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Reducing that Pile of Shame - Tips & Tricks.


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On 2/15/2022 at 6:19 AM, Olaf the Stout said:

One more thing I thought of. I got a 3D printer for Christmas. So I’ve made a rule for myself that I won’t print more minis than I paint. That should help keep me motivated to paint more so I can continue to print more stuff.

 

I tried that as well...

It does help but on the other hand I like to print and save as much screen time as possible so I always load up a full build plate.

Usually resulting in a "few" more minis than I was going to paint,.

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On 2/14/2022 at 9:53 AM, kristof65 said:

Tip #1: Play games.  My primary motivation for getting things painted is to play on a regular basis.  Nothing motivates me to get a painted mini done like have an upcoming game to use it in. 

Tip #2: Set achievable goals and track them. 

 

 

This is what drives most of my painting.

 

1# I started a in-person RPG group!   since December I have painted 11 minis for the game.  yes I have 20+ goblins, but how about a few leaders? 
I have resolved to give ll the PC minis away when the game ends, as much as i like some of them. 
4B6CDF9F-D9E3-4AD7-9DAD-257DB6EC7AAE.thumb.jpeg.55b02ee28d8c4fa7763064363dc0b96c.jpeg

 

 

2# Goal 1. Finish the Core set of the KS V,  painting at least 4 per month.  goal 2# 3 huge dragons a year,  goal 3#  8-12 per month.   I keep track in OneNote, usually on my phone.   for goal 1.  I have a full spreadsheet - it gets updated randomly. 

 

Tip 3#  join the Reaper challenge league. 
Last year I painted 123 figures, up 20% from my normal level.  and this was entirely due to the RCL.  I don't do everything, and  finding /joining groups I find kind of a headache.
but my I formed a trio that lasted the entire year, and shows no signs of stopping.    Being accountable too 2 other people, drives both quantity and quality.  
It also got me to paint a bust or two, 3 diorama's and generally helps me pick what I will paint next.  

Edited by Evilhalfling
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6 hours ago, Glitterwolf said:

 

I tried that as well...

It does help but on the other hand I like to print and save as much screen time as possible so I always load up a full build plate.

Usually resulting in a "few" more minis than I was going to paint,.

I think I’ll do that as well. I’ll just make sure I get far enough ahead to load up

the build plate.

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Almost exactly a year ago I struggled with the same problem. I felt overwhelmed by all the unpainted minis and half finished projects I had. So I made a WIP thread for motivation: HERE. I tried some different things to get me going, and then something happened that changed my view on the "shelf of shame" completely. It was a post by @Glitterwolf:

 

Try not to think that you have a hoard you must paint.

You have a private stash from which you choose from to paint what you want!

 

This has turned into my painting mantra. And since that post, the pressure and the guilt has lessened drastically. I mean, there are always times when the frustration comes back and nothing seems to go right. Then it's time for me to toughen up and push through, or - more often - I just lay down the brushes and do something else. The urge to paint will return - I know it!

 

And then there are a few other things that have really helped me:

  • I keep my painting place accessible at all times. I now have a special desk just for minis: Just have to fill my cup with water, prepare the wet palette and sit down. No need for lengthy preparation. Whenever I feel like painting I can just do it.
  • I always have two or three active projects. When I struggle with one, the other one seems to call. So I keep being productive. I take care that there are not too many active projects - more than three is a distraction for me and lessens my motivation.
  • If I keep struggling with a project, it goes back to the shelf of "Not your turn". This shelf is not visible while I'm painting. In fact, it is not very accessible at all. Once I have an annoying project of my desk, the pressure is gone. No idea why it works, but it does. Probably because the mini in question has just become "private stash" again...
  • I paint only for myself, so there are no deadlines. If I don't feel like painting, I don't have to. There's enough pressure at work, I don't need it in my hobby!
  • BUT: At the moment I don't have much free time for painting anyway. The time I get at my painting desk feels like a special treat right now. So maybe limiting your painting time is a way to go. 
  • If all else fails I recommend Goobertown Hobbies over at youtube to get you in a calm, relaxed and positive mood. This guy truly is the Bob Ross of mini painting!
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Very good topic...my two cents:

 

1. I try to make sure I get SOME painting done every day ..even if it's just a bit. If I'm always putting paint on something, then it eventually results in finished projects.

 

2. I also make a concerted effort to power through what I call "stage 2" of each model. Stage 1 is when I'm just starting a model, picking out color schemes, and everything seems fresh and exciting - very easy to make progress with this stage. Stage 3 is when I'm finishing a project up, seeing everything come together, and adding those last few details. Again, very easy and rewarding to work through stage 3. But stage 2 is the point at which I'm just putting down basecoats, maybe dealing with frustrations that weren't apparent at the outset, etc. This is usually the point at which I'm tempted to "take a break" from a mini (i.e., set it aside for weeks) and start on something new that is fresh and exciting. But, I've learned that that type of behavior is what leads to big piles of unfinished projects for me. So, I try to power through stage 2, keep my eyes on the finish line, and it usually helps me keep my output of finished minis fairly consistent.

 

3. I also try to not have too many projects going on at the same time. I know some people prefer to bounce around between projects, and that's cool. But that system just ends up leaving me distracted and having a whole bunch of unfinished work. For me, the sweet spot seems to be no more than 2-3 minis going on at the same time. I'm sure everyone has an individual preference in this one, but that's what works best for me 

 

 

 

 

 

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Hello, All!  I'm a long time lurker, but this is my first forum post.  So, great topic encouraging me to finally speak up!

 

I will second what a lot of folks here have said.  Keeping track of your progress compared to your goals, painting for a purpose (such as gaming), and painting to "good enough" are all great ways to make progress.  

 

Here are a few more ways I stay motivated to keep painting:

1. I reward myself with paint time. 

If I have completed all of my college work and chores by the weekend, I take a "painting day".  I find this helps two-fold.  First, it motivates me to avoid procrastinating for my weekly to-dos. Second, it keeps painting at the forefront of my mind.  Sometimes I have to give myself pep-talks.  "If you put that off, VCR, you won't have time to paint this weekend."  Since I started doing this, I daydream about my next painting project while fulfilling my obligations, which gives me ideas, so I'm eager to get to painting once the weekend comes. 

 

2.RCL. 

I know several others have mentioned RCL, but I want to put this one down again.  RCL really help me get into the habit of painting.  My first quarter of participation alone, I painting more figures than the total I had ever painted all together before joining.  It encourages me to paint figures I otherwise would not have painted. Since I paint for gaming, if it doesn't have a gaming need, it probable will stay grey forever.  Thanks to RCL, some of those figures I thought I would never use have seen the most table time as filler/setting pieces.  RCL has also encouraged me to push myself outside of my painting comfort-zone by trying techniques I have always admired, but need too afraid to try.  

      

3. I attempt to finish a figure in one session. 

This may be a just me thing, or expand upon the "good enough" mentality, but for me, I find the most satisfaction out of seeing a figure moved into the painted case.  When I spend what I deem "too long" on a figure, it's very likely that I will never finish it.   So, I prefer to paint a figure or two (sometimes 3 now that I'm getting faster) in one long sitting.  Then bombard my husband with "look what I painted today" the moment he gets home.  That sense of satisfaction from getting something done keeps me motivated in a way a half finished figure doesn't.  I also line up my completed works for the month (awaiting sealer) so that I can take joy in my progress, or see that I need to devote more time to painting.    

 

4. Spreadsheets. 

I work as a data analyst, so I find numbers exciting.  I really enjoy keeping track my painted percentages by creature type, sculptor, material, and purchase date.  I like making graphs and charts to show my painting progress.   This doubles as a nice inventory system for the other DMs I game with, since I only run 2 of our 5 ongoing games.   It may not be for everyone, but it helps me stay motived. 

 

5. Keeping my unpainted figures visible.  

I haven't been buying figures so long that I can't fit my unpainted figures into their own display areas (yet).  I work from home, so I placed my "nekkid" (aka unpainted) figures in a case that I have to walk past to get to my desk.  Whenever I walk by, I like to admire the sculpts, and think about how I would like to paint them.  This keeps my creativity going, and it makes me feel less bad about all those nekkid figures, since I'm still enjoying them.  

 

6. Painting when I don't "feel like it" 

This one is a double edged sword, but I thought I would bring it up anyway.  Sometimes I pick out a figure to paint because I need it for a game or promised someone that I would paint this figure with them, (because it doesn't look fun to paint and I know without an obligation to get it done, it will stay nekkid forever).  Just sitting down and getting it done has left me pleasantly surprised about many a figure.   Pretty consistently, those figures I didn't want to paint in the first place turned into my favorite figures.  

Other times, I just don't want to drag out the water and palette.  Choosing a simple piece, like a bit of terrain that I know I can slap some paint at and call done, keeps me in the habit of painting.  Plus, sometimes I find out that it's not that I didn't want to paint, but rather I didn't want to set up my paint station.  And, worst case scenario, I really didn't want to paint, it only takes about 10 mins or so until I'm done.   

 

7. Paint what you want to.

This is the other edge of the sword from point 6.  I found when I initially started painting for my games, I was ONLY painting figures I needed for those games, regardless of if I was excited to paint them or not.  That time was the closest I have come so far to burning myself out on painting.  It became another chore, instead of a reward at the end of the week.  If you're feeling like this, mix it up!  My personal mix I stick to now is 50% painting figures I NEED to paint, and 50% painting figures I WANT to paint.  This allows me to keep ahead of my gaming party's play pace, and allows me to paint what seems fun and inspiring at the moment.  As an added bonus, those fun figures I painted get used more than I expected, now that they have a paintjob.      

 

8. Batching your least favorite parts.

I hate waiting for my figures to dry after their bath.  I have found I won't paint a figure if I have to do this.  So now, I will grab my "next up" pile at the beginning of the month, and wash them all at once.  That way they are ready to go when I want to paint them.  I do the same for sealing, because I don't much enjoy that step either.  Doing these things once a month makes it feel less burdensome, and removes one more barrier to painting in the moment.  

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@vcrlovesyou good points!!

Thanks for sharing!

 

My absolute nr1 advice with this hobby is : HAVE FUN WITH IT!

It's a hobby after all.

 

I have so many unpainted minis and unprinted 3D files I will never be able to paint them all during my lifetime.

Still I keep buying 3D files and minis.

Why?

It's a part of my approach to the Hobby - collect what I like as long as I can justify the money.

And I love to be able to pick a mini/file and paint it when I feel like it.

 

We all have our own approach to this and I find it very interesting to read all of your visions/advice.

But most important: it's supposed to be fun and not a chore as long as we realise that we should be able to relax a little about unpainted minis..

 

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On 2/20/2022 at 4:59 PM, Grand Slam said:

This is usually the point at which I'm tempted to "take a break" from a mini (i.e., set it aside for weeks/months/years/decades/generations) and start on something new that is fresh and exciting.

FTFY. :poke:

 

On 2/20/2022 at 4:59 PM, Grand Slam said:

3. I also try to not have too many projects going on at the same time. I know some people prefer to bounce around between projects, and that's cool. But that system just ends up leaving me distracted and having a whole bunch of unfinished work. For me, the sweet spot seems to be no more than 2-3 minis going on at the same time. I'm sure everyone has an individual preference in this one, but that's what works best for me 

I am really, really bad about this. Now that I have a larger dedicated painting space, I've been putting my unfinished projects into clear plastic shoe boxes stacked to the side of my painting space.  I will not confess as to how many boxes exactly, but let's just say it's not single digit nor triple digit.  Now that I'm starting to run out of space for those shoe boxes (and in some of them), I'm being forced to grab some of them and get them painted.  This has helped me achieve my monthly painting goals - especially at the end of a month when I don't have time. Just grab a partially finished figure or unit and get it painted. 

@vcrlovesyou - great first post 

Edited by kristof65
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On 2/14/2022 at 10:53 AM, kristof65 said:

image.thumb.png.e83c5debe290d49c7f1b13c6e524abad.png

 

So I ran into a little problem with my chart system here last night.  

I finally finished painting the miniatures from my original Roborally Board game set.   But they don't fit any of the (self created) categories on my chart.  Do I not count them?  Or should they be counted as RPG or a Mini's game unit? 

Decisions, Decisions...

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18 hours ago, kristof65 said:

 

So I ran into a little problem with my chart system here last night.  

I finally finished painting the miniatures from my original Roborally Board game set.   But they don't fit any of the (self created) categories on my chart.  Do I not count them?  Or should they be counted as RPG or a Mini's game unit? 

Decisions, Decisions...

 

Mini games unit since they belong to a game.

Schermafbeelding 2022-03-19 111819.jpg

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On 2/14/2022 at 8:53 AM, kristof65 said:

Tip #1: Play games.  My primary motivation for getting things painted is to play on a regular basis.  Nothing motivates me to get a painted mini done like have an upcoming game to use it in. 

 

I'm currently playtesting some Song of Blade and Heroes scenarios for the Juegorama KS miniatures, and am just as motivated! 🙂

 

However, for games...

* You can't see all the details you spent hours on from a few feet away. Those shoddy prepainted miniatures look the same as painted mini's.

* Players are focusing on the game, not the paint jobs. So long as they can distinguish one miniature from another, that's all that's important. Painting certainly helps, in that unpainted miniatures can often look alike. Grey plastic and metal are about the only colors unpainted miniatures come in.

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3 hours ago, ced1106 said:

However, for games...

* You can't see all the details you spent hours on from a few feet away. Those shoddy prepainted miniatures look the same as painted mini's.

 

If one’s goal is to reduce the pile of unpainted and partially painted miniatures around the house, then that’s more of a feature than a bug.  One can paint as much or as little of the fine detail as one enjoys, comfortable in the knowledge that the figure will look fine on the table either way.

 

Personally, I generally like to go a little beyond what you can see, for my own pleasure in painting, but not usually to the point of adding things that can only be seen under strong magnification.

 

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On 3/28/2022 at 1:51 AM, Rob Dean said:

If one’s goal is to reduce the pile of unpainted and partially painted miniatures around the house, then that’s more of a feature than a bug.  One can paint as much or as little of the fine detail as one enjoys, comfortable in the knowledge that the figure will look fine on the table either way.

 

That reminds me -- you can always repaint a figure (unless you're using contrast paint or speedpaint), so you can always paint to tabletop for tomorrow's game, then continue painting the miniatures later to a higher standard. I need another elf for my SoBH playtest, so I'm painting it alongside some other elves I've painted to tabletop.

 

Also forgot to mention. If you're not intimidated by other's painting, search for the miniature you're about to paint online, especially if it's a Reaper miniature. Steal the color design of other painters. Less stress -- and repainting -- because you know how a part of the miniature will look when you paint it. You can also check out color theory pages for common color schemes.

 

Reaper also used to emphasize more their triad lines, which took out the guesswork in base, shade, and highlights. No mixing necessary. Start with shadow as the basecoat. Maybe give it a wash. Paint areas closer to the light with base. If it looks good, you don't even need the highlight. I wish they'd go back to triads, especially since other companies aren't doing this. 

 

And you hear about faster and more efficient painting, as well as motivation, but almost never reducing the *frustration level* of painting. We're having yet another "droppers vs. pots" argument on Dakka 😄 and having the inevitable "One True Way" of doing whatever. But I think those of us who don't like painting (and other hobbies or tasks, such as cooking) have a much lower threshold for frustration and inconvenience than those who enjoy it. So when someone else tells you how to paint, remember that they may be accepting something that you find frustrating, so their solution is right for *them* but not for *you*. And, inevitably, it is *you* who has to paint the miniature. 

Edited by ced1106
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On 3/28/2022 at 4:51 AM, Rob Dean said:

 

If one’s goal is to reduce the pile of unpainted and partially painted miniatures around the house, then that’s more of a feature than a bug.  One can paint as much or as little of the fine detail as one enjoys, comfortable in the knowledge that the figure will look fine on the table either way.

 

 

This ^^  🙂 Part of what jams me up is the impulse to paint everything to display quality. I'm trying to learn to be content with an awesome tabletop quality paint job where appropriate. Those kobold are gonna be on the table for 30 minutes, then go back into monster storage. It doesn't make sense that I spend as many hours on them as I do a PC. 

 

Since I'm the only one in the group who paints, though, I know that each session will involve the players going "Ooo!" and picking up the minis for a quick look (because they all believe painting tiny things is black magic, and are fascinated when first confronted with new ones).  So I want them to look decent on a quick "close" inspection, but they don't all need to be Reaper Master Series Open ready. I think the players are just impressed that I can stay "inside the lines." LOL!

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