My favorite lessons learned:
* Building a portable assembly kit was one of the smartest things I did. It allowed me to keep projects moving even when life forces me into weird corners. Having it as a modular kit that I can expand and reorganize has just made it even more valuable over the years.
* 10 years ago I only used GW paints. Now I have paints from 10 different makers and an appreciation for why each one is useful in different situations. My eye for color has also improved which is why having all these different paints is so valuable. The real lesson though is that experimenting with new paints and techniques is always a good idea.
* Keeping a painting journal has been incredible useful. I'm not great at doing it all the time, but being able to go back and reference past projects and formulas has been very helpful many times now.
* Color theory is totally a thing. It allows for a little analytical process in the midst of the creative process and has really helped bring my projects to life better. More on that below.
* Basing is also a thing. The more I do it, the more I appreciate doing it. Whether it's to create a uniform army theme or to tell a story, basing is something I truly enjoy rather than "just do".
And now a couple comparison photos and some thoughts about my painting journey:
This first photo shows Ashlynn (painted Nov 2006), and Taelor (painted June 2016). The comparison is pretty interesting. The first thing I noticed when I put them side-by-side was that my sense of brightness range is much better managed later on. Taelor's overall brightness is pretty even with much of the brighter parts centered on her torso and face to draw attention to the center, but still not overly bright. Ashlynn on the other hand has a really bright face and the metallics are pushed far too bright.
The second thing I noticed was the basing. Even though Taelor wasn't any sort of fancy project, the base helps tell a small piece of a story, whereas Ashlynn's base is, well, her standing on a rock. The difference in basing efforts over the course of time has definitely changed for the better.
The last thing I noticed is just the amount of push in the shading and highlighting. More about that in my other comparison picture though...
This second photo shows Alexia (painted Nov 2006) and Mysterious Effigy (painted Oct 2016). This comparison is extra fascinating to me because it really spotlights how I use color differently now. I remember finishing Alexia and being stoked about the color work on her. Looking back at it now though, It was still just a hack. The cloak has good color variation in it, but everything else is too flat. The Mysterious Effigy on the other hand used a triadic color scheme. My shading and highlighting techniques involve shifting tonal values towards cool and warm colors, and in general I push the contrast much farther than I would have ever considered back then. I also attempted to balance color usage around areas of the model in order to keep the overall appearance of the model more balanced.
My favorite projects/accomplishments/events/things:
* Painting a huge Cygnar army as a uniform project still feels like an amazing accomplishment.
* Building my own paint rack was sort of a separate project but often when I look at it I'm really pleased with myself.
* Learning to use an airbrush was a ton of fun, even though I'm still learning how to use it.
* Playing Unbound with Jason Soles as his last MK2 game of Warmachine was perhaps one of my favorite games ever played.
* Painting the Archangel was a huge project that I really threw myself into and used the airbrush a lot for, and learned a lot about painting very large projects.
Some interesting stats over the last 10 years:
* Total posts: 1119
* Total models painted: 712
* Most popular post by hits: Paint Toxicity