Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Painting - keys to getting started

So many happy trees...
I need to paint.  A lot.  I swore that when I started playing Warmachine/Hordes that "I'll get so much more painting done!"  I was a Tyranid player, so the thought of not having to paint 100+ models of identical poses was a relief.  Unfortunately, I still find myself procrastinating when it comes to painting my models, and it's a problem.  I hate being one of those bloggers who uses my real life as an excuse for not getting stuff done, but I'm not in college anymore.  I'm a real person with a real job.  Unfortunately for me, that job happens to be being a teacher.  Oh, and I also work in the theater.  Two incredibly time-consuming jobs.  While that leaves me the occasional downtime to play some Skyrim (another reason for no painting) or play a game of Warmahordes, it's easy for me to avoid painting when I only have small chunks of time.  So today I'm not going to talk about painting techniques, but rather my thoughts on painting in general and how the rest of us can get some painting done.
I really admire one of my good friends because he just sits down and can plow through models.  He's not a particularly quick painter, but all of his paintjobs are neat, clean, and look good.  Not only that, but he really makes a point to paint almost every day, and I don't know how he can bring himself to do it.  Here are some tips that I have found help me to get the painting done that I want to, as best as I can (although remember that my job keeps me busy most days).

Step 1 - Don't fight it!
Okay so let's try an exercise right now, shall we?  Stand up, get your paints, and bring them to your favorite painting location.  Get some water.  Take out a primed model.  Take out a brush.  Start painting.  Chances are, if you do this, you will keep painting and keep going.  Don't spend too long thinking about it!  Just pick a color and paint.  Don't fight it, just do it.  Have somewhere to be in 30 minutes?  No big deal, paint a gun, a leg, some armor, then wash the brush off, and go do what you have to do.
Ted: "Don't fight it?"
Linda: Hindsight is 20-20, Mr. "I never accidentally fondled anyone."
Ted: I don't think the words "don't fight it" have ever been used when someone isn't being sexually harassed. 

Now I have lots of wargaming friends and we all paint.  We're not awesome at it, but we do like playing with fully painted models.  There's something really satisfying about playing with completely painted models on a well-modeled table.  I don't care who you are, you play miniatures games because you love the way the models look on the tabletop.  To prove it, just ask yourself if you could play Starcraft with just basic shapes with different colors instead of the awesome zerglings or marine images.  See what I mean?  Lots of us don't really like the idea of sitting by ourselves painting, so when I visited my friend in Savannah, we took out our models at his kitchen table and just started to paint.
As fun as they are... I prefer real models
Step 2 - Misery loves company
I'm not a great painter.  I might be "good", but definitely not great.  We love to paint for the end result, the ends justify the means, and we all agree that the means suck (at least among my group of friends).  What a better way to do something that sucks than by dragging your friends into it too?  I could say it's good to get feedback, but really I just like doing an awesome job on a model and showing it off to my friends to make them feel bad.  Who says we can't compete over who's a better painter?  Who knows, it might just be what you need to stay motivated.
Pictured: Me
Step 3 - Motivation
I strongly recommend reading the book Drive if you get the chance.  It's a fantastic book that discusses the raw science behind inherent motivation, and it totally changed my view of the world.  Anyway, one of the best ways to destroy your own motivation for doing something is giving yourself an if-then reward.  So if I said to myself "if I paint 5 models tonight, then I can play Skyrim," then that will actually make me less motivated to do it.  Strange, right?  If someone paid me per model to paint, I would similarly have less inherent motivation to do it.  So how do you stay motivated?  Have fun with it!  Don't give yourself ultimatums or rewards, but focus on the satisfaction at the end of having painted models.  I find that tournaments and conventions (like Templecon) are great motivations for me to paint - not because I have to, but because I want to have fun with fully painted models.
Better than some paintjobs I've seen...
Step 4 - Simplicity
I pride myself on having simple paintjobs.  My aforementioned buddy from Savannah spends a lot of time on his paintjobs and that is great for him.  For me, I like to keep things simple.  I like to maximize the ratio of appearance to time invested in the model, so that means that while my models could look better, I would spend way more time than I want on it, and that's okay!  We all see some snazzy paintjobs out there and want to try it ourselves or do something better, but sometimes it's okay to keep it simple and be happy with it.  I actually find that keeping things simple just means that later you can touch it up and make it better when you find you actually have the motivation to do so.  For me, I like to keep it simple for now.
Maybe someday...?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...