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Meow,

So this tip is pretty much a basic one, but for someone that's new to painting you might find this helpful, Using small bottles of craft paint like the type you find at 'www.michaels.com' is actually better and more affordable for smaller builds then using the larger buckets you would find at places like 'Lowes' and 'Ace hardware'

Also using an off color like 'Antique' white as apposed to just 'Plain' white will give your props an older worn in look. In my opinion 'Antique' white should be called 'Bone' white because it's the perfect color for bone and skulls. Just take a look at any of my props, every skull or bone I've painted is done in that color.

Another tip is spray sealer, I use them on every prop I have even the foam ones, (because once a firm coat of paint covers the foam it will keep the spray from eating it) Spray sealer well not only keep from props from fading in the sun, but also keep the paint from chipping or flaking...

If I can think of more tips I'll post them later..

(Side Note)
I posted this here as opposed to 'General Prop Discussion' because this forum says 'Tips and tricks of painting..' Hopefully this is the right place.
 

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A tip I would proffer is to give your construct a good undercoat before you start any of the other coloring. Especially when you are dealing with materials that would degrade when exposed to water, like paper mache. At a lot of your big box stores like Lowes or Home Depot you can usually find "oops" paint (paint that someone had tinted, but then didn't buy) at a cheap price. A good quality exterior paint, or something like Dry-Loc can save you a lot of grief.

Paint the undercoat over everything, making sure you get in all the little cracks and gaps that will let water seep in. You might need a second coat if you notice that some part absorb more than others. If you can see areas that are more matte than others, then the paint didn't make a good "skin" at that point, and the paper fibers can act as channels for the water. A quick sanding with very fine grit sandpaper then a second coating will usually do the trick.

Also, for some of the finest sandpaper, use a piece of the brown paper from grocery bags. Believe it or not, it works excellently for this task.
 

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When painting a prop, is it recommended to start with an undercoat of a dark color, say black or charcoal grey, and work up to lighter colors, or vice versa?

I'll be painting a prop head soon and will be looking for realistic skin tones, but was wondering if I should paint it black first and then begin working my way towards flesh tones, or should I paint it the flesh color first and then highlight shadows afterwards.

When I paint a groundbreaker or corpse I'm usually on pretty safe ground with my technique. Going for a more realistic appearance (he'll be my yard display's gravedigger) I'm entering new territory here.

Thanks!

Rich
 

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I don't know about painting it _black_ first would work, I would use a dark brown. Basically, the undercoat should be the darkest color that you would normally find, as that is the color that will leak through in areas that don't get any paint.

As for blending direction, I find that painting darker colors over lighter tends not to work. It can muddy the color and if you go too dark too soon, it's hard to recover from that, short of a complete repaint.

If you have an airbrush, I would experiement (on a test surface) with blending that way. I was watching Mythbusters the otherday, where they were making masks of Adam and Jamie. One of the ways they were getting realistic tones and texture was actually spraying through rough filters, apparently to get intermittant streams of paint.
 

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When I paint mache props, I always use sealant first, then a coat of white acrylic paint as a base (acrylic because most of my mache props have been small - I'd use latex paint for something large scale). That just happens to be my personal preference, and I've certainly seen discussions here where a darker base coat was used. I think it just ends up depending on the look you want. I tend to use the darker colors to highlight texture by drybrushing over a lighter base coat. Spooky1 and I used this technique for our Ghoul Hounds, and i used it for my Graveyard Goblin.

Realistic flesh tones are the most difficult to achieve for most painters. We met a professional model (as in kits) painter some years ago who said that was always his biggest challenge. Personally, I'd be inclined to start with a flesh color and shadow from there, but again, that would be just personal preference, and it's not something I've actually tried since my props are clearly less than human:)
 
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