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Painting Slump


prophetic_joe
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So it happened around last April or so. Hit a painting slump and I can't seem to get myself out of it. I look at my minis and I love them but I can't seem to get creatively inspired to paint. SO finally I decided to just do it. I picked up my brushes grabbed my paint and started going and it just felt wrong. I didn't like the colors I was choosing the brush strokes seemed off. I just couldn't get into it. The concerns me a ton because I have a lot of minis and more on the way and I want' to paint them but I just can't seem to get motivated to do it. So I ask the good members of this forum have you ever just lost the drive to paint, lost the creativity to choose the right colors, and what did you do to come out of it?

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Agree with Minibart.  If painting is not currently enjoyable, then take a break and do something else that you enjoy for a while.  Also, I think the key thing here is not to feel any guilt for not painitng.  The last thing you want is your subconscious telling you that you have an obligation to paint minis.

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Well, two ways of looking at this. Sometimes you're just not feeling it and that's fine. Do something else.

 

But sometimes you have goals and ambitions, like painting all of X Y or Z. Alternatively, you're down or depressed and need to get started on something, regardless of slump, or you'll only get worse.

 

If so, what's worked for me is to pick out some no-brainers and "speed paint" them, or if you've been doing heaps of that, pick out something you like and really just take your time on it. A good no-brainer is skellies or all-armoured dudes, which you can just drybrush. I find that more relaxing than paint-and-dip. But if you're burned out on speedpaints, taking some time and doing some blends might work.

 

Another thing is to pick an aspect of some model you have multiples of and just do that on every applicable model. Brown liner every model in the orcpocalypse. Then do green skin on them all. Then give them all a wash. Then drybrush the armour. This is to let you zone out and just fiddle with the paint with no pressure, repeating techniques over and over like you were knitting or whatever. It's a bit of a grind but means next time you're feeling "up" you can pick out details etc, because you got the mindless grunt work done when you weren't going to have fun anyway ;)

 

None of this is to say you ought to paint. It's just my suggestions for what I do when I haven't been in the mood for yonks but still want to get a bit done.

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Two things that has helped me before.

 

1. Watching good tutorial videos. I have a small collection of ones from painters I look up which I purchased. But there are a lot of really good ones for free on youtube. Here's one to start you off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2MxY3y_Zqc&list=UUMyleo6g75R-bvGsus2oI8Q

 

2. Getting together with a few friends who also paint for a group painting session.

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Would you happen to have to have used your creativity elsewhere lately?

 

I find myself agreeing with Scott Adams (Dilbert) that he found he seemed to have a set amount of time to be creative each day. Use it up at work or school, and when you get home you don't feel like being artsy. TV and other non-creative activities are more attractive.

 

I know I've had days where the last thing I want to do is pick up the brush. Then there are days filled with meetings and corporate training where I then set the carpet on fire heading to the paint desk so fast.

 

In short, don't worry too much. I've seen others take multi year breaks, so a week or two won't hurt especially if you're not feeling it.

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Normally I just find something I really fancy painting and the slump goes away. Doesn't always work, and even when it does, I'm often left with quite a large pile of slightly started minis.

 

Don't try too hard to get back into painting though. It might seem like a waste to have all these minis sitting round gathering dust, but you could end up burning out on the hobby completely if it becomes too much of a chore.

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I agree with what previous posters said about taking some time away from painting.  I have done this myself.  Early this year I spent a couple months making things with my new sewing machine, instead of painting.  My husband actually thought I gave up the painting hobby.  I just dove into that new hobby until I'd had enough, then gradually made my way back. 

 

And I really like what junex had to say.

 

I am always motivated by spending some time with other people who are into the hobby.  And by viewing beautiful miniatures on CMON, or reading tutorials of new techniques I'd like to try.  I also find it inspiring to look at fine arts in general.  Spend a few hours at a good art museum one day.

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I go through a bunch of painter's blogs.  Massive voodoo in particular.  I look at my massive stock of reference pictures.  Like Mama said, fine art can be really inspiring.  look at the pictures deeply too.  analyze brush techniques, look at the colors, how tehy build their layers.  you'll find inspiration.

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This is why I have so many different hobbies. I only have room to keep a couple hobbies out at one time and one of those is usually my Vehicles. Right now i"m painting a lot but when I hit my slump I may take up chainmaille again. Painting minis happened again after I slumped doing chainmaille a year ago. I took 10 years away from painting mini's before that. My only regret was getting rid of so many of my mini's from back then, though I still have some of them.

 

So go try something new for a while.

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So it happened around last April or so. Hit a painting slump and I can't seem to get myself out of it. I look at my minis and I love them but I can't seem to get creatively inspired to paint. SO finally I decided to just do it. I picked up my brushes grabbed my paint and started going and it just felt wrong. I didn't like the colors I was choosing the brush strokes seemed off. I just couldn't get into it. The concerns me a ton because I have a lot of minis and more on the way and I want' to paint them but I just can't seem to get motivated to do it. So I ask the good members of this forum have you ever just lost the drive to paint, lost the creativity to choose the right colors, and what did you do to come out of it?

After I came back from ReaperCon 2012 I went on a 14 month painting hiatus. I had a lot of reasons, but principally I lost the painting bug and wasn't in the mood. I get what you're feeling and I've been there.

 

At the end of the day, I came back to painting for a number of reasons and none of those reasons had anything to do with feeling a 'need' to paint miniatures. Shake this notion from your brain.

 

Some things that helped me get back into painting:

1) Look through "monster manuals" and get inspired. Study the colors and techniques.

2) Watch some nature documentaries and look at the amazing colors displayed in nature; Wildest India or any of those are amazing!

3) Forget your miniatures and remember that the miniature painting community needs you.

4) Stop being a chicken and push yourself to learn new techniques; OSL, NMM, eyes, whatever. Push yourself to get beyond your self-imposed limits as a painter. In other words, set goals that aren't about finishing figures.

5) If you haven't already, get a book on color theory and learn something more about art. My profile has the book Mamageek recommended that I use as well.

 

Finally, pick up a figure and just paint it to completion. Don't worry about being rusty or whatever, just finish a figure and post it online. 

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I find creativity to be a renewable resource.  There are times when it just needs to be allowed to regrow.

 

Generally, the spring and summer mean lots of work around my property.  I like having a vegetable garden, and I've got fencelines to clean, bushes to trim.  Or fishing.  But along comes Gen Con, and I've got the painting bug again.  My painting occurs during the fall and winter, with only sporadic painting during the rest of the year.

 

Take some time to do something else you enjoy.  The minis will be there when you get back.

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I very much agree with smokingwreckage's point that it sort of depends on why you're not painting, and are you doing anything else that you enjoy.  If you're busy with another hobby, enjoy what you're doing!    ^_^   If you're not doing anything creative then sometimes you need to push through.  You might not feel it right away, but if you try just painting anything for a few sessions then the enthusiasm might come back. 

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