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A Tale of Painting: Having the Right Mindset

Whilst sorting through some old models with fellow podcaster Jay we came across a very old model of mine. In fact this model is all that remains of my very first army.

If the blue hadn’t given it away already yes, my first Warhammer 40,000 army was the Ultramarines of the Adeptus Astartes!

Back then, we didn’t have much cash to splash on paints and models, and as you can probably tell, my painting was a little…shall we politely say rushed?

As time pressed on, we drifted away from the hobby, before returning to it some years later in a fairly big way.

Whereas I loved building and gaming I hated painting.

I took Art at GCSE, (as I didn’t want to do Drama, the other choice) and walked away with a G. That tells you in a nutshell that I am not an artistic person naturally.

When I was trying to paint Warhammer I often found myself getting frustrated. Nothing seemed to look right, I wasn’t very neat and I just could not get into the right mindset.

That last point there is important, the mindset of painting. I’m very lucky to have a great bunch of guys around me who are really good at painting, giving me tips and trying to encourage me to paint more. With all that in mind however, I still didn’t enjoy that part of the hobby at all.

At first it never bothered me playing with unfinished miniatures, but as each Games Day of old passed, and as my friends played with more and more painted models, I soon started to frown at what was in front of me. Bare plastic armies, craving to be coloured in.

Image courtesy of the Unpainted Legion

I’d also gained a reputation as the guy who played with unpainted minis.

Then, not all that long before the creation of Sprues and Brews if my memory serves me correctly, something changed. My mindset.

When I was painting before I was judging my work against my friends, and it was clear now that because I couldn’t compare my attempt with their models, it was causing me to be disheartened. Whilst my friends were encouraging me I was my own worst enemy, feeling my painting wasn’t good enough.

But now the light switch had been clicked. I didn’t have to paint like a pro. I should be painting because I want to. Because I want to try and play with painted miniatures.

That was it, off I went. Paintbrush in hand I started to churn out models. I wasn’t completing units, nevermind armies, but I’d finally found that painting could, no, WAS enjoyable when your doing it for your own gratification.

But it wasn’t just for my gratification, my friends started to notice, giving my models praise whilst offering feedback. I’ve started to take this feedback and push my painting further.

The hobby community, via Twitter, Instagram and Facebook has helped me display my achievements. And whilst we are used to seeing Golden Daemon winning models, people are still liking and commenting on my models.

The arrival of Contrast paints have helped me further. The way the paints work fits nicely into my method of painting. I don’t really play around with highlighting, at least not yet, and Contrast paints helps me around that.

Going back to the community, you guys offer so much inspiration and tips online, again via social media. I love chatting about paints and ideas with my local GW store manager Dan as I start to tackle a new army. Let me also not forget Warhammer TV, with the likes of Nick Bayton, Peachy and Duncan lending me their tips via various YouTube tutorials.

Now I’m finishing units, and even armies. I’m looking at models when I’m buying them in a different way. I’m thinking, ‘how could I paint that? Maybe this colour would work? Maybe I should try this technique?’

More recently painted models

Painting is now enjoyable. And I’m not doing it because I feel I have to, or because my painting is amazing, but because I enjoy it, I enjoy playing with painting models and I enjoy the feeling of seeing a painted army on my shelf.

And the best bit? I’m still learning. My painting isn’t at fellow Sprues and Brewers Matt and Jay level yet, but it could be. I just have to keep trying.

It’s a goal I’m looking forward to one day reaching.

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