Let's have a conversation about Professional Painting Services. The good, the bad, the downright deceitful.
As an upfront confession. I used to take commissions locally. I stopped as it was killing my joy of painting. I like to paint what I want, when I want, and having deadlines and painting to someone else's vision just was not for me. I will still do models for friends (see the Knight Titan) but I don't charge for it as it's usually something that I want to paint but don't want to buy (I don't play 40k so why have a model or 12 that look interesting paint wise to me).
First let me define what I think a professional commission painter should do.
1. Communication - It is key, they need to be available to you. They need to ask a crazy amount of questions to really drill down on how to make your vision come to life. You need to be able to speak with the person that will actually be working on your models. This should be a priority for the commission painter as well.
2. Pictures - Lot's and lot's of high resolution stuff, taken in a light box. You should be able to see your models. They should be sending you updates along the way. I highly recommend a test model to see if your vision and what the painter thinks is your vision, are aligned.
3. Attitude - You should get the same level of professional enthusiasm from the quote process to the delivery.
4. Timelines - Delays happen in miniature painting, always. You should expect regular updates without having to ask.
Anyway back on topic. You might have seen the shit-storm that is a brewing over Blue Table Painting. They took a $8000+ commision on a Forge World Chaos Dwarf army and basically butchered it. The owner of the army tried to work with them repeatedly and wound up taking his cause to YouTube (please note this video is long, like an hour long but it shows the whole army and all the problems, he also goes over the contract in detail to be completely transparent).
Apparently Blue Table Painting offered untenable solutions and then rescinded them
Another studio has stepped up to the plate and offered to repaint and fix the models at no charge to the customer and should be praised for being great members of the community.
Front Line gaming is the company that stepped up and is making the army look like it should. Please go to their website and show your support for them.
If you feel like reading through 50+ pages of rants, white knights, videos and the like you can find it all here. DakkaDakka Blue Table Painting Issues Thread.
Also if you're that bored or interested you can follow the repaint here.
I would recommend staying away from Blue Table Painting. They have clearly shown time and again that they can not paint to even a table top standard. I would invite you to look at the Blue Table Painting Portfolio. You will notice that the images are very low quality which prohibits zooming in, but also notice that lines are not strait, highlights and washes are over used and blending is quite frankly atrocious.
Now onto the good. There are a plethora (yea I used a big word) of good professional services out there. They genuinely care about making you happy and providing amazingly well painted miniatures.
GMM studios is an example of this. They do amazing work fast. They post very high resolution pics and actively engage the community.
Jolly Rodgers Studios puts out just amazing work. They are out of Poland but man can these dudes paint.
Les Bursly at Awesome Paint Jobs is another fantastic painter. The things he can do with an airbrush are just out of this world. I am not sure if he is taking commissions right now but if he is and you are in the market I would recommend jumping on it.
These guys are my favorites. Some of the things Winterdyne has done just blow my mind. Check out the Titan he did for a client. Just the base alone was enough to make him the man, the Titan it's self is just unreal.
Per Maz he now uses Facebook
The point is that there are some amazing studios out there doing some incredible work. If you are in the market to have someone else paint your models. Please check around. Don't fall for the Blue Table Painting studio line.