So I have gotten into the idea of actually materializing my thoughts on a lot of things Warhammer in my blog. I could post topics on forums but it is hard to lay everything all out of the table in one go as part of a mass discussion. So, I have decided to start keeping regular blogs here on my musings, etc.
So to kick this resolution of mine off, I've decided to write a bit about painting armies.
It is now the earliest hours of Tuesday morning, and this weekend is Warpcon, the biggest gaming convention in the south of Ireland. Been going 19 years and still strong. I will be entering the two day Fantasy battle tournament with my Warriors of Chaos (whose progress can be seen further back in the blogs). This of course has got me excited to finish painting my army due to the generous painting scores been giving out, which leads me to now.
I have just finished the first of five in my last unit, my Marauder Horsemen. As I lay the model down after a hard day of painting, I begin to feel the aches of the trials of the last week or soof working on the army. It's gotten me thinking, what can people do to make painting an army easier? It is a daunting task no doubt, but some seem to find it more easier than others. Some people take years to finish armies, others take weeks, and the standards are never consistent to what is expected from the taken time. So let's take a look at different techniques and such that might help people with painting whole armies.
Being comfortable is the most important thing to be sure of while painting. If in a comfortable setting, one get's more relaxed, and thus the work load suddenly seems less a chore and more a joyous activity. Putting on some music can really help get one into the right place of relaxation. I have found some music better than others. I am an avid fan of metal (all hail the mighty Machine Head), but while painting I find that with such talented musicians playing it draws your attention away from your work as you concentrate on every technical riff and solo that is in a track. At the same time, if you put on your classical collection, you are likely to get so relaxed you may wonder into the land of nod. So I have found that the in between works best. I like a nice mix of Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback and Alter Bridge to keep me relaxed and at the same time concentrated. Strangely enough, the sound of the title screen of my Lost DVD being played by the girlfriend in the background is also rather soothing. Ah well, c'est le vie!
Cushy for your tushy. I don't know how I can truly stress how important proper seating can be (says the guy who has been sitting on a bar stool for the last few weeks while painting, this will kill me when I'm older). A firm back rest is essential, however, I would not advise arm rests while at a painting table as you need the flexibility to keep your elbows in comfortable positions while you lock your wrists. This steddies your hand and gives a finer finish to the model obviously. An arm rest might disallow a good positioning the paint under your horse's belly for example. Most important, note that spinny office chairs distract one's attention!
Location is also important. You must be in a location you feel good in, and where you can easily access all that you need, be it your music, a book to reference a colour scheme, etc. Most people will choose their bedroom, and why the hell not?!
Surprisingly enough, the hardest thing about painting an army is acquiring the motivation to actually spend the time on it. As stated above, most people will likely paint in their bedroom, so distraction comes with the territory, be it your Xbox, your guitar, or the significant other looking tasty on your bed. So all this considered, there has to be something to really make you want to paint over all these other things. There are a few things that help, and they differ for different people.
Tournaments are a main one. I can speak from experience, when a big tournament is coming to town, you instantly get that notion that you really want your army painted for it. And so you set to work.
Deadlines. Something that will come with the above is a deadline. With a forseeable goal to reach, you will always know where to go. With all the time in the world, people procrastinate. This is the one good thing about events where painted armies are a requirement, people are forced to buckle down and get the work done. I currently have five monthly deadlines for the Chamber of the Everchosen online magazine, and this has really kick started my engine and coupled with the upcoming tournamnet which I mentioned in the intro, I am now down to just four models to paint.
Punish yourself. If there is a model you really want, or one you already have been haven't to work on yet, tell yourself you can't go near it until you have your current projects finished. This has helped me not to impulse buy quite a lot, and has also worked with my painting (though my mind is so strong I can sometimes even break through my own mind barrier, grrr).
Theme. Setting a theme for your army, with some ideas for fun and unique conversions can spark and interest that often can't be stopped. That picture in your head, of the model you haven't finished, and that no one else will have, it pushes you onward to glory. This also results in a better and more unique and exciting army, and I would recommend trying this for your next project.
Just a short section here on taking breaks. Painting can be a tedious job (perilous if you are not careful). It is important not to slave away at it. Get up and go for a walk. I'm sure when you were at school, you were always told about how important it is to take breaks during study, and the right times to take them. The same applies to painting. Usually when you get hungry can be a good time to scidadle.
Army selection and colour selection are two things that can really decide how you will go about painting an army. If you pick an army who plays well but you don't like the look of it, you are unlikely to ever touch it with a paintbrush unless you really have to. Likewise if you set a colour scheme that annoys you, etc. you are less likely to do the work. So first thing is first, army selection.
When starting a Warhammer army, I think the imagery is the most important thing to consider. Armies evolve, and a few years later your army may play a new way which you do not like, yet your models are still valid and the imagery of that stays with you forever. Asking most Warhammer players even, what got them into this hobby, they well tell you a picture did.
Picking your colours is very important here. Not only will it determine how often you paint, but also how your army well look when (if) it is finished. So, pick colours you are good at painting. A lot of people mightn't realise this, but everyone has their strengths and weaknesses as far as colours go. For instance, I paint pretty good reds I have been told, however I have been critisized on my browns and rightfully so. So now the only browns I use tend to be in small and/or raggy areas with lots of contours so that I can do a quick drybrush of the area and move on. If you pick a colour you are good at the result will be good, and so from this you gain confidence and want to do more. If you pick a colour you suck at, your model tends to come out dodgey, and this puts you off more painting for the night. It can be that simple really. Also, the amount of colours on a model determines how long it will take to paint. For most people, if a model is quick and easy to paint, they will prefer painting it.
Time allocation -
Just a final thing to note here is the importance of time allocation. You are much less likely to get distracted if you have your painting times set out. If you know you will be painting for the next two hours, you also know that when you are finished that game you've been craving to play is all yours. This also falls into the catagory of creating goals. Set a standard or aim to accomplish each evening/session, and accomplish it. If one just paints on and off randomly, you will find you get a lot less work done.
A final note, do not paint when you are tired as you will mess it all up and then you have to do it all again!
Anyway, that concludes the first part of the Simple Design. I hope you will all subscribe and keep reading the future installments. Cheers.