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NyarlaBcn

Depressive work

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I tend to be very (clinically) depressive, and painting minis helps.

Yet, there's a part on the process where I almost always struggle to find any joy or value on what I'm doing: where I can't think about anything else but how ugly, ill fitting, badly painted the mini will look once finished. 

That always happens between after the first base coats and before the first actual detailing. Its happening right now (I'm painting Ma'al drakar as tiamat), and its really really... annoying to spend so much time and work convinced, at the same time, that it will be one of my worst works. 

 

Now, the question: I'm prone to depression, so its normal for me: but any of you feel similarly on some point of the painting process? Is it natural to go through this stages of "well, this will look like broccoli" and, once finished, feel good about it?

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I definitely do, usually when I start shading and highlighting areas. I hit a point where I hate it and think it sucks so I have to step away from it for a bit before working on it again. Usually this continues until I have most of everything painted and can see how everything looks together. This majorly happened on the piece I just finished. I did the skin first and was not happy with it at all but once I started on the cloth and leather, it ended up working out. Its one of the reasons I try to base coat everything first as I find if I don't and just work on one area, it doesn't look right with everything else in the primer color.

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So relatable! I do too all the base coating first, just seeing the black (or white, or grey) primer is depressing.

I think too that this mental frame can lead to bad decisions. Like, since I don't like how it looks now, instead of trusting my first idea, I start applying modifications, color corrections that are often premature and that maybe are making it all worse. To have the confidence of real pros must be something! 

 

Btw, Ma'al drakar doesn't help. Its so enormeous every step takes forever. And although I did a thorough cleaning beforehand its so, so unnerving to still find mold lines while painting.... it has tons of them. 

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I have found that most figures go through "the ugly stage" while painting.  I don't always have confidence in my vision, and they don't always come out the way I'd hoped.  I try not to get too emotional about it.  My motto is "painted is better than not", and there's always another mini so if something fails I move on and look at it as practice for the next one. 

 

 

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I definitely run into it, particularly with shades and highlights as my blending still sucks and I always feel like it sticks out like a sore thumb. Fortunately, it usually ends up as a so so tabletop quality which is pretty much what I hope for (I'm not experienced enough to do anything better than that). Faces though always make me sad. I really do suck at those. Lol

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Nearly every miniature that I paint goes through that stage. And almost every painter I've spent much time with says the same.

 

In some ways I think of this like rock climbing. The process of climbing is slow, exhausting, and sometimes painful, but the feeling of accomplishment and view from the top when the climb is done makes the rest worth the trouble.

 

Usually. :rolleyes:

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Yep! Every single mini I paint goes through what I call the "(donkey) point." It's really hard to push through. I know I just need a few glazes to knock down those rough highlights, but right now the dang thing just looks like it's covered in chalk dust.

 

It just takes perseverance (he said, as though it was the easiest thing in the world).

And, like most artists and craftsmen I know, having time on a regular basis to do nothing but (the art of choice, be it painting or writing or whittling) makes it easier to buckle down. "If I don't push through this now, I'll still have to deal with it tomorrow" is, for me at least, a powerful motivator. Ymmv, of course.

 

Which is why, for me, fall/winter is better for painting... Because I want to go outside during Spring/summer, so painting on the regular is hard.

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I too suffer from depression.  My real job work can be very stressful, so mini painting is supposed to be my fun hobby that sparks my creativity and makes me feel like I accomplish something.  But, I'm a perfectionist, so I'm never satisfied with anything I do.  I always see the flaws in everything.  

 

It's important to take a step back when the process gets you down and remember its supposed to be fun. If it isn't, I change it up. I stop working on the "hard" project where I'm pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and just speed paint something.  Or sculpt some basing bits.  Or plan my next project.  Anything to keep me loving my hobby and not focusing on the hard stuff. When I'm ready, I can come back with new energy and tackle the mountain.

 

That being said, all minis are ugly until they reach that final nebulous finished stage where it all comes together.  I say this in all seriousness.  As we paint, we're chipping away at the marble around the final form. And it isn't going to look right until we're done.  So don't lose heart that it isn't where you envision it in your head. It takes layers and time to get to the stage where we're happy.  When I finally finish a project I'm usually relieved to be done, but if I look at it from a distance, I can feel some pride that I struggled through a hard process and made it to the finish line.

 

You can do it.  It's hard, but worth it.

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Absolutely. I've done several figures and almost given up on them because the highlighting wasn't good, or the layering looked awful, or the shading isn't working or the colour scheme is horrible. If I really hit a point where I'm thinking, "Well, this one's going to look like crap" I'll put it away and start another. One of my figures, Sugar, took three attempts to get what I wanted. Another figure I'm currently basing spent four weeks in a box in a two-thirds-finished state as I thought I'd screwed it up but didn't want to stick it in Simple Green. I took it out of the box Sunday night and realised it wasn't as bad as I'd thought and was fairly easy to get to a state where I was happy with it.

 

I have no doubt that there are award-winning mini painters who go through the same feelings.

 

I'm also depressive (bipolar 2) and painting minis is a great way to escape, be creative and do something that doesn't involve staring at a bloody screen.

Edited by planetmut
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I've been in the battle of bringing myself up and found my painting has suffered only because I think to myself "Nothing is as good as the guys on the Reaper Forums, or Facebook groups, why bother?"  But I force myself into my chair sometimes and can often surprise myself with what I can produce.  It is quite awesome what we can achieve and learn just by putting paint on a brush and a brush to a model.  

 

Yes things go through a ugly phase, I know I did.  I called it High School!  

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4 hours ago, NyarlaBcn said:

 Is it natural to go through this stages of "well, this will look like broccoli" and, once finished, feel good about it?

 

Natural? I would call it almost mandatory!

 

And I say that as someone who is fortunate enough to not suffer any problems with depression and has been lucky enough to have dependable health.

 

That said, I think it is very courageous of you to take on a huge challenge like Ma'al. If ever there was a figure that would get me feeling insecure it would be one of Reapers Giant dragons! So well done you for challenging yourself and please show us the results in due time.

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I can sympathise, I go through the "this mini is awful" stage every single time I paint. I actually have boxes of half painted minis that I've given up on because I'm never going to make them look perfect. 

 

My Ma'al is currently sitting with the heads mostly done and not much else. It's an absolute monster(in both ways) of a mini and I can completely sympathise with being intimidated by it. 

 

Maybe you could start a WIP thread for your Ma'al? There's a lot of people here who would be happy to offer advice and cheer you on.

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3 hours ago, Echoside_ said:

I've been in the battle of bringing myself up and found my painting has suffered only because I think to myself "Nothing is as good as the guys on the Reaper Forums, or Facebook groups, why bother?"  But I force myself into my chair sometimes and can often surprise myself with what I can produce.  It is quite awesome what we can achieve and learn just by putting paint on a brush and a brush to a model.

 

This, a thousand times this. I've seen minis on this forum, blogs and Google image searches that have depressed the crap out of me because they're so bloody good and way beyond my talents as a painter or baser. So I've learned to accept I'm never going to win a Golden Demon and I'm a lot happier for it.

 

One of my main failings is over-thinking stuff like colour schemes or basing. I've learned that simpler can be better. Sometimes I'll have an idea for a paint scheme or base that I know I'll never pull off, other times I push myself to achieve something better (the base I did for Rose is probably the best example of me thinking, "Just go that few steps further"). There are several of my minis where I've hit a point where I just want to finish the bloody thing as for one reason or another it's been a total slog to paint, there are others where I've gone several steps further than normal as it just worked, for whatever reason.

 

One thing I have to say is, this forum is a superbly friendly and welcoming place to show off minis. It took me a lot of courage to post my first one and I actually stopped posting here for several months as I thought the quality of my painting wasn't good enough. But I'm very glad I'm back.

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I've been painting for over 40 years and I still feel that way about pretty much every figure I paint. Fortunately I have learned not to listen to my inner critic, especially in the early stages. It looks very flat after the base stage, but starts to come alive once the shading goes on. Sometimes I can even see the final figure emerge as the highlights are applied, but at other times I still need the "3 months" rule(*)

 

As for online stuff, I accept that I'll never be a great painter, so I can appreciate (but still feel slightly jealous of) those who are, but I paint because I enjoy it, so don't get too down that someone's better than me.

 

 

* you've been staring at the figure for weeks while painting it and can see every flaw. Stick it in a drawer once it's finished and let the memories subside before looking at it again from a more objective standpoint.

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Going through the ugly stage is part of the process.

Have you seen my wips? There is always a point where I look at the pics I posted and thought, that's just a mess!

But then we get to the touching up/highlighting etc and then things start to improve.

 

We're all our own worst critics and that isn't helping either.

It's pretty normal in my opinion.

 

Most important part is that you have fun with it all, it's a hobby.

Don't worry too much about it.

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