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Thread: Something to Ponder Over

  1. #1
    Wamp Guru War Griffon's Avatar
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    Nov 2009
    Somewhere on earth

    Something to Ponder Over

    Right, grab yourself a coffee or whatever and make yourself comfortable because this is going to be a long read.

    Over on TB this morning is a thread title Food for Thought by MBD whereby he came across a blog entry via Massive Voodoo discussing the direction of the hobby.

    Like MBD I am not going to cut and paste the blog entry you can go and read it yourself here

    I would however be interested to hear what people here think.
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  2. #2
    From some of the things I've seen since returning to figure painting, I have to agree with the writer. I'm glad I do not paint for competitions because I don't want to be limited to the sameness that everyone uses to paint. One of the best things about this forum is that a lot of the critique isn't trying to push a work to fit that "norm".

    One of the first things my daughter painted was a Panther from Reaper. It turned out purple and off white with an almost badger-like pattern. It's still my all time favorite because it didn't matter what color the panther is supposed to be, her panther is purple. She's 9 BTW.

    Not all goblins need to be green. Not all figures need deep shadow, and white highlight. A figure should be graded on the painter's skill, not a checklist making sure the figure uses all the current fads

  3. #3
    Wamp Guru RogerB's Avatar
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    Interesting article with good points altough it could just be summarised with "do ya own thang!".

    EDIT: I agree with the points it makes about everything becoming homogonised at times. It fits in well with my view about there are no rules in painting. Many a time Liz has heard me rant about that. There are techniques, ideas, theories, even guidelines, but no rules.
    Last edited by RogerB; 19-11-2010 at 11:25 AM.
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  4. #4

    Wamp Apostle
    Undave's Avatar
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    It's quite a good article, comparing painting styles to computer game graphics. I can't help thinking tough, that it started off with a bit of a self indulgent whine about how things "were better in the good old days." There is a trend towards darker pieces as is it's hard to convey the mood of menace and danger with an eye popping cartoon of a colour scheme. I reckon at least part of the reason they all "blend in together" is down to crap lighting at the venues, a fact I know you've remarked upon before WG. There is a lot of emulation in the hobby today but there are also an awful lot more people involved in it and the dissemination of ideas and techniques as well as the exposure of individual works through the internet has led to many producing works in the same style. The internet has also led to the blending of techniques with traditional military model makers and painters of larger scale models.

    I think it's still an undeniable fact that the few top artists in the field still do have their own unique style meaning it's easy to recognise their work in among other pieces. There are still innovations coming along, OSL and NMM in recent years are good examples and I know countless words have been spilled over what the next trend will be. It's only natural that people will want to adopt these styles and in doing so they will initially copy the innovator to get the hang of it before they develop their own way of incorporating it into their style.

    Personally I think a degree of homogenicity of style can be a good thing. If all the minis at a show were wildly different it would make it very hard for judges to come to a consensus on which was the best. I think it would also be terribly unfair for anyone to say that "So and so doesn't deserve a prize because he's used this technique when Whosisface used it first." We don't criticise the impressionist painters like Monet and Degas for using similar styles so there's no reason we should do the same with minis.

    I'm not totally disagreeing with him as stagnation would be a bad thing for the hobby, I just don't think that we're in any danger of that happening.
    Last edited by Undave; 19-11-2010 at 11:42 AM.
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  5. #5
    Banned Wamp Guru
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    Ok, where to start......

    I do think GW or should I say GD... No! competition in general stiffles creativity. When painters get to a certain level they want to be known by the rest of us as being numbered among the best of us. This means they start to paint for competition as that's the best, but not the only, way to become recognised. As soon as an enterant puts his or her miniature on that comptetition table they are at the mercy of the judges and as we saw recently, what a miniature is judged by differs vastly from competition to competition. Games Day and Euro's are arguably the two biggest painting contests in the UK calendar and disreguarding the choice of models used to crate the winning pieces of each contest, the winner of GD would not have won at Euro and visa-versa and this come down to the judging critera. Getting back on track, I personally don't think competitions should be shunned but by the nature of what they are, an "Ideal" has to be formalised so judging can take place.

    There are other ways to get recognition as being "A Good Painter" and the internet and forums like this are the prefect place for that to happen. We ***** an moan about CMoN score, but remove them from the equation and CMoN is the almost perfect place to show a miniautre and to discuss ideas. Maybe if we wern't so hooked on this "Ideal" style mentioned above, painters would try different techniques and styles without the fear of spending weeks on a miniature only for it to rate a 6 ot 7 becuase of the short sighted judging system on CoolMini. A prime example of this is when just the other week I posted a picture Yellow ones, Acid Green Spacemarine on the cool mini thread and it was knocked back by members as being unfeaseable and boarding on the ridiclous simply because an army couldn't be painted to that standard when the two painting disiplines are not related at all. Its a fact that "Display Painting" and "Army Painting" are almost separate hobbies. In my opinion this just highlight the gulf between competition painting, or painting to an ideal, stiffling creativeness.

    From a personal point of view I like to try new techniques and to build up my skills, but thinking about it, I have fallen into the same trap as I think most of us are in as these new techniques are aimed at painting to an "Ideal" this is becuase i want to get "better" and do well in contests. Maybe a way to sort this out is have contest catagories for creativeness but I think it too subjective to judged correctly. Imaging a miniature painted use pointilism or sculpted in a cubist style, I doubt they would every be popular becuase the roots of our specific brand of miniature painting are firmly planted in the gaming side of the hobby.

    I supose I have made a conscious decision to change, all be it in a small way, to move from "Gaming" miniatures to larger scale pieces so they can be judged on different merits and also I can employ different techniques to complete them but they still kowtow to this ideal style of trying to obtain realism. I suppose the whole thing boils down to what an individual painter wants from the unpainted miniature they are about to start. Do they see the lump of lead or resin before them as a canvas where they can express and explore different emotions and realities, or, see the unpainted miniature an opportunity to bring life to a lifeless object. I tend to leaan toward the latter but try and bring for of the former into it, but not too much. I wouldn't want to spook the judges!

  6. #6
    Wamp Guru Hinton's Avatar
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    It's definitely an interesting read. And, on a certain level, I do agree; a lot of painting has become somewhat similar as we try to draw inspiration from painters who are better than us. However, speaking just for myself, it has given me an idea on trying different techniques. Sure, some may point and laugh at what I produce because it doesn't look 'right', but I'll give them a go anyway.
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  7. #7
    Super Wamp Noddwyr's Avatar
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    Great article. I agree with alot of what has been said above. Shanes points are all very good and I think it is hard to not fall into that ideal. I think that the "ideal" certainly makes judging easier as it would be very hard to judge if there wasnt. Personally I dont think i have fallen into the ideal yet and am still trying new things enjoy seeing minis painted in novel ways. Though at the same time when I see a mini that is painted to the current "Ideal" I cant help but say "wow, I wish i could do that". Thanks for posting this article, it definitely makes me think and want to try more novel techniques and it has actually given me a few ideas that I plan to use and hopefully enter into WAMPED.

  8. #8

    Enlightened Wamp
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    The main thing is that the vast majority of people that paint toy soldiers put the colour on where it "should" be, but there are far fewer who take the time to wonder why.

    There's enough people on here, PB, TB, CMON, Massive Voodoo and so on that have their own styles, some more individual than others; but I can't think of too many that believe that they are "right" in how they paint, it is just the way that they have developed - for better or worse.

    I'm always adding things to what I do, and sometimes taking away too, but I try to make nearly everything "my" style.
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  9. #9
    I have my own style its called 'never get time to paint'

    Nah i basically paint becuase i find it relaxing, if i paint for a competition it is usually just a fun piece, if i get a prize or mention bonus if not o well, it goes in my cabinate as my own little 'Micheangelo or Leonardo...choose your favorite turtle'

    I do not think there are any hard and fast rules to how we 'should paint' ours is just one of hundreds of mediums that can use artistic licence, of course if you are entering a comp for a specific manufacturer and they have a specific style then yes you should perhaps lean towards there style a little more but other than that, paint to your own skill abilities, try out some new stuff if it dont work no worries.



  10. #10
    Wamp Member
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    I read through those yesterday. Interesting read.

    As has been mentioned above, I think that part of the homogenizing of entries in a comp is that art is so subjective. When you enter a comp with the intent on winning, you're going to try to do something that you know the judges will like. Ideally judges will all be completely unbiased, but people are all far from ideal. Perhaps a judge doesn't like the colour yellow, but likes red - in which case, paining something yellow rather than red would handicap you.

    Looking at current winners vs older winners, I think the major difference is the choice of colours. Older paint jobs were far more garish (not really diverse) whereas current ones are more harmonious. The introduction of colour-theory and more traditional art techniques has improved the hobby in general.

    The thing he didn't touch on in his articles/rants is that it's usually the same painters who win the competitions (at least the GDs anyway) year after year. What does that say about the hobby?


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