5 Things I wish I’d known when starting the hobby

5 Things I wish I’d known when starting the hobby

I have been doing this hobby for about 6 years’ now and I’d say I’m experienced at it a little bit but when I started off I knew nothing! It took lots of trial and error over the years to get my painting and hobby to a half decent level. So, these are my 5 helpful bits of advice that I wish I’d known when I started the hobby

1.   Practice, Persistence and don’t worry
This probably applies to every hobby but when you’re starting off your first few attempts are probably gonna be pretty bad. I have a Space Marine sergeant that was one of the first models I ever painted and it has a brutal paint job on it but I will talk about him later. Painting can be something that takes time, practice and persistence. Overtime your efforts will improve and you will notice this by looking back at your older works. So don’t get worked up about your painting early on. Just keep at, learn different techniques and persist at it. Growing your painting skills is extremely rewarding

2.   Thinning your paint
This had to be number two cause its so necessary! This is something that I had to learn the hard way. That Marine sergeant I mentioned earlier yea this is him
There is so much paint on the poor guy that any detail he had is well covered over. This was one of the first models I painted so I just kept pouring the paint on.  I never stripped the paint off him because it’s something I like to look at and remember where I started. Thinning your paints with water and putting on multiple thin coats is the better way of doing it. The best example is to watch Duncan’s painting tutorials on the Warhammer TV YouTube channel. That guy’s motto is “Don’t forget to thin your paints” and “2 thin layers”. Just keep trying it and eventually you will know what consistency works

3.   Brush care
This is something I’m guilty of still to this day. Take care of your brushes! A brush with split bristles is a useless brush. Try using a brush cleaning soap every now and then and don’t leave them in a way that the bristles are bent because they will stay like that. Eventually the paint will build up on the bristles so try and give them a deep clean. I’m not sure if I’d recommend this because I have only tried it once so far but soak the bristles in some nail polish remover for an hour or so (Depending on how much paint is in the bristles). I’m not sure what effect of doing this repeatedly has on the brushes though.  The more you look after your brushes the better they stay.

4.   Don’t be afraid to be creative
If you’re like me it can take an effort to get your creative side out. Don’t be afraid to come up with your own backstory’s, painting scheme and conversions. This encouraged throughout the hobby but sometimes it’s hard to create something different from what on the box. Try and make a themed unit/model from your own ideas with your own colour scheme.

5.   Create a hobby journal(s)
Probably my favourite bit of advice and I really wish I was doing this from the beginning. I’m terrible at writing stuff down as I’m working. Even in college I have to keep reminding myself I have a notebook to write it. Keep a painting journal so you can keep a record of what paints you used on models. My Stormcast for example, their shields are a mixture of 2 or 3 different colours and I haven’t got a clue what they are anymore. A painting journal will come in real handy. A second journal that I have just recently start is an idea journal. Any ideas for conversions, paint schemes or themed army’s all goes into this book. You are going to forget so many great ideas like I have and looking back through a journal like this is great for hobby motivation.  

Final thoughts
The more you practice your skills in the hobby the more you will get back out of it. Seeing your painting skills improve over time. Another big thing would be the wargaming community (hobby and gaming) is massive. Every social media outlet has multiple groups that are friendly and offer advice.  Take care of your brushes, keep a hobby journal, thin your paints and keep at it. But the most important thing is to enjoy your hobby time!

I hope this helps and if you have any other tips that you would like to share make sure to leave a comment or send a tweet my way @spungemurphy

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