Auburn Faculty Hobbies


Maybe it was because her dad was into model trains when she was growing up. Maybe it was just something to do to pass the pandemic. Maybe it just caught her eye on Pinterest one day. Interior design professor and program coordinator Lindsay Tan can’t really pinpoint why exactly she got into it, or where she even got the idea. She just knows it works. Painting miniature, custom-designed, 3D-printed Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) figurines at her kitchen table does exactly what a hobby is supposed to do: take your mind off things.

“My job is really intellectually challenging, and I find myself constantly thinking about the problems I’m working on,” she said. “But this—this is something with straightforward parameters. I can just immerse myself mentally with this one thing.”

And, yes, it is a thing. “Miniature painting”—that’s how the bloggers who write about it and the companies who produce branded paints for it refer to the activity. Be it by simple base coating and highlighting, or more advanced stuff like layering, blending and wet blending, Tan uses tiny brushes with “Silver Dragon” or “Merfolk Turquoise” or “Fire Newt Orange” paint colors and paints tiny orcs, dwarves and dragons. Or whatever other fantasy archetypes populate tabletop roleplaying lore. The painting has practically become a pursuit in itself, separate from the games, which Tan has only now gotten into because of the painting.

“D&D was always on the periphery of my life, and a lot of my friends play,” Tan said. “I had done a few one-off (games) without getting too heavily into it. But then I was reminded that this figure painting component existed. I was invited to a group and joined a campaign, but I wasn’t cool enough to play D&D growing up.”

But she’s determined her kids will be. “I’m creating a campaign for them to do this summer.”

Which means it’s probably time to order more elven armor.

Interview by Jeremy Henderson

Originally published in Auburn Magazine

media snapshot

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through one of those links and decide to make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no cost to you).