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Painterly Advice

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I'm a professional painter and I love it. Every day I go into the office or sit at my desk and paint and enjoy every minute of it. While it's not easy, it's something I'm passionate about so it makes the long hours shrink. I can spend four hours painting and think nothing of it. I don't work because this is what I want to do with my life. I'm also fairly new to being a successful miniature painter, just a little over and year and half. So while I'd like to offer a couple choice pieces of advice and encouragement to aspiring painters or just hobbyists, please keep in mind that I learn new things every day as well.
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Jen and I on a panel about making it as a professional painter.
1. To keep in the subject of the above paragraph, the one thing that helps me excel is simply being open to new ideas and creative criticism. I am blessed to be able to work with Jennifer Haley on a daily basis and ask her opinions, but before this I still actively tried to learn. I would find other painters that were local, wargammers, casual painters, it didn't matter. Everyone paints differently and has different techniques, so give them all a try. I also found that most professional painters are approachable at conventions for questions and advice. Some of them probably got sick of seeing me at Gen Con every day and asking more questions.
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I constantly try to push myself to see how fast I can finish a model to certain qualities. This zombie was tabletop quality in 20 minutes.
2. Practice, practice, practice. I spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week painting. I paint in my spare time at night on personal or freelance work as well. I'm not saying you need to spend this much time painting, even an hour a night is enough to see general improvement in painting. I have increased my skill in 6 months comparing models from than to now and also the time I take to paint a model.
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Lots of practice on NMM for this model I painted for Wild West Exodus
3. Push yourself to paint something you normally wouldn't on every model. I like to try new colors, techniques or styles when I paint so I can discover new ways to paint. I always like tackling reds since they're so tricky to highlight. I also try to sneak a little Nonmetallic metal into a model, most have something shiny somewhere.
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My winning crystal brush piece for 2014.
4. Enter contests. You never know how good your work is until you get out and compare it to other painters. Even if you don't win, it's still nice to see your work in a display case and others admiring it!
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My desk at CoolMiniorNot, fairly clean right now!
5. Have a dedicated workspace if possible. I find it very tedious to move all of my work back and forth from one place to another and it usually ends with no painting because, let's face it, I can be very lazy. I have a very wonderful boyfriend who gave up a guest bedroom in his house so I could have a quiet office of my own. I also recommend a personal workspace for lighting purposes. I use three high powered lights attached to my desk for good visibility.

Hope this advice is helpful, there are so many articles and blogs on painting out there on the internet. As always, feel free to drop me a question or send a friend request!

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Painting and Modelling


  1. Demihuman's Avatar
    Great post. Thanks for sharing! Do you work for Reaper? Do you have a blog or something? I have been posting in the work in progress section here for the last 9 months or so and it has been very helpful.
  2. MiniatureMistress's Avatar
    I'm currently working for CoolMiniOrNot as one of their studio painters. I study under Jen and am usually the "young one" in the group of painters at conventions and such I will defiantly check out the WIP forums and see what's up over there. I'm always ready to learn new techniques and open to ideas.

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