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"Reasons Why Most People Fail at Miniature Painting" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2021 10:01 p.m. PST

"Miniature painting can be a very fun hobby but also an aggravating one when you're new. There's a lot of common pitfalls new painters run into that can ruin the whole experience for them, and they give up before they've ever really given it a chance.

I'm going to go over those common mistakes people make with miniature painting and why they fail at it. Hopefully this will help you avoid those mistakes and keep you on the road to miniature painting bliss.

By failure I'm talking about people who tried painting, hated it, and gave up. They just do not paint at all…"
From here


d88mm194014 Apr 2021 11:17 p.m. PST

It's easy; you just move the paint from the bottle to the figure! If you get the right colors in the right places, you're a good painter.

Kropotkin30315 Apr 2021 3:39 a.m. PST

I remember not knowing about priming and also wondering why the paint didn't dry as it was oil paint.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2021 6:57 a.m. PST

I think people expect to paint 'Golden Demon' level figures, straight out of the box. I blame companies and YouTube painting video posters for setting the newbie's expectations too high.

Set new painters up for success -- nothing encourages a new painter more, than to achieve figures which look decent, at arm's length, right out of the box, for their first try. They can always pursue painting to a higher level, later on, if they desire to.

Simple block painting, followed by The Dip (Minwax Polyshades urethane-stain, or a similar product), followed by Magic Wash techniques (acrylic floor polish + acrylic craft paint, for custom color washes), makes for easy, progressive steps to better results. Dry-brushing and other techniques, can always be added to their tool kit, later, as they progress.

The Dip and the Magic Wash techniques will produce figures which look good, at arm's length, very quickly, very easily. They will create satisfaction, and pride, the first time they try them. Small successes are incredibly encouraging, and they will go a very long way towards keeping the newbie in the hobby.

I have never seen anyone, on any video, advocating this approach. Everyone who posts a video seems to be an advanced painter, employing specialty miniature paints, using air brushes, layering, etc. They tell their viewers it is really quite easy. They rarely mention how much time they spend achieving their results, nor how many years they have been painting! The viewer imagines that it is, in fact, just as easy as the videographer says it is. This sets the viewer/newbie up for immediate disappointment, and disillusionment…

The newbie invests money in higher end tools (paint, brushes, an air brush, etc.). They set up their laptop near their painting table, and they give it a try -- and they fail. They try more, and more, until frustration wears through their interest. They then give up, and walk away. Now that was successful, wasn't it?

Not a fan of that approach. Never have been, never will be. Set them up for minor victories. Use these victories as stepping stones: they can climb higher, if they choose to, or they can stop at a level they like, enjoy, and prefer. And THAT IS OK! They do not need to climb any higher.

That is my idea of a perfect approach to mini's painting. Maybe, someday, someone will take that approach. Not me. Not interested in making videos. I just flog my views here, and on similar forums, when the opportunity arises. Cheers!

jwebster Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2021 7:47 a.m. PST

This guy has produced a number of similar articles, I don't think that this is his best

This article is focused on the average Games Workshop customer, who has likely acquired a lot of figures and seen pictures and tutorials of stunning work. That's a pretty hard place to start from, although the advice in the article is still marginal


newarch15 Apr 2021 8:12 a.m. PST

Its typical click baity stuff really, lots of life hacks (sorry) and cod psychology masquerading as a tutorial.

I learned how to paint in a way that I was happy with about ten years ago, my style is consistent and I don't feel the need to revisit my earlier efforts.

I prefer a grey or brown undercoat, then a wash to pick out the raised areas, then base colours then highlights and lining to delineate colours. It's a bit laborious but they look as good as the figures I used to see in the revolving cabinet in GW Nottingham back in the 80s and 90s.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2021 8:13 a.m. PST

I agree that setting the bar too high is a problem – as is not seeking advice from those who have been wielding a brush for a bit longer – - – plus it depends a bit on why you paint, i.e. i) I like to paint versus ii) a time consuming barrier to getting minis on the table

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Apr 2021 12:42 p.m. PST

Sgt Slag + 1


Garand15 Apr 2021 8:21 p.m. PST

One thing I'd like to experiment with is zenithal painting using the new GW paints. Maybe priming in grey, wash in black, drybrush in white, & finally block painting the colors in. I think this would work for 15mm, but I would need to invest in a new army to realize it…


dapeters16 Apr 2021 9:21 a.m. PST

Does anybody really fail at painting, Outside of their own mind?

Arjuna16 Apr 2021 10:11 a.m. PST

As his Divine Holyness used to say:

We don't make mistakes

Bob Ross doing Death and Destruction

More of Bob's Wisdom

By the way, Bob was the greatest artist of all time making horrible kitsch.
His videos actually run in the background sometimes when I paint Nurgle/Slaanesh abominations.
I love him.

Rest In Peace Bob.
This world is build on happy and not so happy accidents.
You're sorely missed.

Did you knew, he had a military career?
Bob Ross on Wikipedia

Stoppage Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2021 3:25 p.m. PST

the greatest artist of all time making horrible kitsch

BBC – The Joy of Painting

He does some stippling using a massive badger-bristled shaving brush, and some more stippling, and then some more more stippling; and then whatever – it appears!

And he takes ages, and some more ages, and then some more, more ages.

I don't do opiates (banned like everything else here on plague island) – but Bob's telly make me reach for some-thing, any-thing, every-thing.


Arjuna16 Apr 2021 7:47 p.m. PST

Ah, your concept of art may be out of date, think about it.

It's soulfull entertainment and cute kitsch for the masses in the one market segment and an investment for the rest in the other.
The latter is a rigged market by itself, dominated by a handful of art dealers.
And I assure you, the quality features there have a lot more to do with future market value than some sentimental idea of artistry.

The Art of Kuksi
The Art of Kuksi on

He knew this and was one of the first to specialize in his niche, amateur painters.
He gave them exactly what they wanted, the feeling of being creative.
In a quite meditative and entertaining way.
That is something given to few.

That is why Bob is known worldwide and few know Huang Jiang and his hundreds or thousands of talented and skilled Copy Cats in Da Fen.
There they produce quite fantastic clone 'artwork' for millions of soulless middle class wannebes worldwide, that can't afford the products for their living room from that other market segment in multiples of their lifetimes.
That is, never.

You know Hung Jian, don't you?
Well, in Da Fen they know Bob Ross.

Stoppage Supporting Member of TMP17 Apr 2021 2:40 p.m. PST


Kuksi – Churchtank type 15 – fantabulous!

Arjuna17 Apr 2021 8:40 p.m. PST

Yes, really nice.

Games Workshop has been doing that since the mid-90', but that's a different market.
And the two don't overlap that often, that's for sure.

It's profitable for GW, no question.
And everyone whines about their prices.
Well, Kuksi can charge $40,000 USD to $50,000 USD per piece of his art.

And why exactly?
Because he's Kuksi and prices for this brand will increase tenfold in the next 50 years.

Ah, life is a hell of a grind for some and heavenly fun for others, isn't it?
'Hell' by the Chapman Brother

But, don't worry, we are all on a ship of fools.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a first-class passenger.
'Ship of Fools' by the Chapman Brothers

By the way, I'll make you the gothic tank for $35,000 USD if you want one.
And you do, don't you?

A bargain for sure, but since I'm not Kuksi and it's for a fellow TMP'er…
evil grin

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Apr 2021 3:53 p.m. PST



Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 May 2021 3:24 p.m. PST

Anxiety: A Tangible Reason to Paint Miniatures



von Schwartz ver 212 May 2021 5:00 p.m. PST

Start out simple, my first were GHQ and C n C Micro-Armour tanks and I even did quite a bit of infantry. Moved to 15mm Napoleonics and and the $hit hit the fan and before long I had acquired box after box after box of micro-armor and 15mm and a few 25s, for everything from 25mm Biblical, to modern micro-armor, a couple of post-apocalyptic, forces and my son got me into the micro tech robot armies, forget what they are called now.
Cardinal rule; "Never mistake your 12 year old single malt for your wash water."

Acrylic paint is a terrible mix

arthur181516 May 2021 9:25 a.m. PST

It is perfectly possible to enjoy wargaming without exquisitely painted figures. Look at the photographs in the books of Don Feathertone, Joe Morschauser and Terry Wise for examples.

When figures are deployed en masse in a battle game one doesn't notice the individual details, shading &c. It is the general effect that creates the appearance of a battle, just like the hand coloured early nineteenth century engravings in books such as Jenkins Martial Achievements of Great Britain.

If you want to paint figures in great detail to very high standards for dioramas or display, that's fine, enjoy yourself. But please don't imagine you have to do this to play and enjoy wargames.

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