Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1 - Blogs - CoolMiniOrNot Forums
View RSS Feed

Flips wonderful Journey through the World of Miniature Painting

Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1

Rate this Entry
Good Morning fellow Travelers,

ok, this is awkward. Contrary to my announcement about a year ago, I didn’t make good on my promise to write regularly again. Well, I won’t bore you with a detailed account of everything that has caused this, but just lets say life has held me quite busy. Nevertheless as things have a habit to go, some stability came into my life again. After moving from Wuppertal to Lübeck (my favorite town in Germany) I have some time for painting again. So much for that.

The topic I want to talk today is the usage of themes for a paintjob. What do I mean with that?

Through our painting we can transport a mood, feeling, thoughts and so on. The first step of the painting process for every one of us is to ask “What do I want to achieve with this paintjob”.

Everybody asks himself this question, no matter if you are painting for an army or a display mini.
The answers to this can be as varied as the people who participate in this hobby. They can be something like “I want that my Miniature belongs to Faction XY” or “I want my Miniature belonging to Army XY and be as historical correct as possible”, to “I want to tell story XY with this miniature” or “The Miniature should transport the message XY”.

Getting a theme for your painting can be a great motivation boost, and in my opinion: It is what separates a paintjob and art.

I think even a miniature that is painted with perfect technique is not art, when there’s no passion, no message behind it. With this I don’t mean that the mini must have some moral or ethical message, far from it. As an example: When I paint a new model for my Bolt Action army, and I decide that I want to have it look exhausted, heroic, shaken or used and weathered, this is a message. No overly complex message sure, but a message. When I just paint to get the first price at some competition, with no thought of the theme my miniature is transporting, then, in my opinion, it isn’t art, no matter how good it is painted.

This means that absolutely everybody independent of his skill in painting can create art. And I say this because I want to encourage fellow painters to feel comfortable and proud with every piece they are creating. To compare one self to another painter, in the worst case with the feeling of being utterly inferior in terms of skill, can discourage someone to take up the brush and create beautiful minis, and that would just be a shame.

The best example for this is a buddy of mine. He bought, out of an impulse. the Warhammer Quest Shadow over Hammerhal set. The only obstacle was that he didn’t own anything needed for painting minis, and didn’t have the slightest clue how to paint the minis. His wife knew that I paint miniatures, so she reached out to me, asking if I could help him and show him the basics of painting.

Long story short, we met at their place and I spend a very fun weekend painting with him. Why I’m telling you this? As you can imagine his first mini wasn’t technically very good, just some basic base building, a base color, a bit of shading and some edge highlighting.

And here we close the cycle to the topic: He wanted to look his Miniatures like the Miniatures on the box art, so they would clearly belong to the story told in the game. He sought to better the immersion while playing the game. This was his theme: Immersion, belonging to a story.

First he was insecure about his paintjob because they didn’t look as good as the minis I was painting. So I told him what I tell you. He had a theme he wanted to create and he has succeeded in this. That his minis weren’t technically as good as mine doesn’t matter. Not only that I have a lot more years of painting experience under my belt, but, and this is the main reason, he succeeded in achieving his theme. He wanted them to belong to the story and they did, so he achieved the most important bit in my eyes: Having a passion for what you are creating.

And he was so proud about his minis that he wouldn't stop talking about them the whole evening, it was great to see his joy and pride. And this joy and pride is what I want to instill in every painter, especially new painters, so they can continue to achieve the wonderful pieces they are creating. Something that is important especially on a page like CMON. Simply because it can be very overwhelming to see some miniatures that are displayed here, the quality of many paintjobs is simply astonishing. And this can be very discouraging, something I know from experience. How quick do thoughts like “I will never be as good as this artist is”, “This mini looks so good and my mini looks so shabby in comparison” etc. appear in ones mind?

I believe every painter was at this point, where he was asking himself “should I continue to paint? Is it worth it?”, where he was demotivated or intimidated because others were just so damn good.

Because of that I chose this topic. It simply doesn’t matter how great your skill is as long as you are passionate over what you are doing. Skill will improve simply by doing it. But if your mini has no soul, no passion in it then what’s even the point?

The community helps in this, I’ve never met someone who would be dismissive over the mini of another painter. Instead the opposite will be the case, most times you will hear “This looks great!” or another variant of this statement. Many painters will give sound advice how to better your painting skill give you other input you can use for your paintjobs. And because of this I regret every painter who quits because of a negative and, in the last instance, irrelevant view of the own skill.

So this is a shout out to every painter struggling with his skill:

Keep at it! What you are doing is great, it is art. Of course some other painters are better in terms of skill, but then again, there will always somebody better, no matter what you are doing. Reach out to them, I’m sure they will help you improving.
So be confident in your art and, most important, enjoy your hobby.


I’m sorry, I deviated a bit from the topic I wanted to talk about originally. But nevertheless I’m happy with the outcome, because I think it is important to talk about the criticism you give to yourself, and the insecurity many painters have and which hinders them in their painting journey.

But in the hope that the Text isn’t too long and to avoid it getting to long, I will make a cut here.
In the next Issue I will talk about the original topic.

So what do you think about today’s issue? I would love to hear from you, so please contact and share your thoughts about this with me.

Keep on creating amazing minis!



Submit "Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1" to Digg Submit "Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1" to Submit "Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1" to StumbleUpon Submit "Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1" to Google Submit "Using Themes for your Miniatures Part 1" to Facebook

Updated 10-01-2020 at 12:00 PM by FlipsModelJourney

Painting and Modelling


Privacy Policy  |   Terms and Conditions  |   Contact Us  |   The Legion

Copyright © 2001-2018 CMON Inc.