Suffering from new release shellshock? How do we stay inspired, or even more, how do we maintain inspiration for our hobby?
Many times we look at that pile of stuff that need to be painted. Like many others I organize my bits, my boxes with unopened minis, paints and any other trinkets I hold dear to help me in my endevours of this hobby. We find ourselves at a point where we have the time, and I mean a lot of time to actually tackle all those shiny projects. But our inspiration has decided to take a leave of absence.
The obvious brain-freeze
This happens to each and everyone of us, like for instance myself, in this very moment writing this article. How does one go about and write about brain freezes? When it hits it is an obvious fact and many of us take this as a sign and go ‘Nope, not today old sport!’. The reason for this is that we somehow, somewhere strayed away from our gameplan.
Gameplan you say?
Everyone needs a gameplan. We need this in all aspects of life be it work, raising kids, wedding, hooking up etc. When it comes to painting warhammer minis you also need a gameplan, but I think a very specific one. I would boil it down to a set of points you need to account for in order to get your painting work done in a jiffy;
- Reason: Why do you need this specific mini painted? This is always the first question. There is no wrong answer to this question. It can be a reward, deadline, tournament, competition or it just bugs you. but you have to have a reason.
- Purpose: When the mini is painted, what is it going to be used for? Most of us paint to further empower our armies. So is this mini crutial to the wrath your guys are supposed to bring on the field? If the answer is yes, then you know you both have reason and purpose.
- Workorder: The sooner you establish a workorder for your army, the better. I can hear you screaming that it becomes industrial painting and it is booooooring, but trust me on this one. The less you have to think of what you are doing, the better. It also vastly improves your time spent from sprue to painted mini.
- The nerdy reason: This would be the first actual inspiration related point. What is your backstory for this project? Many of us do this automatically by just nerding out with our friends, then rushing home to paint Gustaf von Megagun, conquerer of galaxies, and his faithful steed, Rupert. The backstory that is stuck in your mind, that you have applied to every single mini in your army, will further drive you to build more and more. Side effect of this might be that you actually come to really care for your army.
- Less is more: I have mentioned this before, never bite off more than you can chew. Right amount of minis in one project, distribute time over hours or even days, with planned pauses.
So you have your gameplan but you don’t feel any more inspired. The actual inspiration comes from the hobby itself;
- Surround yourself with inpsiration: Always keep your done and WIP projects where you can see them. Personally I have a shelf right above my workstation where I keep (atm) my Space Marine tanks in various degrees of completion. In the bookshelf my fiancé has placed my Imperial Knights and some IG tanks on display in glass cases (more on relationships with this messed up hobby in an upcoming article). This way every time I walk by my workstation or bookshelf I can pick up a mini, look at it, think about it and become inspired.
- Reward yourself with something completely different: You may be a tyranid player, or CSM or you just like the looks of Bretonnia. Either way, after a while when you are painting that umpteenth marine in that same color scheme, you will tire your eyes from seeing the same color palette over and over. Reward yourself with a mini that you just think looks awesome! Go to the store and by one, big mother of all what is cool mini and dedicate your time to it. Go bananas with all known to you techniques on it and when it is done, place in your inspiration pool, as mentioned above. Not only does it refire your inspiration, it also teaches you new stuff because it is something different from what you usually do.
- You cannot talk too much about your hobby: Well, you can… if the only one listening is your significant other who enjoys real housewives more than toy soldiers. But your friends want to listen, and they want to share. Do not underestimate three hours spent just talking about minis, rules, painting techniques with your best buddy over a cup of coffee, preferably do it in the vicinity of one of your workstations. Trust me, before you know it, you are 10 years again going ‘oh wow!’ over your toys, being seen in a new way again. Remember? Inner child? Nurture that shit.
- Colaborate and listen!: You talk about it and play with your friends, why not build and paint with your friends? I was for a long time a puritan and I would not let anyone paint even a stroke of paint on my minis. I have grown wiser. I cannot describe the amount of time saved and laughs shared when I have since two years back, started painting minis together with one of my best mates and future bestman. We have increased the size of our armies, terrrain, skillsets exponentially. If you evolve and learn together, you become synced and can immitate one another’s paintingstyle. Thus you can help eachother finish your projects a whole lot faster. This is an article about inspiration and motivation, adding another brain and set of eyes to your army in the making can only be a good thing.
- Don’t paint: Yes you read that correctly. Don’t make it a must and don’t make it a job. You have other needs too. A healthy body is a healthy mind. Never ever neglect your physical needs. Eat propperly, work out regularily, don’t overuse caffeine and make out with your girlfriend. You will feel better, and you will get some of the most amazing flashes of insight for your painting on that morning run, trust you me.
- All work no play makes Jack a dull boy: Make sure to put those minis to use. If you are anything like me where the hobby is 75% building and painting, 15% talking about it and actually only 10% playing, you might concider redistributing the timeshare a little. Get a few games in, go to a different city/country and play their locals. See something you haven’t seen before. Oh yes I am so planning that trip to Nottingham…
I have tought you what I know… Go forth and colorize!
My parting words to you are that writing this article has given me many ideas for my next project. I have a pile of fast attack units for my space marine army I have neglected for almost three years now. And I know just the way to make them pop out in my army…
You can find more of my articles over on by blog, Southern Painting.Episode 101 - Swarmlord VS Leviathan