A look at my painting style over time

No, this isn't about Terminators, it's about painting styles. I just happen to have them as examples of my painting over time.

I thought it might be neat to look at where I started and where I'm at now with my painting. It's obvious my "style" has changed over time and even more so recently with my venturing into the darker and more limited color palettes.

You can click on the image for the larger version. But just looking at the photo, you can see some things have remained consistent through time...

I pretty much stick with GW color schemes, not that imaginitive I know, but I like what they come up with so I see no need to make something new.

I try to add those extra details like icons and decals and such. I've always thought those extra "touches" really make a model.

What has changed is my use of color. I really like the dark, dirty look with models that are weathered and war torn. Very cool. I'm into different methods of painting as well like using limited palettes and certain base colors for effects. I like trying new techniques especially if they increase my painting speed.

I'm not as neat these days... at least with my own work. I'm much more forgiving and I don't have to have every single highlight perfect and in place. Now, I just get things close enough and make them look good for playing.

I like what I've got now. I'm much more into the visual feel of an army and how they look than I am the actual effectiveness on the tabletop these days. There's so much you can do with painting to create certain looks and feelings.

I'm getting to where I like to see armies painted up with character and feeling more than I like to see technically perfect work.

Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!


  1. It's good to see that even painters that we look up to started just like the rest of us and that time affects tastes as well.


  2. You said it perfectly, time affects tastes. As my tastes changed, I used what skills I could to keep up with them.
    It's obvious with just the three examples posted.

  3. Couldn't agree more - when I look at my earlier efforts there is a whole world of difference.

    My earlier efforts pale in comparison with how I can paint now. Similarly however, my style is completely different - I've gone a similar way to you Ron, and I can see a lot of my painting history in the three images you've posted there. I am definitely liking the more subtle painting...

    I consider it a lot more appropriate for the Gothic feel of the 41st Millennium!!

  4. I have miniatures I painted dating back as far as 20 years ago. Granted, there was a 14 year break in painting between then and now but I *LOVE* looking back on old work to see how my style and taste has changed.

  5. It's an interesing topic, and one I was actually thinking on recently. I think you are all right, time does effect taste - and I think I've gone down the same route as you Ron.

    My Dark Angels, for example, strongly resemble your middle terminator - where neatness and getting every highlight right was the order of the day. With my new dipped Guard army I really have to force myself to be more forgiving, but its starting to pay off, as I get models completed far faster.

    I still haven't managed to get models looking as dark and realistic as yours, but I thinking I'm moving in the right direction!

  6. Lloyd: I used to paint everything high contrast but it wasn't until I pushed myself to try the subtle approach that I started liking it.

    misterjustin: I think there's about the same gap for me between the fisrt and second models I've posted as well.

    sovietspace: My Lustwing is a step between the middle model and the darkest one.
    I should have included one of those in there but I didn't. They don't have the darkness I've come to like now but they are much more "loose" in their painting style and were the start of some experimenting with my painting.

  7. Awesome. Love seeing the ol'school termy. I posted some comparison picks as well. Though I was mostly comparing the models, but yep the painting has changed over the years.


  8. The development you describe can be seen in many painters -- some of the (very) old white dwarf painting schemes are highly vivid in contrast to more modern ones, for example. I think its both natural and healthy to evolve stylistically :)

  9. Man those old models look naff! lol.

    I guess you used ink perhaps on the white Terminator?

  10. jabber jabber: You can defnitely see the change in White Dwarf over the years.

    Mercer: The middle termie is just lots of layers that work up from a dark grey in the recesses to white on the armour plates.

  11. Definitely prefer the grimier 'lived in' look for most models.

    One thing that I really prefer to have a grimier look are drop-pods; they ought to look scorched not show-room shiny.

  12. Good topic i think we can all agree that over time we change and so does our ability to paint our models.

  13. Hudson: I can imagine a handful of Marines arguing over who has to ride down in the "new one."

    Steve: I know part of the frustration with painting has been my lack of ability to paint what I imagine my models should look like. It seems like only now am I getting to the point where I can match the two up.

  14. good post, i totally agree with your way army building being more about the look and feel of a force rather than just built to win... i much prefere this, i dont mind losing with an army so long as i enjoy playing it...

    loving the orig Space Hulk termie with flamer too..

  15. Character wins over painting with me. It's wonderful to see perfect painting but it's a little soulless and empty on its own. The mini painted has to tell a story now matter how small that story is and how small a part in the overall story of an army that one is.
    Definitely something that I think stands out with those minis you have compared there. There's some wonderful painting on each but the most recent Deathwing terminator wins hands down to me as that paint job could write a novel! It's dirty and grimey, the guy has clearly been at the business end of a campaign and that fact is what makes me love it. He clearly has a saga behind him! :D

  16. Vinci76: I'll be getting into that aspect (playing the army you love) in a coming post.

    Elazar: I used to love looking at the "perfect stuff" and then one day... it just didn't appeal as much as something painted with life and character to it. Something painted with a style, not necessarily perfect but with a unique look and feel.


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