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If you look around, you will see that there are alot of new painters that come on to the boards, and they say something like: "This is the first mini I ever painted, what do you think?" Let's pretend, for the sake of argument, that the painted mini in question is what I would refer to as 'not very good.'
We all know this is a loaded question. You can tell when there is a topic like this with 500 views and 0 comments, that's when people are taking the stance of 'if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all.' Some folks will pop in and say something encouraging but non-specific, and then the thread eventually fades away into obscurity, never to be viewed again. I'm willing to bet there are hundreds of these types of threads on these boards.
My questions is this: Is this the right way to handle these folks?
I am of the mind that it is not. Unfortunately, this is where we run in to an ethical dilemma. On one hand, we do not want to hurt a person's feelings by simply pointing out that thier awesome new mini is badly painted. On the other hand, if we coddle them then we are stunting thier growth as artists, impeding thier ability to learn, as well as not making the world a more beautiful place.
Eventually, roaming free without guidance, there will be entire armies fielded with horrendous paintjobs, gaming tables cracking and breaking under the weight of super-thick coats of Testors enamel. AHHH!
Ther other roadblock with this issue is laziness. It takes time to provide actual constructive criticism and few, if any, of us want to stop and give a lesson in the basics to a brand new painter. I am no better than anyone else when it comes to this. Possibly as a community, this is something we can improve.
What is your view? Do more accomplished painters have a duty to help the newer generation learn or does acheiving a certian measure of skill seperate you from the unwashed masses?
[Mod: I'm pretty sure I put this in the wrong place. Plz put it wherever you think is best]
Last edited by Radioactivejack; May 10th, 2010 at 17:06.
Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. - Douglas Adams
I think the best way to deal with it is to word your post very carefully.
For example, if you were thinking "Theres no shading, the paints too thick", you could say "A really good start, but the shading needs a little work. Maybe use washes, or a few more highlights. I really like the style you've gone for, but thining your paints would make it even more effective".
Also, always start and end with a postive, that usually gives a good impression. Remember, we were all at that stage once!
Hope I've helped,
This is a very interesting topic! Will be awesome to see all of your thoughts on this.
I try to be as honest I can when I comment on other peoples minatures without hurting them. BUT I find this really hard and always when I look back at a post I did I think I was to harsh on them. :p Also when someone shows me their first miniature I try to not simply say: "Ok dude, you better learn some highlighting and shading to make it look better." I just wish they have fun doing it because that is all that counts. Whenever this "YAY THIS IS FUN" thrill is over I think almost everyone that really enjoys painting miniatures will take the next step by themselves and look up tutorials and what so ever. Pushing them to do it is wrong.
Also I would like to add whenever I look at such thread when someone has his/her first miniature I actually don't get that excited looking at it. I've been painting for maybe 8 years or something and I just started try to take it as seriously as I can so I hope you understand what I mean. What I do about this is that I think of the first miniature I ever painted which was a Black Templar with a bolter which looked like "%&""#¤. Nowadays I find noone paint that bad as I did and then I can say totally honest: "Hey, that looks really good for your first minature! Keep it up!"
I think it can be very hard to give someone constructive criticism over the interenet, its far easier in person, sadly without the tone of a voice something can come off much more harsh than it is intended and most people tend to look forthe negative in what is written, i agree that you need to start and end with a positive (i certainly try to). I think their alot of other factors when judging a minature online, the brightness of the picture, the quailty of the photo, general camera skill. Sadly i think people seem to forget that not everyone has these "studios" to take photos in, i just use a old beer box with some A4 paper stuck inside and hold a lamp randomly using my camera phone.
Whether in person or online I always try to pick out something they did really well on the mini and start with that. After that I'll lead them into shading, basing, washes, etc. I try to ask them what they think and what they're trying to achieve. It's nice to get them engaged in their painting and lead them to take charge. A lot of my first models I posted needed a lot of finer details to them to really make them stand out. Constructive criticism can go a long way to making somebody a better painter. After a few well meaning comments I went nuts looking up tutorials and examples on various techniques.
As far as photography goes I agree with HappyJim that camera skill can play a factor to. I'm still working on the photography aspect myself. So pointers and tutorials are always welcome.
Last edited by Chirality; May 12th, 2010 at 16:31.
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<3 this topic,
It would be nice to have a wider spread of constructive fee back to those that may not do so well. I certainly know i have deleted a many response in the fact that i was going to end up much to harsh.
Possibly stemming from my first few posts here, i raged for a good 2 weeks about having "THICK PAINT" and bad camera skills. Then again i got so angry it increased my desire to paint well at least 3 fold.
So while i think a gentler touch helps to an extent, i still say beat em with the stick a bit......
Back to lurking,
Skirting around the matter isn't useful, doesn't mean you should abandon tact.
You also need to be aware of overburdoning the recipient of advice. Giving a list of alterations that would improve the model can be disheartening, it looks like that there is so much that needs doing there's no point trying to improve. Whereas if you do it gradually - "Try using a wash and putting another picture up" and walk them through small improvements can be much clearer and precise guidance.
What annoys me, personally, are the people who go on CMON or similar sites and expect to be able to copy it perfectly, or ask other people "What colours did this person use?" without asking the actual artist. If I see an artist I admire or a particular piece catches my eye - I ask THEM how they achieved the effect. I have not met an artist yet who is not willing to share information, I even see this in games workshops. "How did X do this?" "Have you asked them?" "No, I don't want them to know I copied them." leads me simply to the conclusion - you're painting a mini then on someone elses colour scheme and won't use it in the shop in case they see it.
If it's a combination of styles and colours or there is no means of contacting the author, it is, of course, another matter. People seem to forget everyones' monitor as well as eyesight has a different limitation of spectrum. Linking pictures online to a forum of people all over the world will not look the same to everyone. Putting "It looks better in person." isn't as conductive as describing the differences, using other medium if necessary.
I have a good eye for artistic qualities, a lot of people have better insight to composition and colour than they are able to express themselves, as a result I think it is unfair when criticism, however harsh, is discounted because of the technical skill of the critic. Conversely, I believe criticism should perhaps have a comparitive form of understanding, such as a modification of the picture provided or a diagram to illustrate - or even linking a tutorial that phrases it differently to yourself.
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A difficult situation indeed. I think long as people pass constructive criticism rather than just criticism and actually spend the time to explain their opinions and then share some tips on how to sort it out you can't go wrong. Chirality nailed it I think and It's how I used to work when I taught people to paint. Pick up on something they've done or doing well and then comment on something that needs the work.
I think alot of people don't know or forget to be humble. Not one of us started out as brilliant painters and i'm sure even the great painters amoungst us have some awefully painted models hidden away somewhere. I think people need to remember this sometimes. I also see alot of people using Jargon that people just don't understand. People starting out don't know what drybrushing is, they don't know what highlighting or washes are.
On a side note the person who puts the pictures up needs to realise that their work isn't perfect and there is always something better that could be done, a better scheme or an extra highlight there. Getting ones back up when someone gives criticism, when it's well founded, will get you no where.
A really good discussion so far, everyone! Great points, too!
Personally, I think I've fallen in to the 'lazy' option. I look at a lot of threads but won't often comment on them - probably because of that belief that maybe it's better if I don't say anything because I'm unsure how to best phrase it.
I also generally shy away from criticising stuff because I often feel I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm not an exceptionally talented painter, I'm not too bad at taking photos but don't really know enough of the technical side of things to offer meaningful advice... Although on the other hand, maybe I'm the ideal person to be offering advice to a newcomer, because I'm not well versed in more advanced stuff that will just confuse them, and I'm more likely to stick to the basics!
Ideally, we (as in the entire LO community) would be able to offer helpful, meaningful advice to everyone looking for pointers on their models - I'd like to think we're already pretty good at that - but I'm sure, like everything, there's always room for improvement.
I dont see the issue here. The obvious answer is to praise their efforts thus far and offer them some practical /theory guides with pictures so that they can learn from those and should they wish look at other guides on the same sites to further their knowledge.
If you think they lack highlights. Link them a basic highlight tutorial and offer them a more advanced one/tell them to contact you if they need help finding more advanced ones for later. If their paint is too thick then offer them a guide once again. That or for such a relatively simple question (bearing in mind you need to ask what paints they use) just infer your own personal experience and use simple measures such as one drop.