the necessary time to practice, discover the chromatic circle, shadows and lights, study the classic painters' work, etc. This will enrich your experience and own art considerably.
  8. Gary D PlanetFigure Supporter

    For fleshtones it is common to use titanium white, gold or yellow ochre, and burnt sienna. Also a touch of venetian red for the cheeks and lips.
    Suggest you go with a higher end brand such as Winsor Newton as the pigments are apparently finer and as it is natural for people to look at the face on a figure first, you need it as smooth and lifelike as you can get.

  9. Einion Well-Known Member

    I would recommend that you buy a basic starting palette from lower-cost range* to begin with, just to see if you like using them - some people find they can't get on with oils, same as with acrylics, so you don't want to be too out of pocket if you decide you won't paint with them much (or at all).

    Quality oils can be very expensive, list price for some colours (for a teeny little 37 or 40ml tube) can be $40-60, and even the cheapest colours like the earths and white are often ten bucks a pop. Oil paint does go a very long way though, and can last nearly indefinitely in the tube, so in the long run it is not expensive.

    Will you be buying from a shop locally or online? If you're buying in person often it'll dictate what you can actually find in terms of brand, but W&N's Winton and Daler-Rowney's Georgian oils are probably the two commonest student- or studio-quality ranges you'll see.

    Once you're sure you like oils and will stick with them then it can be a good idea to buy some higher-end paints, long as you're okay with the price; although many oil painters are okay with using cheaper brands only.

    * With cheaper ranges because they contain less pigment and more oil you can soak out a little excess oil from the paints each time you use them, to increase their pigment proportion somewhat. This doesn't harm the paint.

  10. Einion Well-Known Member


    As far as what colours to get, if you ask ten people you can get ten different answers! Bottom line is that at minimum you could get away with just a handful but that's taking it too far for most people - you already have to resign yourself to mixing nearly everything (fleshtones, all fabric and uniform shades, most leather etc. etc.) and for many people life's too short to mix browns and other duller colours completely from scratch.

    Also it's worth remembering that a limited palette is limiting, so you do need more than just four or five paints to be able to achieve a wider range of colour.

    My recommendations are mostly opaque colours because ideally you want the best coverage possible as much as possible; we paint very thinly in the hobby anyway and this is very important with oils to prevent obvious brushstrokes.

    A very basic starting palette:
    Titanium White
    Mars Black
    Yellow Ochre, Mars Yellow or similar
    Red Oxide, Indian Red or a similar opaque red earth
    French Ultramarine (if you need a blue to begin with)

    Once you're happy that you'll stick with oils add:
    French Ultramarine if you didn't already get this
    Cadmium Yellow Medium (long as it's not too orange)
    Cadmium Red Light
    Quinacridone Rose
    Burnt Umber

    Possible additions:
    Chromium Oxide Green (not expensive and very opaque)
    Prussian Blue or Phthalo Blue Green Shade

    The two cadmiums are the only two colours on my list that are sure to be expensive, but it's worth it for their brilliant colour and their opacity. The Quinacridone Rose might not be cheap either, but everything else should be a series 1 or 2 paint.

  11. Tanksplus New Member

    Well I pulled the trigger and spent just over $200 USD on oils last night from DickBlick got 14 Winsor&Newton Artists oils in the 37ml sizes, 4 W&N Kolinski brushes AND a color wheel(y)

    They will get here just about the time a few of the "how to" books I have coming will get here.

    So for now I have to WAIT:( so I'll just start buying figures to into the swing of things!!!

  12. grunt26 Member

    Welcome, Donny!
    I started painting with oils almost 25 years ago, and still use the same tubes I bought then. There are additions, of course. On color I like, is Windsor & Newton "Flesh Tint". Its a tannish-pink, that you use sparingly, to add a bit of "life" to your faces. If using W&N brushes, which are THE best, one thing I can't recommend highly enough, is Windsor & Newton's Brush Cleaner & Restorer. The stuff is in a round bottle, with a red and white label (here in the US anyway), and is AMAZING!! Cleans enamels, oils, and acrylics out of ANY brush. Clean them thoroughly with this stuff, then wash the brushes in warm water(NOT hot) and MILD soap. Your brushes will last a lifetime! I've turned several model buddies on to this stuff, and they swear by it also! As I said, clean and dry your brushes well, and let them DRY before using again, but it is so worth it. I pay about $6-7 a bottle, but it lasts for years, depending on how many brushes you have and how often you clean them.
    Best of luck in your new figure painting endeavors! There are a great bunch of people on this site, so don't hesitate to ask for any help or advice!

  13. Mark Yungblut Member

    I'll give you another hint with the W&N Series 7 brushes. Every 3 months or so use some leave in hair conditioner. Seriously the same stuff people use. Not the conditioner you use when you shampoo. You want the stuff that you use after you shower. It is designed to be absorbed by real hair and will help you keep those expensive brushes in super shape. I stiull have a Series 7 #10 brush from art school in the mid '80s and it still comes to a beautiful sharp point.

    I usually leave it in for a day or two then rinse it clean before I use the brush. If I don't plan to use the brush for a while I leave the conditioner in and put the protective tube over the brush tip. Just make sure to wash the brush prior to painting ;).


  14. kansas kid Well-Known Member

    The people on this web site are amazing. . . .

    I've been following this thread since the first post. I am still amazed by how
    thoughtful and considerate the men and women who frequent this web site
    are, how well mannered and considerate you all are. I don't take this
    kind of thing for granted. There have been so many good suggestions and
    detailed descriptions of how Donny can get started. I find this all so uplifting
    and so gratifying. We get the impression from watching the news on TV and
    reading the newspapers that everyone is just out for themselves.

    For me this one thread, and the intent of the members who have responded,
    is so accommodating and so friendly I find it evidence of good will and
    concern for each member. . .

    Hokay, so I'll get off my soap box. . . . :):)

    Hopefully, Donny, the oil paints you've ordered from Dick Blick, along with
    the Winsor Newton, Series 7 kolinsky Red Sable brushes will be a big
    boost to your interest in figure painting and a means of progressing and
    developing the skill to achieve what you want. . . it will take time. But
    as I see it, Nothing Worthwhile is easily achieved. . . Whao, big time. . . .

  15. Tanksplus New Member

    Got my stuff a week ago and some change...sat down tonight to give some Verlinden 1/35 faces a try with my new oils...the difference between oils and acrylics is NIGHT AND DAY!!! Acrylics are dead to me for figures!!!

    I did try to use tamiya desert yellow and white acrylics to base coat the resin heads and then use my oils on top...the base acrylics sucked. I think I should have used tamiyas Flat Flesh color to base coat..i'll try that tomorrow after work.

    BUT the blending with the oils was AW-SUM!!! used titanium white with burnt umber to make a nice flesh tone. then tried burnt sienna for deeper shadows blended with a flat brush then highlighted with my OO brush.

    My eye balls kinda sucked...irises were way to big..he looked scared :)

    BUT all in all I am STOKED!!!!

    I do wish to say thanks for all the tips and help. I have printed or written down everything!


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