A Shift in Painting: Getting Serious!

Over the course of my miniature painting I have always tried to add something new to my newer and upcoming projects. My Malifaux Gremlins gave me NMM, painting Aleph upped my consistent standard, etc… This is a great way to learn new tricks and through regular painting you become better and faster at it. My problem is uniformity when it comes to playing models.
Of course I can paint a whole lot better now than I did when first painting my Gremlins a few years back. Now I paint so differently that even with using the same color scheme and range I still lack a part of uniformity in my models. Sure they look the same but the painting quality, at least for me, breaks the uniformity I prefer in my gaming models. This is something of a natural development that usually doesn’t bother most people. In a way it bugs me. I know my older models aren’t as nice looking as the newer ones. I could touch them up of course but who has the time to partially or entirely repaint a large portion of the models gathered over the years? It’s madness!

In addition to my nagging mentioned above I have had several influences of the past half a year. People who in a way have opened my eyes to how things could be done. How I could become a better painter.

Anthony Rodriguez came to Berlin for a couple of weeks last summer and we had a few chances to hang out together. Besides some sight-seeing and lots of eating out we did get a few chances to ‘jam’ together and paint up some minis. He was even generous enough to paint up this two-headed brute for me.

When he first started painting this guy he started out entirely in yellow. I almost shit my pants when I saw it. Anthony reassured me it would turn out just fine when he was finished. Later on it was super green and now it’s a heap of bountiful colors that look kickass. Did I mention he painted this guy in about 4/5 hours? I had the chills and thrills seeing how easily and quickly he got that finished. In that same time I only managed to paint up some of a similar model and took about 9/10 hours to finish it.

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Two things really stuck with me from Anthony’s visit here in Berlin. He showed me a sketch book of things and people he doodled while touring Europe. Getting a better understanding of how things actually look and feel in different settings is an important for anybody pursuing an artistic craft. So far. I have just been painting things ‘the way they feel right’ which is half of the time wrong and other times imprinted in my mind but I lack the understanding ‘Why?’. Why does it look that way? Why do those colors work better together? Why? Why? Why?
The second thing was him mentioning that he has only really been performing this craft for a couple of years. I was rather supplied at this statement especially since a small part of me still considers himself a good painter and that little guy really was ticked off at how somebody else could manage to be better in a small fraction of the time I have been painting. Besides obvious talent Anthony’s answer came pretty much down to this: dedication. In all of those years where I have been painting tabletop miniatures I have never really tried to ‘perfect’ the craft or become much better. It was, if even mention worthy, only half-assed. In those few years of his hobby/passion/work he has dedicated himself to not only getting better but also understanding the many and large varieties of the craft. It takes a while to actually let this kind of information sit in, but it is so ace.

(You can check out some of his stuff here and here!)

At the end of October I was fortunate enough to be able to participate at a painting workshop led by Meg Maples. I had no clue what to expect, as it was my first workshop based on painting miniatures. The class was more or less an introduction to basic concepts of art and an additional learning of a more intermediate technique (two brush blending). To be honest I was pretty cocky and sure I wouldn’t really take much out of the class as I knew the topics she discussed. Oh how I was wrong!

What really kept me busy those two days was trying her technique of painting. Something completely new, foreign and also kind of gross (I am not a brush licker! :P) was what had me messing around on a miniature all weekend. Actually sitting there and devoting my time to practice. Not just the simple practice I have been doing in the past (something small and new with each army) but something entirely new on the whole figure. It was challenging! I was really sitting there trying to figure out how the technique works and applying it to the majority of the miniature. I ended up really wanting to know how to do it and wanting to be able to do it as well. The practical use of it made itself quickly known and I am sure an alternate form of that will eventually become part of my regular painting style.

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The refresher course actually had its own part to play as well. Sure I knew most of the things she mentioned and discussed. It is always good to hear things you know from a different person though. They have different angles of approach and lines of thought and being presented with these can really help broaden your general understanding of something you deem ‘been there, done that’. Realising something like this can be disheartening for some. For me it just resulted in additional hunger for more. More information. More practical use. More, more, more! I am really getting psyched up to work my way up the painting ladder and gain more and more friends/acquaintances along the way. More people means more angles and directions. So much fun!

(You can check out some of her stuff here and her commercial site here!)

Another influential person I will comment on is Josua Lai. He and I befriended each other in a painter hangout group on Facebook. Ever since we’ve been chatting regularly. He is one damn good artist. Some of his stuff is mind-blowing and I really enjoy seeing the individual steps of his process and getting to chat with him about his thoughts and ideas.
He has decided to help push me into the direction of a more display oriented painter. He even challenged me to partake in the Bavarian Herzog 2017. A painting competition with real painters. That will be really exciting. I am still trying to work out which piece I will prepare for the competition (End of March). Once I have caught up with some commission pieces and some of my own playing miniatures, I will grind away at getting some larger scale models and pieces done.

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I also look forward to meeting him in person coming months. Hopefully we will be able to have a paint jam session together and I can look into some of his Jedi painting trickery. We both purchased the same bust, as seen below. We’ve considered painting it ‘against’ each other. Might be a cool thing to attempt once I have gotten a bit more comfortable with large-scale miniatures. None the less I am really excited to exchange views and artsy stuff with him in the future and I am really happy to have another person to look up to and follow on the never-ending journey of art crafts. He’s already been rather inspiring and has offered to help with other important aspects of the hobby, such as photography. Josua, I will steal all your knowledge!

(You can check out his paint and putty site here!)

Okay. Enough of this fan boy crap. Time to get down to business. In this part of the unending post, which is above, below and in between all of these words and photos, I plan to explain and show off some of my current projects and things I have planned to paint in the coming year.

Let us begin with some of my gaming miniatures. As you have seen aplenty on my blog I am a really big fan of Malifaux. I am not only a Henchman for the game (voluntary promoter and organizer of events and other crazy stuff for our small, yet growing, community), I also really enjoy playing it. It is an intelligent, colorful and crazy game with a high strategic value. Hence I intend to continue painting my line of minis and get a few more models on the table. I still am working on a slight backlog on the current Malifaux projects, though I intend to limit myself to two factions or groups of models. Here is basically what I have planned out for the next 4-6 months of painting Malifaux:

Arcanists: 2 Coryphees, 1 Coryphee Duet, The Captain (WIP), 2-3 Oxfordian Mages, 1 December Acolyte, 1 Mannequin, 2 Ice Dancers, Hannah, 3 Fire Gamin (ntb), Carlos Vasquez (ntb), Firestarter female Alt (ntb), Kaeris (ntb), Eternal Flame (ntb) and Miss Fire. This totals to about 20/21 miniatures. Quite the work load. As this is the main project for Malifaux, it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it worked off.

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Ten Thunder: Asami, 2 Jorogumo, Malifaux Child, Fuhatsu (WIP), Yasunori (ntb), 2 Obsidian Oni and about 5-6 other models I may need depending on what I am missing in my base crew. A smaller portion of my Malifaux to-do list. A lot more manageable. Total around 8+ miniatures.

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That is what I will be limiting myself to for Malifaux. I do have two other systems that will require some love and affection. Bushido and Eden. Bushido I have a gang of sea pirates that are pretty much half-finished and will only get slow and steady additions. Bushido also links me to commission pieces I will be doing for a friend. This will come in as they are required and wont be all too many either. Easy peasy!

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Eden is a small game I would like to test out and really want to paint up two starter sets (Dante’s Angels and the Green Order). It looks like a fun game and the minis are nice and big. They look really fun to paint. Some quick and easy models to get on the table. Totalling 8 miniatures.

I think the total amount of about 45+ miniatures isn’t too much to handle in half a year. Considering I can manage to get 2-4 figures painted up during a week. Should be done relatively swiftly in addition to the below mentioned larger scale miniatures. Once this lot is done I will pretty much slow down the pace to a snail’s pace in purchases and paint jobs and focus more on display pieces and becoming better at the craft in general. More practice, method training and plenty of theory to compliment my already owned skills.

The next portion is about future display pieces and basically things I will focus my efforts on top to not only become a better painter but to grasp the concept of painting larger objects. The good thing about larger miniatures is while painting them you have larger surfaces and areas to explore and paint. This means you can actually see what you are doing and have to practice more control and take more time to get things just right. Small figures, such as for gaming, can be painted rather sloppy but will still look decent/good for their purpose. Display miniatures have to be perfect, precise and exact. You cannot afford to mess up a blend or misplace a shade somewhere. There are more angles to consider while painting these and it will truly be awesome to practice on some of the upcoming miniatures.

This Kromlech orc fighter pilot bust will be my first venture into the scene. He is awesome enough to be fun to paint but not ‘important’ enough to me to have to be perfect. I intend to paint the majority of the model with the two-brush painting method I picked up at Meg’s class. Mostly to practice and see how it applies to such miniatures. As you can see the base colors are painted on and I have already begun painting (shading) the face. More to come soon!

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Anthony gave me a little Cthulhu guy while he was here to visit. I have a few neat ideas to paint around with him and make a gloomy, dark themed piece with him, obviously, at the center of it. It will help me practice highlighting in dark and lesser illuminated areas. Fun stuff to come!
Another minor project will to finally finish my cute forest girl in some fashion. She was my first bust, but long before I decided to actually try to get better at this. A test project that never was fully finished to my expectations. I will try to recreate the colors I used and make some changes and alterations to her.

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One more model I plan to work on the coming year is this beautiful Medusa sculpt. I was able to snag a couple of her from a French hobby community and plan to do some cool things with her. I have two left and plan on keeping both for two different projects. The first one I will coming Fall. I still have to fill some gaps better and also do some putty modeling to add more stuff to her. It will surely be awesome in some way. Just poorly painted. Haha.

With that I will close off this nearly never-ending post and run off to get my shit together and work on becoming a better painter! Thanks for the read and see you guys probably next year. ❤

 

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Categories: Bushido, Cool People, Malifaux, Personal

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