My painting has evolved over the past two decades. I painting Ral Partha Miniatures as a teenager. But I really didn't get into learning how to paint until I was in college. I discovered WH40K in 1990. I then starting priming figures and highlighting miniatures. My painting was horrible. I used paint that was too thick. I learned how to paint 30mm Redoubt Zulus in 1994-1997. That is when my painting became much better. But I didn't use inks and washes until the early 2000's.
When I first started painting, I primed all my figures black. When I painted my 28mm samurai and British colonial figures, I primed them white. My Zulus and Darkest Africa figures were primed black. My 28mm Medieval Koreans were primed black. Priming makes a difference in how brillant the colors shine.
After I prime a figure, I then do base colors. I start with the unifom or clothing and then work out to armor, equipment, leather, hats, gun, and finally metal trim. I use inks or washes on a figure when I do a particular color. So I'll use a green ink for green paints, brown washes for flesh, black washes for armor, etc. Once I've used an ink or wash, I then allow the figure to dry overnight. I'll then come back the next day work on doing more base coats. Once I'm done with all my base colors. I then go back and work on correcting individual mistakes on a figure.
However, I favor industrial style/assembly line painting to get units of figures done. I am wargamer. Not a collector. I want to get as many units painted as possible. I want them to look good. But I want to get things done. I don't believe in dying with a mountain of unpainted lead. I have several rubbermaid containers of unpainted figures. I want to keep it that way. I don't see the point in hoarding unpainted lead that will never get painted.
But I digress. I believe I now paint decent looking armies. Part of it is due to the fact I use short cuts like inks and washes. They make my life easier and allow me to cheat dry brushing. I've never been a fan of dry brushing. I can do it. But I like to let inks and washes do my work for me. I don't paint eyes anymore. I use washes on faces and dirty up the figure's features.
I use a variety of paints. I've used the Delta Coat and craft paint available at Walmart for horse flesh and texturing bases. I've also been a big fan of GW paints and Vajello Game Color. I've also recently discovered Privateer Press P3 paints, too. I also have a range of brushe available from Michael's and Games Workshop. For fine detail work, I swear by Winsor & Newton Series No. 7 000 brushes. This is what I use for fine detail work. The Series No. 7 000 brushes take much abuse and last a long time. I don't mind spending money on good brushes. For the amount of paint I do, the Series No. 7 brushes are worth it. I buy mine directly from Dick Blick Art Supplies online.
GW has reformulated their paints. I haven't broken down and bought their new paints, yet. I still use a combination of paints for my various projects. The GW paint pots require you to use matches to hold them open. I also use a paint palette for the Delta Coat and Vajello paints that come in dropper bottles. I still use the GW washes for highlighting flesh colors. I use the old GW inks for some of my colors. Though I mainly use the Winsor & Newton drawing inks for my miniatures. The Winsor & Newton drawing inks give contrast to the figures and make a particular color stand out after it's been inked.
I'm going more to the P3 paints to replace my old GW paints. I like keeping a supply of paint on hand so I have something when I run out of a particular color. I also use the Folk Art craft paint to prime my figures. I use a brush on primer. But I water it down with water so it isn't so thick with I apply to to a miniature. I also a Krylar Gloss finish to seal my figures. But I also generally use Woodland Scenics grass to flock the bases of my figures. It gives a good look to particular army and matches my Geo-hex mats.