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Baldur8762

I'm too slow. Help!

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Hi folks. It has been some time since I posted last as I have been very busy. I was wondering if anyone has tips on how to speed up my painting. I'm so very slow and while time is an issue, I can't seem to get much done during my sessions. I am very precise when painting as I want to make it look beautiful but at this rate I'll finish my mini in 6 months. Any advice? These are minis for display not tabletop.

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Join House Procrastius and don't worry about it? :;):

 

All joking aside, it depends on how you paint and what you want your end product for.

 

You say you're exacting... that will slow you down. If you want to speed up, don't fuss with the details. If, however, you want to paint to the absolute best of your ability, then practice and time will eventually speed you up.

 

For the record, I have been working on my current project for nearly a year. I really need to finish it. :rolleyes:

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Yeah, you're not alone when it comes to painting slowly!  Especially if you're doing work for display, it can be slow work.  I paint almost exclusively for display and it's rare that a finish a piece in under a month.  Some of my larger projects can take 3-4 months and that's if I'm focused on just that figure!  Often I'll take a break from a project and come back to it later, so the true time from start to finish may be much longer.

 

If you want to speed up your work, identify what takes up most of your time.  My guess is that's blending (shading/highlighting, etc).  There are different methods which can speed that up.  Try experimenting with wet blending or the loaded brush technique.  They take some time getting used to, but should definitely increase your speed.  Ben Komets has some nice videos on the loaded brush.  I took a seminar from him and he mentioned that, during his weekend long workshops, it takes people about 8 hours of trying it out before they finally start to get the technique (and that's with guidance from Ben).  So watch some videos and give yourself some time to experiment and learn it.  Wet blending or wet on wet blending is similar and you can find videos of that too.

 

You can also try working with an airbrush.  If you can do your initial work with that, get the basic shadows and highlights in, and then just do fine detailing with the brush it should also speed up your work.

 

 

I should say that while I've tried a little bit of all of that, I have not devoted the time needed to actually learn those techniques or get good enough with an airbrush for it to be all that helpful to me.  So I still paint the slow way.  But, I've seen the pros use all of those techniques to do amazing work very quickly, so I know it can be done!

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I'm a slow painter, too. So either I skip the blending phase or just take the time to do it. I'm learning to be ok with either method.

 

Like David, I've dabbled with wet blending, but it doesn't really fit me well. I do a sort of bastardized version of 2-brush blending when I do tabletop, so that might end up on my more serious projects some day.

 

And since I've started painting on canvas with oils, I'm kinda interested in trying those on a mini, save time blending but then longer waits between sessions (oils can take days to dry enough to paint over).

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Now, I'm saying this in earnest and not jest, but start painting at tabletop standard. Not the figures you would want to display, but something more ... plain? Like a goblin or skeleton. Third string characters, ones that aren't really meant to be displayed. This could give you a sense of accomplishment that you've finished a figure, then you can go back to taking your time in the display piece.

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When I saw the thread title, I assumed you were trying to outsource your mini painting to the various forumites.  My first thought was, "genius!"  My second, "why didn't I ever think of that?!"

 

Like the others have said, it takes as much time as it takes.  You can take five minutes on a slop-and-go job or months for jaw-droppingly gorgeous display piece.  My own experience is that the more I paint, the easier it gets.  If you feel like your precision is holding you back, maybe grab some practice minis (say, a pile of Bones figures) and try to focus on speed painting rather than perfection.  Don't stop to fix any mistakes -- ignore the little voice in the back of your head telling you it should look better.  Once you've knocked out a few of them, then try to do a few more in the same amount of time, but start holding yourself slightly higher standards.  eventually, you'll probably find the sweet spot where you're working fast enough to finish but slowly enough to produce a quality that you can be happy with.

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OK, now...

What the elf is 'too slow'?

This is a HOBBY, we let things take the time they need.

 

That said, you mention being 'precise'...

Remember that you don't always have to 'stay within the lines'. If the base colourfor skin happens to overlap a bit of cloth, what does it matter if it gets covered up when you start painting the clothing?

 

How long are your sessions?

You may get more done with fewer but longer sessions, particularly as it means less time spent doing cleanup afterwards.

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practice is also one of the things that helped me paint faster.  I'm still a slow painter, but I've found getting the right paint consistency and knowing how to apply the paint so I don't end up with quite so many "oopses" came with just painting things over and over again until certain parts of the process become rote.   Do you have a good brush, like a high-end Davinici or Windsor Newton?  Having the right tools makes painting easier and faster as well.

 

I also cheat a bit and wet blend my basecoats, which makes the process of layering overtop much faster as well.

 

Good luck and keep at it!!

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Buy a bunch of cheep minis and force yourself to speed paint. 1-3 hours from start to finish.

It will help you figure out where your hang up are. Highlighting is hard for me. Speed paints taught me to make my best guess and move on.

 

Look VERY closely at people's models who paint at the level you want to be. Their paint strokes aren't perfect. They have just figured out how to give the illusion that they are.

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There's a saying I particularly enjoy:  Cheap Fast Food.  Choose two.

 

Applied to art (in this case mini painting), it means you can have cheap and fast, which means paper minis (have 'em, love 'em.  Easy to throw out six owlbears without taking up too much space in my bag).

 

Or you might go with "fast" and "food" but it won't be cheap.  You'll have to pay someone else to do the work.

 

Lastly, and this is what you're going for, is cheap food.  It's not fast.  You need to take the time to develop the skills and ability to paint quickly to a good standard.  The only way that happens is with practice.  Lots of practice.  There is no shortcut, no trick, no cutting corners.  If you want to paint to a high ability, you need to practice to develop that talent.

 

Now, as to the "too slow" part - I know painters who work on only a couple pieces a year, because they put lots of detail into the piece.  I know one guy who spent 2000 hours on his entry at Gen Con.  That's a year's worth of a full time job just painting one entry.  It was a big entry, but still . . . .  It wasn't perfect, but it was really good.

 

Are you painting for display and have 1000 miniatures unpainted?  Then you either have to lower your standards or speed up.  Speeding up requires that you paint and paint and paint some more.  Take classes at conventions.  Join a local paint club to enjoy the company of fellow painters.  Just painting won't do it, you have to try to get better, and that usually means you find someone better than you to help mentor you.  Post your work and ask for honest criticism.  Follow other people's WIPs.  There is no easy road to anyplace worth getting to.

 

As the last bit of comment, you should know that you'll never reach "perfection."  Artists seem to never be satisfied with their work, they just have to stop at some point and move on.  While I can't be certain, I'm probably not out of bounds to say every artist sees what they could have done better.  It's both frustrating to know and liberating at the same time. 

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I agree with Corporea, practise! 

 

I used to be very slow because I'd get paint where I didn't want it and I spent a lot of time touching things up.  With more practice I'm making fewer mistakes and spend a lot less time touching up.  I'm also more confident and a little faster just generally laying paint down. 

 

Whether you feel better painting a bunch of table top stuff or spending a lot of time on one really nice piece, the more you paint the faster you will get.  HOWEVER, if/when you raise your expectations you will need to spend more time to achieve a higher quality result. 

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Buy a bunch of cheep minis and force yourself to speed paint. 1-3 hours from start to finish.

 

 

I like this one a lot.

 

Here are some more:

Buy an airbrush.

Simplify your palette.

Use larger brushes on large areas.

Watch painting buddha and learn the loaded brush technique. 

Paint every day and refine your techniques

 

And finally, finish every mini you start.

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In addition to all the wonderful comments above, I have to ask: Do you like the model you're painting?  Do you love the model you're painting?  I personally seem to find more time and get more done on pieces that I'm really excited about. (and conversely shelve/dip pieces after messing something up...  oops!  I'm working on this...).  I once offered to paint some models for a friend's boardgame after he pestered me to and it took me FOREVER and a day to get them done because I really wasn't a fan of the game or the minis.  

 

You could also throw your hat in the monthly painting pledges to commit to X, Y or Z or plan to enter a piece in a competition to help put a deadline on your painting.

I recently challenged 2 of my buddies to get a squad of 10 infantry (we all play 40K) done by December 15th.  That's tons of time for tabletop and yet I'm sure at least one of us will fail.  The looser(s) has to pay for tickets and food at a movie for those that succeed.  

 

This is supposed to be a fun hobby.  Don't strive for perfect, just perfect enough and enjoy the process.  

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Practice, practice, practice.  I am slow too.  But I have become faster as time has gone on, but I will still not be as fast as some.

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Wow that is a lot of fantastic advice. Thank you all. It is helpful to see that I an not alone in being slow. I think part of it is that I am so busy it is difficult to sit down and commit to painting. Often I have just been too tired. Grad school drains you. I am very obsessive and maybe I just need to relax a bit more. I have very nice W&N brushes which I adore but the fact that I can be more precise with those makes me slower maybe? I just started painting and I have not yet finished a single mini! I keep bouncing back and forth between my Bones mini and my Warmachine Minis. I want to play so I'm trying to paint and assemble those. I gave trouble painting then when they are all put together. I don't know how some people can paint in those little spaces!

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