Saturday, April 19, 2014

Keeping your Hobby alive: What to do when you hate painting, part 1

Hey guys and gals, today we start a new series about a topic that effects many of us, myself included.  First a little background, though.  I used to live about 20-30 minutes from the rest of LXG but a few years ago I had to move another hour or so away.  This has severely hampered my ability to game and hang with my gaming friends, to say the least.  To add to this problem the nearest gaming store isn't much closer and it's in the opposite direction, so I'm not playing as much as I would like.  There are only so many things in this hobby that can be done on our own, and I hate one of them.  Painting.  So I'm going to take some time and talk about the things I have been doing to gear myself up for painting, and show off some of my inspirations.

How I feel when I have to paint.

First off I need to explain why I would want to paint my minis and not just play with them unpainted.  The answer here is simple.  I was attracted to the hobby by painted armies dueling it out on fully painted and terrained tables.  It's the spectacle that got me to look at these models and decided to spend hundreds of dollars on them.  If I just wanted a strategy game, chess is cheaper and more tactical by far.  No I want soldier dolls shooting and stabbing each other, with me as their general. If someone told me they perffered this:

To this:
I'd call them a liar to their face.  What they prefer is the same thing I prefer.  Not painting.

Painting is a daunting task for those of us that didn't choose art as a way of life.  It can be scary.  Additionaly we are inspired by beautifully painted models, and I've yet to meet someone who just painted a mini great the first time out, without other art training or practice.  Painting is a skill that does live by the principal: practice makes perfect.   I promise you my first attempts at painting were pretty terrible.

I was lucky when I started in this hobby.  I had two advantages that not most have.  The first was my immediate group of hobby friends (friends that share the hobby) had 2 good painters in it.  It drove the other 2 of us to at least try.  I can't say enough about Shawn and Jerry.  They were good painters that pushed me paint.  They also had a lot more experience and showed me some tricks to make painting easier.

The second advantage I had that sadly is gone now was the old model for GW hobby stores.  The one I went to had a staff of 4, and all of them were good painters and more importantly good teachers.  I learned almost everything I know about painting from Antonio, Mike, Matt and Tom.  Having good instruction makes everything easier to master.

This second advantage I can say is answered.  No I'm not opening a local store near you, and no GW is not going back to that number of staff (at least not in the US), but there is another resource for this information.  I've been using it for the last few weeks and I'm inspired to paint again, so I think it's worth sharing. has a series of videos done by a good painter and teacher named Chris. Chris does a series called quick tips, where he takes ideas from the viewers and shows you how to do them.  Recently has started an educational series call Miniature Painting 101, which I have found to be fantastic.  Even someone like myself who has taught this level of painting as a GW employee have found info worth viewing.  Additionally they have over 100 DVDs available for stream and download.  Oh and that doesn't even mention the tons and tons of other content they have for a variety of games.  Some of the content is available for free, but the DVDs and the Miniature Painting 101 videos are only available in the vault.  This is their pay section, but before you freak out they offer a 7 day free trial and a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee if you forget to cancel before the 7 trial.

Here's a sample quick tip that I really thought was good.

I know that last sounded like an advertisement, but honestly when something get's me excited to paint, it deserves a plug.  So if you are struggling with painting, and think you can't possibly do anything that is worth showing, I challenge you to find a resource to learn from.  If there isn't one local that you are comfortable with, then try miniwargaming.  I think you'll be surprised how much better you get when you have a good resource to learn from.  Oh and practice!  It really is the only way you can get better.

If you have any good resources share them below.  Anyway, until next time...

1 comment:

  1. I think it's important to stick with the basics, especially while you're learning (or if you just don't care for painting all that much). Even figures with a simple basecoat and wash will look much, much better than an unpainted army! Seeing pictures of expertly-painted figures can be inspiring, but it can also be intimidating to new painters. I think it's important to set realistic goals, and focus on painting to a level that you personally find acceptable.