Painting miniatures, a fun journey

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Draco Studios, as is common knowledge, is made up of nerds. We love creating new things, coming up with amazing art and bringing universes together through our passion. And yet, there was something many of us had yet to experience for the first time: painting minis.

Last week, the team got together to play some drinks and drink some games. We saw it as a chance to unwind and get to know each other better. While we were coming up with the plan, we decided we’d give it a shot. Moy is a mini painting fiend and he offered to teach us. We planned the day around it and come Saturday evening, we got to it.

A quick disclaimer. Many of our other team members (who were unable to join us) are also very much into mini painting. Ehrli, for example, gives an amazing course on how to go through with it and Irene has shown us some amazing things she does in her spare time. The rest of us don’t have an excuse.

We each picked our favorite mini and nervously paced around as we explored their details, their poses and their many pieces of clothing and places for unique palettes. It was exciting to witness the protagonists of so many of our days on the palms of our hands. We have grown acquainted with every bit of their designs in the past few years, but some of us hadn’t had the opportunity to see them in real life. With the pandemic keeping us inside and away from the office or the rest of the shut-down world, a lot of us hadn’t been able to even try 3D printing. And now here they were.

I picked the godao enforcer. I simply loved her valiant disposition, and I’ve always loved these, our golden gnomes. I have been writing godao characters for two years and only on Saturday had I gotten the chance to meet one. This is perhaps what I like the best about the hobby. You get to give a face to your heroes who, much like characters in a TV show, become your friends in a way.

Painting minis is a long process, which cannot be emphasized enough. Shown in this light, however, can deter many from approaching the hobby. And yet, many things we do take a lot of time, but we’ve learned to divide it into smaller, more neurally soothing tasks. Instead, it is a minute experience of layering colors with a decided purpose. It is choosing color not only according to a painting guide, but also making your own artistic choices.

But, yeah. It does have its fair share of watching paint dry.

Through a very convenient coincidence, Ana was sitting beside me. She had picked the bucentaur archer and we both benefited from the color palette. We used the same base colors and shared a lot of hues. At some point we had to go back to kindergarten and come up with the exact shade of orange she needed. We knew what we were doing, but in a much more real sense, we had no idea. We had low visibility (a no-no, I’m told), and we had been a bit too generous with our paint blots. Eventually, we kind of gave up, but we moved it closer to the light and, what do you know, we had hit the mark exactly.

The rest of the night was quiet mumbling, sometimes followed by uproarious bursts of laughter and a lot of putting resin to our faces. At first, we were coming up annoyed at our hands, that we realized are nimble as, well, resin minis. Some had this issue less than others, because we do have outstanding artists in the team and a lot of the skills translate.

Moy’s act was hard to follow, but eventually we took it as inspiration. He’d relay tips as we progressed. Slowly but surely, our own minis were taking shape and at least I was starting to like my enforcer. I wondered if she had a tattoo, where she had traveled and what kind of stuff made her interesting outside of battle.

When we were done, Moy offered a last bit of contrast paint to punch up the things we liked. And then they were finished. We had done it after about three or four hours and we set them all down. Heidi stayed behind, finishing the most dedicated Nagasha I have ever seen, and I have seen a lot of them—though I may be biased because of how long it took her to finish. We moved on to the table and talked about some other miniatures Moy had painted and we were all flushed with a wave of understanding.

Of course you print minis and paint them. It is such a simple endeavor with such a sweet finished product. Of course, by “simple” I mean how we also did a lot of painting in kindergarten; I definitely spent too much time on a gauntlet. I think therein lies the true beauty of it all, though. I’m glad we all kept pushing on even though things weren’t going according to our expectations.

Enough rambling. We all came out of this all the wiser for our content and our products, your content and products. Which one did you like best? Second to Nagasha and the Skorpikons, painted by our house pro and the first time wonder.

It’s okay. We understand.

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