Well, the greatest cheat in the history of painting minis is probably … the humble technical pen. That’s right … forget using a brush at all, and get out your pen!
Not just any pen, of course. Technical pens are incredibly fine pointed (like 0.05mm) , use a high quality non-fading pigment ink, and are under £2 each. Is it as fine as the most delicate brushwork by a gifted artist? No. Is it as really easy and good enough, and probably better than my normal brushwork? Hell yeah!
Struggling to dot the centre of eyes without blobbing it? Technical pen.
Struggling to write on scrolls and banners? Technical pen.
Want to do a complex piece of freehand? Draw it in technical pen, and fill in the lines with the brush afterwards.
Tiny diamonds or celtic designs on Harlequins? Technical pen.
Imperial Fists logos a pain to paint? Draw them on. Technical pen.
Tiny tattoos of Fleur de Lys or Eagles a nightmare by brush? Technical pen.
Its such a quick, easy, fantastic looking cheat. And if you practise writing a gothic style of capitals for a bit, its even better.
Why doesn’t everyone do it, then? Well, in some ways, this is a bit of a hobby dead end. The very top end of the hobby goes significantly beyond the effects you can achieve with a technical pen, and unless you keep practising, you won’t get that good. In addition, it is looked down upon by some others – its not “proper” painting.
Of course, for quick high quality results, we can use this to get minis on the table in a fraction of the time. Its a easy, quick win. And if you’re willing to spend a bit of money on it, you aren’t just limited to black pens either! Its a definite win for the Lazy Mini Painter.