Friday Quick Tip: Motivation and Momentum

We have a lot of Friday quick tips on how to paint better. Whether a new technique or a new tool, a lot of the site is dedicated to making your painting work better, faster and easier.

This tip is not about doing better, but just doing. A friend of mine just got together a new army. He's play-tested it a few time, tweaked his list, replaced all of his proxy models and assembled most of it. I myself have gathered together what will be my Novamarines Badab army. It sits in several grey and silver piles on a shelf of my painting desk. My army list is complete and the piles of unassembled Marines are even organized into squads-piles. There's really nothing more I can do except put it together and paint it.

But that's the problem. We'd both in the same spot, and probably a spot that anyone who's played any miniature wargame is familiar with: no motivation. We are in the Land of Painting Malaise. (Hello, my name is Jim and I've got APM: army painting malaise.) The theme is good, the list is solid, we've finally got all the models and can't wait to get it all finished and on the table but...


The hardest part of fully painting an army is starting to paint an army.

Now there are dozens of good ways to get motivated and I'm sure you've heard them. Reading some source or "fluff" like a Black Library novel is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. I also love to check out what others are doing: browsing the websites of Golden Daemon painters or Bell of Lost Souls or DakkaDakka are great sources of inspiration. Some people like to set goals, work in batches; all techniques you've probably heard before.

But when you are in that place-- that place where you wonder if this is a hobby or if it is "work". That place of hardcore APM that no amount of visually inspiring fiction or incredibly detailed examples can survive. That place that some people never escape from (you know who you are, leaders of the grey and silver forces!) and the place I am in right now.

There is only one way to get out of that place and break free of APM: paint with no excuses.

No excuses! Nothing about your job or school or wife of spouse. No excuses about it not turning out right or that you still haven't decided on a color scheme. No excuses about not being a good painter (how do you think you're going to get better without painting?) No excuses about not having the right equipment or needing some more primer.

Just go paint. Don't try or plan to paint. Don't set a painting goal or make a checklist. Just do it. Listen to Yoda: there is no 'try'.

Paint 3 guys. Now. Then paint 3 tomorrow and 3 the next day and keep painting for 2 weeks, painting at least 5 of the 7 days each week. Two weeks-- just do it. Force yourself to paint. This isn't a hobby, it is a war. If you can't win the battle of motivation, how are you going to win on the battle field?

After two weeks you will have 30 (or more) models painted. And that will provide the key to getting your army completed; an 'm' word that doesn't have anything to do with motivation.


Getting the last 30 models painted is much, much easier than getting the first 30 painted. So start now. Don't even comment, just go paint! Like I'm going to do right now.

Post a picture of a model you painted this week. And make sure you paint more today!


  1. Good info here. I'm a big fan of anything to help motivate me as I tend to like sitting at my desk staring at models imagining how cool they'll look painted.

    Tale of 4 gamers style competitions definitely are a great place for motivation. I've also recently stolen some motivational ideas from other blogs (painting points & miniatures queue) both of which I hope will spur me to keep painting.

    Off topic, great to hear about another Novamarines army. There's a couple on Warseer/B&C and here's the link to my Novamarines.

    Good luck!

  2. I've recently started this hobby and while painting is still fun to me, i do have problems starting on something new once i've finished the previous item.
    So once a week (skipping a week now and then) i meet up with a m8 to assemble/paint.
    I do a small batch of marines (5 or 6) which i often don't finish on a night.. however, i find myself finishing them over the next few evenings and by the time that comes around again i'm ready for my next batch :)

  3. Great post, APM can be a real bear.

    I'm currently kicking in the 2-3 models a day phase to get my Chaos marine army finished.

  4. Great tip Jim. More like motivational speech ^_-.

    I've found myself in this rut many times. Granted much of my hobby time revolves around singular minis, I still get the same blocks that everyone else does. And now that I'm staring down an army to paint, it's really time to stop feeling 'sorry' for myself and just get the thing painted!

    As to the mini I've finished this week:

    Project Chaplain

  5. I like painting... I just can't get more than a few free minutes to squeeze some painting into these days.

    And honestly, Yoda makes the whole post for me.

  6. I know you said don't comment just go paint, but i have too.

    Good info and straight to the point, it's what needs to be done by myself as well.

  7. The same is true of sculpting. I sculpt every day, becuase I want to see these brass wires and blobs of putty turn into something that I see in my mind.
    Miniatures do not sculpt themselves, nor do castings of completed sculptures paint themselves.
    You have to get off of your ass and make it happen.:)

  8. My consise advice for all the people that post online but don't have a painted army is simply to

    "shut up and paint"

    I mean if you paint half the time you spend online that's way too much time. I've been slaving away and even I'm surprised by some of the things I've been able to accomplish just by forcing myself to paint everynight before going to bed.

  9. Indeed....Also, FOR THE EMPRAH! :P