How do you paint miniatures when you are visually impaired? That is a question not easily answered, because our hobby demands rather good eyes to paint up the precious tiny miniatures and pick out the even tinier details on these figurines. It also is a challenge for which I had to find a solution, because a very dear friend of mine has a visual disability and also likes to step into the hobby of assembling plastic, resin and metal fantasy figurines AND paint them up as well. So where do you start when you want to teach a person to paint miniatures, while at the same time offering techniques that make it possible to paint these models without too much effort?
My solution was to start with models that can be easily painted or that are so big that a visual disability is not such a large issue. And the models I choose a starter were the Army of the Dead models from the Lord of the Rings range by Games Workshop. The benefit of these models is that they have large areas that are easily visible, detail that is both textured and fine enough to be picked out with easy techniques and a colour scheme that is easy to paint using washes and drybrushes.
The idea is to teach painting skills that are not too straining on the eyes. So after a white spraypaint as a base for the models, the models can be ‘layered’ using various washes. Different greens, blue-ish hues and some browns and layering these on top of each other really picks out all the lovely detail on these models. In addition, the more layers are ‘washed’ on the mini, the more visible the fine detail becomes. This makes it possible to ‘see’ the next stages and to properly paint some smaller details, like drybushing the right areas with pale shades and pick out the last detailing. The end result is rather spectacular I think. In fact, if one would not know that my friend has a visual disability, you would guess that these were painted by a fairly skilled model painter. The next challenge is to ‘step up’ a bit and start painting models that are a bit more difficult and need more than washes and drybrushes. But I have high hopes and will keep you informed on this rather unique story.