I got inspired by the excellent variety of tips and tricks at Michael Casavant's excellent web site and decided to start my own. I've picked up a number of things over the years and hopefully these will help you out as well. So here they are, in no particular order...

If you're unlucky enough to work in the Silicon Valley, you're all too familiar with having extra business cards from ex-jobs... Either that, or maybe you've got some extra Magic or other CCG cards lying around. Well put them to good use!
  • one-shot epoxy mixers - mix up the adhesive on the card, then toss it when you're done - you've got another few hundred waiting in the box!
  • handy swatch cards - for jotting down paint formulas (paint on swatches for handy reference later).
  • note cards - for writing down or sketching out ideas.

So you want to reposition that limb/tail/wing, but either it's too large and heavy to bend by hand, or it's got spikes and other crap on it that puncture your skin?

Well run down to the local auto parts store and pick up some 1/8" diameter vacuum hose. Cut off 1/2" lengths and stick them on the end of your needle nose pliers. Voila - cheap rubber tips!

Now you can bend what you need without distorting the metal or marring it with the pliers' serrated jaws. Eventually you need to replace the rubber because the pewter digs too many holes in it, but a few feet of vacuum hose will last you a lifetime...


Many painters seem to have trouble creating washes. It usually boils down to consistency. There's no hard and fast ratio of water to add, as different paints and inks have different thicknesses/pigments to deal with.

One trick I've learned is to test my washes on some newspaper first. If the newsprint is just visible through the wash than it's perfect.


Ever lose some teeny-tiny little bit of pewter just as you're trying to glue it on? I caught this tip in the MicroMark catalog, but rather than spend $9 for a cheap plastic apron, I bought a cloth one for $5 at Michael's Crafts and attached the ends to my work table with some snaps.

The snaps are attached to the apron with special crimping pliers. You need some corresponding screw-in snaps for the bottom of the work bench.

Alternately, you can use sew-on clothing snaps found at a fabric store and glue corresponding ones on the table.

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Text and Photographs (c) 2004 Laszlo Jakusovszky