\"Staff Painter\" - can you make a living?
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Thread: \"Staff Painter\" - can you make a living?

  1. #1

    Default \"Staff Painter\" - can you make a living?

    I saw the I-Kore ad in Harbinger for \"full time staff painters, no relocation required\". I\'ve always wondered - could a guy make a decent living that way? I know some of the uber painters out there live off their commission work, but as a person living in Canada and wanting to have my first kid and support a family, salary is somewhat important.

    Anyway, what Im wondering is

    - do these folks (like Jen Haley painting for Dark Age) make a decent annual salary? Or is it just basically commission work priced the same as it would be for a private collector?

    - have any of you been approached to paint for companies?

    Best Regards


    (PS not saying I qualify or anything - Im just very curious. Probably because my boring desk job is sucking the life out of me more every day).

  2. #2

    Default You should ask...

    yourself as to WHY they\'ve been looking for painters for the last six months.

    Then ask goatman, arjay, victoria and some others why.;)

  3. #3


    You mean IKore specifically? Im just wondering about \"all companies\" - GW, Privateer, etc etc.

  4. #4


    For IKore specifically, I would say ask Jenova - she seems to have done quite a bit of work for them.

  5. #5


    It would seem to be a decent job, but I gurantee you probably would never get payed enough to make it worth your time. Although I\'m not sure exactly how they hand out their payment, I\'m almost sure it is per figure instead of per hour.

    If it were per hour, doubtful, I\'m not sure if it\'s possible for them to tell if you\'ve worked what you claim . This especialy applies to the situation at hand where rellocation being off the list. I\'m willing to wager that they send you the figure , you paint it, they pay you and you send it back.

    You\'d think it would be fun to paint full time, but I think it kind of dampens a painters likeness to it. I painted full time for about a year, it payed well but it was a pain in the arse. In the end I gave up to just work ebay and paint on my own pace.

    Who knows. I could be wrong, they could pay alot and give nice benefits.

    But I doubt it strongly. :)

  6. #6


    When I-Kore first posted the job opening for their fantasy lines, I inquired about the expectations, and from what I remember, they were vague on pretty much all details except that expected volum was 40 miniatures a month.

    As I can barely manage to finish 2 minis a month, it seemed pretty unlikely that I would fit. ;)

  7. #7


    Wow, 40 minis a month? due to my short attention span and teenage laziness, I can\'t finish more than one a month, though I can get mebbe 2 minis extra if I stapled together all the half finished ones I got bored of......:) I think commision or ebay is the best, though, no deadline, work on yer own terms......thats the way to go........

  8. #8


    Yeah, that does seem a lot. I\'m always impressed by the amount of care and detail put into every model in a regiment in the studio armies.

  9. #9


    From what I can recall of seeing flyer adverts for eavy metal artists in my local GW store, they don\'t pay too well. I think a salaried post was starting at about £8K. I\'m on a basic admin grade which starts at 12K so I think its pretty much a case of you do it because you love the job, not because you get paid mega bucks. Though I\'d imagine you\'d get a great store discount, plus be able to sell some of your minis for more on ebay which might help to top up your salary quite nicely.

    Having said that I would love to do some work for one of the big games companies, but unless it was steady and paid as least as much as I\'m getting now, I wouldn\'t be able to give up my day job so it would have to be evening and weekend work. ;)



  10. #10


    I think you could probably make a living from painting for a company, but I know I would just hate it! And it would be kind of a waste of five years studying chemical engineering :]

    It\'s fun as a hobby though :)

    I don\'t think it pays well either because you don\'t need an education to do the job..... Ah well, maybe it\'s dreamjob for someone :)

  11. #11


    Yeah its the same problem I had with doing environmental work. So many people are willing to do it for free as voluntary experience that most charities etc don\'t pay well for those who then want to make a career out of it. That and a lot of the work is short term contracts.

    Its a shame that the jobs you\'d do because of your love for it don\'t give you appropriate remuneration whereas a boring 9 to 5 admin job pays better. Theres just no justice in this world. :(



  12. #12


    Taking what you do for a hobby which you love and turning it into a job has one major drawback, It\'s not your hobby anymore!!The last thing you want to do when you get home is to pick up a brush and paint for yourself. Although it was a great experience, after 4 years in the \'Eavy Metal dept it took me well over 2 years to get back into painting for \'fun\' .
    My advice, Keep it as a hobby, and if you want, do a bit of commission work with open ended deadlines.

  13. #13


    Originally posted by nejoho
    Taking what you do for a hobby which you love and turning it into a job has one major drawback, It\'s not your hobby anymore!!The last thing you want to do when you get home is to pick up a brush and paint for yourself.
    I should agree with that :)

    Before I started working as a software engineer my major hobby was the computer. Pretty soon after I took my first job I discovered that I didn\'t really feel like spending a whole night in front of that computer screen when I spent a whole day working with a computer at work. That was also the day I decided to start off with another hobby: modelling and miniatures, but that\'s another story :)

    I still consider computers as one of my hobbies of, but I spend only a few hours a week on my home PC, usually using it for my miniature hobby: surfing CMON, working on my site, ebay, etc.

  14. #14


    You do it because you love doing it, not because you want to raise 2.5 children, have 2 dogs and a morgage. If you want that, become a an acountant or something. The problem is because the \'market\' for high-level painted miniatures is that small, it\'s very hard to make a decent living doing it freelance. There are only a few companies that pay a monthly wage for painting miniatures, but, mind you, they will also have very high demands with a lot less freedom to do what you want compared to being freelance. I dunno, it\'s a choice I guess, some people make it, some don\'t.(waffle over) :P

    Hhhm, edited because first bit didn\'t make any sense doh!:duh:

  15. #15
    Grumbold Ironbrow

    Default Hobby as a job????

    Come listen to the story of a man named Grumb....

    I used to raise bonsai trees as a hobby (started in the late 80\'s) and eventually went to work for a nursery creating and caring for bonsai for others. The key phrase in that last sentence is \"used to\". I got so burnt out doing that as a job that to this day I still can\'t get motivated to create another tree even though I used to really love doing it. So, my advice is that if you really love painting mini\'s, keep it as a hobby, don\'t make it a job. Sell stuff or paint on commission if you want, but don\'t turn it into a 9 - 5 gig.

    Grumb :cool:

  16. #16


    Cool, thanks for all the interesting replies. I\'ll leave it as a hobby :)

  17. #17

    Default the talent is there....

    Mr. Shroud,

    If you are not \"qualified\" to be a studio painter, I wouldn\'t know who would be.

    Your stuff is great, and you seem to really enjoy doing it.

    Before just dismissing it, I would at least contact some of the companies to see what kind of \'staff\' positions they require. Maybe you could still do it as a supplement to your boring desk job.

    It seems that you could stay on the \'cutting edge\' of the mini-world, and it would be varied and interesting enough to keep you going.

    Then, at any point where it became a hassle, just give it up. You would still have the desk job to fall back upon.

    Make your talent work for you. People constantly say that you should find out what you love to do, and do that for a living.

    Just my thoughts.... ;);)

  18. #18


    For some time I harbored the juvenile illusion that a decent living could be made painting miniatures. After reading this post, now I realize it was just that, an illusion.

    Maybe the only way this hobby could provide for a growing family is saving up for, one day, open your own hobby shop, and then, maybe, make a living out of the other enthusiasts...

  19. #19


    Originally posted by supervike
    Mr. Shroud,

    If you are not \"qualified\" to be a studio painter, I wouldn\'t know who would be.

    Your stuff is great, and you seem to really enjoy doing it.
    Actually I thought \"Mr Shroud\" was a pro-painter, just looking at his site and his huge amount of high quality painted miniatures. I\'d never find the time to paint that much on such a high level...

    Anyways, keep up the good work Jarrett. Now that you\'ve started to paint Confrontation miniatures you\'re becoming one of my current favorites and examples...

  20. #20


    My dream is to someday be an illustrator in the GW UK studio. That way I could still paint my mini\'s to a high level and have them be in white dwarf a bit, but would be able to make them personal to me. And, also because I\'d get burnt out as well.

    Oh looks 200 posts, cool!

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