Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A New Perspective!

It's been a good long while since I blogged, I found it increasingly difficult to find different things to talk about that would engage anyone, so the opportunity to contribute here was perfect.  It helps all three of us get our thoughts out and keeps the space flowing in new content.

Much to Alun's chagrin I'm the resident hardline Imperial :)  I collect Dark Angels (my hobby love), Carcharodons, Imperial Knights and Inquisition, although I'm branching out as you'll see below.

Before i launch headlong into talking about my current projects i'd just like to get something off my chest, which Alun touched on in his last post.

I was going to use my first opportunity here to showcase my Tyranids (there may only be two but they still deserve plural!), however I can't find pictures of one of them and the light is too poor to take new ones :)

What I can show though is my first Tyranid, a Winged Hive Tyrant, and the winner of the latest local GW painting comp.  Sorry Alun!
A lot of time went into this guy.  I'd never done a mostly flesh model before so wanted to make sure it was as natural looking as I could manage, but I'm still not convinced it's smooth enough and that's with over 20 hours on the body sections alone.  The wings took me 10 hours each, i'd never painted anything quite like them before so wanted to do my best to make them consistent.

The base took two days to construct what with glue drying times and such but represents probably 5 hours of build/paint time ignoring glue.  However, the 40+ hours I put in to him are only the tip of the iceberg.  I watched hour upon hour of youtube videos and read umpteen blog and forum posts on how to paint Tyranids.  I even watched about 2 hours of basing tutorials to find out how to construct a base that is eye catching but not more so than the model itself.

Which brings me to my point; I'm not good at taking compliments.  Even if my paint job is better than the other guys, I don't actually believe it.  All I can ever see is the mistakes I've made.  A mold line here, a wonky highlight there, primer showing through the base layer and all that kinda stuff. No-one is more critical of my work than I am and I like to think that's good thing.  It stops me from being arrogant.  It keeps me mindful of others feelings about their own work and more importantly it keeps me striving to make my next model better.

With that as the case what I really can't understand is anyone unfairly criticising anyone else or their efforts.  These are two comments that passed my ears when the judging was ongoing/announced on Saturday that have really stuck with me;

What a surprise
What's the point in entering?

In my head I think its best to just leave those asinine comments at the door as we walk out, content that its only jealousy, but my heart says hell no, speak up.

I would never, ever, deny anyone their moment.  Even if that moment is at my continued loss I can still swallow my pride at a peer's accomplishment.  When I've lost out to Alun in previous competitions I've gladly shook his hand and offered congratulations, not just because it's polite, but because the effort and time put into the entry is more evident than mine.

I can learn from that, take something away from it to help me next time.  I can humble myself, admit I need to learn how to be better at something in order to get the edge in the future.  I spend about 10 hours a week watching how-to's (especially Duncan Rhodes when he does them) just to extend my skill set.  I can't sit back and think "i'm better than them, heck, i'm untouchable", not only is that wildly untrue but it's only to my own detriment.

You see, being a painting comp winner, even once, makes you a target.  You're the one everyone is trying to beat. You are the one everyone is going to be looking at, the one they will be commenting on, and the one to receive the mocking jibes should you lose out.  You've got nothing to gain, and everything to lose.

I win more than my share of comps.  I'm primarily about the modelling/painting so for me that's far more important than winning a game of dice, but I won't gauge my ability in how many times I've received a laurel, but in the quality of the competition I ran against.

So why should you enter? To force you to humble yourself, admit your skills aren't as good as you think.  To force yourself to slow down and take an hour and learn a new technique.  Give yourself the full month to work on that one model.  If you have to, why not practice on all those spare never-gonna-finish models? The onus isn't on the previous winner to fail, but for you to succeed.  Why throw together an entry two days before the deadline that you may or may not even have finished just in order to enter when you have a whole month to get something done?

I'm genuinely looking forward to this next competition.  I chose the theme of 'Transport' and seeing as that covers everything from Horses to Thunderhawk's the competition should be fierce and interesting.  I offer good luck to everyone that enters and just ask for a little humility if you don't succeed.

Until next time, Good Hunting!


  1. Agree 100% with you Matt. But I feel there is another reason to enter. To put yourself out there. To get used to critism and someone nit picking your stuff. To join that rank of people who share the exact same passions about painting that you do.

    I got that advice from another blog, which got me to enter into my first competition. I knew I wasn't going to place, but that wasn't the reason. It was just to get used to entering. And in doing so, I met many wonderful artists, learned lots of tips, and got great feedback to improve my work.

    You lose 100% of the contests you don't enter :).

    I really like your base on this hive tyrant. Are there photos of it in other blog entries? It looks really well done. The consistency of carapace highlights and wing work is really great on the flyrant as well. But the base speaks to me!

  2. Cheers Greg!

    My old blog was deleted, but I hadn't posted this guy on there, so he lost his virginity on this blog so to speak :)

    I really enjoyed making the base, even if it did come at the cost of a broken Nephilim wing.

    I intentionally didn't paint the wing as well as I could. The two reasons for that were so it would be easier to weather back and so it didn't steal focus. I learnt that keeping all the tones on the base very similar with no jarring changes really help keep it visible but not too visible.

    It's my best base to date, with the possible exception of my Toxicrene :)

    1. Well then Matt, I request a post with detailed base photos :).

  3. Definitely deserved to win but I think I've got the next one :)