I Tried My Hand At A New Hobby Over The Long Weekend…

September 4, 2013

Painting miniatures is something I’ve been drawn to for a while, but I’ve always held back, feeling awkward that I don’t actually play tabletop games. I thought I’d be committing some horrid faux pas by doing that.

Well, after having been assured by several kind folks that this is entirely not the case, I decided to go for it. My area of focus in art has run to working with pencils and graphite in recent years (because it’s a much, much, MUCH cheaper medium) so I figured this would also be a great way to maintain my painting skills, because boy, am I rusty. And though I’ve done traditional art painting in the past on canvas, models, sculptures, woodworking and even rocks, I don’t think I’ve ever confined myself to doing so much fine detail work; while the painting techniques will probably come back to me in time, working consistently on such a small scale will likely be the hardest thing to get used to.


To experiment with painting minis (and to make sure I won’t actually end up hating it), I started off with the Games Workshop starter kit which comes with one generic brush, a paltry selection of paint colors (I actually caved in and just had to go out and buy a yellow…I cannot abide not having at least all my primaries) plus five elf soldiers. These are my first attempts (my first mini! I shall name him Kent!) A few more, and after eventually getting some actual decent frickin’ brushes, maybe I can move on to some undead.


  1. Looks good…so darned finicky…

    I had a mate who was simply brilliant!

    • Thanks! One day I shall aspire to those awesome minis I see around. Elves today, dragons tomorrow! 😛

      • cool all the best:)

  2. That looks awesome! And super difficult…

    • Yeah, I had no idea how challenging it was…they look small already from pictures, but when you actually hold one in your hand it’s like it’s even smaller than you thought 😛

  3. That’s awesome!! And your first mini looks great!!

  4. While it’s true that painting miniatures without ever playing the tabletop game is all fine, choosing elves clearly was a mistake. The Inquisition will have an eye on you… 😀

  5. One word….CHAOS!

    • CHAOS! Whatever that means in this context 😛

      • Your painting miniatures…Warhammer and Warhammer 40k has armies of Chaos

      • Yeah I don’t know any of that at all! I’m just painting, not playing, lol XD

  6. Looks really nice! Another blogger (well… author with a blog) who paints minis posts about it from time to time, if you want to check out his ideas and such: http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/?s=geeky+hobbies

    He does some good work too and often tells about his process, so if you get into “the whole shebang” then you may pick up some pointers or tips or whatever.

    • OMG, I love Larry Correia (I read his Monster Hunter International books and his Grimnoir Chronicles series). I had no idea he also paints minis, lol.

  7. Looks amazing.

    By the way, you can probably sell those to players that lack painting skills (I knew people that would pay top $$$ for painted miniatures of their choice) and then use the money to buy more of them.

    • Yeah, I’ve recently heard about people selling their painted miniatures/commissioning their painting. It was a revelation for me, I had no idea there was a whole market for that. Heh, maybe in a long long while after I get better 😛

  8. That looks incredible! I think rather than having some Space Marines shipped to me to paint, I’ll have them sent to you instead. And you managed all of that tiny detail cleanly with the crummy kit brushes?

    • LOL, not even brushes, they only gave me one crummy brush. I did all the painting with it just to see if it’s even possible…it’s like they set you up to fail with it 😛

  9. Wow, good work. I played warhammer 40k quite a bit but never got into the painting of models. I let my friends do that for me instead. Tyranids are easy since they’re not supposed to look pretty anyway. ;p

    • Had to look up Tyranids…wow! They’re not pretty, but they sure look fun to paint! 😀

  10. Looks fantastic, especially for your first mini!

    Yeah, get a decent art brush. I used to cringe looking at the bent and cheap-looking Games Workshop ones. Size 1, 0 and 00 are recommended.

    I did fine with the cheaper synthetic/nylon brushes when I was still unsure how much I wanted to invest in the hobby, but be very picky on choosing a straight point. From experience, many brushes are already bent in the store, and it’s nigh impossible to unbend them. 🙂

    You can invest in the good stuff when you’re hooked later on.

    • Yes, I’m a huge stickler on quality of brushes and paints. I’d rather invest more in materials than be frustrated, and yeah after using that crappy GW brush that came with the kit I couldn’t stand it anymore and actually had to go out and get myself some decent brushes. 😛

  11. I know I’m commenting out of order, but bear with me.

    I’m happy that you’re planning on tackling undead. Especially for skeletons, there are some wildly different painting techniques that you can employ.

    As you get more proficient, you might look into the Non-Metallic Metals (NMM) technique. I’m not very good at it, but it does give a very painterly look to the minis.

    Best of luck!

    • I know of that technique…it’s tough! That’s how I painted generally in traditional art, but still always needed a reference pictures, plus had the ease of working in 2D. I can’t imagine doing it for a 3D figure like a mini.

  12. If this is your first I am very impressed. I’m not an expert but one thing you can do with mini that is harder on canvas is learn to use the raised surfaces. Try to experiment with different brush pressure as you paint and you’ll see you can make details pop up simply by varying pressure. You can create this way some measure of shadows without having to go over everything.

    This is really useful with undeads btw, painted a few hundreds of them back in the day

    • Thanks! And yes, very different. I’m starting to learn all the techniques now by looking stuff up as well as by trial and error.

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