August 2022 Goals

August is here! How did that happen? 

Now that July is over and the whirlwind of personal stuff has settled I can get back to painting. I haven’t picked up a brush in almost 2 months at this point. 

Despite the long break, I was able to pick one up yesterday and get some things primed. I am going to do some Bones 5 KS things to get back into the swing of it. 

I have a few goals laid out though:

  • Work on and maybe finish the Dziewanna bust
  • Enter online Journeyman Miniatures competition
    • Order and start The Morrigan mini 

I guess those two things are probably the only things I’ve got planned. 

This is as far as I’ve gotten with Dziewanna. She’s still very much in the base coating stage of things.

https://warhog.pl/en_US/p/Dziewanna/262

This is The Morrigan from Journeyman Miniatures. I am so excited to get her.

https://www.journeymanminiatures.co.uk/webshop/all-products/full-figures/the-morrigan/

She will probably be one of the more complicated pieces I’ve ever done. The model comes in 15 pieces and is made of resin. When assembled it is about 75mm tall.

So, keep an eye out, fun things are coming!

Happy Painting,
~S

What and Why: Hobby Burnout

Hobby burnout. It’s definitely a thing. But what is it exactly and why does it happen? For the purposes of this post I’m going to focus on miniature painting.

Merriam-Webster defines burnout as: “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration”.

Essentially, it boils down to stressors. Whether it be work, family, or other things it can cause, among many things, long periods of lack of desire to do your hobby. It prevents you from motivating and coming up with creative ideas. It can cause the feeling of being overwhelmed, that you are wasting your time, or it’s feeling like a job when it shouldn’t. 

Being overwhelmed and stressed are just a couple of things that can cause this. Some other signs of hobby burnout could be self-doubt, procrastination, apathy about your hobby, and comparing yourself to others in a less than ideal manner. 

Hobbying is meant to be, first and foremost, an enjoyable experience. But that is not always the case. I have found that societal pressures like achieving “perfection” or simply getting better at what you’re doing can trigger it pretty easily. This thinking got even worse for me when the pandemic hit in 2020. With the lack of in person gaming I felt that there wasn’t a need to paint anymore when they wouldn’t be seen in person. I began to think that I had no reason to get better let alone achieve any sort of “perfection”. For these reasons painting became stressful and un-enjoyable and I hit the wall of burnout hard. 

It isn’t always the same for everyone though.

As I mentioned above it started with apathy. When I finally felt like I could pick up a paint brush again, procrastination hit followed closely by self-doubt. I found when I actually did pick up the paint brush again I would sit there and stare at my work getting frustrated about not having ideas or it not looking the way I envisioned it in my head. I then began looking for pictures of what I was painting and would quickly get bombarded by pictures of what I was working on that were much better than I felt I could ever do. 

 What can you do?

There are many things you can do to combat these feelings. I will break down the following and how I handle these.

  • Taking breaks
  • Talking to friends
  • Switch gears
  • Look for inspiration
  • Challenge yourself

Taking Breaks

I find that taking time away from whatever project you are working on to sort out what you are feeling helps a lot. The time period in which you take a break can be as little as a few minutes up to years. Now, ideally, you won’t take years off of painting but if that is what you need to do to reinvigorate yourself that is what you should do. 

Talking to Friends

When I am stuck it, sometimes, helps to talk to some good friends about what you’re going through. It helps me more if they are someone who shares the same hobby. Talking about this could be venting or just bouncing ideas off of someone else may help greatly. 

Switch Gears

This is, probably, the biggest thing that helps me out. If I am painting a large model I will switch to something small. If I get tired of whatever I’m working on I will switch genres of miniature. For example, if I am painting something fantasy and find myself stuck I’ll switch to something like horror or sci-fi. 

Look for Inspiration

This can be a double edged sword. While it is a good idea to look around for ideas and examples of what you are painting it can be detrimental as well. I mentioned earlier about being inundated with photos of minis that I deemed much better than what I could do. It instilled self-doubt and more procrastination in the form of “I’ll do that mini when I get better.” 

Definitely look around, just keep yourself grounded while doing so to avoid further burnout. 

Challenge Yourself

I have found that along with switching things up that making up challenges or joining something like the Reaper Challenge League helped me a lot. 

Challenges are designed to break you out of your comfort zone. This allows you to try new things you might not normally. It breaks me out of the rut I might have been stuck in and gets me putting paint on something which will eventually bring me back to working on whatever I feel I want to work on.

However, don’t challenge yourself in an unrealistic manner. Like looking for inspiration, challenges can cause frustration. Miniature painting is supposed to be fun and if it takes out the fun it won’t help.

 All-in-all you need to assess what your stressors are and where they are coming from. Reducing these things anyway you can can help combat the burnout. 

I am happy to talk more about my personal experiences with burnout. If you’re interested, drop a comment below! As always, thanks for reading. 

Happy Painting, 
~S

Exemplar Wet Palette: A Review

Greetings, Readers!

I am here to bring you another review of another awesome Game Envy product I received recently: The Exemplar Premier Wet Palette System. I realize as I write this that I’ve never covered wet palettes in depth. I will cover what I can in this post and write up another post dedicated to them at a later date.

As per usual, I have NOT been gifted this product or have been paid for this review and I spent my own money on it. Note: this was purchased through Kickstarter and is not currently, available for general retail, at the time of this writing, it is only available for pre-orders here.

This campaign was very successful. They made $166,319USD of a needed $10,000USD with a total of 3,013 backers.

My initial pledge, before add-ons and shipping, was $30USD. This was the first complete set option including all of the stretch goals. The palette set came with the wet palette in color of your choice (red, blue, green, or black), the dry palette and mixing tray insert (included in all palettes), two (2) sponges, and fifty (50) pieces of their wet palette paper. As for stretch goals I received: an Exemplar palette paper squeegee, a brush blotter sponge, an anti-microbial copper foil palette insert, and an awesome sticker. 

I will be upfront, before we get too far into this, that I do not have experience with other miniature painting specific wet palettes. I have used the Masterson Sta-wet Handy Palette which, while great for miniature painting, is geared towards use with much thicker artist’s paints. That said, the Exemplar, is much easier to work with for this medium. 

There is a lot to go over so let’s jump right in. This is the Exemplar Wet Palette.

This palette is made with miniature painters in mind. The Exemplar wet palette is also geared towards painters of any skill level making it a great option for new painters who may not know how wet palettes work out of the gate. 

It is made of BPA-free polypropylene plastic. This makes it safe to use and recyclable as well as heat and crack resistant. Being made of polypropylene means it is resistant to damage from many types of solvents used in painting products so it is easy to give it a deep clean when needed. If you don’t want to bother with solvents for cleaning it can also be thrown in the dishwasher (most likely top rack only)!

Let’s start with the breakdown of sections. The top of the lid pops open to reveal a storage area. It also has a dry palette and mixing tray inside, more about that in a minute. The storage section can hold up to 8 brushes with caps on and some various tools. If you still want to keep the dry palette handy it will fit into the body of the palette. The lid, when in the up position, doubles as a device holder so you can have your reference photos or favorite media going while you paint.

The Exmplar Wet Palette measures in at 6.5″ x 9.5″ or 165mm x 250mm it is slightly larger than the Sta-Wet Handy Palette (8.5″ x 7″). However, it is not so much larger as to overwhelm a smaller painting space.

All of the components that make up the palette, seen below, are replaceable.

One of the neatest things about this palette is the vent. It allows you to either create a vacuum when the lid is sealed to help prevent mold and keep paints fresher. If left opened it can help to control how much moisture is in it. It does not mean that, from experience, let you open it and it will dry out. It will hold moisture for a very long time. It can, however, be difficult to seal firmly but that is a minor annoyance and not something that would make or break this for me.

Sealed and unsealed vent

Now let’s talk paper. I’ve always been one to use regular baking parchment paper because the paper that comes with the Sta-Wet Handy palette is, in my experience, much harder to use with miniature specific paints. The paper that is made for the Exemplar is…okay. I have had a couple of times where paint seeped through the paper and stained the sponge. Of course, I may have also left the paint to sit for too long. That was easily cleaned out with a good rinse of warm water. So, while I’ll definitely use the paper I purchased I am not sure I will get more when I get low. The Kickstarter claims that the paper keeps paint functional for longer and gives optimal permeation to help with blending and mixing.

Below are the pictures of how my paint separated over time. These colors are a Heartbreak Red sample from Reaper Miniatures, I am not sure if this is available for general retail yet. Then the blue-green, called Jade, is from Monument Hobbies Pro Acryl line. The only thing I did to the paint was pull a line off so I could see how well it was thinning. It may be hard to see in the smaller photos but after an hour it was still at an optimal, for me, consistency. After twelve (12) hours the red had separated enough that I had to mix it back up to use. Then, it is hard to tell but, the Jade separated a minimal amount. Even though they did separate, once remixed they were still at a usable consistency.

However, the sponge is amazing. For being only 3mm thick it holds a lot of water. When I first opened my Kickstarter package I thought I was going to have to double up on them like mentioned on the campaign page. This was not the case. It holds an incredible amount of water for how thin it is. It is made from a foam rather than the more sponge like material found in other palettes. The reason for suggesting stacking is for climate and moisture preferences.

Sponge in palette

The sponge is said to be mold resistant. Which, so far, I’ve definitely not had a problem with that. I am notoriously bad at forgetting that I have water in it. I have definitely ruined a good handful of the sponges I have for the Sta-Wet Handy Palette. The sponge is white which is nice because it is a fairly neutral color. It allows me to see the paint in a truer manner than the yellow ones that come with the Handy Palette. The refill bundle includes fifty (50) sheets of paper and two (2) sponges that are perfectly sized for the palette. I do not know if they will be sold separately or only in the bundle with the paper.

Next up are the stretch goals.

With the package I received a Copper Foil Palette Insert. This foil is anti-microbial which helps it deter mold from growing. It looked like it was going to be very hard to put in the bottom of the palette without crinkling or getting bubbles stuck under it. Surprisingly, it was fairly simple and I had very little issue. I used the paper squeegee to help lay it down. I do enjoy that it is a flat piece instead of wire like I use in the Sta-Wet palette that raises up the sponge and sometimes makes it difficult to keep everything level.

The paper squeegee is what it says. It is a rectangular piece of plastic. It allows you to remove bubbles and creases without using your hands which may not give you as flat a surface as you’d prefer. It also keeps your hands out of the palette.

Paper Squeegee

Now for the brush blotter sponge sheet. It is essentially, what I believe to be, a strip of white cellulose sponge. As for what it does, it is what it says it is. I have been using it to remove excess water from the brush after I rinse it. I, however, believe that it is intended to be used to unload excess paint on the brush after loading it.

There are instructions that come in a PDF in the updates that instructs you to line up the squeegee and cut a piece off. This piece fits nicely in the rectangular section of the dry palette. I like that because it’s easier to keep track of.

So, a quick overview of my opinions on it.

I love that the palette itself is very sturdy and easy to clean with or without cleaning solvents. It is a great size for my small painting area. While the stretch goals seem small I very much enjoy and appreciate them. The paper is just okay but the sponge is amazing.

Overall, I think it’s a great product and if you’re in the market for a new wet palette definitely check this one out.

Happy Painting,
~S

Personal Update: Spring 2022

I have not had time to sit down and write a blog in quite some time. I am working on some review articles very slowly. I have been dealing with the loss of our two cats in 3 months of each other. So it’s been pretty rough around here.

I have also been working on a commission that I can finally share.

This is a 3D print of Zinogre from the game Monster Hunter. It took a total of 27 hours to complete.

I can finally share this since it has been delivered. It has taken up the majority of my time since about mid-February.

I took a break for a couple of weeks to start prepping and working on a bust that was given to me for Valentine’s Day of this year. It is the Ignis Arts bust Dziewanna from their Slavic Legends: Nawia line.

They do lots of absolutely gorgeous resin minis. This is a 1:10th scale model. Aside from general cleaning and priming my copy had zero mold lines and cleanup otherwise.

I started on her eyes tonight. They are still a little rough but for spending about 15-20 minutes I think they look good. There is lots of clean-up to be done before I move onto her skin.

Anyway, that some of what has been going on and I really hope to get those review articles done as soon as I can.

Happy Painting,
~S

March ’22 Goals

I’m going to try to get better about doing a wrap-up and a goals post for the rest of the year.

March is fairly busy around here but I do have some projects to be done.

First up is the Sea Dragon from Reaper’s Bones V Kickstarter. It was in the Dark Depths expansion.

So far this is what I’ve gotten done on it. It is still very much a WIP. I still have some of the base to paint up as well.

Second is the Dragon Bust that was also an add-on during Bones V.

I have done most of the lining on the neck, I missed a few spots, but no lining on the head yet. The lining I have done definitely needs cleaned up. Lots left to do on it.

These are what I’m working on this month. I have some other projects I’ll be working on but I can’t say more than I have them going for now.

Happy Painting,
~S

February RCL Wrap Up ’22

March is upon us and by that I mean today is the 1st. I’m not sure where last month went. I only got two (2) minis painted up for RCL for the month but I’ve been working on quarterlies in the meantime.

I completed the Duo and Trio categories.

For the Duo I painted up Grub from the Chop and Grub Halfling Cooks pack. I had much more I wanted to do with him but I didn’t have the time to do it more the way I wanted to.

Grub, Halfling Cook

For my Trio I painted Sister Hazel that I received with my Bones 5 pledge.

Sister Hazel, Plague Doctor

Sister Hazel was definitely a hassle. I decided I wanted to do all white for a diorama with another plague doctor mini that Reaper makes. I will definitely come back to this. The shadows on the front got wiped out at some point. I think the back looks better. Thankfully, my lights were kind and made some shadows for me.

Other than those I did not finish anything. I’ve worked on a couple things for the Quarterly categories (Sea Dragon and Dragon Bust) and did an overhaul of my desk (and soon to be hobby area of the hobby room). I did paint a small (4″x4″) landscape to break things up a little too. It’s not the greatest, in my opinion, but with as long as it’s been since I’ve done one I’m happy with it.

I do have a few review posts to write for some more products from Game Envy that will be coming soon. So keep an eye out for those.

Happy Painting,
~S

January 2022 Wrap-up

So this is a wrap up of last month and a progress report for what’s been going on this week.

In my last post I had gotten some things done. I got almost all my monthly things for January minus the theme mini because I just ran out of time. I’ll post all the pictures from what I completed again just for a total round up.

Without further ado here are the rest of the minis I completed.

As mentioned in the last post this was my Limited Palette figure.

Dire Grouper, Bones 5 Dark Depths Expansion

PC mini: Sir Garrick the Bold aka Sir For Scale. His sword is a bit bent but I did not have time to fix it by the time I got to painting him. It doesn’t bother me too much.

Human Paladin, Garrick

Monster: Owlbear. This is one of the newer owlbear sculpts that Reaper makes. This one came in my Dungeon Dwellers expansion from the Bones 5 Kickstarter and is not currently available for retail sale.

Owlbear, Bones 5 Dungeon Dwellers Expansion

Duo: Elanter the Lost Prince. I had a really difficult time with this one. I just couldn’t get the colors to work like I wanted it to so I had to call it “good enough not perfect.” The picture did not want to cooperate either. This is the new Bones USA material, which I am loving but more on that at a later date.

Elanter the Lost Prince

Trio: Damras Deveril, Wizard. This one is also Bones USA, I had fun with this one but he’s on the rough side.

Human Wizard, Damras

New Release: Gingerbread Knight. This was probably my favorite one to paint. Could have used more clean up but overall happy. Again, Bones USA.

Gingerbread Knight

Freebie: Pyram the Pincher. I have had this guy hanging around half painted for far too long for how long it took me to actually finish it up.

Rogue, Pyram D4 High Roller

On top of all these I did up my Seasonal Theme mini which I chose Valentine’s Day for the holiday. This one is metal. I don’t paint a lot of metal but I’m thinking that will change over the coming months so I can dig into my pile I have.

Valentines Mousling

I know this has been long but bear with me. I’m not committing to a full list this month but rather some things that I know will need finishing that can work for the RCL. This is what I’ve been doing so far this month.

This is the Sea Dragon and it’s base from the Bones 5 Dark Depths Expansion.

Last but not least my favorite picture I took last month.

Thanks for sticking with me. I’ll try to update a little more often, when possible, so these don’t get terribly long.

Happy Painting,
~S

Mid-January Update

Well, kind of. I know this is a few days late.

So far I’ve gotten 3 minis finished and have several in progress. Should have time to sit down today and do more.

The Valentine Mousling was a ton of fun to paint. Quick and easy. Also, this one is metal! I normally paint a lot of plastic but I’m liking the feel of metal more and more these days.

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Valentine’s Mousling by Reaper Miniatures

The Gingerbread Knight was also a quick and fun paint. Now that I’m seeing the picture on a larger screen he needs some touch-ups before I call him totally done.

20220113_173516.thumb.jpg.8186e1bc53fe50794d3dde3d8a52c5cc.jpg
Gingerbread Knight by Reaper Miniatures

Dire Grouper from the recent Bones V Kickstarter Dark Depths expansion. It is currently not for sale. This was my Limited Palette mini so I only used the paints shown.

20220113_173431.thumb.jpg.1fcf9e839fae647b19369816e7d341fa.jpg

I will hopefully have some more updates really soon!

Happy painting,
~S

New Year, New Goals (2022)

2021 was a year of goals for me but looking back not a lot got done, unfortunately. While I was fairly productive, basically, none of the larger projects got finished which was the big thing I wanted to do.

Here’s a reminder of my 2021 goals.

Things I did do:

  • Started Grimtalon
  • Participated in 9 months of the RCL.
  • Cleared a little of the Shelf of Shame.

As for hobby adjacent goals I:

  • Leveled up photography skills some.
    • I do still need to get into the habit of, when finished, using the light box.
  • Worked on spreadsheets.
    • I need to do so much more but I did get those updated somewhat.

So now onto 2022. I have reigned it in a little and decided on less specific goals and far fewer of them. I’m sticking with 5 for both sets of goals.

Let’s start!

Hobby Adjacent Goals:

  • Do an in-depth inventory of paint
    • I’ve amassed a collection of paint. This is a given but as of late I’ve gotten quite a few new colors. I want to make sure they are all in the paintRack app and have the right number of bottles for the colors I have multiples of.
      • I love this app. I have no affiliation with them, just a big fan. Available on Android and iPhone. In my opinion, it is the best paint inventory app covering tons of different lines of paints and they update on a fairly regular basis.
    • In doing this inventory I will also be adding agitators and using the vortex mixer to make sure that things are in working order.
  • Update paint swatches.
    • I need to figure out how I’m going to organize some things. There is some confusion, probably on my end, about new SKUs and where they go.
  • Get in the habit of using my light box more.
    • I’d really like to have not only my WIP photos in places but actual finished shots that aren’t just propped up against a paper towel or what have you on the desk.
    • This will also probably include figuring out how to take photos of the larger things that won’t fit.
  • Work on my photo backlog.
    • I’ve got a lot of stuff that I’ve done that I don’t have photos of that I’d like to get taken.
  • Mini inventory
    • This one might be reaching a bit but I’ll at least try to update my spreadsheet with new things coming in.

Hobby Goals:

  • Work on some larger WIPs
    • This includes things like Ma’al Drakar and Grimtalon.
  • Clear as many WIPs as possible.
    • While I want to get the larger things done I’d like to finish at least a handful of minis that already have paint on them.
  • Participate in RCL 2022.
    • I had a blast this past year and I would like to plan this out a little more now that I know how it works.
  • I want to start my smaller axolotl diorama that I haven’t started much of yet.
  • I want to work on making my blends smoother overall.
    • Especially when it comes to skin tones.

So all in all I’ve scaled back my goals to a, hopefully, more manageable list. I think these things are doable but will be very time consuming, especially the swatches and inventories.

What are some goals that all y’all have for the coming year?

Happy Holidays and Happy Painting,
~S

Minivember Wrap-up

Minivember was awesome but I was not able to get the full 30 done. I am very happy with the ones that I did get done though. I think all told I got about 8 done. Not the best but LifeTM got in the way.

These are the not super great photos I have of them. I’ll post nicer ones at some point in the future.

I’m going to be very busy the next few weeks so I might not post here until after the New Year.

So until then have a happy holiday and as always happy painting.
~S