There is a light at the end of this display painting tunnel! I have mostly finished the actual Stormcast mini and can turn my attention to the base very soon. Here is a look at it.
First off, I have to credit and thank a painting friend of mine. I was stumped for what color to do the cape and he suggested the burgundy color which I had never really painted before. I think it worked a treat and I added a new color to my painting arsenal as well. I consider myself fortunate to know him because I think his suggestion has really elevated this mini to another level, especially once I tone down the gloss on the back with some varnish. I also want to pat myself on the back for the really smooth gold paint on the shoulder piece. I think I’m getting better at painting gold without needing to do glazes to smooth things out afterwards. That means I can get it done a bit quicker which is always good. There is not far at all to go now on this and I anticipate having it done for next week’s update barring any funny business. I’m looking forward to getting this done and changing gears a bit as you can imagine.
I don’t know if any of you have seen the winners at Golden Demon but it has been interesting for me to see what won and thinking about how my painting compares and what my focus should be going forward. What follows is more a thought exercise on my part but hopefully it is still interesting for some of you out there. Let’s take a look at the overall winner for the category I was going to enter.
The first thing that might surprise you about this mini is that it is pretty simple and not too ornate for a Warhammer miniature. However, if you look closer, it is painted just about perfectly. The lighting and blends are really smooth. The edge highlighting and the textures on the feathers are really excellent. The base is perfectly executed and looks very realistic. Much better than anything I’ve ever done. When I see this mini, I unfortunately see some real strengths that I cannot match currently. My edge highlight is pretty sloppy compared to this and I really will need to sink some time into a mini to get anywhere close to the standard achieved here. The one area where my mini might surpass this one is that I used a fairly innovative color scheme but then again, in the Golden Demon, straying too far from the “default” color schemes that GW has come up with is frowned upon.
The thing that has got me thinking though is what Games Workshop and their judges value in the Golden Demon and whether my painting is suited for it or not. They are looking for high contrast and ultra-clean paint jobs. That is what I was gunning for with this Stormcast mini and as I said before, I didn’t achieve it, even if I had gotten the mini done in time. Readers of this site might think I’m an incredibly patient and meticulous painter but I will fully admit, the quality of the mini that won is beyond my patience level. Trying to achieve this level of painting perfection is not too enticing to me and every mistake you make is going to cause incredible frustration because it could make a difference on how the mini performs. I’ve been spending a lot of time on display pieces over the last year from Drazhar, to the Blood Elf, to this project, I reckon I’ve spent about half of my time on display painting instead of gaming stuff which is totally fine but at the same time, I do feel like I might be trying to do two different things at once and I don’t know if it is serving me well.
I like both types of painting and I intend to do both in the future. However, if I want to enter in painting competitions and win them, I think I would be wise to only do display painting to refine my craft further and try to achieve the painting perfection you see above. As you can probably guess, that doesn’t sound all that fun to me right now and I love to paint gaming pieces as well as display pieces. They challenge you in very different ways and both are fun to do. I guess I just like variety and I don’t want to specialize in one thing for now anyway even if it means I don’t win a Golden Demon or Crystal Brush or whatever.
I paint first and foremost because I enjoy doing it. It is satisfying to create something visual and I find the process very relaxing. I enjoy doing things that I’m good at and I’m good at painting. Everybody likes a little recognition of their skills and I’d love to have more widespread respect in the hobby for my painting skills if that opportunity exists. I’m sure I’m in the upper echelon somewhere though I have no idea where and I’d say that’s where entering in painting competitions comes in. I’m not a great self-promoter and I paint some less popular miniature games so I may never get the respect I probably should but I figure nobody can take away what I’ve accomplished in the hobby thus far and I can only get better as time goes on and I accrue more experience. I’m thinking that instead of chasing after awards, which might bring you acclaim or they might not, I may be just as well off painting whatever I want, as well as I can. It seems like that will maximize my enjoyment of the hobby while still pursuing my goals. After all, I love having a game and being able to share a great battle report as well as painting something like the Stormcast which hopefully will blow someone’s mind out there. So why not both? At least for right now, if that means no awards and accolades come my way, I can live with that. I will stick to having fun and doing what I enjoy and we’ll see where my hobby journey takes me from here.