To be a good mini-painter, all you have to do is paint ten miniatures.
That is my bold blogging statement for the week. Usually they encourage you to say dramatic and impassioned things in your blog posts so that people keep returning to the blog to either feel passionate agreement or to progressively get more pissed off in their disagreement with the the bold statement. The problem with the above statement is that it isn’t really all that bold, it is more just a matter of truth behind what happens when you gain skill. And I don’t mean this for those who are mildly “creative” or “artistic”. Even the most graphically tone-deaf person who has never lifted a pencil or brush before in their life can do this.
Painting ten miniatures, start to finish, on separate occasions, is all you need to do to call yourself a “good” miniature painter. Those ten attempts at painting a little pewter figure will guarantee the development of at least a little bit of ongoing skill at the task. Even if you are dunking them into a pot of paint and letting them dry without any brushwork, you are bound to start dunking them in different pots of colors and start making a layer-cake arrangement of stratified colors on the mini. (That actually sound pretty cool, come to think of it.) Somehow those successive minis will get better and better until number ten. And then BAM, you are a good miniature painter.
In the process of painting your ten, maybe on miniature number four or five, dabbing at your chartreuse owl-bear, you may say to me: “This isn’t good miniature painting, this is just painting them slightly less crappy than before.” And I will reply: Yes, that is exactly so. By the time you finish number ten, it will be so “less-crappy” that it will qualify as “good”. It will all be downhill from there, nothing but learning a few slight tips and tricks after that, the hard part will be over.
Now, I need to be very specific about what qualifies as the “ten”. Remember that I said they had to be start to finish, on separate occasions. You can not do all ten minis at once, in one sitting. You need to begin, work on, and complete each miniature so you can learn from your mistakes and victories at each of the steps, in ten sessions. You can paint more than one miniature at each of the sessions, but you need the passage of time between sittings for the skills to sink in. Sat & Sun would work for two sessions. I recommend working on two to three minis at a session so you can switch between the choices while they dry out, but you can go with more. Ten at a sitting can be tiresome if you are doing something other than the discussed dunking method.
Once you are done with one of your ten minis, you absolutely must plop it on the table at the next game, if only to show it off. You need to take pride in your work and use your toy for playing with. Showing off and playing with friends is what it is all about.
So steel yourself for the grand creative adventure, or just get ready for your 3D coloring book. Next post I will give you the bare minimum list of materials and steps to get that mini on the table. More arcane advice to follow after that.