Tuesday 7 October 2014

Level Up

So, you're browsing various gaming and painting blogs online. The odd AAR, someone's shiny new project they will probably never complete ...and you sympathise, looking over to your pile of uncompleted "stuff" that seems to grow by itself. There are even a few really good painting posts, the type which make you think "that doesn't look so hard, I need to try that" or even "I can do better".

Many hours later and after much blood, toil, tears and spilled paint, you are finally done. It is the *best* thing you have ever painted. Definitely. Must be. OK, so maybe the guy with the moustache needs a few extra highlights, you fudged his left eye a bit and (as you will soon be informed after posting pictures online) the *correct* wafferfarbe colour for the 874th Herman-Goering-Panzer-Sturm-Pioneer Abteilung was, in fact, "Parakeet Green" (with the correct German term and RAL number helpfully supplied)...but apart from all that, it's perfect.

And yet, someone has already posted something better. Damnit, how do they do it? You closely scrutinise every picture, committing to memory the shade and placement of every shadow, every highlight.

Sod it. Back to work you go, trying this, trying that. Buying several of these new-fangled (and usually made by a talented Spaniard) magical-modelling-voodo-in-a-bottle-mixtures that are sure to help. Help create something else, something new, your defining work: a masterpiece surely?

The point? Lots of ramblings mostly.

A lot of guys trying to improve their painting think this is some sort of competition...yeah, not so much, unless you want to make it one. You see the emails I get with the usual ''I wish I could paint like you', etc., etc....well, you can. Honest. Just try sometime, that's the important bit. The rest, as they say, is just practice. There is zero 'talent' or any other such nonsense, at least on my part. What I do is technique, not art: art is to create something from nothing. See various blogs and sites like CMON for proper painters, real artists. I just apply techniques. You can learn to do the same with similar results. Really.

Part of the learning is actually messing things up, making mistakes and learning from them. Duh. Just keep on keeping on, you'll get somewhere you are satisfied with eventually: that's the important bit. So below, a couple of my brother's 8-Rads:

Not bad? Mostly his work, colour choice, but he got bored so I finished them off: a bit of weathering, the crewman and tools, etc. These were his first airbrushed vehicles. The whole "panel highlighting" thing did not come out too well, but then I was probably pushing it trying to teach that in the first lesson. So, if you know someone who can already paint somewhat, ask them teach you a bit if you can, as shaving some time off the learning curve is always worthwhile.

To add to that: not everyone enjoys painting. I do, but he generally does not though he has his moments. That's fine. Some people seem to think there's some sort of "pressure" to paint well, that you must and must enjoy it. There really isn't. So, a pair of 8-Rads done, another unit completed: he learnt quite a bit, I learnt a bit about teaching someone where I assume certain things that are common sense...aren't. The models look good, better than 95% of stuff you'll see here locally, that's enough.

At the end of the day, whatever you do and no matter how well you do it, this is still just painting toy soldiers, isn't it?

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