Help support TMP

"When did everyone become expert painters?" Topic

32 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

Please do not use bad language on the forums.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the Painting Message Board

Areas of Interest


Featured Hobby News Article

Featured Link

Featured Showcase Article

Elmer's Xtreme School Glue Stick

Is there finally a gluestick worth buying for paper modelers?

Featured Profile Article

Gwen's Brother-in-Law Comes Home

Thanks in part to your donations, Personal logo Editor Gwen The Editor of TMP's brother-in-law has been able to leave the hospital after his cancer operation.

Current Poll

1,661 hits since 23 Mar 2021
©1994-2021 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Inconceivable23 Mar 2021 10:29 a.m. PST

As age and health issues deteriorate my average, at best, painting skills, I spend more time looking at others painted minis on the computer. They all look fantastic! Did I miss a class or something?
Kudos to everyone!

Cerdic23 Mar 2021 10:46 a.m. PST

You obviously haven't seen mine…

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 11:05 a.m. PST

People who paint well pretty much know that their stuff is in the top 10-15% of the hobby, therefore they're not afraid to post images. Go on over to some of the Facebook miniatures groups where there isn't a lot of self introspection and you will get quite the range. Postings from gamers who would be considered professional painters who have produced incredible works of art to what could only be described as figures painted with Testors enamels using a broom.

Stryderg23 Mar 2021 11:23 a.m. PST

I don't think you quite understand the meaning of "everyone". For instance, here take a look at my minis…On second thought, never mind.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 11:25 a.m. PST

Ah, the people who make the rest of us want to throw our paints and brushes into the trash.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 11:44 a.m. PST

I have to agree – not "everyone" – and people only post their best

For example, I am quite happy with these heroic sons of the Soviet Motherland

But these members of the famous "Angry Marines", not so much

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 12:07 p.m. PST

Yes, I do not post because I should not post pictures of mine. Therefore the average is skewed upwards in quality.

Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 12:11 p.m. PST

I'm with Rustymusket. Mediocre was my peak and now the Decline
has begun!

14Bore23 Mar 2021 12:19 p.m. PST

Thanks for the compliment for all my postings.
( I'm guessing you missed those)

Personal logo McKinstry Supporting Member of TMP Fezian23 Mar 2021 12:22 p.m. PST

I Believe overall the level of 'average' painting is considerably higher than it was when I started in the mid-70's.

Washes have become ubiquitous as have dry brushing techniques. Basing is considerably advanced from the 'paint it green and forget about it' that was pretty standard 40+ years ago. The variety and quality of the acrylic paints as well as all the little extras such as decals are also vastly increased and improved. Between the net and various publications the ability to learn techniques or simply get better research is also light years ahead. I remember when it seemed a couple of Funcken books were the end all for uniforms.

All in all, I think everyone paints better although some are still better than others.

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 1:07 p.m. PST

The worst is when they advertise "PRO-PAINTED" – based on what I have seen my average paint work is "Professional". I guess if you pay someone to paint you can call it professionally painted.

I have always said "a painted figure looks 100 times better than an unpainted figure" no matter how bad the paint job.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 1:24 p.m. PST

+1 torokchar

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 1:25 p.m. PST

Years ago some fellow called OG and was concerned that if he got into Napoleonic's all he would see on the table was fields of Blue, red, green, and white --when I gave him the affirmative, he replied:
"Then I am going ACW!!"
I did not have the heart to point out the obvious.

Russ Dunaway

huron72523 Mar 2021 1:43 p.m. PST

For me I see Fairly average+ paint jobs that have highlighting and ink shadowing. Either one of those post paint finishes will give you a good looking miniature. Add them together and your miniatures start to look really good.

Lastly, add in some more up to date basing and walla, you have a mini masterpiece.

Awesome Basing
Matte finish

PzGeneral23 Mar 2021 1:52 p.m. PST


Now THAT is funny!!



Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 1:56 p.m. PST

I became an expert painter by putting in 50 years of practice.

Note, however, that "expert" is not necessarily the same thing as "good."


jwebster Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 2:40 p.m. PST

I'm proud of my painting

However, I always tell people that my painting is above what makes sense for gaming, and yet nowhere near good enough to win a competition

So, anything above a very basic paint job is for your own satisfaction and serves no other purpose. Your buddies may Oooh and Aaah over your latest figures, but they are likely to be thinking "Beautiful, but he's completely insane" and they would be quite correct

Some great comments here
McKinstry +1


Personal logo SHaT1984 Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 2:58 p.m. PST

>>People who paint well pretty much know that their stuff is in the top 10-15% of the hobby, therefore they're not afraid to post images.

I don't belive that's at all true.
Nor are most conceited enough. I've seen in real life argumentative know it alls who argue every 'point' in a game, but whose figures have been real crap- but people didnt dare point that out.

So no I paint to elaborate the knowledge; and post to share to show I do, that is all.

Little Red23 Mar 2021 3:42 p.m. PST


My 50 years as a mediocre painter falls under the 10 campaigns as a mule and you're still a mule concept. Only now it's slower.

I may not be able to paint like an expert but I can recognize it when I see it.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 4:32 p.m. PST

Acrylics made a huge difference. Figures improved. And the concepts of washes and dry brushing percolated through the community. Say between 1975 and 1990. I can do a decent-looking figure now much faster than I could paint a figure badly in 1975. (And believe me, I've painted a lot of figures badly.) But I'd agree that the average figure taking the field on a game day is not so well painted as the typical brought to a convention for a game or posted on the 'net.

Frederick, matte the Angry Marines, thin brown wash the yellow armor, black wash the guns, dry brush if necessary, then hit with a gloss again. Takes about five minutes a figure. Full refund on my consultant's fee if it doesn't work. (No, I have no solutions which take time. There are always more figures than hours.)

Personal logo Bashytubits Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 5:41 p.m. PST

You guys are missing the point, "UGLY" has a quality all its own.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP23 Mar 2021 6:23 p.m. PST

I believe I paint to what is sometimes refer to as "gaming standard" which may be a euphemism for "barely okay". However, I have always felt that painting up figs in parade dress made little sense for historical gamers. Armies looked from ragtag to merely dirty on campaign in standard uniforms I learned to not worry too much about getting things just right, especially in 6mm.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 2:05 a.m. PST

I paint the figure to please myself. I'm not concerned about what "level" they are. BTW a poorly painted mini with a good die roll beats a great painted mini with a crappy die roll!

Glengarry524 Mar 2021 2:52 a.m. PST

I've been at it for over 45 years and I'd say my painting is pretty good but not up to the professional standards you see in photographs. Techniques like washes, highlighting and drybrushing were unknown when I began, flocking was unheard of and I painted Airfix plastics in semi-gloss enamels. So much has changed for the better.

jdpintex24 Mar 2021 6:21 a.m. PST

ZuluPaul for the win!

Personal logo Mserafin Supporting Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 10:40 a.m. PST

BTW a poorly painted mini with a good die roll beats a great painted mini with a crappy die roll!

My older brother (who started me on all this) told me that if you have the best-painted figures on the table, you've already won. Which is a nice way of mentally compensating for terrible due rolls.

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Mar 2021 1:19 p.m. PST

I've been painting for over 40 years and just recently spent an entire weekend doing online classes at the Reaper Virtual Expo to learn new techniques and learn "how to's" and understand all the new stuff coming out, (NMM's, how to do OSL's, Triads, Working with GW glazes, contrasts, layers, bases and drys)…all the new craziness. It's amazing what has come out in the last five years as opposed to what I/we started with back in the 70's…
I am still learning how to paint.

Really Rampant25 Mar 2021 6:44 a.m. PST

I think only those who paint well really post thier minis. On some forums it seems like they are more like mini painters than gamer. I paint OK enough for a gaming army but could never match some of the amazing jobs you see online. But then again I don't want to, I just want Ok for the game.

iain191425 Mar 2021 7:12 a.m. PST

Sadly I never put the consistent practice in. Life got in way and didn't have advantage of internet. Yeah I look on in awe of some painters. Only achieved satisfaction when I painted for myself. Win win.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2021 7:40 a.m. PST

Really Rampant, I am with you, and the others. I am an army painter. I view my mini's from 3+ feet, 99% of the time. Therefore, I paint for the 99%, ignoring the 1%. I prefer crafting, and gaming, well above painting.

I drooled over the miniatures advertisements in the Dragon Magazine issues I bought, circa 1980. It wasn't until the 1990's that I got into miniatures gaming.

I am old school, at heart. I prefer making my own terrain, even though it is not "realistic" in appearance. I got into Prince August molds, and casting my own mini's from them: very low quality, by today's standard. It was a real treat to put miniatures I had personally cast, painted, and based, onto the table. I still have a bunch, some have been used in my games for years, some still in the painting queue.

Had a friend recently recommend I get some Geo-Hex hills, to use in place of the carpet covered hills I had crafted a few months ago (covered my foam hill cores, carved to shape on my Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter, with pieces of the same carpet I use for a ground cloth, so they match, same color, same texture/finish). I modify mini's, adapting a huge number of Mage Knight and similar mini's, to fit my needs. I built a dozen guard towers…

Guard Towers

…using pumpkin stems for "trees", putting round toothpick rungs wrapping around the trunk, as steps; I made them from a drawing in a fantasy book…

a drawing in a fantasy book

…and they turned out rather nicely, IMHO.

I realize many people prefer to purchase the best, most highly detailed mini's, and terrain, for their tabletops. They paint to a very high standard… Not me. I enjoy the crafting, immensely. I enjoy fielding 12+ armies, painted and table ready (looking passable, at arm's length the 99%!).

I am working to fulfill some gaming dreams I've had since I was in High School. If I set my standards for painting, and terrain, at the "realistic" end of the spectrum, I would have a couple of armies, at most. My terrain would be limited. I chose my compromises, and I am happy with them. I have less than 20 years left to live. I plan to squeeze as much joy out of the time I have left, as I possibly can. For me, that is playing as many games as I can. Life is short. Make it sweet to your taste buds, and let everyone else pursue what they enjoy.

I also think that the farcical situation with FaceBook, is infiltrating every other web forum: people post how happy they are, how wonderful their lives are, on FB, to keep up with everyone else. Many, however, look at everyone else's FB postings, and become depressed: their lives are nowhere near as happy, or robust, or exciting… I refuse to be intimidated by social media, or even friends suggesting I try higher quality options (in their opinions, not mine!) for my terrain, mini's, painting, etc. I live my life how I see fit, in ways that bring me joy; and I let you live your's according to how you see fit. I'm truly happy. Can't speak for anyone else. Cheers!

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP25 Mar 2021 6:58 p.m. PST

I peaked about 10 years ago.
I'm on the decline now.

VonBlucher25 Apr 2021 1:34 p.m. PST

Being a good painter is trial and error and the more you paint and experiment you find your groove. What helps is having a great eye for colors, as I never buy grey paint and always mix my own greys, and manage to match a grey that I painted on another figure even a couple of years ago. I also do this with some shadow colors.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.