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Hobby: Speed painting Competition Tips

3 Minute Read
May 3 2015

carmen square

If you want to do well in speed-painting, you needs to know the tips an tricks from the pros. Grab a brush and let’s get started.

In many conventions one of the activities you can participate in are speed painting competitions. You are seated with a group of like minded hobbyists and given a primed miniature. Normally you will be given a brush, a cup of water, a paper plate, and some paints (not many so you will need to mix to get some of the tones). You can inspect your miniature most of the time, then when the timer start for painting you will have between 45 – 60 minutes to put paint on the mini. You have to finish the figure in less than an hour usually, this will almost always stresses you out.  You will have to paint the figure to the best of your skill, and even do something for basing if you want to have a chance at winning. I love to participate in speed painting, having done at least one competition at Gencon in the last 7 or 8 years. My experience has taught me some tips to do better in this type of competition, and I have acquired others from asking professional painters who participate or judge in them.




Here are some of are 5 tips to help you out:

  1. Select your point of view:  Look at the miniature you are given, roll it around, and select which direction that will be the most likely to be presented to the judge. Paint the whole figurine, but put extra care and time on the direction from where the model will be seen. If you have time in the end, make extra touch ups on other places.
  2. Define an easy color scheme to paint:  You will not have that many colors to choose from, which limits your choices. You need to decide on colors you have, or can mix easily and quickly… This will also mean that the best schemes will have one or two main colors, and the rest should come from mixing with them to create new ones. This way you limit the contamination of the paints, while making it easier to paint quickly
  3. Distinguish yourself from your peers:  If you have a good grasp on a special technique (OSL, weathering, blood splatter) or even on painting a specific color (I love to use red since I have a huge blood angels army, in which I had practiced a lot) use it to you advantage. You need to stand out from the crowd and give you a winning miniature. Examples can be, an extra horizontal line on the dress, a glowing effect, blood splatter on the floor, or even just make it seem dirty. Just be sure you have mastered the technique, since you have to pull it off in a limited time.
  4. Remember your base: One of the things that will help your presentation is the base.  The base of you miniature helps to define, it helps to present the figurine in an indirect way. You can paint creme with spots to present sand, add green to the base and some black to make it feel like grass, or even a plain color with a splash of blood. Try to find an idea for the base and go for it, the extra time could be the difference between winning or losing.
  5. Breath and take it slow:  This may be a contradictory recommendation, but in this setting you can not make many mistakes, like being sloppy with edges. You have 45-60 minutes, an extra second or two to make that brushstroke, will not matter that much in the end.

Have fun in your speedpainting competition, that way you will always win.

Here are some examples miniatures I have painted in speedpainting competitions:



You can find more of my miniatures at


Have you competed in speed painting? What was your experience? Do you have your own pointers to add?

Leave them in the comments down below!

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