How I Paint - A Quick Guide to Getting Stuff Done

How I Paint – A Quick Guide to Getting Stuff Done

Some quick notes and ideas shared about how I paint.

Approximate Reading Time: 8 minutes

I’m not really sure where this article will go, it’s essentially about how I paint when it comes to time, motivation and organisation both physically and mentally. I hope someone finds it useful and can draw on it to get their own stuff done! So now I will witter on about how I paint…

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A lot of my article ideas come from comments on this blog, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit and from conversations in real life. I figure that for every person that asks me a question there are probably 50 that think about the same question – but never ask. So this is for the silent 49.

The comments and questions shown below have made me write this article;

How do you find the time to paint?

Your stuff is an inspiration to me.

I haven’t finished ten models all year. How on earth do you paint so much?

Your stuff looks great. I wish my stuff was like yours.

That isn’t me blowing my own trumpet! These are things people say – honest. How good or bad my stuff is subjective – so this is about getting stuff done and improving. Rather than being good.

Also, there are a lot of other people doing their hobby very differently from me and do it a lot better than me and quicker. This is just my approach – maybe it’ll work for you. Maybe not.

If it helps one person I will consider this a success!

Image for attention!

Image for attention!

Being Organised – Physically

There are a couple of ideas and pointers in this section to help you get into your hobby time quickly. Having your hobby feel like a chore is not good and these little tips can make it a lot easier to start or restart your current hobby project.

I do not have a dedicated hobby area, room or table. So keeping what I need for my current project to hand is very important. It’s no good having the magnets I need in the garage, the paints in the loft and the model right in front of me. The things I need for the current project are all on one box in one place.

The Box

This means that other projects are elsewhere. Like in the loft or garage. They are out of sight and out of mind. They do not clutter my current project box.

Having such a box means you can get it, place it on a table and get going. It’s all there ready to go. When you’re done with your hobby session is all goes back into the box ready for next time.

For me, this reduces the barrier to entry of actually getting started. I know I can be up and running pretty quickly and with a minimum amount of faff.

An exception to this rule is planning ahead for the next project. I sometimes retrieve my next project from its hidey-hole in order to plan it and make purchases. It’s no good completing a project and be ready for the next one if you’re missing a rattle can of black to prime the next model. I keep my next project accessible so I can check on it and be sure I have the bits I need to get started on it. Having the next project in your mind’s eye can also motivate you to get the current project completed.

My Hobby Box

My Hobby Box

Being Organised – Mentally

I find there are two main mental barriers to completing the things you want to in your hobby.

Getting Yourself Started

The first is being able to start. Sometimes the weight of a project in your mind makes it too much to start. I felt like this after Christmas with my Baneblade. I stopped my hobby time about a week before Christmas and by the time I could start up again – around the second week in January – the Baneblade just felt like a massive impossible task. Despite it being built, primed and having a basic camo pattern.

To overcome this mountain of a task I first got together the most basic tools I would need to restart the Baneblade;

  • One monster brush from Army Painter
  • An empty jar – for water
  • Castellan Green
  • Zandri Dust
  • A basic plastic palette

Then a day or two later when I had the time all I had to do to start, was take these five things out of a cupboard, place them on a table and start. This smaller task of placing two colours on a model helped me get started again. Skip forward two weeks and the Baneblade is now nearly done.


And the second is having the headspace to get your mind into your hobby. Although sometimes I think this is a bit of a Catch 22…

If something else needs doing; it could be work-related, family-related or DYI task in my home. Then this can occupy my time and mind to the point that doing any hobby project seems a million miles away. On the flip side, doing some hobby instead of those tasks can release me from the pressures of “oh that model is still not done” and then allow me to get on with something else. It is a constant battle of “I have still not completed X”.

So try doing hobby to free yourself of the shame of “oh that model is still not done” which may enable you to get on with other things in your life. Or get the other things done and make your hobby time a reward for doing those things. It is hard to say which works best for me and it will depend on what other tasks I need to be doing – or feel like I need to be doing. Sometimes you just have to say screw it and do the hobby – for your own sanity.

Below is me placing one of those two base colours down.

Do Hobby – Little & Often

If you prepare your project physically and give yourself the freedom to do your hobby mentally, then doing little and often is much easier. If you can do 15 minutes a day or every other day then this soon adds up. 15 minutes may not seem like a lot, but this amount of time is enough for me to crisp up a camo line or two on the Baneblade. A few days like that and all the camo lines are done.

Next step is a wash which just needs;

  • Agrax Earthshade
  • Jar of water
  • A paper towel
  • A brush

Once all the wash is done. I then set up for the next stage which uses;

  • Terminus Stone
  • Ushabti Bone
  • Loren Forest
  • A large dry brush
  • A paper towel

I can then dry brush a colour at a time and gradually get this next stage done in little parts. From there I start to use metallics and detail colours – like red, black and white. The next stage after this will be adding pigments which is much harder to do in 15 minutes parts – as its pretty messy. But I hope you get the idea. Your hobby time should not be hard work to get started and making sure mine is easy to start has made a massive difference to my completed pile of models

Always Be Improving

Finally, I find that if I am always trying to improve my output with new techniques and by practising old techniques then this motivates me into doing more and more hobby. I want to complete my Baneblade so I can move onto the Gorgon and try some new techniques. Then after that, I can put what I have learned from the Gorgon into my six Chimeras for my Valhallans. Onwards and upwards.

Here are some ideas based on new techniques I have used – should you want to try something new…

The ones I plan on doing in the future are;

  • Oil paints
  • Drybrush stippling
  • Hairspray technique for chipping
  • More wet blending/glazing
  • Going mad and painting ten Cadian faces back-to-back to improve

That is all, for now, folks about how I paint. Now back to work for me…