Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Getting That Painting Mojo Back?

We have all been there. We reach a point where we couldn't paint another miniature if our lives depended on it. It could be a result of hobby or painting burnout, seasonal depression or family matters being front and center (and taking up all the time that one used to spend on painting). The loss of painting or hobby mojo is evident when one has lost interest in the thing(s) that one normally likes to do. I get that "I just don't care anymore" feeling. (This can also be a sign of depression and it is something that you should take seriously. Check with your wife and ask her if she notices any changes in your demeanor and attitude).

I am there right now. 

But I think that I might have turned the corner as of today. 

How do I get out of the painting funk and getting my painting mojo back? There are three methods that I usually relay on and most of the time they work, getting me back on my horse. 

The first method is to start watching historical movies. Put a CD of Waterloo, Zulu or Gettysburg into the old machine and watch movies to get your inspiration back. 

The second method is to contact some of your gaming brothers and get them to host a wargame that you can play in. It's important to let someone else host the game and take care of all of the logistics. Remember, you don't care that much right now. I usually find that playing a game is a great tonic for curing the loss of hobby mojo. You get to play with someone else's toys, but more importantly, it is an opportunity to socialize with your friends. Getting out of the house and getting together with your friends is an important life hack.

The third method is to force yourself to paint! I know, it sounds like a hard thing to do when you are in a deep funk. If I force myself to commit to one hour of painting over the next several days then it knocks the rust off of my painting funk and I begin to remember some of the reasons why I enjoy painting figures again. If the enjoyment returns then the funk usually goes away.

These past several days I have employed Method Three, sitting at the painting table and painting a few 54mm Dervish that have been sitting around for some time just begging to be painted. I started with just two figures. Then I upped it to ten figures and also added five cavalry figures. It seems to have worked because now I am complaining that I don't have enough time to paint. Yikes!

Another sign of the old mojo returning is that I placed a new order for some more 54mm plastic Dervish from Armies In Plastic today. Maybe buying miniatures should be Method Number Four.

So I seem to be back. Huzzah!

Now if I can only get back my interest in 18th Century wargames and figures. That's probably a left over thing from my Historicon experience last summer. Give it some time. It will return one day.


  1. Hello old chap,

    I empathise with you wholeheartedly - post the publication of The Portable Ironclads Wargame I seem to be struggling to settle on anything gaming specific and to be frank, have very little motivation.

    I am sure it will pass and the tips you suggested are all great solutions.

    We will get there, of that I am sure.

    All the best and keep fighting the good fight,


  2. Another method is to track your progress. I have recently started using the iPhone App BrushRage and am finding it helps keep me motivated by showing my progress (or lack thereof) and the time I spend on unts.

  3. Indeed Jim, we have all been there. My tip is only paint something you want to paint.

  4. I have never been there as I find painting figures so relaxing. I sit in my garage and enjoy the skylights, the sound of nature, such as rain on the tin roof, the wind, the birds etc or put on an escapist DVD whilst painting. My wargame table is behind my chair so I can envisage the new troops rampaging across it. I also sometimes take my figures camping by the creek or river and paint them there.

  5. Interesting post Jim, do you think going South to the sunshine made you feel less interested when you returned? Anyway glad you have turned a corner....and I have thought of a way to get you back to 18th Century eventually....... Cheers Chris

  6. Been there experienced that Jim many, many times.I found that seeking out some figures that are totally different from your latest project and painting them helps to a degree. But the best is meeting up with other wargamers and just chatting about anything is the best thing. It may be because you are contemplating a big change to your life may have overwhelmed you a bit. Keep busy and spend more time with your new dog.

  7. I am blessed that rarely do I suffer from lack of painting mojo Jim, though I can fully understand it.
    When on the rare occasion it bites reading old wargaming magazines helps me find inspiration or try mustering and cataloguing all your figures. That will be boring and painting will seem a blessing.