+ Worldbuilding: Nightfall +

+ Colour – or the lack of it +

With the underlayer of the board complete, time to get some paint on it. This project has used quite a few techniques and materials that I've wanted to try for a while, so I thought I'd turn the painting process into a little tutorial in case you want to have a go at your own terrain. +

+ 1_ I started out by running masking tape round the edges to preserve the darker wood effect. This'll (hopefully) make a nice border. This board has a lip on one end – see the picture – to help secure it to the table beneath, which means that the side on which it sits has to hang off the end. However, I've left the masking tape off the far side, allowing for potential expansion into a larger board. While I have no current plans for expanding it, I wanted to leave the possibility there. +

+ 2_ To prime and seal the board, I used gesso, which you can pick up from any art store. It is traditionally used to prime canvasses for oil paints (and other media these days), but the synthetic version is a great alternative to spray priming miniatures or large areas. I plumped for black gesso, but it comes in a variety of colours (most commonly white). +

+ Pour it straight on to the board, a section at a time. You can be quite generous. It's got a decent working time, so as long as you don't wander off halfway through, it'll remain workable. +

+ 3_ Begin working it in with a large brush. I used a 2in household brush. Gesso is essentially a form of acrylic paint, so you can dilute it with water and can rinse and clean your tools with just warm water – no need for white spirits. +

+ Spread it around the area to get a good coverage, with no gaps. Gesso bonds it tightly to any porous surface (like wood, fabric or cardboard) and shrinks slightly when it dries, preserving the detail. As a result, you can lay it on fairly thickly without obscuring detail, but there's no sense tempting fate – so aim for a smooth surface that is not too thick. +

+ 4_ The consistency is similar to acrylic, so use a stippling motion (straight up and down with the tips of the bristles – almost like a stabbing motion) to work it into crevices. As mentioned above, you can water it down a little to help, but avoid turning it into a wash. +

+ Of course, an alternative is simply to use a smaller brush, but that'll take longer; so it's really down to your preference. +

+ 5_ Gesso will work over non-porous surfaces like metal, but may need a coat or two. It will never be quite as protective as on other surfaces, but should stand up to careful gaming use. In any case, a layer of varnish will help preserve the colour on these magnets. +

+ ...And that pretty much concludes my little diatribe on gesso. It'll dry relatively quickly – it'll be touch dry in just a few minutes – but it's best practise to leave it to properly set overnight. +

+ Next up; paint. Proper paint – colours and everything! +

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