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The Workspace

Where the magic happens!

All about that workspace

Welcome back! Today we are going to talk about the workspace. This is literally where all the magic happens. The delicious sweet painting magic. Some people like it clean and organized while some enjoy a more chaotic approach. I am of the mindset of being organized because it allows me to focus on what I'm doing instead of where everything is.

There's a few essentials that I recommend everyone have. A lot will be fairly common so I won't spend a great deal of text on those but I'll still go over them.

First thing is a cutting mat. This is important because it's where you'll do all your clipping, cleaning and in the end, painting. I've not really seen many different qualities but really you're just going for something that can protect the surface of your desk. The bonus to having a cutting mat is when you have all the shavings from cleaning mould/seam lines, you can simply lift up the mat and brush it into the trash.

Next thing is huge. Well, figuratively anyway. That is the light. It's super important to have a good light source that shows the actual colour of the paint. Strong white light is best. You'll want to avoid very cool or warm light as that can have an effect on what colour your trying to paint, then when you bring your fancy army to the store it just doesn't look the same and you begin to question YOUR VERY EXISTENCE. Do yourself a favour and get a good one! One other thing is it should have good points of articulation. You want to be able to get the light exactly where you want it depending on the position you sit in to paint. Try to keep good posture; you don't want to end up looking like an ork!

Brushes. There is a lot of different kinds of brushes available for various different uses. This is a case of having the right tool for the job. You're not going to try to paint eyes with a drybrush, and you're not going to base your minis with a fine detail brush. Personally I use a combination of Vallejo and Games Workshop brushes. Some people really hate on GW brushes but their quality has always impressed me. I still have some of their brushes from years and years ago. If you're just starting out, you'll want a good selection so you don't have to compromise. I'd suggest a 0/3, 0, and 2 sizes to begin with. In addition to those, a small or medium drybrush would benefit you as well.

Having a place to store your paints, brushes, and other tools is also quite a handy thing to have. For my tools, I just used a bunch of paper towel/toilet paper tubes and used PVA glue to seal them to a piece of cardboard (and each other). The result was a super inexpensive way to manage my tools. For my brushes that I use regularly, I just shaved a bit off the top and affixed a small magnet to them so I could hang them from the arm of my light source (see above). Again, super cheap and effective.

To bring it all together you want to have a good layout. You don't want to be reaching over and knocking your water cup over, getting your sleeve in your paint pallet, or send models flying searching for your pin vice.

So that's a peak into the basics of your workspace and tools. I hope you've found this informative. See you next time!

BONUS: I was asked what the trick was to staying organized. This is actually a great question that doesn't get asked very often. It usually just ends up as a "meh" or "I can't keep my desk clean". Well, that's quitter talk!

Honestly, the trick is just to stay on top of it. Incorporate cleaning and reorganizing as part of your 'end-of-painting-session' routine. Some things you may consider are:

  • Cleaning the brushes thoroughly
  • Put the paints away or at the very least organize them in your workspace
  • Clean up shavings/clippings/sprues/misc
  • Rearrange models/pieces (I like to paint in pieces, personally)
  • Change water!
It doesn't take too long and when you're ready to paint later on, it's really easy to jump into. Having a clean space helps me keep motivated as well, since I don't have to worry about doing a massive clean in order to get in the mindset. Also one other thing to remember is if you're building your models, don't forget to clean the floor. I've been stabbed in the foot by many a random piece and all those spiky skulls GW loves so much hurt!
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