Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I Hate Painting...

...or is it just that I'm not very good at it?

I find myself looking over my projects, old and new, and thinking about how they all seem to reach that same final stage of unfinished spoiled glory. You know the place, where they sit on your shelf in that same motley collection of raw bits parts or that special shade of primer that was going to be the secret to making your figures ten times easier to paint. But they aren't painted, are they?

Perhaps it is a certain fear of failure, or success (never understood that one) but I cannot seem to get myself jazzed about painting. Even when I receive kudos for my extremely lame attempts to put pigment to metal, I cannot get the satisfaction that drives me forward to paint more. To me, painting has always been that chore that comes at the end of the joy. It is the cleanup after the glorious artistic mess and the material indulgence that is collecting, converting, kit bashing.

Finding that special piece that will make that thing that will look so cool on the table is a special moment. Figuring out the trick to make that piece of terrain look just so or that new kit bash stand out just a little bit more is a real thrill. I have never found myself talking at any length about how I tackled a paint job with anywhere near the same zeal that I have when describing the steps that I labored through to get that particular effect with the construction of a hill, a copse of trees, that rocket, or whatever modelling mayhem I have been up to.

When it comes down to it, I think it come down to the fact that painting only really works when you follow a formula and deviating from that formula, regardless of whichever you chose is such a quick route to disaster. One could argue that the modelling side of things is also formulaic and that is true, to a point. The place where I feel they differ is in the consequences of breaking the rote of those processes. I can fly off on a tangent of creativity and slap together a new ironclad or turn some random putty work into a collection of cloaks and accessories for a group of figs much easier than I can invent a new painting technique or flex my creative muscles with the brush.

When it comes to painting, I just feel the whole creative process grind to a crawl. That's not to say I think it is less a part of the hobby, but it is, for me, a lesser part of my enjoyment in the hobby. I know some guys who are incredible painters who can make the rendering of a miniature into a living, breathing being in art look effortless. I simply cannot.

Anyhow, enough of this prattling, but I think that this kind of philosophical babble does have some place on a hobby blog. I can't be alone in how I feel and I am sure that others feel similarly about other aspects of he hobby - ones that I may not have so difficult a time with.

Take care,



  1. I agree with your point about finding a formula, I've switched to black undercoating after twenty years of white and find it quicker and a lot less work (this might explain the WWI plane delay as I know I need to revert to white undercoat rather than black then drybrush).

    That said I can still enter periods of stagnation (I didn't paint anything from September to January) so set up my blog as a public way of keeping me painting (the idea being I needed to paint stuff to keep the blog up to date - so far it is working!)

  2. You sound like me 10 years ago...
    My game pals always loved my miniatures, becuase mine were all converted.
    My miniatures were indeed
    I am a very good painter, but like you I shine at making rather than coloring.
    You should get over it and just paint.
    Or give up and become a Sculptor.
    That's what I did.
    Focus on what you love...and you will shine.
    I still can paint very well, but I am not 1 of these guys that goe's on CoolMini (when I used to go there) and gets a 10, unless I am showing my
    If it don't fit, don't force it bro...SCULPT!
    It is calling you...

  3. Steve,

    I had similar aspirations for my blog, but it has backfired and given me a place to show off all the cool junk I build which inspires me to be more and more of it.


    As poor a painter as I may be, I am also no sculptor. Most of my putty work is is in simple additions to existing figs. A little hair here, a new back there. The most impressive (and simplest) conversions I've done in a while were adding cloaks and other fabric bits to some GW Kroot I plan to use as the Parrot Men of Venus (or wherever I end up putting them).


  4. Hi Eli

    Its been a while since I checked up on your Blog, sorry.

    Keep at the painting, practice makes perfect and my belief is that you paint for yourself and enjoyment. I often go through the motions of copying or trying different painting styles, but keep coming back to a core paint over black and blend - rather than Kevin Dallimore style. I have also enjoyed using washes.


  5. Lol...Eli, bro that IS how I started too.
    I added hair, filled in gaps on larger AD&D monsters or GW Marines or nude some boobies, or built a fur cloack...
    Just try it man.
    For onr thing, you can get a lot of milage just by useing olive Oil to get the putty smooth.
    Try it out, instead of fighting with the damn putty to try and smooth it out.
    Stick it, lick it, then once you have it on the surface area, get the tools into that oil and see how well your surface will work for you.
    You had puttyturds all over that I used to have, and we know you wanted to have smooth metal instead.
    Do not hack, carress...and it will do what you want it to, in time.

  6. LOL! Oh God that's exactly me!

    The fear of failure, fear of success, deviation from formula causing Chaos, languishing paint jobs......


  7. See, this is why I posted this here. I feel as a community it's more than just bragging rights and look at me. We're learning from each other here.

    As sappy as that sounds, I think it has as much a place on a gaming blog as pics of minis.

  8. Yeah that "Look at me!" thing is kind of bull shit IMO.
    Get that Olive Oil

  9. I like painting minis, I really do, but I too find that I stagnate on projects as well. My painting usually goes in spurts of productivity.

    For me I go with whatever catches my fancy at the moment. The hardest part is usually coming up with a color scheme for things. Once I have the scheme down it goes fairly rapidly. Also I don't try to paint up huge quantities of minis at a time; usually no more than 2-3 at a time. This way I avoid the feeling of just slapping colors down. Once I have those minis finished I will move on to something completely different.

    Granted my methods mean that I don't finish projects up at a rapid pace, but it keeps it enjoyable.


  10. Great point Devon,

    Better to get something done, than nothing. This is a philosophy that I normally follow but seem to have deviated from lately.


  11. It works like this for sculpting.
    Because I have to wait for the new work to cure, I go to the next figure, then another.
    So you get a little done each day on every piece. Then one fine day you realize that while you had nothing completed for the entire month, now at the end of the month there are suddenly several completed works, which seem to appear on your desk as a happy little group.
    I think...where the hell did that gang come from?



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