Making and Learning From Competition Painting Mistakes

42 thoughts on “Making and Learning From Competition Painting Mistakes”

  1. I think you have the right attitude there. No point pushing through with something you’re not enjoying, you’ll have a bad time and the results will suffer. At the same time you tried something new and that’s the best way to improve whether it works out or not. Not that I’m entering many painting competitions these day but I think the whole not painting for the competition but painting and then taking what you have is a good approach.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for the support, mate! In my experience anyway, if you’re not enjoying something, you get frustrated and mad really quickly so it really is something I try to avoid. I think this new approach should pay dividends and be more enjoyable so I’m looking forward to getting back to it once I get the competition piece for Brush with Death done.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. I frequently enjoy what you post without commenting, but I had to come back and comment this time. You do great work, and your skill level is well above mine. It’s hard to admit that painting sometimes goes wrong,, and encouraging for the rest of us that even you don’t always get it right, There’s enough pressure on us each painting to our own standard, and wanting to enter a competition with a figure is certainly making everything harder. If it becomes a chore to work on, by all means try something else. Your Eomer & Eternal are both tremendous figures, and I feel both are worth entering for GD. Cheers!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m glad to hear you enjoy the content and I appreciate you reading it (and liking many of my posts as well). I think its helpful to share mistakes from time-to-time both to motivate myself but so people can see that not everything I paint turns out great or even works out. With that said, I appreciate your kind words and I look forward to entering those two minis in this year’s competition. They’re as good as anything I’ve painted and I’m sure I’ll learn a lot just from entering them.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. The doors look good, and the fur ont he horse looks technically fine, but it just doesn’t look like a horse’s fur – the reasoning being that horse hair is quite short and compact aside from the mane and tail. When painting animals, I think photo references are key – and you can either directly copy or use them as inspiration. The fur style you did on this one would look good on, say, a bear model that had shallow to no texture on it (foreshadowing!) – so call it a good practise even if it didn’t work out as well as you’d like on this particular model.
    I think the cold/warm thing would work better if, as you say you had something as a light source, so even if the model was part of a larger diorama but as a standalone model you gave youself a pretty difficult brief.
    As long as you’re able to learn from your hobby mistakes, they’re still able to provide a silver lining at least! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I agree completely, mate. I did do some photo referencing after my friend suggested going for fur and I noticed exactly what you described. I just didn’t do the fur in short enough or thin enough strokes to make it look fully believable. If I were to redo the fur, that is what I would aim for and while I’m confident I can do it, I still don’t like the looks of those colors. I think its just too stark and so there are multiple problems I need to fix if I were to move forward (unless I just paint over and start again of course).

      Painting MESBG for painting competitions is hard because there are only so many models to pick from that can be winners (I’m sure the judges would say differently but I’m not sure I buy that you could paint 20 year old plastic sculpts and win GD) so that is probably also why I really went for something ambitious here. I’m going to try and tone that down and just focus on doing my best work and trying to improve my skills and see where that gets me this year 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah, it really comes down to one of the various hero/villain models – and not all of them by any means, either! Both the Stormcast and Billy Butcher look great but I wouldn’t get too hopeful about judge recognition of any sort – that way lies madness and disappointment. It’s why I’ve not entered any painting comps for many years now!
        And yeah, you can alway return to the horsie and repaint the hide later on down the road when enough time has pased that it doesn’t annoy you to look at it anymore…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I completely agree. I hope to get some feedback on the models I enter and see how I measure up against some of the best painters in the world. That is enough for me! I reckon that will either motivate me to better myself even more or bring me back down to Earth so I don’t ever want to ascend to those heights again 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If you are looking for a GW/Forgeworld figure with a light source, there is Gatekeeper Harry Goatleaf.

    I like where your thinking is going, do what you enjoy!

    FYI, I like your new blog icon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks! You may become the chief marketer for this website if you keep coming up with suggestions like that!

      You certainly could use Harry Goatleaf for OSL. The unfortunate thing is that the sculpt is very simple other than the opportunity to use OSL and that is why I would be hesitant to paint it for a painting competition. It would be a great painting exercise though and I enjoy painting OSL as well. If you do it right, it just looks cool.

      I keep a running list of ideas I have for dioramas or displays pieces in MESBG and for some reason, you do have me thinking about that. I’ve also been building a bit of Dol Guldur so I suspect it won’t be long before I’m painting something else LOTR. This project’s demise hasn’t dampened my interest in painting MESBG at all thankfully!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. As usual I find myself learning along with you thanks to your blog mate. I concur with your assessments. Your two submission choices are strong candidates. As for the Witch King, I would think you paint in thin enough coats to redo the horseflesh and recommend using Harry Goatleaf as Bret wisely suggested. Good looking doors by the way. You have plenty of Hellboy pieces that would make fine candidates to submit for a competition.

    Oh, I will also echo Bret in that I like your new blog icon. I suspect you and I will be looking forward to the Fallout TV series Amazon is working on!

    And thanks as always for the kind words on my blog posts! You are an inspiration.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I keep learning new things too, mate. One thing I love about this hobby is that it is hard to outgrow it or I feel nowhere close to doing so anyway.

      I may end up painting over the fur on the horse and redoing it, down the road. For now I’m going to set it aside and see if I inspiration strikes me later on with it or not.

      I feel good about submitting Eomer and the Stormcast Eternal because they’re the best thing I’ve worked on. I looked at the Blood Elf project which I finished before those other two projects and I was surprised how much I’ve improved since I did that one. I don’t think I had noticed until just now but it was encouraging to see that.

      If the Fallout TV show is good then I’ll certainly watch it. I have skipped The Witcher because I enjoy the video games and that’s enough for me but Fallout is such a sandbox of a setting that it could make for an excellent TV show now that I think about it.

      You’re very welcome. It isn’t hard when you’re working on such a cool looking project!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think you were right to skip the Witcher if you are a big fan of the game. Cavill was pretty good but the rest of the show not so much. Oh, I did like the song too. 🎶

        Setting the horse aside until your Muse speaks to you seems a good idea.

        I would be very surprised if your Stormcast did not win an award.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. The Witcher games are truly excellent so its almost unfair for a show to try and complete or replicate it. The Last of Us has a similar problem, in my opinion.

        You may think I’m being modest or humble, but don’t be surprised if I don’t get a top 3 place. I might be able to get some other recognition from the judges but that’s probably it, especially for the Stormcast Eternal. I know people who are better painters than myself who have walked away with no real awards from Golden Demon so I will be ready for that outcome myself. Its very stiff competition and I’m a small fish in a big pond, if you know what I mean.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. We will have to see how the Last of Us tv series fares. Rest assured, I will watch it and tell folks what I think of it.

        As for the Golden Demon, award or not, hopefully you get some of the recognition you deserve. 🎨

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Haha, I am counting on it, mate! It will be interesting to see how I feel and everyone in our group feels about my performance. I would guess that we’ll be a bit biased but time will tell! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Mistakes are how we learn and you are right to take the positives from your recent experience. Competions are a funny thing and judging is often open to personal interpretation too. The skill of the painter is certainly a factor but so to is creativity, presentation and adaptation as well. Have fun, maintain your very high standards and let the rest take care of itself. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I heard a somewhat famous painter so that in the prestigious (and popular) painting competitions, you have to paint to a certain standard and then its basically a lottery to see who actually wins based on the judges’ taste that particular day or weekend. I expect Golden Demon to be a lot like that and so I completely agree with everything you’re saying here. I’m going to try to follow the fun in 2023 and be a little smarter about it than in previous years too, if that’s possible 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and wisdom, as always!

      Liked by 4 people

  7. Good comments above I think! 🙂 You’ll know how best you feel about it Jeff. I think Azazel’s comment on the horse’s coat is bang on but, as Grumpygnome points out, you’d be able to repaint it if you choose to. Eomer and the Stormcast Eternal would both make excellent competition entries.
    But things not going to plan are part of the learning experience and we’ve all been there! Sharing these things helps others as well, so worth you posting it. The fact that your Hellboy doors look better than anything I paint hasn’t deterred me! 😉

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Most definitely, John! I appreciate everyone’s support, including yourself. I feel good about entering a couple of miniatures I worked on previously and that removes the burden of this project from my shoulders which is nice as well.

      I don’t mind sharing failures because I have just as many as triumphs. Its all part of the process, I’d guess. You’re too kind as always! 🙂 Truthfully, I think if you painted higher scale miniatures, you could really show off your skills. The smaller the scale, the harder it is to pick out those details!

      Liked by 4 people

  8. Learning from your mistakes is a good life skill, and if you feel better from your decision then that’s got to be a good thing as well. Competitions can be fun, and recognition of your talent can be very gratifying, but if you don’t feel complete without it, then you will never feel it with it ! (John Candy, Cool Runnings) It can lead down a rabbit hole where you are constantly chasing that next win. If you paint because you enjoy it, and you want to keep pushing yourself, and you get wins from it, that would be a better way to go.
    Excellent work on the doors and hope all your entries do well at the different shows.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Dave. I’ve probably learned as much from my mistakes as I have from my successes. I like the quote from Cool Runnings too! I saw that move in theaters with my Dad as a kid so I have plenty of fond memories of it! 🙂

      Realistically, I am very unlikely to be having any podium finishes this year but I’m hoping for some kind of recognition from the judges if that’s possible. The level of competition is so high and you have to do what you enjoy and if the judges really like it too, then that’s all the better. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see how entering in some competitions finally feels in March. Its been a really long time coming after all!

      Liked by 3 people

  9. You lost me on the talk of warm / soft colors and light source but got me back when you said painting was tedious and not fun. That is correct. 😀

    I hope your entries will do well in the competition.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Haha. Just for that “witty” comment. I know what I’m getting you for your birthday this year. A seat at a high-level painting seminar so you can finally be taught the zen and joy of display painting 😀 Thanks for the kind words as always! It will certainly be interesting to see how things shake out.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. You’re a true artist mate and I think that’s why you’re hard on yourself. I think the other two minis are more than worthy of being entered into the competition as both are fantastic and technically perfect to my eye.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, mate! I take that as a real compliment and I’m excited to enter those two miniatures in the competition this year. I don’t feel like I’m settling at all by submitting them. With any luck, I’ll be able to put together even stronger entries for 2024 as well! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  11. Sorry to hear you’ve decided to shelve the witch king – he’s probably my favourite LotR model of all time. Maybe you’ll come back to him when you’re feeling the pressure a bit less though. The other two models you’ve picked out are great, definitely worthy of entering. Good luck!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m sorry too knowing that he is a favorite of yours, mate! I may very well come back to him in the future and see if I can’t finish him out. I do really like the sculpt overall and it is definitely worthy of completion. Maybe I will surprise you this year with a couple of other MESBG sculpts that are good too 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  12. That’s a bummer on your entry. I imagine you can still turn it around to something nice even if it isn’t competition worthy. It sounds like you’re already eyeing another competition, which was going to be my suggestion. I don’t know what’s out there, but it sounds like it’s a real pain to be forced into only painting GW stuff for Golden Demon. Then again, I could get off on a whole tangent about GW! Your ‘backup’ entries look great though, and I guess learning from mistakes is how we get better. Even though it can be painful. Those doors are stellar. I really like the texture you did on the wood panels. Once again, I really need to paint up my doors at some point. I’ve gotten a little better at wood, so maybe it’s time to tackle them again.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It is a small bummer but sometimes the best lessons come from failures. At Adepticon, Mantic, GW, Privateer Press, Creature Caster, and Marvel Crisis Protocol all have competitions which is quite a lot! If it makes you feel better about GW, I think all of the miniature manufacturers have that rule because they want to use the winners in some promotional material. I know Mantic does because I scoped out their rules before I started painting something for the competition.

      I’m glad you like the doors as well. You should give them a shot, especially if you’re playing D&D. All D&D games need some dungeon doors after all!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yea, it’s a sad byproduct of corporate culture. When I first got into RPGs, I used to read Dragon magazine which was put out by TSR. Yet, they had articles about games from other companies too. So it was essentially a fanzine. Later they changed the magazine and it became one big advertisement about their products. That move lost me as a customer, but probably better for the business overall. Ideally a neutral party would write RPG mags and host painting competitions, etc. But like we’ve seen with a lot of ‘impartial reviewers’ in our little hobby, they tend to get bought out as well. Ok, time for me to get out of my old man grumpy rocking chair, haha! Yes, I do need to tackle those dungeon doors! I’ll try to take a look at them tonight and see where I’m at. I bet if I try out some of the GSW Dipping Inks on them, I could get some decent doors out before I know it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I am old enough to know what fanzines are and to have read a few and I can imagine how disappointing of a change that must have been. I know GW has become very corporate and made a lot of anti-consumer decisions which burnt bridges so I definitely know where you’re coming from.

        That sounds good on the doors. You can drybrush everything on them other than the metal really easily so it doesn’t take long at all to get most of the miniature done. The metal bits will likely slow you down a bit and take some concentration but nothing you can’t handle! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      3. GW is a company though, so they have to chase the dollar. But I think a number of their decisions have been extremely poor and that’s just my limited experience with a few of their games. I think the last one that got me was them releasing a rulebook, knowing full well that it would be rendered useless due to a new game edition being released a month later. That’s just not good business anyway you look at it. They still make some of the best minis, and I guess that’s where they got most people.

        As for the doors, I just took a look. Unfortunately, I’ll need to re-prime them in white before I do a test run. Hopefully this weekend though!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I don’t think that GW does the best at managing their games and you have to accept that they constantly create new products and rules to keep you buying. They’ve made that pretty clear with situations like what you described above. I look forward to seeing the doors but take your time and work on them when you’re feeling ready and inspired 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, mate. I completely agree with what you’re saying and we’ll see how the other miniatures do. I imagine we’ll all learn a bit from how the miniatures perform in the competition, if you know what I mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ooh, that’s a tough decision to have made – it must have taken a long time to reach it happily. The important thing is to take the path that makes you happy; it will be a long slog to paint a miniature to your standards when your heart isn’t in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was lucky to have realized it as early in the project as I did, truthfully. With that said, I can’t agree more with what you said and I’m going to try to avoid this mistake in the future as much as possible too.

      Like

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