Thursday, December 19, 2013

Paint Judging, What I've Learned

Had the opportunity to be the paint judge for Renegade Open GT.  Out of all the things I thought I would encounter while paint judging there was one that left me siting in pure wonder.

(warning proof read once)

JJ typing, first let me say if you ever get the opportunity to paint judge for a tournament do so.  It is a completely different experience, and far more enjoyable in my opinion, than playing.  You see the tournament in a light unlike any other.  In my experience tournaments are 100% on.  There is no downtime.  You go from table to table to table shaking hands with fellow players and rolling dice.  You're too close to truly enjoy the atmosphere.  Being staff, or pseudo-staff, allows you to step outside of that in-your-face-atmosphere and look at it from a place where you can breathe.

Of course none of the paint judging could've prepared me for talking to the master painter of this Skarbrand.  I'll say it now, to blatantly state it so, dare I say there's a bit of hero worship for Andrew Martin.  While walking around looking at the armies, seeing which caught my eye so I can give them more attention when paint judging, Andrew's army instantly grabbed my attention.  As often as I could I would take pictures of his models while hoping to not interrupt his first game.

Of course it wasn't Andrew's models that sold me and elevated him in my eyes.

At the beginning of the fourth game I headed to the bar to grab another round of drinks.  While waiting for my round I saw Andrew behind me.  He ordered a double grey goose, damn that man knows his drink.  Since he was there and I loved his painting figured I would walk back with him to the gaming area and ask as many questions as I can learn about his technique.  Specifically asked him "Grabbing a drink while your opponent is deploying?"  He answered "Dropped this round."  Instantly something magical happened before me and I knew better than to let this opportunity pass.

Slowly walking back to the gaming room I asked Andrew a few questions.  We landed just inside one of the double doors and I bombarded him with questions.  Learned that he painted Skarbrand, above, in 12 hours.  12 hours!  As I told him it would've taken me more than 40 hours to accomplish something close to that.  He happily answered any question I asked.  As I learned forward very much like a young child, little pitcher with big ears, I was constantly amazed by the wisdom this excellent painter dolled out.  However one phrase accelerated my painting a year.  While talking about one of his models and how he achieved the effect he said "Key to painting is knowing when you can be sloppy and when you have to be clean."  I physically heard a click in my head and saw veils lifted from my eyes.  Almost as if I've known its always been there but couldn't put my finger on it.  Yet Andrew stated it so succinctly as if he was breathing yet it hit me like a ton of bricks.

Must have been 20 minutes into our conversation.  He gladly suffered my questions and provide answer after effortless answer.  He very much was the teacher, like his profession, while communicating without misspeaking his message.  An absolute genuine pleasure to learn from.  During my education a fellow painter, whom I deeply respect, arrived.

Nate arrived.  He has tremendous talent and I aspire to his ability, along with Andrew's.  Nate stood against the wall listening in on the question and answer forum that I developed.  Not wanting Nate to feel left out I let him know that just by listening to Andrew over the past 30 mins my painting has grown a year.  That is when Nate said "I saw you guys talking and knew I wanted to be there more than any other place in the room."

During the rest of game four I continued to ask Andrew and Nate questions about painting, modelling and sculpting.   Only once did I turn the conversation my way.  Asking both of them to critique a Necron Wraith model of mine.  The rest of the time was listening to them talk about the magic that makes models come alive.

Both Andrew and Nate taught me so much.  Which I would've never learned if I was playing instead of paint judging.  Paint judging taught me tips and tricks.  There's something to being part of a tournament staff and having the right opportunity to pick the brain of the best painter I've ever met.

Andrew showed me two models he painted on GW's website.  One was a Skulltakers converted chariot link: Skulltaker chariot at bottom of page, second was a Slaaneshi daemon prince link: Slaaneshi Daemon Prince at Bottom of page.

Those simple words: Key to painting is knowing when you can be sloppy and when you have to be clean.  Has shortened my own painting time.  Recent model I painted Radagast which would've taken several more parts to get it how I wanted if I never heard those words.  The Wraithknight I'm presently painting also has benefited from Andrew's lesson.  There might be a little man-crush on that painter based on the number of times I've dropped his name in this post.

Fortunately this is not the last post on this topic.  Dare I say I've only shown the tip of the iceberg.  Check tomorrows post for what I'm sure will be a ground shaking revelation regarding you and your painting ability.  I'm confident in saying so because I've exercised it and it has done me wonders.

slainte mhath


  1. I have had similar experiences and I was talking to Dave Taylor one time when so many simple techniques that were common to him were unknown to me. I went home and applied them and my painting has never been the same! It was eye opening and incredible and I am glad you got to have that experience.

    1. TJ, never heard of Dave Taylor before. Checked out his site and he does some great work. Great to hear there are others that had similar experiences.

  2. There is no substitute for feedback in person and seeing how some one does something IRL. Being able to pick some ones brain about something they did helps too. Stepping out of your comfort zone will help even more - paint everything! I can't tell you how much I grew in the past year since stepping away from 40k on pretty much every other project. Also joining C'MON has helped give me access to some truly world class painters and their feedback. At first I was humbled and a bit frustrated that my painting was not where I perceived it to be. One year later and I am flattered that some amazing painters from around the world are giving me cudos and asking about how I achieved certain things in my paint jobs. I would encourage you to start a WIP thread over there or browse the ones there to sample how supportive and almost instant the feedback can be. It's a really great community for the aspiring artist ;)

    1. Completely agree, Zab. No substitute for feedback in person. While I appreciate the praise I want to grow.

      Just to make sure I'm on the same page C'MON is Cool Mini or Not right?

      I imagine feeling humbled and frustrated can knock you down a couple of pegs. Then the supportive community allows you to make and stand on more solid rungs after applying their suggestions.

      There are WIP threads on Cool Mini or Not? Now I'm extremely interested. Think I will take you up on your offer, Zab. Thanks!

    2. Yep, cool mini or not. The wip threads are in the forums section.

      What I enjoyed most was getting advice from really talented people then going backward through their WIPs to see where THEY started!

    3. Thanks for confirming that.

      I like that. Going backward through talented peoples posts to see where they started.


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