I've been painting miniatures since the early 2000's, though I unfortunately cannot remember the exact date when I first picked up a paint brush and started my crazy journey into this wonderful hobby! Even though I can't remember an exact date, however, I certainly can remember my first miniature! It was a multi-colored Space Marine (painted with my Dad's old Testors enamels from the 80's) that had been basecoated in some metallic blue primer; and, as you might imagine, it was horrible. Nonetheless, it was a start, and soon I was painting up many more Space Marines in an attempt to start playing Warhammer 40k.
It was about this time, however, that I realized just how much extreme dedication, effort, and money (especially money!) army painting requires. Over the course of the next few years, I slowly put together a tiny Space Marine army for 40k and then a significantly larger Dwarf army for Warhammer Fantasy. During this time, I gradually learned a few more things about the miniatures hobby, switched to much better painting supplies, and swore that I'd never be willing to put in the time and effort that it would take to get very good at this whole miniatures thing. But, around the end of my first little era of miniature painting, I made an important discovery: I have much more fun converting and painting the heroes and generals of my armies than I ever do with the rank and file troops.
Guided by this new sentiment, I started working on more miniatures and dioramas just for fun without the context of an army. I also started college during this time period, and when my friends found out about my hobby, they immediately asked for help acquiring miniatures of their characters for use in our Dungeons & Dragons games. This actually turned out to be another key point in my journey into the hobby because it introduced me to the amazing miniatures manufacturer known as Reaper! One trip to their website to look at all of their awesome minis filled me with new plans and ideas for tiny works of art, and that inspiration carried me through for the next couple of years. Remember how I said earlier that I swore to never invest the time and effort it would take to get good at this hobby? Well somehow, despite my previous sentiments, I improved considerably during this time. I guess just doing something you enjoy for so long will kind of have that effect!
Then, in 2012, came my first trip to ReaperCon! There, through the efforts of the awesome (and super friendly!) Reaper Paint Crew instructors, I finally started to learn what it means to actually paint! I went in thinking I knew a thing or two about the hobby after all these years, but I was sadly mistaken. It turns out, after years of painting almost alone with maybe a glance or two at the Games Workshop website for guidance, I didn't even know the first thing about the basics of the hobby! Somehow, though, I did manage to win a couple of silvers at the Reaper Master Series Open painting competition, and that affirmation helped to inspire me to take what I had learned and actively start trying to improve!
That event marked the beginning of the third major era of my miniature painting and kicked off a quest for improvement that has carried on to this day. Now, a few years later (in what I consider the fourth major era of my painting), I have begun to place more emphasis on competing in painting contests, but, regardless of how those competitions turn out for me, I am having more fun with this great hobby than I ever have had before, and that is always a win!
Wishing you a ton of fun,
-Ian Markon (a.k.a. Kuro Cleanbrush)