BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

Goatboy’s 40K: Keeping Motivated In the Grimdark

5 Minute Read
Jun 24 2019

If you’re a 40K fanatic, one day you’re going to be in a funk. But the question I ask you the ever lovely reader is: how do you keep motivated?

Keeping motivated can be really hard when you have life/work/etc. coming at you from all angles and keeping your brain occupied.  It is something I have always dealt with as I am continually working on something for myself, someone else, or just some random test idea.  I just like to keep busy and usually don’t have an issue with motivation – just finding room in my busy schedule.  But the question I ask you the ever lovely reader is: how do you keep motivated?

Mixing Things Up

I usually leave myself a few projects to get done during the week.  I need at least some kind of model to paint or an illustration to work on to help keep me fed as I try to burn through some commission work.  I know a lot of people think the life of a commission painter could be fun, but it can be very grueling work.  There are times when you just don’t feel like painting something you need to get done, or the scheme/idea isn’t something that floats your boat (don’t ask me to do nice shiny elves).  It gets hard to keep the gears moving, the dates within view, and your clients informed on what is going on.

Powering Through

I won’t go into how many times I have had people upset with sending some models off, not getting contacted, and left wondering when they will get their painted goodies.  It’s hard, and I have told many a friend it isn’t worth it no matter how much they think they can power through it. It takes a particular mind frame to work through commissions. You have to have the ability to power through rough times; to power through those times that you feel like not doing anything.  I usually do something every night of the week.  There might be one day a week I either go out or just don’t pull out anything to mess with.  You just have to keep up and make sure you get stuff done, whether it is your own stuff or work for your clients.

I have also always cycled through multiple commissions during a week.  It lets me keep fresh in my head and it sometimes helps me work out problems as I get the job done. There are a ton of times that I figure out a scheme on another commission that ends up helping me break through an issue on another job.  I strive for finding ways to cut the time down, get to the desired result faster, and just have a better paint experience. Anything that lets me cut some time down and let me feel like I accomplished something.

It’s getting that feeling of accomplishment in the end that feeds me into the next bit of work.  The biggest pain in any of this is building models. It’s not something I hate, but find very time consuming.  It’s a locked-in time frame, and I can’t get it to go any faster once I build a few kits.  To build something correctly is just something that takes a physical amount of time that I can’t cut down on.  Filing down flash, drilling barrel holes, making sure those damned boxes fit together, and just having a nice base all takes time.  The paint is a dance, and the building is just making the same move over and over again.

Onto the Arts…

This is all just with painting models – illustration is another monster completely.  If you don’t know my background, I used to do a lot more art before I embraced doing the corporate network engineering thing.  I even worked on a movie (A Scanner Darkly), some educational software, and a really badly drawn episode of Law and Order: Criminal Intent.  I love doing art but it can be so hard to break through those motivational bad times.  I usually tell people that it takes a few bad drawings to break out of a funk.  It is why I try to do some of those Inktober things and other forced illustration things.  It helps me break down the crap illustration times and lets me work out some frustration.  I bring this up because this is another thought process for bringing your motivation in line by doing crap, no pressure work that is not stressful and freeing.  I expect a lot of the contrast experiments some of the upper-level painters have shown were very relaxing experiences.

Surviving the 40K Drought

I know this is a bit of a rambling editorial, but the lack of new 40k beyond Apocalypse and the desire to paint a boatload of models with Contrast means I am just in a bit of a flux.  I know I will be on fire when Chaos Knights come out, and I still have a few things to paint up – like two bruiser Leviathan Dreadnoughts for my Red Corsairs.  Trying to find time to work on them, finish this small bit of Death Guard for a client, build some FW models, and finish off some other Astra Militarum jerks is hard.  I have to recenter myself and know that I always keep in contact with clients, work as fast as I can, and paint things up in my hobo graffiti style.


Hopefully next week I have some 40k to talk about with the new releases coming with Apocalypse.  I am really excited to grab that Chaos box as it gives me more regular CSM bodies to build some dumb Red Corsairs Tide of CSM idea I always want to try out.  Plus, I can get a batch of Red Corsairs Slaanesh Bikers.  Or is it a Flawless Host army hiding in a batch of Red Armor?  Check out my Instagram to see my updates on painted things, illustration, and whatever nonsense I feel like.

~Until next time keep your paint wet, your models looking cool as hell, and roll all dem 6’s. What’s your  trick to get you through the slow times?

  • 40K: Asuryani In The Apocalypse