I thought I might post this to show you what 6 months or so of solid painting will do for you. Now I didn't work on this guy for 6 months but he's the results of my painting just about every day for that long.
You can click on either picture above for a larger view.
I'm actually getting to the point where I can paint faster with better results.
I'm starting to develop techniques for getting the results I want without having to guess or test them out to see if they'll work. I can look at a mini and know exactly how I'm going to paint it before I start now.
I'd like to think I'm developing my own style but really, this is mini painting, I think there's only so much you can do for variety. I've come up with a fairly clean, slightly muted look to my models that I really like. It's definitely not the pure colors I had a year ago.
Six months of painting has taught me how to use washes too. I use them on almost everything. But even more important than that, is knowing when NOT to use them and to go with a different technique. I've learned to mix and match my techniques which is new for me. I used to be a one trick pony.
Now I use washes, layering, blending, line highlights, sometimes drybrushing... whatever will work the best. All of these techniques used together work much better than just using one approach for everything.
I've also learned when to paint certain things to. Sometimes it's better to paint Part A before Part B. Knowing when to paint things or knowing what "order" to paint them in has helped with speed and with overall cleanliness and detail of the finished model too.
The next step for me now is to push the subtleties on a model. Things like color changes on metal areas and varying color highlights on objects. Smaller things to really capture the feeling of the model and bring it to life.
Six more months and I should be alright.