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Baldur8762

I'm too slow. Help!

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For my Warmachine stuff I block out the basic colors before i assemble. If you can't reach it with a bush you probably won't notice its not fully shaded.

If you want to play with them in between paint sessions, google "3M electric mastic. It's like industrial strength poster tack. It's strong enough to hold all but the most top heavy models together and it comes off clean when you're ready to paint.

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You are not alone in being slow. :->

It might sound odd, but one thing you might try is paint some stuff to not display level. If you're putting off painting because it's tiring and tenses you up as you aim for perfection, you're reducing your amount of practice. Tabletop isn't meant to be perfect, so what's the harm in doing it when you're tired? But it can still contribute to building your brush skills like general precision. And if you're less stressed, maybe you can find more to enjoy in the process rather than just thinking about the end result. If you can get in the zone with some music or Netflix or something, painting can be pretty relaxing.

I started out like you - I painted anything I worked on to the best of my ability and aiming for as good a result as I could manage at each level of my development. And I've become a pretty good painter, but definitely a slow one. When Bones came out, they didn't require prep, so I didn't feel like I was 'wasting' good prep work if I just gave a figure a basic paint job to test out a colour scheme or try a new brush, or if I did speed paints to practice for the speed paint round at Gen Con. Then a few months ago I painted a whole bunch of figures to really basic tabletop standard. That took me longer per piece than it would many a painter, but once I went back to painting more display level stuff, I noticed I was getting faster, and I had a few more ideas of where I could cut corners a little without harm to the end result. (I get finicky about painting basecoats, but if I'm doing lining I'm going to go over the join between where colours meet anyway, so I don't have to get the initial step perfect, that kind of thing.) I still won't be able to win any speed trials, but painting tabletop has contributed a lot more to my painting ability than I might ever have thought.

Also remember that you can go back in later and improve figures, or buy another to paint when you get better as long as it's not a special edition. (Or strip them and paint over, but it's good to keep some record of your progress through the years.) Slap some paint on your Warmachine figs to get playing sooner, then refine them at your leisure. Or pick out some of the Bones you might have that you wouldn't mind looking a little less fancy.

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Painting should be satisfying. It doesn't necessarily have to be fun.

 

I think wren is right that there is something sublime about laying down a great base coat. It's almost like magic when you see the miniature start to come alive as color is applied.

 

Good practice is mindful but doesn't have to be taxing. So if you don't feel like really going for a sweet blend or a sick nmm effect do something else productive that's not as mentally demanding.

 

I don't feel like painting sometimes, sometimes I feel like I've peaked and I'll never be able to pull off a quality miniature ever again. Now that I have more experience I know that these fears are temporary.

 

I have salvaged miniatures back from disastrous mistakes and been pleased. Paint (if properly thinned) is a pretty forgiving medium.

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I found it helped me get more painting done when I had a dinner tray system.  All my paints could easily fit on the top quarter of the tray, I kept my water cup and brushes on it along with whatever mini I was working on.  When I wanted to paint I just put the tray on my table, filled the water cup and started.  When I wanted to stop I cleaned the brushes, dumped out the water and put the tray away.  Since set up was so quick it didn't matter if I only had 30 minutes to paint, I still got a little something done. 

 

Like everyone else said, have fun!  If you only get short bursts of fun, at least you get those instead of just wishing.  Good luck!  ^_^

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 The best advice that a person can give to a brand new painter is this:

 

 Remember that you're doing this for fun. And...

 

Your first couple minis are going to suck. Accept this. ::D:

 

Nobody who isn't a trained artist can pick up a brush and paint a miniature well the first time. But this is okay. Because if your first couple miniatures don't look like they were colored with crayons by a four-year-old, you're already off to a good start.

 

Check out this thread. You can see that a lot of the best painters on these boards started off doing stuff that's almost painful to look at, lol. But if you want to make an omelette, you gotta break a few eggs in the process, right?

 

 As a beginning painter, you need to work on getting good, rather than fast - because speed will come with practice. Good brush control is the foundation upon which all technique is built, but remember this - at least a quarter of the time anyone (even the pros) spends on a miniature is going back and touching up things that they didn't get quite right on the first try. (In a lot of cases, you may even find that getting something "close enough" and then adjusting it later on is the only way to get it done...)

Rather than measuring your progress by how many miniatures you can get done, set smaller goals for yourself. Divide each miniature up into things that you can easily finish in a brief amount of time, and plan to spend time tweaking things that aren't good enough and fixing mistakes as part of those goals. Have a back-up piece to work on while you're waiting for paint to dry so you're not spending hobby time just sitting around. As a grad student your free time is limited, so you'll want to set up goals along the lines of: "Tonight, I'll base coat the arms. Tomorrow I'll fix the places I messed up. On Saturday, I'll do the highlights on them, then touch those up on Sunday."  Or maybe "I'll paint all the swords on these orcs tonight." Since you can easily accomplish these goals, you'll have a sense of making measurable progress, and won't get stressed out about it. And anything you get done above and beyond that is a bonus. Plus, being able to sit down and accomplish a goal you've set, even when you're tired or don't feel inspired, will help you build discipline. As people have mentioned, good work takes time.

 

 One thing you can do to work on your brush control and speed is to buy some cheap minis - all multiple copies of the same figure - and then play a game to see just how fast you can paint it. Don't give yourself enough time to overthink about getting each brushstroke exactly perfect. Don't worry too much about painting it well, or fixing little mistakes, just focus on using nice deliberate brush strokes and get it done quickly. Make a note of how long it took. Take a look at it to make a quick note of what looks good about it and what you think could be better. Then grab another one of the figures, and either try to do a slightly better job in the same amount of time, or one that's just as good in a shorter amount of time.

 

On a slightly different note...

 

 If you're doing Warmachine minis to play with, then nobody will even be able to see half of the stuff you painted on them if you're attempting to paint them to "display" standards, since they'll all be five or six feet away on a table. (When people talk about "tabletop vs. display", it's not just about the quality. Painting armies to go on a tabletop requires a slightly different style of painting than the single figure or two you'd paint to put on a display shelf where people will be leaning in to look at them.)

Prime them, base coat, throw on a layer of shadows, then drybrush with your base color to even them out, slap on a layer of highlights, another layer twice as bright, and then pick out a few of the more important details. As long as you have good brush control (and thus clean lines) and decent blending, your minis will look fine without needing every tiny detail to be meticulously painted.

As far as having difficulty painting them after they're assembled, that's part of the reason they come in multiple pieces. As mentioned above, a lot of people will base coat them before assembly and then do the highlights, etc. after they put them together, or assemble as much of the mini as they can without interfering with their ability to paint it and then finish assembling it after they've painted everything.

Edited by Mad Jack
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I really love the advice everyone has given!  I am so thankful that everyone here is so very helpful and friendly and I especially appreciate that no one ridicules me.  I am taking these suggestions and running with them full speed! At school yesterday evening I heard some people in my program talking about playing Pathfinder this weekend if, or  most likely when, we lose power because of Hurricane Andrew (I am far enough inland that there is no extreme danger but it is supposed to be bad).  I have never played Pathfinder before but I knew of it because of the Reaper minis and I am to understand that is just like older D&D, which I used to play and run often when I was much younger.  I offered to DM at some point in the near future and they accepted so now I have excuse to try my hand at speed/tabletop quality painting! I went to order a bunch of Bones mini's just this morning, but apparently there were many out of stock.  But I still got a bunch that I know I can work into my games and I am most excited to play!  Thank you Reaper for making Bones so affordable! I can't wait now. 

 

On a side note, I know many suggested trying to quick paint my Warmachine mini's but I can't.  I will try what one person suggest regarding using sticky putty to hold them together to play, but the issue I think I have is that I find them so aesthetically pleasing that I would probably just want to paint them for display even if I never played.  They just look nice to me so I can't rush them. But for D&D I can justify that (but only because of Bones) and when I get better I can get nice minis for display.  I think I may start a WIP for the large order I placed...so sad I missed the Kickstarter everyone speaks of. Anyone think this is a good idea?

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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!

Most of us, especially those of us in House Procrastius, understand busy.  Full time jobs, kids, other hobbies, sleeping, they all cut into our painting/gaming time.  I've been on a really long dry spell (years) of not painting, and recently decided that I would just paint a little bit at a time, base coat the skin one night, base coat the clothing, etc.  It has mostly worked so far, except for the last week...just too much going on (job, online classes, kids, cooking, cleaning, sickness, side business...people ask me how I get it all done, the short answer is "I don't").

 

When I started painting one of the best pieces of advice was "if you can see it you can reach it with a brush."  While this is true I have learned that unless the two adjoining pieces have to blend together well it's much easier to paint them separately, even if it's only the base coat. Then when you assemble you go back over the join to make it look good.  Most human(oid) figures just take practice to figure out how to get the brush where you need it.  I do advise that you begin with the hard to reach places first so you don't get stray brush strokes on areas you've already painted.

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I think its a great idea. I use my stockpile of Bones monsters to practice with. It helps that I vastly prefer metal minis so I'm less attached. Like you said, they are NPCs and throw away monsters.

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I'm following some of this advice right now. I came off a long dry spell and painted one mini for my friend's new Dark Sun campaign. I forgot how relaxing it was (once I was able to get quiet enough to start). I was excited to paint that figure so I didn't really mind how much time I put into it after all was said and done. However, I wanted my next project to be more relaxed without all the hours dedicated to painting one thing well.

 
I've grabbed all of the skeletons I have from the two kickstarters and have been dedicating an hour or so a night, just a couple times a week, painting them to tabletop quality for speed practice. The first night was gluing them to bases and priming them with brown liner. The next two nights I base-coated all the bone parts (half the minis each night.) Fourth night was paint all the leather and wood bits brown and metal bits black. Tuesday I put a wash on all the bone, leather and wood bits, then painted the metal bits with their base color. The next free night I have I'll smoke wash the metal bits to grunge them up, then put a little color on quivers and shields and paint the bases black. On the last night I'll highlight the bone bits and call it good. Maybe I'll swap the last two nights, depending on what i feel like working on.
 
Voila, around twenty to thirty minutes each for a batch of 20 skeletons I'll be happy throwing on the table. It took far less time than I put into my character's mini, and I had time to work out what my next project will be.
 
I'm coming to accept that I don't need every bit meticulously laid out at the beginning. I can be a little sloppier at the start of the process and still make things look good in the end. It's this kind of practice and experience that we need to get faster/better.
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Lots of great advice here.  I might have to take some of it some day, being a slow painter myself.  Painting my Zombicide zombies to my idea of table top has started to ween me from the need for every mini to be display.  My problem lately is inertia, in all my hobby pursuits actually. 

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 I have never played Pathfinder before but I knew of it because of the Reaper minis and I am to understand that is just like older D&D, which I used to play and run often when I was much younger.

 

 Pathfinder was originally a third-party offshoot of the 3.5 Edition rules for D&D (it was sometimes referred to as 3.75) put out by Paizo Publishing, but it's definitely a separate game, and you  really can't run it based solely on your knowledge of 3.5 anymore...

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I recommend the Speed Painting video by Thomas David.  Miniature Mentor sells it. I don't follow his method all the time, but it really opened my mind on how to get things done faster.  

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The Painting Police won't knock down your door, break your brushes, and kick your paint pots. 

 

If you're too slow to paint to tabletop for a game, that's a problem. But, since you do have graduate school obligations and paint to a high standard, you can certainly take as much time as you need to be satisfied with your work.

 

Since you're beginning to paint to tabletop for an actual game, I recommend only painting to basecoat and a wash, or even just wash on primer. No advanced techniques. You cannot see details like eyes at the tabletop, and everyone's focus will be the game, not the miniatures. I'm currently painting a Shadows of Brimstone set of mini's, and am doing the minimal amount of work on the monsters with just a wash on primer, and basing with sand. With Bones, pick up some Brown Liner to act as a primer coat. 

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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!

Having professional obligations (and school counts!) makes it really tough to commit to any side pursuits. Having worked full-time for the last 16 years, my skills as a musician have grown very slowly. Adding in mini painting, and I just accept that I'm not going to be doing a ton of minis. One thing I started at the beginning, and still mostly adhere to, is committing to painting one mini at a time. If I really want to paint something else, I have to finish the one currently on the bench.

 

And as has been suggested, don't be afraid to paint some cheaper models just to get some paint flowing. But I'd caution you to still choose sculpts you think are cool, because nothing drains the fun faster than painting a crappy sculpt. Luckily, Bones has tons of cool sculpts, and I mostly use my Zombicide minis for just loose painting. There are still great lessons you can learn while not painting to a high quality level, stuff like working on brush control (painting more with less strokes, more accurately) and of course color usage.

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You might consider setting a timer and just having at it. I"ve been entering speed painting contests at Gencon the last two years just for fun. This guy, for example is an Iron Wind elf warlord, so rather small by Reaper/Bones standards. We had 45 minutes to paint with only 12 colors and some not very great brushes...

 

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