Thursday, 13 October 2011

Painting Inspiration

By The Megapope   Posted at  12:56   ramblings 1 comment

My creative juices, they are gone from meeeee
In lieu of today's usual Wednesday State of the Union, since I don't have anything new to show, I thought I would chat about things that I do to get inspired with my painting.

I think that as a creative hobby, unless you're just mindlessly slapping paint down onto the plastic, every now and then you need to recharge the motivational batteries or top up the creative juices.

This may sound a bit silly talking of a hobby that people largely do to relax outside of work, but I've seen more than a few instances of gamers buying an army, putting it all together and then looking at all the grey, un-undercoated little figures staring up accusingly and saying 'tomorrow!' and promptly sliding everything under the bed where it lies forgotten and neglected for the next few months. You all know that painter burnout is a real thing.

Fact of the matter is, the Games Workshop hobby especially requires a lot of work to put together a viable gaming force. It's not like Warmachine where you can just buy a box of three to five miniatures, paint them up and start playing straight away. And I play Space Marines, the thought of painting up an Imperial Guard or Warhammer fantasy army makes me break out into a cold sweat. This isn't a criticism of GW*, it's just the reality of the hobby.

So with that in mind, these are the places I go that get me in the mood for painting. Probably nothing new to any of you, but this is my blog and I'll state the obvious if I want to.

In the grimdark™ future, there is only big shoulder pads
First stop for myself is always the books. GW have quite cleverly licensed a ton of surprisingly decent fiction material. I say surprisingly because traditionally, novels based on roleplaying games, movies or TV shows are in my opinion best used to line the kitty litter with, and that's only if your cat isn't too discerning about where it poops.

But no, the more recent 40K books are largely very good. The Horus Heresy series especially is pretty engrossing stuff and I love the Ultramarines series by Graham McNeill that contains so much over the top heroics and buckling of swash that one could almost forget that they're set in the grimdark future. After reading through the adventures of Captain Ventris of the Ultramarines 4th Company and browsing through the collection of pretty things that is the Space Marines codex, I'm generally ready to run off and start painting things blue.

But wait! There's more! Since rediscovering the hobby long after the benighted nineties era of green bases and red bolters, I've also delved into the community aspects of painting little plastic fellas. While there's a ton of places on the internet you can go to and see a host of other armies, painting tips, modelling ideas and the growing number of professional level painters at work, these are my personal favourite at the moment.

For forums, I've chosen the Bolter and Chainsword as my personal stomping ground. People on there are generally responsive to questions and critiques, there's a good turnover of new and interesting armies always on display, and the levels of feedback and encouragement received whenever I post up photos are very encouraging.

As well as forums, I've also joined two blogging networks which have provided a great way to engage with other bloggers and get some new people along to read my sad ravings.

From The Warp is run by a chap named Ron, who runs a very tight ship and is a great source of tutorials, general painting/blogging wisdom and inspiring painting updates. His blogging group is enormous, with a rapidly updating list (three lists actually) of great reading material to browse through and engage wth.

Stahly's Tale of Painters is both a showcase of a few very good painters, and also a blogging community of a larger group of hobbyists. Their updates are always interesting (two very good Ultramarine armies in particular) and of course there's the list of affiliated bloggers to get to know and read up on.

Lastly, I have a small but growing number of bloggers in my sidebar that are either real life friends of mine or blogs that I've found to be especially interesting. Having meatspace friends that are also in the hobby is without a doubt how I got into painting in the first place. Gravitas for instance now lives on the other side of the world from me, so being able to rope him in as an author on this blog is a great excuse to stay in touch with a joint project.

Soooooo yeah. My advice next time you're facing burn out is to put down the brushes for a while and pick up some books, look at pretty pictures and see what other people are up to. Chat to mates and keep the motivation going by engaging with the other aspects of the hobby.

*If it was, I'd start with the neglected Necrons codex and go from there.

1 comment :

  1. I too suffer from chronic burnout while painting. I set myself targets and that's why i found painting a board game was better in someways than an army. An army can just keep growing and growing.


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Hatching from his egg high in the glacier crowned majesty of the Himalayas, the Megapope quickly devoured his other siblings and later on his parents, for being damned cheeky. He ran a bloody campaign of terror across the wind swept steppes of the north, coming to be known as 'That Horrid Bastard' by the terrified tribes of the region. Many years later he came second in a beauty contest, won $10, didn't pass Go and didn't collect $200.

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