Saturday, 19 November 2011

Painting Burnout

All miniature tabletop gamers who paint have been through a painting burnout at least once in their lifetime. It is a rite of passage. You have not fully matured (as a painter) unless you have been burnt out before! Some people get it only once in their lifetime while others experience it pretty often.

 Reasons of Burning Out

-        Too many miniatures to paint
This is the most common reason of burning out. When you step back and think about it, you have tonnes of miniatures to paint. Worse still, this does not include the minis from other game systems that you play!

-        Real life issues (i.e. no time, etc)

Work gets in your way all the time. The lack of time makes you feel that it takes ages for you to paint something and by the time you are finished with it, you already got bored playing with that miniature.

-        “Bored” of the same paint scheme
Painting the same scheme over and over again can frustrate you. Imagine having a difficult scheme to paint with and you need to cover 50+ miniatures of it. The tediousness of it does creep into some people’s head out there!

-        Slow painter
You may be a below average painter, or you may simply be a perfectionist. The bottom line is, you paint slow. You wish you can speed paint as fast as some people out there but when you do it, the satisfaction simply isn’t there. It takes months to finish a simple 10 men unit and it is making you go crazy.

So What do you do?
-        Visit online forums; view pictures for inspiration

Miniatures painted in an awesome manner could motivate you to do good as well. It could also inspire you on a new paint scheme! In my opinion, the best site for this is at Do drop by and have a look if you have not!

-        Flip through your books, read fluffs, remember the reason why you gamed in the first place
It’s easy to forget why we play this game in the first place. It could be the fluff, the ruleset, or simply the artworks. Rekindle that by going through things that contribute to it. The fire will be re-ignited!

-        Take a break
Sometimes one just needs a break from painting. Once you start burning out, you should not push yourself. Your body would resist it more and more up to a point of no return. If you feel tired, take a break! Do some outdoor activities! Take a road trip! Perhaps have a barbeque!

-        Paint miniatures from a different line
Maybe painting a fantasy setting over and over again is what bores you.  Try painting some sci-fi minis or something totally different like battleships (i.e. dystopian wars). Also, do consider painting up terrain!

-        Opt for a different paint scheme
Your whole army is red and black and you are sick at the notion of painting another red and black miniature. Consider painting it differently! If you do not want to side track your army’s scheme, then consider “inverting” the colours (red parts are painted black and black parts are painted red). By inverting the colour, you are not only painting something “different”, you are also making that particular model stand out amongst the lot in your army.

-        Buy tools that eases/speeds up the painting process

If you are like me, I find painting a lengthy process that eats up my time. I don’t want to spend another month to just finish another warjack. Sometimes I get burnt out from this fact alone. Therefore, I buy tools that can cut my overall painting time (and get motivated to paint again to try them out). Some tools that can speed up the painting process are sprays (for undercoating), air brush, dremel (to pin and other forms of cleaning your mini prior to painting), a new table lamp, wet palate, water pot that self-replenishes the water for you, etc.

-        Participate in a campaign/tourney
Most campaigns and tourney these days require a fully painted army in order to participate. Participating in one (preferably with friends) it can serve as a good motivation to kick start your painting habits! The paintjob may not be the best, but hey, you got an army painted and ready to play!

-        Paint in a group on hobby nights
I cannot stress how fun this is. Not only do you get to paint and finish your miniature, you get to listen and participate in other people’s banter, teases, jokes, rants, etc. If your LGS does not have a hobby night event, do suggest the owner to organise one!

 Hopefully this article helps you in future burn outs. Here's a toast to no more painting burn outs!

What do you do to overcome painting burnouts?


  1. Try out new painting techniques is another one. Especially speed painting techs. They can be fun to try out and don't take too much time before you get back into the groove

  2. Actually that is a good idea. I've tried that b4 and it really did spice up some things!