A Rant About Painting Snobbery

So, I managed to get myself into a discussion regarding miniature painting that posited that a person was not a master painter if they had not perfected the art of Non-metallics metals or NMM. (For those that don't know, NMM is using regular paints to represent the reflective properties of metals with out using metallic paints. A subcategory is Sky-Earth NMM goes further by trying to show what is reflected in the metal) If you peruse my photos you can probably guess where I stand on the subject of NMM. I've never bothered to try it for a couple reasons. NMM forces the painter to commit to where the light source is, which is great for static displays and photography but not so much for anything else. If I were a staff painter for a company painting figures for catalog images, yeah, I'd be all over NMM because that's what it is good for. But mostly I'm painting pieces to be used in a game, so NMM doesn't work as well and the time investment is not ideal for large numbers of figures that will be handled frequently.

Now, that isn't even what got me irritated. NMM has it's place. It does require a learned skill. Where I got irritated is when it was inferred that "If you can't paint NMM you ain't crap." Not an exact quote, but basically the summary of the opposing viewpoint.  Then it devolved into an elevation of miniature painting into the realms of high art like the Renaissance masters. It's the snobbery that irritates me.  Miniatures are designed to be game pieces.  They are marketed to be game pieces. They are sold to be game pieces. Don't make yourself out to be a modern day Monet because you practiced and can do NMM.  Given enough practice most can pick it up. But do not look down on another person's work because they did not use it, or some other pet technique. For the vast majority of the people who partake in this hobby, be it just the painting or both painting and gaming, it is for the creative release and escape from the rest of the world.  There are enough douche-bags out there, we don't want to deal with them in realm of our hobbies. For someone to stand there and dictate what a miniature's paint job is or isn't based solely on the techniques involved is the height of pretentious self-involved ostentatious snobby douche-baggery. (yes, it's a word, I swear) To borrow a phrase from actor Tim Daly, be a little less douche.

We're in this for the fun of it. If somebody shows their work and asks for feedback, focus on the basics unless they are attempting something more advanced. Be honest without being a dick. Offer encouragement without being overly sweet about it. But for crying out loud, don't tell them that it is worthless because they didn't use your favorite technique.


James Brewerton said...

good rant and I agree fully with all your points
Peace James

Kris Marquardt said...

I have to agree, what you technique you use or don't use has no reflection on your ability as a painter. When I judge miniatures I am looking at the techniques you used, not the techniques you didn't use. I hope that wasn't on the Reaper boards.

Der Kommandant said...

AMEN Sergeant! I've dealt with enough arrogant douche bags over people's painting skills myself. It doesn't bother me so much, but when one of those pricks start ragging on kids new to the hobby, that are just developing their own skills/techniques, that really P.O.s me. I've found that 9 times out of 10, the complaining douche bag, can't paint much better than an inebriated chimp!

Dan said...

Couldn't agree more, I was tossing up whether to try out NMM myself at one stage, then I thought, why bother?
1) I get a very good result using metallic paints
2) I enjoy what I am doing
3) I'm not spending 200 hours on a figure, for it to be a bit better than my other figures who had a fraction of the time spent.
Maybe for single display figures it can be justified, personal taste really.

Sergeant Crunch said...

Kris, it was on the message boards. Let me be clear, there was not an attack on a particular painted figure, new painter or old. The discussion was hypothetical, until I noticed two people starting to go back and forth about NMM and whether or not it is the be-all end-all. That was when I noticed the pretentious snobbery creeping in. Reaper's message boards are a great place and folks are normally great. But as with any message board that focuses more on painting than gaming the snobbery rears it's ugly head every once in a while. Especially the 'miniatures as art' crowd. Miniatures can be art, but I have never been emotionally moved by an extremely well painted miniature, not like a painting or piece of music. Miniatures are more of a craft art than high art (I doubt I'm using proper terms, what do you expect from a grunt).