When I was 8 my older brother brought home this new game he played with his high school friends called D&D. Something happened inside me when I realized what this game was and I've never been the same. In those early beloved days we never used miniatures, everything took place in our imaginations--and if we needed to establish position for some important reason we used chess pieces. I have eight brothers, and man did we have fun playing D&D.
After some time I did quit playing as I got busy in my late teens, then grew up and went to college, and then got married and started a family. But my D&D roots still remained a strong influence over all my interests--the books I read, the movies l liked, the video games I played, and conversations I've had.
In 2012 on a whim I decided to teach my older kids how to play D&D since they were now old enough. I looked into it and found that Pathfinder was the current most popular version (not to mention the cheapest since I could get all the rules online). So we started playing, and they loved it.
We moved to Utah soon after that and I was reconnected with my older brother. He's very artistic and very talented. He's always built models and painted figures as far back as I can remember. In fact, I broke more than my fair share of his stuff. Nevertheless, I always looked on with awe, but I was never really interested in it myself. In a confluence of events: me moving closer to him, him cleaning out his basement, and him not having a need for fantasy minis, he shows up at my house one day and gives me hundreds of minis and dozens of acrylic paints. Basically he said, "I know you guys play Pathfinder and I've got more minis than I can paint in the rest of my life...so here."
So being the good little brother that I am, I decided to give painting minis a concerted effort. He had just been so generous, a sincere attempt at painting was the least I could do. I am a computer programmer. I am not completely devoid of artistic aptitude, but almost. I don't have near the gifts my brother does, and so it was never something I put time into. There were just a lot of other things I'd rather do. But this time I started to love it. It is so relaxing. Whether I paint for a few hours on the weekend, or just do 10-20 minutes on a weekday to just unwind after work, it is so fun. I also find a lot of satisfaction in the completion of a mini. So I'm hooked now, which is really weird to me because I've never been the modeling, artistic type.
In the spring of 2013 I was surfing the net and came across Kickstarter. I found some RPG stuff and eventually heard about this epic KS that Reaper did a year earlier called Bones. I mourned that I had missed it, but believed rumblings of another Bones KS campaign. In the meantime I bought a bunch of Bones and got hooked. Gradually I have spent more and more time perusing the Reaper Message Boards.
I've got little kids, and little kids get into stuff. One day early in my painting career I came into my office and found one of my prize pieces of artwork on the floor. Some kid had been playing with it and it was chipped in several places. I set the mini on the shelf and stepped away from painting for a few days. I was deciding if I was going to continue this hobby. I had put several hours into that miniature (it takes me a long time to finish something) and a kid wrecked it. Furthermore, this would happen again in the future I could fully expect it. I know how kids are and we've got kids and will continue to have small kids around for some time. Am I willing to paint something for hours just to have some of them damaged from time to time? Is this hobby worth the time I put into it?
I decided yes, it is worth it, even if my precious art is wrecked from time to time. The joy and satisfaction I get from painting miniatures comes from the relaxation I get, and the creative outlet it is for me. The final product offers only a very small fraction of reward relative to what I get out of the process, especially since the mini just sits on the shelf after than anyway. This lesson turned out to be a very profound principle in my life. In most experiences there is much greater value in the journey than there is in the destination. Finished minis are great for a lot of reasons, but so many times I am always trying to just hurry up and get there instead of relishing the journey, the process, the exercise, the struggle, and all the joy and growth than comes from it.