In painting circles there are times when you hear about things that other people do/use. A lot of the time I’d dare to see that some advice goes unheeded as we badger on doing the same thing we’ve done since we first put paint brush to pewter. However, to counter balance that there are times when we actually look at something that has either been on our minds for a while or comes along out of the blue that we decide to have a go with and it completely changes our outlook.
The concept of the wet palette is not new to me. I have heard of it many times over the years but have also heard that they were actually quite tricky to work with. Hence I’ve used a traditional palette for my paints and therefore have a nice sheet of plastic that has a good couple of millimetres of dried on paint covering it.
As I was doing my normal forum browsing over a lunchtime at work I came upon a thread on the Privateer Press forums. I can’t remember the exact title (and am too lazy to look it up and link it) that went something like “List of things that have improved my painting the most.” Things like these are always worth a look in my book. You waste nothing by having a look at other people’s tips and can maybe pick up a gem that sorts you out with a technique that does really transform the way you paint your figures. Near the top of the list was using a wet palette, now you can buy one if you feel so inclined but there were numerous people espousing the virtues of making your own. So it was that after a quick Google I had a raft of guides on making your own and last Saturday I did just that.
I took a Warmachine blister pack, placed the model on my painting table with all the parts, put the cards in protective sleeves and then got some greaseproof paper out the kitchen. I then placed the foam from the blister back inside and started to fill it with water. I made sure that the foam was properly saturated and then drained off the excess water, ensuring that there was enough still in there that when I pressed the foam a small puddle formed at the point of contact. I then cut a piece off the greaseproof paper slightly smaller than the foam, placed it on the foam and pressed it to get it wet, I then flipped the paper over and did the other side to prevent curling.
The result was something that looks exactly like the picture at the top of this post, however, that was from an image search as I have no photos of my own effort. So, what has the wet palette done for me?
The beauty of the wet palette is that it keeps your paint wet! Sounds obvious really but you have no idea how brilliant it is until you try it, you don’t waste any paint as it just doesn’t dry out as you are applying it to your models. It also removes the need to thin your paints as the water is right there on the paper. The reason I used the blister pack to do it is because you can then close the clamshell to stop it drying out, which it will do as natural evaporation takes place. The paint that I used over the weekend on my Kabalite Warriors is still wet in it, although there isn’t a lot on the paper as I’ve used it on the models.
I’m amazingly impressed with the way the thing works, it was easy to make and has made a huge difference to painting for me. No more painting in that time when the paint is still liquid but starting to dry, everything is wet and smooth all the time, I’m really looking forward to see how this improves things as I mix the various colours I’ll be using to highlight with. Should the Fates conspire to allow me the time to finish my unit of Warriors I’ll try to get some photos up to show the first unit I’ve painted using the wet palette but I would seriously recommend using one to anyone who is serious about their painting.