I ended up in a long discussion with my sister last night regarding my painting. She had found a model that she really like when she was shopping for a gift for me and started picking my brain about how to start painting miniatures and if it would be a good fit for her. The first question took a while to answer, and I’ll explore that further below. The second question was much more straight forward – You’ll only know if it’s for you if you give it a try.
Miniature painting is not the most approachable hobby there is and from my experience this is for a few reasons:
- The cost can be high – having a model to paint, brushes, paints and tools and glue if you also need to assemble the models all adds up
- The percieved difficulty – I remember being inspired by some great miniature painting videos but also feeling I could never achieve the displayed results
- Time – There is a large time investment in painting and not everyone is able to commit to it
I feel as though I should put together a “getting started” pack for her. She indicated that she wanted to paint Yoda and I found a version of him available in Star Wars Legion. I also have a few spare brushes and sprue cutters she could use, that should help lower the first barrier to entry. If she does end up commiting to a model I’ve also offered to spend the weekend with her to show her how it’s done and give some on hand advice.
So what would be the best way to start if you wanted to try painting but had absolutely nothing? I would suggest maybe going for one of the packaged painting kits from Games Workshop for the Stormcast or Orruks. Both of these kits offer a couple of models to practice on, a brush and a selection of paints. If those models don’t inspire you then I have seen other similar kits produced by WizKids for Dungeons and Dragons but I am not sure of the quality of the paints provided (it looked like Army Painter in some kits and Vallejo in others, both decent brands but ones I am only starting to familiarise myself with.)
Painting, like most skills, is one that you get better at the more you do it. My first models compared to the ones I have completed recently are vastly different in terms of skill. Each subsequent model I paint teaches a lesson and there is always room to improve. I might do a comparison between my first painted mini and my last one day just to show the difference three years makes. The important thing to realise here is that you probably won’t be an expert when you first pick up a brush. It take hours upon hours of working at it to become good and then months and years beyond that to be great.
Miniature painting is a hobby I highly encourage anyone to try. I am also happy to share my experience and advice whenever I can so if you have any questions, I would love to hear them in the comments below.