As a child I did make an attempt to paint some of my minis. I remember it well...Testor's enamel paint set from a model airplane, some cheap paintbrushes, a complete lack of awareness of basic things like "priming" or "thinning". They came out about how you'd expect. After turning a few beautiful Jes Goodwin sculpts into the equivalent of play-doh monstrosities, I settled on simply painting the bases green and giving the figures a black then brown inkwash and calling that good for gaming.
Honestly, I retain an affection for monochromatic art in general. People visiting my Phantasmagoria art page on this blog will notice that pen and ink forms the majority of my artistic output. I can do colours, and anyone who goes back far enough on Phantasmagoria will see an example of my work with oils, but even as inspiration black & white art speaks to me stronger than even the most adept use of colours. I'm not sure how to explain this exactly, but when I look at a pen and ink drawing my mind "fills in the colours", in a way that is more realistic and satisfying to me than most oil, watercolour, acrylic, or digital. More often than not, even with painters I really love (like Waterhouse), the colours give the artwork an ethereal or unnatural look that is not as immersive as a black and white piece.
Anyways, that aside, it was my return to the hobby a few years back that I decided to sit down and actually learn how to paint miniatures to a standard that I was happy with. I returned just as Warhammer 8th edition had started, and my first purchase was two copies of Island of Blood (swapping out the High Elf halves for more Skaven) and a Doomwheel.
Starting with the Skaven, my initial effort was nothing to write home about. I was under a deadline for our first planned game, and so the clanrats recieved a primer of Krylon Ultra-matt brown and then details and a heavy wash in Army painter Strong Tone. They looked decent enough for the tabletop, light years ahead of the paint massacres I'd inflicted on my childhood figures, but it was all still very amateurish. The only really good thing to come out of this initial burst of hobbying was that I hit upon the mix that I use for Skaven skin to this day, IMO more accurately replicating actual rat flesh than any of the suggested mixes I've seen before or since (more on that later).
With the troops finished, I decided to lavish my attention on two individual projects. The first was my inaguaral attempt at creating some scenery for our games. In this case a rather simple single story building, haphazardly crafted one afternoon from a mix of foamboard, popsicle sticks, and cardboard tiles for the roof.
It was the second singular project I tackled that I would take immense pride in however. The Doomwheel. I've either lost, or temporarily misplaced, my WIP shots of that process, but I started with painting the elements still on the sprue, worked at using much thinner multiple layers, began experimenting with highlights and washes, and ended up with something that made me think I might actually have a bright future in this hobby after all.
Though it represents more enthusiasm than skill, I still am rather pleased with how it turned out.
By now we'd been playing 8th edition for a few months, and it was fun, but I began to feel a longing for the Warhammer of my youth. I felt restricted, creatively, by the army book. I found the need for huge armies just to field any of the fun big models annoying. And it was in an ebay search that I by happenchance came across someone selling a set of the early Plague Monks that I was suddenly awash in nostalgia for the miniatures of my youth. At this point, honestly, I didn't even know the name "Jes Goodwin". But I knew his work. I knew his Skaven actually looked like humanoid rats. And scooping up that auction with the inflated Buy It Now price set me on the road that would lead to my discovery of the Oldhammer community online, and the creation of my Skaven Collector's Guide.
This was also a period in which I was seeking out and devouring all the online tutorials I could find. I was painting as much as I could, experimenting with new techniques, trying to apply tips and tricks from various sources. But this was also when pictures of my stuff became fewer and further apart. I was (and am) working towards a goal or standard that I am happy with, and much of my work fell short of that. It was rare I was satisfied enough with anything to even bother taking a picture, an issue that plagues me to this day and the main reason this blog isn't filled with pics of my own models.
On the one hand, I was improving with each new project I tackled. On the other, it meant that I looked at anything that wasn't current with disappointment and disdain. However there were a few exceptions.
I began to conceive of an Eshin-themed army at this point. Kitbashing provides a satisfaction in and of itself that supercedes my own self-criticism towards my painting abilities, and thus I took several pics of my initial experiments with "Ashigurat" Night Runners and "Stormshadows" (samurai stormvermin).
Feeling braver than usual, I even entered this fellow into a competition at the local hobby shop, and damned if he didn't win me a prize.
Unfortunately, at this point, maybe because of overconfidence after the success with Grandfather Nurgle's kin, I made perhaps my biggest mistake regarding this hobby; I accepted a commission job.
To Be Continued...