In Tool Tips 11, I brought up “Test Strips”. Mini bits glued to cardboard for testing out paint colors, brands, and techniques. I haven’t been messing around with them as much lately, but will likely come in handy when I get past the Dwarves.
“Wait a second…the title now says Tuesday Tool Tips! I plan on logging in every Tuesday and better see a new Tool Tip!!”
Heh. Yea, I changed the title as I found it more catchy and gives people an idea of when I might launch the next article. If you don’t like “Old Mini Monday”, come back next day for “Tuesday Tool Tips” instead! No, there won’t be a brand new Tool Tip every Tuesday, just the day that is dedicated for tips and tricks. Which are really Faust’s trials and tribulations that he’s struggled through, so hopefully you won’t have to!
This article isn’t as technical as previous posts. I don’t have any tips/tricks to make your minis look .0005% better this time around. This is more about transparency. Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to buy a motivational book or have you pass around a survey to all your Facebook friends either.
No, the other day while hacking away at the paint desk, I asked myself “Why am I doing this?!”. Oh yes, it’s a question I’ve asked myself about a half million times ever since I started painting little minis.
It’s also a question that I frequently asked myself when I was running marathons. Marathon runners pretty much ask themselves that same question about every 15 minutes! Along with thoughts of “I’m going to die! This is the last time I’m ever running a marathon! I’m just going to stop at the next hill!”
Pretty much any activity will have those nagging thoughts of self doubt. In running, I learned to lie to myself and say “Sure, you can quit at this next hill.”. Knowing full well, I wasn’t going to, because once you get past that hill, adrenaline kicks in and you just want to keep going.
This time the question popped up, it seemed a bit different though. Maybe because I’m reading more blogs and feeling a bit like I belong to this loosely connected miniatures blogging community. Which probably makes me think about these things more. It wasn’t so much a rhetorical question as ‘what is the end goal’? It’s a good thing to know, and something I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought. Many business professionals will tell you to write down your goal, so you can keep it in mind.
So I guess I’m doing that here, in public, with everyone watching. No pressure.
I’ve usually found with goals, it’s often easier for me to start with what I don’t want to achieve:
I’m not painting to become the best painter out there.
I’m not painting to amass a huge army for my favorite wargame.
I’m not painting to assuage guilt over having a closet full of unpainted, spendy, plastic.
It’s not really any of those things. Sure, there are elements of each, and I could possibly tie my inner demon to some of those goals, but those don’t seem to be what compels me.
The real reason I’m painting is that I want the best version of a miniatures game that I can possibly make.
That’s pretty straightforward and explains a lot. I might strive to increase my painting skills on the Blood Bowl Dwarf team, but it’s so that I can have a really great looking team for Blood Bowl. Not so I can enter them into a competition or gain admiration from other bloggers or friends. I realize I have limitations and hence, I am working towards “the best version….that I can make”. It also reminds me, that I don’t necessarily need to spend 20 hours painting 1 dwarf mini, if I can spend 3 hours to make him look just fine for a Blood Bowl game. Though sometimes putting in extra time will let me learn new things that make things look better in the long run, and that’s fine with me.
I also know have a small set of games that I am interested in. Should the day ever come that they stop releasing new minis for my chosen games and I have painted them all, there is a very good chance that I would put the paints and paintbrushes away in storage. Chances are that there will continue to be new Blood Bowl and other stuff for quite some time and I’m slow at painting….so, I’ll likely be here for a very long time. I think the key is that there is potentially an end goal in sight.
My closet is not completely overfilling with plastic currently and I have started to take the approach of ‘better finish painting this, before you can buy a new one of these!’. Which will hopefully curb plastic overload. But this also ties back into the goal of painting for a game(s). If there are no minis for my games, I’m not going to buy stuff I don’t need. It’s also a good way for me to assess spending habits, if I’m not playing a certain game or not as interested in it….then I should really quit buying stuff for it! Limiting the number of games really helps there.
Like I said, not a very technical post and no real answers. But it is a really good question to ask yourself and remind ourselves of “Why am I doing this?”. We likely all have different, yet similar drivers.