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Hello everyone,

 

I'm not sure if this question has been posed on here before as I'm very new, and I know it cannot really be answered. I was wondering what people this is more important in miniature painting, technique or style.

 

I personally think that style far outweighs technical matters. I think it's much more important to have good color selection, contrast and such over say smooth blending or light sourcing.

 

What does everyone think?

 

James

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Technique.

 

I agree. I find that if one of my figures is grainy or there are bald spots it takes away from the finished product. Really good free hand will greatly loose its luster if all the colors are off or not mixed right.

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I feel there must be a balance between style and technique. The most interesting style will look like crap if it has poor coverage and nothing to help the details pop out at you, and vice versa, the best techniques on an uninspired style will result in "just another painted mini." Color selection is really more a combination of technique and style as some colors just look bad together no matter how well done (like say gladiator-style armor that has a pinkish hue to it :blush:). The amount of contrast is a personal choice. Depending on the model, I generally prefer less contrasting colors, but on others I like high contrast coloring. If you're talking about competition that's another ballpark. In my mind it should be more about technique with as minimal style bias from the judges. Competitions and the judging thereof could probably fill and entire message board on their own though.

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Only you can answer that, it's like asking which is a better color, red or blue. For some, they would rather paint a mini well, with good techniques, then have it look interesting visually. Others would rather paint at table top quality, but use interesting colors. So long as one isn't severly deficent, the choice is personal and unimportant.

 

Of course, if you can master both, you can create works of pure beauty and artistry.

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Mm, I'd agree that in fact both are important, but if we have a dichotomy I'll go with technique. You can get someone to tell you what colours to use on a given piece and the execution will still be yours. Without technique you can splat a bold and dynamic colour combo all over the mini and it'll still suck.

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Just to do a little devil's advocation: I'll throw out random statements I've heard / seen hear and there. They are all related to the question of which is more important:

  • Without style, it's just a craft.
  • Technique alone is soul-less
  • I can see Renoir's brush-strokes
  • Prime it black in case you miss something with the base coat
  • I don't do "x" because I don't like it
  • I don't do "x" because I can't do it

I say that it depends what you are trying to achieve: Some painting contests weigh technique first. Some painting contests weigh style first. Some folks never enter painting contests, so it's all about what they want to do next...

 

Overall, I see style winning out. I know most folks think that they prefer technique, but I suppose I'm saying that once a certain technique level is reached, style seems to sell better. So maybe I should say Technique wins out early in the ladder of skill progression, but later Style becomes more important.

 

One reason I say this is that miniatures that have fantastic style and pretty good technique sell better than miniatures that fantastic technique and pretty good style.

 

Enough ramblings...

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I'm gonna nitpick that list a little bit ix. ::o:

 

...snip
  • Without style, it's just a craft.
sounds like somebody taking themselves too seriously, but probably only seems that way out of context. Even crafts have style, I just don't care for that style

Technique alone is soul-less
I can agree with that

I can see Renoir's brush-strokes
doesn't apply in my mind

Prime it black in case you miss something with the base coat
and that's fine if you're after a table-top job

I don't do "x" because I don't like it
then don't do it, there's a couple things that fall into that category for me and it'll be commented on everytime I post a mini, but I don't care becuase it's my mini. Doing anything else wouldn't fit my particular idiom. Does it mean I won't try it? No. Who knows, I might learn that I do like green eggs and ham.

I don't do "x" because I can't do it
"I can't do it" is a very powerful self-limiting term. I would accept this argument if the person were to have said "becuase I'm not good at it yet" or "I'm still learning it" or "I haven't tried it yet." "I can't do it" is a sign of a person who has given up on their abilities.

snip...

Now, all that said, if you're painting for yourself, do whatever floats your boat. If you're painting for competition, commission, or Ebay, you have to pay attention to your audience.

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This is awesome, I was hoping to get an interesting conversation going and I think I did. I'm really glad that my post got so many replies ::D:

 

Like I said I don't think that you can really answer the question, but hearing people's opinions on the matter is really great ::):

 

I personally look at the whole hobby as a form of art, which means it's all up to taste. I lean myself more to developing style/"flavour" of each piece that I'm working on. Some of the minis that I'm most proud of aren't the smoothest blended or highlighted in the best way.

 

And if you look at some styles of painting like the Foundry way, the layering is very abrupt and sharp, without any real blending but it looks very beautiful to see a squad painted clean and sharp in that style.

 

James

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In my experience, I rarely encounter a miniature that has great technique and bad style. "My style is better than yours" is a really bad excuse for sloppy technique. It is also often difficult to compare different styles and dub one as better than another. But technique is more comparable.

 

Also technique is a very broad word. Blending is a technique, as is cell shading. Blending is a million times more difficult than cell shading. Which displays better quality work will often be in the eye of the beholder, and in this case you would have to go with the majority of artists, and say blending is better than cell shading.

 

Artists will often disagree on style, but can agree on technique, so I'd wager to say technique is more important, if your audience is other artists. If your audience is the common person off the street with no knowledge of miniature painting, then the selection of miniature, and style of painting will weigh more heavily in their eyes, than any technique you may have exercised. And let's not forget the third audience, yourself. Playing to your strength whether it is style or technique, will usually produce better results, and make you more pleased with the outcome. These three audiences, the elite, the people, and the artist, are at the heart of just about any discussion of art comparison.

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Some great and interesting insight from everyone. I'm of a bit of different mind.

 

I don't believe style/technique form a dichotomy. I believe that style is a product of technique....and isn't something you necessarily "choose" to do.

 

A person spends time practicing to hopefully master technique. The sum of influences in your painting---whether it be teachers' influence, personal taste, color choice, or even the way a particular artist holds his/her brush---all come together to create a "signature" on the works a particular artist produces....as a result, you get style.

 

A person's style will become more defined as he or she refines and masters a particular technique, and is ultimately a result of the product of the tools/choices the artist is most comfortable with.

 

A few points---

I can see one of Mengu's pieces and *know* it belongs to him. I can't tell you exactly why I know----outside of the fact that I've seen enough of his work (as he has always been an inspiration to my own work) to know how it makes me "feel".

 

When I see one of Jen Haley's pieces----same thing.

Alexi-Z

EricJ

Eric Louchard

and the list goes on to include several other painters who inspire me.

Again, I can't tell you why I know what works belong to a specific artist----only that I do know---with very few exceptions.

 

This unknown is what I call "style", as I've always felt that style belongs to the individual artist.

 

I've also always felt that style doesn't develop until after a certain degree of technical prowess is achieved.

 

The argument can be made that style sometimes belongs to a culture, such as the "French Style" of painting. I guess I could concede this as a valid style, knowing that by and large, it's the technical influences of the culture that produces the resulting works---and then of course, the artist adds his/her own flavor------

 

This is probably a bit shallow and ignorant on my part, considering I have no formal art training, and as a result, have no idea what the actual definition of style is.

 

I guess it's just me trying to justify some personality and uniqueness to my own work.

 

Kev

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Rodnik is right; only after passing a certain point in the mastery of technique did I begin to display a style. They play into each other and are not mutually exclusive.

 

Anyone who says that pure technique is soul-less had better not bring it up to my face. ::): I'm happiest as an artist when reveling in the perfection of pure technique, and it's in perfecting technique that my style emerges. You could, in fact, say that my style is fed by the pursuit of technical mastery.

 

I'll close with what I told Amy (Brehm) when we were discussing this very same point:

 

You can seem to have style without technique but in reality your work will never be as strong as when you harness technique to make your style sing. Style without intent and precision in execution is a mess; technique teaches intent and precision in execution; thus technique enhances and transforms style.

 

My two cents, and I love to analyze style, so you should be really happy it's only two cents and not a buck-fifty!! :lol:

 

--Anne, technically. ::):

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