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"What painting school do you belong to?" Topic

30 Posts

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Areas of Interest


967 hits since 23 May 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tassie Wargamer24 May 2018 6:45 a.m. PST

I've been giving a lot of thought recently to the aesthetics of painting and modelling wargame miniatures. I've concluded that it all basically breaks down into three schools of thought. The first is "realism" and is represented by miniatures painted and modelled to depict a figure in a proportionally realistic way to create the impression of a figure in a scaled natural setting or action (Currently the most common aesthetic adhered to).

The second school is "hyper-realism" where a miniature is painted and modelled in a way that seeks to depict a figure in a super detailed setting or action and in a way that goes beyond what would be observable in reality (traditionally associated with larger scale military models). I think this is a school in its own right rather than a mere extension of "realism".

The third school of thought I would describe as "graphic" and uses colour blocks, with or without delineated edges, and basic modelling to illustrate a figure in a purely representative way (e.g. Toy soldier style).

Any aesthetic can be executed well or badly, it really is a matter of skill. I used to be a "realist" but I am increasingly inclined to the "graphic" school.

Are there other schools of thought and what school are you?

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 7:43 a.m. PST

Mine is called "Hard Knocks" Where real Painters cringe and take my figures away and paint them for me.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine24 May 2018 7:46 a.m. PST

Among fantasy/sci-fi gamers you can add

Blanchitsu which is an attempt to create miniatures that look like John Blanche artwork. It isn't realistic or graphic it's almost messy with highly contrasting colours but its a bit of a thing.

You also have the airbrush brigade these guys aren't like your WW2 tank painters its an almost cartoon style bright colours very sharp highlights absolute works of art in their own way.

I realise you where probably coming at it from a historical miniatures point of view but I though I'd fly the fantasy sci-fi flag..

Jozis Tin Man24 May 2018 7:47 a.m. PST

2 foot rule for everything from 28mm to 3mm and use a light grey dry brush and Army Painter to cover a multitude of painting sins.

If it looks good from 2 feet away, then good to go.

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 8:18 a.m. PST

Realism or Graphic depending on the scale.

JimDuncanUK24 May 2018 8:28 a.m. PST


advocate24 May 2018 8:31 a.m. PST

Self taught. I'm not a great teacher though. I'm happy with good enough'.

Timmo uk24 May 2018 8:34 a.m. PST

The English school after the watercolour artists like John Sell Cotman because I start from white primer, akin to piece of white(ish) paper. And I try to choose my colours and basing to reflect the notion of the subject bathed in daylight and seen at about 50 yards. I can't paint a lot of detail in scale so I leave it off, unlike many miniatures painters who cram in the smallest thing. As an example I don't try to paint woodgrain or eyes. I also paint in a fairly delicate style and put my shadow's in first much like a water colour artist might work.

I call those who use a black or dark undercoat The Dutch School as those artists worked up from a dark background.

wrgmr124 May 2018 9:13 a.m. PST


Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 9:18 a.m. PST

I like the way I paint!

Rich Bliss24 May 2018 9:36 a.m. PST

I paint for the table much as Jozi described

LaserGrenadier Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

My style is "coloring book." I put all the colors in the right places and stay within the lines. I don't do any washes, highlights or dry brushing unless the texture or subject really demands it. As a result the paint job is very neat and clean, but the troops look more like they came from the parade ground than from a hard day in the field.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

I've been skipping school for several months now… time to get back to it.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

OK, 4th style – unit appearance. I paint so that a base of figures looks 'right' on the table. This may mean using unrealistic colour on parts of figures to produce the appearance I'm after.

Your choices really only cover large scale figures but plenty of us out here in the real world paint 15mm and smaller so our choices are different.

jwebster24 May 2018 10:38 a.m. PST

I don't think your breakdown is correct – I think gamers paint in a functional style based on their technique – this is what you are seeing in the responses

Painting to win competitions is different


Rallynow Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

I belong to the Hudson River school.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

My school. If I like how it turned out for me, it's perfect. I paint fairly well but only do a flesh wash.


14Bore24 May 2018 12:09 p.m. PST

I am in the LaserGrenadier camp. Try to paint the colors correctly so anyone would see my East Prussian Musketeer and know its a East Prussian Musketeer.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 12:13 p.m. PST

I'm in the remedial class.

evilgong Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 2:26 p.m. PST


Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 3:11 p.m. PST

I'm basically in the ZuluPaul-Jozis Tin Man school: If it looks good to me from two fee away, I like it.

I lean toward realism and away from graphic/comic/toy style. That being said, I do use painted or otherwise muddied and colored cloth to delineate terrain features. (E.g., the boulder field has boulders, but they are on a brown and gray cloth so that you know exactly when your miniature is in it.)
That approach leans toward the graphic.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP24 May 2018 3:44 p.m. PST

The school of fish?


As far as style, it depends on the figures. Superheroes might be four colour or they might be gritty and realistic. Fantasy might be ethereal or edgy ad gory. And so on.

khanscom24 May 2018 5:50 p.m. PST

Varying techniques depending on scale and intended use. Maybe classified as "hyper- realist" for 54mm and larger display figures (although I'm not really hyper- competent).

For gaming figures the "realism" choice is probably the most accurate description for 15mm and larger figures. "Impressionistic" is likely most accurate for smaller (12mm and smaller) figures with black- priming and higher contrast painting the standard.

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP24 May 2018 7:04 p.m. PST

There you go again, showing off your schooling etotheipi. Smells pretty fishy to me. I like the realistic and non shiny approach to my figures.

Martin Rapier24 May 2018 10:09 p.m. PST

Option 5. Good enough to play Wargames with/looks OK from two feet away.

Not realistic and certainly not block painted toy soldier style. If it was realistic vehicles would be completely covered in mud and dust.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2018 6:37 a.m. PST

I like the "coloring book" definition. I paint straight out of the jar and try to stay in the lines.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP25 May 2018 10:12 a.m. PST

I paint to the GEtGW standard: Good Enough to Game With, at arm's length. I am also a huge fan of The Dip/Magic Wash schools of techniques: speed painting, Baby, so I can get them on the table and play with them!!!

I am not getting younger, and my biological clock is not heading towards Youth… I want to play with my figures, not just collect them into a pile, so I can brood over them, like Smaug, sitting atop his pile of gold treasures. I need function out of my mini's, as in play-ability, on the tabletop. YMMV/your biological clock may tick to a different drummer than mine. Cheers!

striker825 May 2018 10:41 a.m. PST

My school is the paint things the best I can knowing they'll never be perfect and I'll have to say good enough for government work before I spend to much time on one mini.

Bowman26 May 2018 6:52 p.m. PST

I paint them to the best of my ability. What school is that?

skinkmasterreturns28 May 2018 2:24 a.m. PST

I'm with the good Sargent on this. I call it "Wargame Standard".

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