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.