Posted on December 15 2019
Do you ever see something that another gamer has created and immediately dream up a project of your own? This kind of idea exchange, albeit brief, can be a wild ride if you are ready to explore the possibilities. In this article I am going to focus on the artistic side of tabletop wargaming.
Our hobby is truly amazing. It can be an intense outlet for some very incredible and one of a kind art. This art from another artists perspective, can give us inspiration or the drive to make something of our very own.
The dictionary definition of Inspire is: to excite, encourage, or breathe life into. Inspire comes from the Latin word that means to inflame or to blow in to. When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow (ie: A film can be inspired by a true story). Similarly, when we see a beautifully painted and crafted miniature, our minds can go into overdrive with fun new plans.
An inspiring artist has two core beliefs. They believe in themselves and they believe in others. Behind those two beliefs is a lot of hard work. Quite literally, thousands of hours put into their craft. When they speak of their ambitions, it is with great passion, optimism and enthusiasm. These people are easy to find if you look at our community of hobbyists and painters. Social media is populated with tons of hobby brothers and sisters, each with their own take on what the perfect paint job or miniature should and could look like. Almost all of the time, these people are very approachable and happy to share their techniques and tricks that helped them create that unique piece.
So, you’ve looked over that photo, and talked to the artist to figure out just how they made those colours shine and come to life. How do you go about doing the same thing without becoming like a parrot and copying their work? There are a few key things to bear in mind before you get out your brushes and paint.
Diversify your sources of inspiration. There is a big world of fun art out there, get in touch with it. Books, social media, movies, even a walk through your neighbourhood can help get those creative juices flowing. We are constantly surrounded by various sources of colour, texture, and shape. You never know what might attract your eye while you are eating your lunch.
Immerse yourself in inspiration. When you figure out the piece you want to create (ie: a tropical fish paint scheme inspired Dark Eldar army), surround yourself with all the resources you can. Get those books out, do a few internet searches, put on that kids movie about a plucky fish attempting to get home. Take it all in, make notes, draw up some concept sketches, make some paint swatches, and then sleep on it. After a good night’s rest, revisit the previous days work and narrow down the good from the really good ideas.
Lastly, create from memory. If you are always looking at that model from your favourite artist online, you will eventually end up re-creating the same piece. Study that art you are inspired by, make some notes etc, and then get to work. By not having the direct reference to what you would like to accomplish, you allow yourself the freedom of not being stuck in the same box.
A true artist constantly educates his or herself and is aware of the changes happening in an area of work. He or she always walks on the path of self-development and keeps up with the changing times. True artists are learners for life; they believe in growth and are always focused on improving their craft.