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I've gotten as far as I have by literally just painting every (non-D&D) mini to the best of my ability. Each one feels like my best work, and I improve every time! FYI: I've been painting for about 16 months at this point, and I feel really good about my progress.

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3 hours ago, Guindyloo said:

...For some people, it works best for them to practice by painting an entire figure to the best of their ability ...

 

...I even recommend to people that if they're having trouble with a certain area and want to practice in a really focused way, you can actually practice a lot of things on paper - using a brush to paint inside the lines on coloring book pages to practice brush control, practicing painting eyes on paper even though you're typically going to paint larger eyes on paper than you'll find on a mini (and the paper is flat instead of being rounded) it helps to do something repetitively like that to work up good muscle memory for making those precise little dots, not to mention finding colour schemes that work together, freehand practice, etc. ...\

...

 

... It's very easy to get bogged down in that thought process of "I'm not good enough to paint that figure" so you end up with a bunch of figures that you love and are inspired by, but they just sit in a drawer ...

...

So, practice is truly what you make of it and you should absolutely choose whatever method or combination of methods works best for you personally. There's no right or wrong answer, only options. I think this thread is a great source for perspectives that people might not have thought about before because you never know what's going to make something click for you! ^_^

 

Since I haven't figured out how to split quotes here, I'll reply to the above with four paragraphs.

 

1.  I'm learning that.  I know that only primed or a little base coated or partially finished minis discourages me  A completely done mini, whatever the faults, provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to do better next time.  That's just me.

 

2.  I am also learning that.  I now make prints of minis, black and white them, and paint in possible color combos.  I sometimes work on blending in my sketch notebooks.  Haven't done it for eyes, but that is a good idea.

 

3.  Yes, oui, si, evet!  I have several hundred figures that I am not good enough to paint.  I just finished pre-shading my first one.  I'm not good enough to paint it, but I'm gonna try.

 

4.  Again, yes.  That is why I started this thread.  I was interested in how others practiced or not.

 

Thanks for that comprehensive and thoughtful reply.  I read it with benefit.

Edited by Highlander
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Like some others here, I don't "practice" as much as I just "experiment." I tend to analyze a mini to determine what techniques it will require, long before I get it home. If I see something that looks like it might require different techniques from what I am used to, or have tried before, I typically still already have figured out what I am going to do with it before I start.

 

Once committed, I tend to just make adjustments to technique for anything going "wrong." If I really don't like it, I will stop at some point and maybe re-paint at a later time, maybe right away, depending on need.

 

But I never intentionally sit down to practice a technique on a throwaway mini, so to speak. I tend to just do it. (No meme intended.)

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I don't have miniatures solely for practicing, but I do have some miniatures which are easier to paint than others (eg. terrain, skeletons, zombies), so end up using these as practice. IMO, Every miniature you paint improves your skill, so paint the easiest ones first. :lol:

 

I also experiment, though only really started doing so once I painted for a few years. And accumulated a whole lot of paints (of similar colors!) and miscellaneous supplies. And couldn't find them because I'm too lazy to put them in the right place,, so ended up using a slightly different color or whatever that I *could* find on my painting desk. :;):

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6 minutes ago, Highlander said:

1.  I'm learning that.  I know that only primed or a little base coated or partially finished minis discourages me  A completely done mini, whatever the faults, provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to do better next time.  That's just me.

 

I did a lot better when I decided to commit to a mini and ride it out no matter what.  I made a lot of errors, but I tried to build what I learned into the next figure and focus on completion and output.  I called it "as good as I can as fast as I can".  This eliminated a lot of my painting doldrums and had the added advantage of practicing the basics a lot so they became second nature and then I could try to find new and better ways to complete minis.  I blitzed through near 300 in 2 years before my house caught fire and I got displaced, and my average level I now know worked out to a high Bronze (1 point shy of silver) at the MSP Open (I just grabbed some survivors to bring since I didn't have the means to bring a specially-painted piece).  That's not bad for just chunking them out. 

 

The other thing I found was that because the basic methods tend to be... well, basic, they got repetitive.  While this made it much easier to complete adequate paintjobs quickly, it also meant I started to get a bit bored and look for ways to play around more.  This led me to decide, just before the house fire actually, to start working on higher quality competition paintjobs that offered new challenges.  Hopefully Diva the Blessed will make it to Rcon 2019 and we'll see how she fares then.

 

This is a brute force method of learning and painting, though a useful one if you need figures for a game since you'll have a steady rate of completion and visible progress through the pile.  It will probably not work so well if the objective is to learn techniques and achieve quality results on numerically fewer models, since it's an inefficient way to learn new things quickly. 

 

The solution to every minipainting problem comes down to painting more minis, though, so if you have some models suitable for the brute force painting method (hordes of goblins and orcs would be good choices) then you can filter them in among more interesting pieces to help keep your completion rate up while still working on new techniques for better paint jobs.  Your exact working method will be a very individual thing, so commiting to finishing a figure is a great way to go and you just have to figure out your balance between trying new stuff and maintaining a satisfactory completion rate.  In this sense, all minis are practice minis since you'll always push the boundaries of what you can do piece to piece.   

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7 minutes ago, buglips*the*goblin said:

 

I did a lot better when I decided to commit to a mini and ride it out no matter what.  I made a lot of errors, but I tried to build what I learned into the next figure and focus on completion and output.  I called it "as good as I can as fast as I can".  This eliminated a lot of my painting doldrums and had the added advantage of practicing the basics a lot so they became second nature and then I could try to find new and better ways to complete minis.  I blitzed through near 300 in 2 years before my house caught fire and I got displaced, and my average level I now know worked out to a high Bronze (1 point shy of silver) at the MSP Open (I just grabbed some survivors to bring since I didn't have the means to bring a specially-painted piece).  That's not bad for just chunking them out. 

 

The other thing I found was that because the basic methods tend to be... well, basic, they got repetitive.  While this made it much easier to complete adequate paintjobs quickly, it also meant I started to get a bit bored and look for ways to play around more.  This led me to decide, just before the house fire actually, to start working on higher quality competition paintjobs that offered new challenges.  Hopefully Diva the Blessed will make it to Rcon 2019 and we'll see how she fares then.

 

This is a brute force method of learning and painting, though a useful one if you need figures for a game since you'll have a steady rate of completion and visible progress through the pile.  It will probably not work so well if the objective is to learn techniques and achieve quality results on numerically fewer models, since it's an inefficient way to learn new things quickly. 

 

The solution to every minipainting problem comes down to painting more minis, though, so if you have some models suitable for the brute force painting method (hordes of goblins and orcs would be good choices) then you can filter them in among more interesting pieces to help keep your completion rate up while still working on new techniques for better paint jobs.  Your exact working method will be a very individual thing, so commiting to finishing a figure is a great way to go and you just have to figure out your balance between trying new stuff and maintaining a satisfactory completion rate.  In this sense, all minis are practice minis since you'll always push the boundaries of what you can do piece to piece.   

 

Well said, indeed.  Especially the point about repetition of the basics makes the basics much better.  I find that when I have a hiatus and don't paint, I have to, to some extent, relearn the basics.

 

Well, let me go back and see if I can finally lay down that base coat on a cloak.  A base coat that just doesn't want to cover.

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1 minute ago, Highlander said:

I find that when I have a hiatus and don't paint, I have to, to some extent, relearn the basics.

 

When I came back from 5 days at RCon last year I had "stupid hands" for about a week.  Many lackluster orcs left my bench that week.  As of today it's been about 2 months since I painted anything, but I might now have enough supplies to work on something tonight.  I expect my hands will now be well past stupid and essentially zombie meat puppets.  :lol:

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Well, I just threw caution to the winds. 

 

In addition to the "I am not good enough to paint this mini" syndrome, I also suffer from "This mini is not good enough for my good brushes -- my Kolinskies".  I was having trouble getting a cape's base coat to lay down and having trouble getting enough paint into some very tiny holes and crevices.  So, I said to me, "Pull out that No. 1 daVinci and have a go at it."
 

I'm glad I listened to myself, because about 90% of my issues have been immediately resolved.  I am now culling my crap brushes and have begun using my carefully hoarded good, expensive Kolinskies.  So, painting good minis with good brushes promises to be a much less frustrating approach than painting uninteresting minis with mediocre brushes.  I'm off to Amazon to get a 0 daVinci. The price will easily worth the reduction in frustration.

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42 minutes ago, Highlander said:

In addition to the "I am not good enough to paint this mini" syndrome, I also suffer from "This mini is not good enough for my good brushes -- my Kolinskies". 

The "I am not good enough to paint this mini" syndrome is so real.  I have 2 busts and MANY models I feel I could never do justice at my current skill level and that has stunted me I think.  

 

Hence why I like to think I'll use practice models, but even then I feel i'm not good enough to do the different techniques.  Maybe I should do like y'all and just drive face first into the work and see what happens... what's the worse that can happen, right? 

 

And I do want to thank everyone on the boards for inspiration to keep going after Reapercon.  So much great work was shown and I felt overwhelmed and under skilled. Makes me want to reach new personal achievements. 

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1 hour ago, Echoside_ said:

The "I am not good enough to paint this mini" syndrome is so real.  I have 2 busts and MANY models I feel I could never do justice at my current skill level and that has stunted me I think.  

 

Hence why I like to think I'll use practice models, but even then I feel i'm not good enough to do the different techniques.  Maybe I should do like y'all and just drive face first into the work and see what happens... what's the worse that can happen, right? 

 

And I do want to thank everyone on the boards for inspiration to keep going after Reapercon.  So much great work was shown and I felt overwhelmed and under skilled. Makes me want to reach new personal achievements. 

 

The worst that can happen is that you will have one less unpainted mini and one more .... more or less OK painted one ... which will be better than the one you painted before that.

 

As to Reapercon, I'm working diligently away on an halfling.  I got well in to frustration and then thought, "Hey, I was doing better than this in my classes at Reapercon.  Why don't I just start painting using the methods I was taught."  So, I did.  And discovered that I'm painting much better than I ever have before.  With much less angst and frustration.

 

I keep painting outside the lines, but just go back and rebase that blob and press on.  And, using my Kolinskies, I have much better brush control.   This hobby is beginning to be fun.

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2 hours ago, Highlander said:

I'm glad I listened to myself, because about 90% of my issues have been immediately resolved.  I am now culling my crap brushes and have begun using my carefully hoarded good, expensive Kolinskies.  So, painting good minis with good brushes promises to be a much less frustrating approach than painting uninteresting minis with mediocre brushes.  I'm off to Amazon to get a 0 daVinci. The price will easily worth the reduction in frustration.

 

With even minimal care, those "expensive" brushes will cost less per hour of painting than cheap brushes. A whole lot less, in fact, since even people who paint for hours a day typically get at least 6 months out of a premium Kolinsky. And even good nylon ("Golden Taklon" or whatever) brushes start to break down within a few hours.

 

Cheap brushes are a false economy and they're not much fun to use. The only time I do use them is for mass painting of terrain, where I'm using 1/2" brushes to lay down paint very quickly and doing lots of drybrushing. For those things, it doesn't really matter that they lose their points since they weren't pointed to begin with.

 

FWIW, I found out all of that the hard way, too. I was told for years to spend money on good brushes, and like almost everyone, I figured that I had a better way. I wish I had listened to those people much sooner.

 

Obigatory caveat: There are people who use and like cheap brushes just as there are people who use and like enamels for painting minis. Some of those people are much, much better painters than I am. If it turns out that you are one of those people, go you. :poke:

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22 hours ago, Highlander said:

 

Since I haven't figured out how to split quotes here, I'll reply to the above with four paragraphs.

 

I split quotes by quoting the person, deleting everything from the quote that I don't want to respond to, responding to that part, then quoting their post again and deleting the irrelevant parts again. It pretty much only works if the person you're quoting is still on the same page of the thread as you or else it's too much of a pain. Sometimes I'm even too lazy to scroll back up. ::P:

 

22 hours ago, Highlander said:

1.  I'm learning that.  I know that only primed or a little base coated or partially finished minis discourages me  A completely done mini, whatever the faults, provides a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to do better next time.  That's just me.

 

2.  I am also learning that.  I now make prints of minis, black and white them, and paint in possible color combos.  I sometimes work on blending in my sketch notebooks.  Haven't done it for eyes, but that is a good idea.

 

It's important to know what motivates you and what demotivates you so that you can tailor your actions in the way that best benefits you, and yet it can be really difficult to figure such things out. It sounds like you've done a great job at identifying at least some of your road blocks, so well done, that'll serve you well. 

 

The black and white print and then paint over it is something that Marike Reimer does, as well as painting in swatches of the paints she used so that she can recreate mixes later, so you're in good company with that.

 

23 hours ago, Highlander said:

3.  Yes, oui, si, evet!  I have several hundred figures that I am not good enough to paint.  I just finished pre-shading my first one.  I'm not good enough to paint it, but I'm gonna try.

 

4.  Again, yes.  That is why I started this thread.  I was interested in how others practiced or not.

 

Thanks for that comprehensive and thoughtful reply.  I read it with benefit.

You are absolutely good enough to paint it, you just may not have yet acquired the skills to paint it exactly the way that you see in your mind and that's ok. I think we all, myself included, need to get away from this terminology of being "good enough" as it's such defeatist language and can be so discouraging to think of yourself as not being good enough.

I've talked about this similar theme before that painting isn't going from step A to Z and there's no one true path to painting a figure. There's different methods and styles and schools of thought that can take you in any number of directions. Painting a figure is like being inside of a maze that's different for every person and has multiple paths to get to the end of the maze and depending on which of the paths you take, you get a different result. Because the maze is different for everyone, no one can really successfully map it out for someone else. They can give suggestions for how they found the end of their own maze and they can even give you a step by step tutorial for how they traversed their maze, but they can't give you the exact answers because your maze generated itself differently based on your past experiences, not theirs.

It's far more of a journey than being bad or good. So I think instead of thinking "I'm not good enough", we should ask ourselves if we're far enough on our painting journey to get where we want to go on that particular figure. And really, there's only one way to find out and that's not to shove it back into a drawer.

 

I'm glad my rambles are sometimes useful to people. ^_^

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8 minutes ago, Guindyloo said:

I split quotes by quoting the person, deleting everything from the quote that I don't want to respond to, responding to that part, then quoting their post again and deleting the irrelevant parts again. It pretty much only works if the person you're quoting is still on the same page of the thread as you or else it's too much of a pain. Sometimes I'm even too lazy to scroll back up.

 

You can also highlight a selection of the post and a small window will pop up that says "quote selection".  Which is what I just did here.  Much easier than quoting and deleting, especially if you have a mobile phone like mine that if you hold the button goes:  delete this thing, then some of the things, then most of the things, ALL OF THE THINGS without any warning.  And the sometimes it will delete part of a sentence, get through half a word, and then decide it's done for the day and won't delete any more text. 

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3 minutes ago, buglips*the*goblin said:

You can also highlight a selection of the post and a small window will pop up that says "quote selection".

 

Way cool.

 

15 minutes ago, Guindyloo said:

...painting in swatches of the paints she used so that she can recreate mixes later...

 

I have several sketch books into which I put swatches of the colors I have used/am using.  They have saved my butt many a time.

Edited by Highlander
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2 minutes ago, buglips*the*goblin said:

 

You can also highlight a selection of the post and a small window will pop up that says "quote selection".  Which is what I just did here.  Much easier than quoting and deleting, especially if you have a mobile phone like mine that if you hold the button goes:  delete this thing, then some of the things, then most of the things, ALL OF THE THINGS without any warning.  And the sometimes it will delete part of a sentence, get through half a word, and then decide it's done for the day and won't delete any more text. 

It's unnerving to me when you make sense.

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