I've been asked often over my many years of painting to paint figures for people. A number of my clients seem to think that I'm a fantastic painter. It's nice to think that I am in my own way.
My style of painting is minamilistic. I want to spend as little time as possible getting the buggers painted and out onto the table. As such I tend to use shades, highlighting and inks to enhance my work. I may spend some time putting a little more effort into my character or special characters, but on the whole it's the job lot to get the figures finished and out on the table.
I paint a lot. When I am well enough I can spend as much as 8 to 10 hours painting and preparation a day. Sometimes I can go weeks without picking up a brush, then I can litterally produce armies in days, that's how quick I am at what I do.
My figures are to be played with, used, not stuck on a shelf with the fear of being touched. People often ask me what I think of their painting skills and or other associated skills with wargame paraphenalia. My response is, "are you happy with what you have done?" In the end it is what you are happy with rather than the opinions of others that matters. I'll never be a Golden Daemon winner, not that I couldn't be one, it's just I don't have an ego that needs to bask in the adoration of the multitudes to justify my existence.
I'm happy with my work. I'm happy with my gaming lifestyle, and I don't need people to justify my work or existence. So do the best you can, your work will improve with time and practice. I'm still learning after 40 years, and my work is as good as ever.
Things I have learnt are:
1. Never force yourself to paint. If your heart isn't in it, then don't do it. I find that I am dissatisfied with my quality of work if I force myself to paint. I certainly don't paint commission work if this mood is upon me. I value my clients too much to do a shoddy job.
2. A good job of basing your figures goes miles towards enhancing your overall appearance. I've seen some very ordinary paint jobs that have been enhanced dramatically by a good base job. Consistency is everything. Make it all mesh together and you're on your way to success.
So enjoy what you do, and bugger the rest!