Have you ever wanted to pick the brain of a miniature painting contest judge? Or get feedback from an experienced painter and teacher on your painting? While we all love personalized feedback, it has been my experience both as a judge and as a painter that there are a number of common issues that people experience in painting miniatures. I have been working to put together information related to these common issues and their solutions to help painters better understand and visualize them. I am indexing those articles here.
Common Issues with Painted Miniature Figures
Workmanship, Basing, General Issues
Judges (and viewers) don’t just consider the painting on your piece. They also look at the base, general workmanship, consistency, and other factors.
Painting Related Tips
These are the painting issues that come up most often when I am giving people feedback on their miniatures. And most of these are things I am still aiming to get better at myself!
Suggestions for Contest Entries
An earlier version of the two articles above, but with a few additional points or alternate ways of explaining things.
Read this if You Think High Contrast and Darklining aren’t Realistic
Check these examples to see if what you know is getting in the way of what you see.
MSP Open and Medals FAQ
Answers to questions about the format of the MSP Open at ReaperCon, what kind of entries fit which categories, and some nuances of judging.
It’s not the only issue. But it sure is an issue. Here you’ll find articles with before and after photos, and tips for how to create more contrast in your work.
Colour Theory and Terms
Many of my articles use colour terms like value and saturation, and you can learn more about those here. Understanding colour properties is a critical tool to improving your painting.
Display Painting versus Tabletop Painting
Most of the issues outlined in the articles above apply equally to display and tabletop figures. The big difference between them is the level of finish and the time and techniques it takes to achieve it.
Examples and Comparison Studies
Blacksmith: Critique and Touchup
I gave this blacksmith figure I’d painted a very thorough critique, and then did painting touchups to address the critique points. In addition to before and after pictures, the article includes a link to a video version of the critique and painting.
Bugbear: Critique and Touchup
I took a bugbear figure I painted some years ago and gave it a thorough critique. Then I tweaked the paint job to address the feedback. The article includes links to videos of my paint touchups and additional discussion of common painting issues on miniatures.
Beach Libby: Visualizing Lining and Contrast
I compare two figures and digitally edit those figures to help you see the importance of lining and different kinds of contrast. (There’s more than one!)
Victorian Lady: Visualizing Strong Contrast
I took a figure I’d painted with subtle contrast and revised it using much stronger contrast.
Ghost Bride Betty: Contrast and Precision
The original version of Betty is painted with much more precise technique, but softer contrast. The new version of Betty is higher contrast, but more sloppily painted.
Anwyn versus Tara
I compare the strengths and weakness of two figures I’ve painted that are similar sculpts with very different colour schemes, and different levels of painting ability.
The Critique of Promenade
I received detailed critique on my Promenade figure from two of the best eyes for feedback I know. What did they say, and how do I feel about it?
Other Helpful Information
Miniature Contests at Conventions and Shows
This article outlines the general structure of contests, explains some of the terminology, and includes a list of in-person conventions and shows that include a miniature contest.
How to Transport Miniatures
Whether you’re traveling to play games or enter contests, you need to find the way that works best for you to get the figures safely to your destination.
How to Paint Sturdy Miniatures
A good transportation solution helps. Sealer can help. But making your paint jobs sturdy begins before you even apply one drop of paint to the figure.