I've never been one to follow the trend when it comes to painting, though I'd hardly describe my output as a particularly off-the-wall painting style. However, I do tend to have a bit of a strange way of looking at things.
Let's take undercoat as an example. The conventional wisdom seems to be white for bright colours and black for darker minis. Oddly I see it the other way around. I usually use black undercoat and like to paint rather vibrant minis. This isn't especially unusual as many painters do this but when I want a very dark result I often look at a white undercoat instead. This may seem utterly counter-intuitive and a way to make work for yourself but the advantage of white undercoat is maintaining the richness of colour in your paint and this is just as true of deep colours as it is of the brighter ones. If I want an extremely deep red or blue it's easier to get it over white. I find doing so over black just means it looks like black, maybe with a little tint. Haven't actually done this on a mini in ages so perhaps I should try painting a really dark figure sometime...
There's another area that speaks of my whimsical and experimental nature in painting techniques. It comes down to the time taken to paint a mini. I've no interest in spending 100+ hours on a single 28mm figure and so I tend to look for interesting ideas on how to achieve wonderful painting effects in less time. For this I rarely look at the techniques of display painter but look at army painting techniques and ask myself the right questions. Okay, so this looks pretty damned good for an army paintjob. The figure took 30 minutes to paint. Is there a way to use the core techniques of that 30 minute model with more care an attention to achieve a great deal more. Case in point: I have recently been playing around with The Army Painter's Quickshade dipping products. They are very interesting and give a rather more subtle and refined result than I'd have expected (assuming you use it with care and attention rather than dunking your mini in a vat of the stuff).
The lesson, I feel, is to not be constrained by what technique is meant for what type of painting but just to see them all as 'just painting' and experiment with all the painting techniques and apply them as you see fit. It's a wide world and there's no point in compartmentalising 'how to paint minis'.
So, what's next? Well, I'm messing about with underpainting techniques for quick army figures, using dips for display figures and thinking about painting a display quality army in next to no time at all. That last one could be quite an interesting trick, especially if I were able to pull a couple of Golden Demon finalists (or even trophies) out of it. It's a challenge but a fun one.
So think outside the box.
Personally, in the back of my mind, I'm playing with a few ideas for the 'fear minis' with the trick of painting a crazy scary mini in just a couple of hours and making it look great. Again, it's quite a trick but would be a laugh to give it a try...