Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Attention to Detail - Eye Catcher or Aneurysm waiting to happen?

Hi all,

today I thought i would talk about something that has been going through my mind ever since I started the hobby, something I'm sure a lot of you have thought about at 1 time or another. Its something that plagues many a painter and even a converter, and can lead to many head aches and hours of frustration.

What I'm talking about is details.

How much is too much?
Will it detract from the overall appearance of the miniature?
Will it adequately portray what i intended to achieve?

There are many ways of putting the question down to the masses, but simply its a matter of 'Where do you draw the line'. When do all the finer details take away from the miniature as a whole, and leave you looking at a mosaic that will give you an aneurysm if you look at it for more than 2 minutes.

Cool Mini or Not is an excellent site for showing both sides of this debate, where we can see how many of us either don't know when to stop or when to keep at it. The ability to leave a comment and a score on someones work on the site is a great way of getting positive and constructive feedback. The downside being its also a means of others bagging the hell out of beginners.

Personally I am still struggling to find that balance between too much and not enough, more so struggling to get out of the not enough area of things, without going into the cartoon painting style that seems to rule the competition painting seen.

This leads to another debate, NMM (non-metal metal), the 'art' of making an object look metallic or reflective through use of many many layers of blending slightly lighter/darker colours together to give the effect of light source and/reflection.

Is NMM the way to go with metals, or does this technique fuel the fire for the cartoon styled painting technique?

How do you determine what is too much or too little?
Do you believe NMM is the direction we should head towards?
Am i the only 1 out there who dislikes the cartoon style approach?


  1. Oh good article dude!!!!!!

    I'm so glad you've said this, I was having a bit of a gripe to my gaming/hobby mates on the email the other day about this style of cartoon painting/over detail painting.

    I HATE NMM!!!!!! Seriously, it's the worst looking thing you can ever do, in my opinion, to a serious looking model like those of the GW line. I think it's OK on Steampunky stuff like warmachine and some of the smaller solo SP styled miniatures but for the GW line it just looks crap.

    Over gradienting panels of armour or sections on the bodies is another thing that cracks me as well, as you said, it gives it a weird mosaic look as the highlights - shadows blend is to extreme for the distance covered.

    Another thing I don't like is freehand murals on Vehicles. Lame.. Textures and patterned panels on tanks look great (Khorne with faint skulls blended in looks tops!) but murals suck.

    I like clean, crisp and realistic. Metal IS metallic, it should be painted so.


    P.s. Great blog dude, good content.