For technique, I use what some people call the "English" system. Made popular by Wargames Foundry (and Kevin Dallimore) and characterized by layering and the use of triad paint palettes.
|Example of a triad by Reaper.|
This "stacking" of colors is called layering and it is a great method if you want to transition to more advance techniques. You can begin the transition by simply adding more layers (which requires you to mix more shades of color between each value in your triad.) Mixing these extra hues teaches you blending. Blending is similar to layering except instead of waiting for each layer to dry before adding the next, you add the second layer before the first has dried. This gives you a little time to blend where the edges of the two hues meet.
|Looks like crap up close but great from afar. This is deliberate; read on!|
Many English system painters still exercise careful brush control, placing strokes exactingly (check out the painting of Steve Dean and Kevin Dallimore.) I prefer an impressionistic approach. A comment on The Miniatures Page called my brush work "heavy handed." I think this is a fair assessment. I layer as explained earlier, but I don't place the paint -- I simply drop the colors close to where the need to be, using rough brush strokes and roughly defined edges. I included a close-up photo of a barbarian to illustrate just how crappy my actual brush work is up close, but how the final result can still turn out nicely.
I paint with rough strokes because I'm painting figures not for display, but for the gaming table. Figures used for gaming will be seen mostly at arm's length; the subtleties of glazing and blending will be lost at a distance. Layering can be purposely used to exaggerate color and features. These exaggerations, at distance, will visually blend together. I prefer my impressionistic approach, honestly and simply, because I can do it much faster than if I used controlled strokes like the aformentioned Steve Dean and Kev Dallimore.
That's the basic of how I approach my painting. There are many other techniques that can be used in conjunction with the English system (dry brushing, washing, dip, overbrushing etc.) but I just wanted to touch on the simple basics of how I paint.
ResourcesSteve Dean Painting, look through the gallery and you'll see great examples of very-controlled brush and layering work.
Northstar has a free online magazine. Search under latest content to find how-to articles by Kevin Dallimore.
If you don't mind spending a few dollars, I recommend Kevin Dallimore's Foundry painting guide.
PaintsFoundry paints are set up in triads, but they are more expensive than most and are not consistent in quality.
Reaper sells its Master Series as triads. Keep in mind, the Master Series uses more flow agent in each bottle. This paint is meant to be used more by those who prefer to blend their paint, but they still work OK with layer painting (this is only from what I have read; I haven't actually tried this range myself).
For layering, you might check out Reaper's Master "HD" line. More opaque, faster-drying colors, but they are not necessarily arranged as triads. Sometimes this range is difficult to find outside of the Reaper site; they're easy to find, but they're usually "out of stock." If you don't mind paying retail price (which isn't that bad, actually,) just purchase them direct from Reaper.
Vallejo paint is also not arranged as triads, but you can still purchase enough bottles/hues to set up your own triads based on your tastes. Vallejo are priced similar to other ranges and are widely available online. You can even find a limited selection at Hobby Lobby.
P3 by Privateer Press is a decent line packaged similar to Foundry (same manufacturer maybe?) but you their price is more in line with other paint ranges (a little over $3 a bottle.) Also not sold as triads.
There are many more paints, these are just the ones (except the Reaper Master Series) that I have actually used.
Even though some ranges aren't advertised as triads, you can still pick and choose colors (even from different ranges) to create your own triads -- My original caucasian flesh recipe used five colors from three different manufacturers.