"The Best I've Ever Done"

“The Best I’ve Ever Done”

I find myself saying this phrase a lot. This miniature is the best I’ve ever done. This edit is the best I’ve ever done. I think it took me a while to really realize how important that mindset is. Whether its for this hobby or my work or whatever, as long as I always feel like the latest thing I’ve done is the best so far, I’m always improving and clearly able to see that improvement.

A while back, the “MyFirstWarhammer” tag was spreading on Instagram. I think this was great advertising for Games-Workshop, sure, but also a really inspirational way of sharing work. Thousands of likes are found daily on the incredible paintjobs being shared, but its sometimes easy to get lost in that and forget that not everyone started at that level. I participated, as well, and shared one of my own first Warhammer pieces that I painted when I was like 12 or 13. And though I sometimes find myself wishing I was as good as some of these amazing things I see shared, or frustrated that I’m not there yet, I still recognize progress with every new model.

Take the miniatures in the header image, for example. When I started the Masumi, Demon Hunter model, I hadn’t really gotten the hang of skin tones or cloth highlights. In hindsight, I should have put more effort into highlighting some parts of the skin, but still that ended up being the best one I’ve done so far. A glance at the miniatures page is evidence enough of that. I think this also opened my eyes to needing to change my photography setup, and I found it incredibly difficult to get her to look like she does in person versus in a lightbox.

When I took on the Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought model, I had never done any airbrushing before. Prior to that, I had been attempting gradients by poorly wet blending colors and had no idea that simple airbrushing techniques would completely change that for me. On top of that, the edge highlighting and other general techniques were leagues above other Space Marine models I had done before.

After my recent hiatus from painting, I decided to try airbrushing gradients on cloth, as seen on the Anuminar Winterbeard model. I know I went the easy route and copied my color scheme from the Dreadnought, but it ended up being very enlightening. Up until then, I’d tried either wet blending or abusing the use of shades. Now I’m able to create the basic gradient with the airbrush, and add wet blended highlights and some shade between the folds to come up with a better look.

And finally, the miniature that prompted this post: Hakon. I initially started painting him as a practice model. I had attempted some airbrushing to find a red combination I liked, and was inspired to keep going. I started with some shading and some highlighting, then went to paint his face. For the first time ever, I found myself able to paint the eyesockets and then add some white for the eyes pretty easily. I intentionally left the iris off as I kind of liked the all-white-eyes look in this case, but still that was a first for me. From there, I found myself detailing his hair and his accessories and kept thinking “holy shit, this is the best mini I’ve ever done”. But the thing is, I’ve said that same statement for each of the minis mentioned here. All of them, up until that point, had been the best I’ve ever done.

I can’t wait to see what the next one is.

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