Many of us are trying to balance our hobby time with the pressures of real world life. One of the biggest pressures, for me anyway, is finding time to paint and play while also looking after two little girls with my wife. Having hobby time is important though, it keeps me connected to the community and it gives me a way of unwinding from the day of screaming and nappy changes. So here are my 5 top tips on how to get some painting time in.
1. Acceptance and focus: Might seem obvious but there are only 24 hours in a day, when you’re looking after kids you are never going to have as much time to paint and play. For me to get anything done it has meant actually committing to projects rather than flitting from one to the next and abusing the luxury of time to get things done. By forcing myself to do this (though the lack of spare cash has helped here) I’ve found I’ve actually completed more jobs than I used to. Be sensible though, embark on projects you can complete, if you are wanting to paint a new army in time for an upcoming tournament maybe best to avoid the goblin horde army and focus on something a bit less time intensive. Also set yourself mini deadlines to keep the flow going; finished and imperfect is better than never finished!
2. Little and often. Even thirty minutes in the evening once everyone’s in bed, if done regularly mounts up quickly. When combined with your new-found focus (see above) it will mean projects get completed, and in no time at all that new shiny army will be standing proud on the battlefield. There is an excellent Facebook group you can find here which is very supportive and a good source of inspiration.
3. Family first. Again this likely seems obvious but I don’t want feelings of guilt getting in the way of my hobby time which is meant to be relaxing. This is why I save painting for the evening once the kids are asleep, while at times it can be frustrating not being able to pick up the brush for a quick paint during the day in general it works out far easier.
4. Reward yourself. No doubt that batch painting models when you have limited time is a winner here, paint 3 or 4 at a time doing blocks of colour on each at the same time, one day reds one day flesh tones etc. However it can get dull as dishwater and so reward small goals of painting a group of rank and file troops with a large or character model. Now in itself a large model may also get quite monotonous to paint as there will be large portions of the same model that need to be painted. So instead just paint portions of the model at a time, that way you can see your finished model coming together clearly from the start and that may be enough to keep you motivated to complete it.
5. Involve the kids. I’ve not met a child yet that doesn’t love crafts. Why not try incorporating some terrain building into a rainy afternoon craft session. By the end you may well have enough scatter terrain to then use in your games and might just inspire the kids to try the game too.
So thanks for reading, these have been some of the ways I’ve managed to keep up with the hobby and a young family. If you have any tricks of your own please share them below.
Haven’t got to the kids part of life yet but completely agree with all of your points. Little and often is relevant to us all no matter what stage of life!
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Nice write up! I have 2 young boys so reading this is very familiar :).
I also get 90% of my hobby on when everyone is in bed. An hour a night is a great progress maker! The hardest thing sometimes though is finding that motivation to sit down and even do it when it can be tempting to just turn on a video game etc.
What did you get your children into the terrain building? I like that idea! My oldest (5) has done some painting on old space marines and enjoys it. I look forward to continuing that going forward!
Thanks for reading Eric. I have my wife to thank for thinking of involving them in terrain. They were making various things out of pieces of cardboard and it seemed like a natural progression. Its not exactly bespoke but is good fun! I know what you mean about the motivation, if I’m in that place i certainly dont force it as it is supposed to be fun not a chore but sometimes will tell myself that just 10min (say doing a wash or painting a few leather straps left over from the night before) is better then nothing and once i get started I almost always commit to a bit more. Thanks again.
Thx. Everything is very try. I also give to my 4yo daugther some infantry bases to texture using muddy paste that she calls it is a kind of sh#t. She really loves that because she is allowed to play with sh#t whereas she usually paints by pencil and some other common tools.