Slowmover posted a rather long comment on the trouble he's having when painting a figure. Let me see if I can address some of the concerns he brought up.
First, do not think that you can produce good results immediately with a technique you're not that familiar with. I've been painting for over 50 years and I still hit the wall sometimes trying to do something and not having much success with it. Then again, sometimes I do something that totally surprises me at the result. Painting the vest is a good example of that. I had never considered using a tan color for a vest, preferring the darker colors. However, that tan, the darker shading and then the lighter highlights actually take on the look of leather. A new lesson learned!
As for washes over solid paint just remember....once you dip your brush into water and then into paint it's a wash of some kind or other. Some are light while some are heavy but they're all washes. The only difference with my technique is that I wet the surface of the wood so my washes soak into the wood instead of flowing over it and that is a BIG difference. The colors take on the color of the wood which makes them appear much warmer than they would the other way. And I like the way the wood absorbs the color unevenly over the various surfaces of the wood. That just adds another touch to the technique. If there is a spot where I don't want that to happen I can always add more paint to even things out.
I think a lot of problems come from trying to copy something to closely. My suggestion would be to read the book or watch the video a couple of times then put those things away. That's the way THEY paint not the way YOU want to paint. Next, get familiar with what you plan on painting. You can't paint something that you know nothing about. Say you're going to paint Jeans. Go put on that pair of worn out pants hiding in the bottom of the drawer. Now look at all the folds and creases, the worn areas, the holes, the grass or dirt stained areas around the knees. Doing this will show you what you're after and will teach you much more than any photo or video will. The same goes for hats or horses, boots or biscuits, pick it up, feel it, pet it, maybe even taste it. If you know it you can paint it!
And here's the best advice of all.....CHILL! Quit trying so hard. Relax and have fun. No doubt a few of your figures will go sailing across the room to smash against the wall just like mine have on occasion. Accept the fact that it's going to take a long, long time and tons of practice but you will get there eventually. If, for some reason you don't make it, you can at least reflect back on a great adventure and the satisfaction of trying and giving it your best shot!
Oh...I forgot the second most important thing after practice...Confidence! But, fortunately for all of us, this will appear all by itself the more we grow confortable with what we're doing through practice. I haven't ridden a bicycle in half a century but I KNOW, having done it once pretty good, I can do it again. Painting or carving works the same way. The more we do it the more comfortable we become and confident that we can do it again.