It’s that time again, out with the old and in with the new. And as someone who has a blog that I struggle to think of good content for, that means I have to do a new year’s post.
2019 was a great year for me in the hobby. I built up a lot of skills and was able to work on a lot of projects that I truly enjoyed. The highlight is definitely Boudicca and my trip to Sword and Brush this year. She was sort of the culmination of a lot of things that I learned and a lot of techniques that I had been practicing away at, and coming away with the gold at Sword and Brush was a very sweet prize.
Outside of figures and busts, a couple things stood out. First, in the world of gunpla, I built the Master Grade Ver.Ka Ball and tried out some new techniques on the finish. The lowly Ball is my favourite mobile suit; so many of the giant robots end up looking very busy and have a lot of style over substance, while the ball is simple and utilitarian. Plus ball puns are funny.
And in the world of historical models, my Spanish Republican 109 was finished early this year. It turned out quite nice, and I have another model airplane or two in the stash.
I was thinking about it over the past couple days, and while I could make some specific hobby resolutions — learn this technique, finish this project, etc., I want to go deeper. It’s been an amazing year of growth for me and I’m not sure where my brushes will take me next, so the resolutions that I want to share have more to do with having a healthy relationship with your hobby which will keep you in it longer.
Buy less crap
Let’s face it, if you are reading this blog, you probably have a giant pile of unpainted miniatures or unbuilt model kits lying around. You see cool stuff for sale at a good price, your imagination starts running, and pretty soon you end up buying stuff because you have an idea for a project that you might do sometime in the future at an unspecified date.
Yeah. We all do it, and it keeps the companies that make the stuff we love in business. But that pile can actually be a source of stress. Seeing your to-do pile stack up can cause stress, and it can make it more difficult to get started on anything because of the opportunity cost. Every time you start a new project, there are dozens of new projects that you feel guilty for not working on. Finally, there are better things to spend my money on than stuff that I won’t get around to for a long time. Especially considering that that stuff isn’t going to disappear. Unless it’s some sort of limited edition item, I can just keep my money in my pocket and order it when I’m ready to paint it.
Though, if Bad Squiddo kickstarts a Spanish Civil War line, all bets are off. Maximum pledge, right here.
Be less competitive
I’ve discussed before, but while I like going to painting competitions and model shows, I’m starting to get burned out on the competition aspect of them. It’s great to see tables full of cool models and meet new people, but the competition can get to you because when it comes to picking winners and losers, things can start to get unpleasant.
Fundamentally, I think it is because competition can bring out something unhealthy in us. I took Warmachine a bit too seriously when I started getting… well, gud is an overstatement. That caused a lot of stress and frustration as I tried to perform at tournaments and then get frustrated when I inevitably didn’t. It started ruining the game for me, and I don’t want the same to happen for painting.
So, this year, it’s all about feeling good about my hobby work without comparing my work to others. Win, lose, doesn’t matter.
Manage my social media intake
First, with all the amazing painters out there on social media, you sometimes end up comparing yourself to others and inevitably, someone will post something that will make you feel like you are coming up short. No matter what you paint, you’ve already spent dozens of hours staring at it so the other guy’s stuff looks cooler because of novelty.
Second, there are a lot of places on social media that are quite frankly about as pleasurable as ass cancer. Arguments, negativity, trolling… no thanks. There’s a few that I should probably cut out completely, like Lormahordes and the WMH General Discussion facebook group; others I plan to just manage and try to keep scrolling when someone is wrong on the internet.
Ignore the haters
And, of course, going with the above, haters gonna hate. Every once in a while, I get some negative comments on social media or wherever. I know when you step back and look at it, when your article gets 100 likes and one guy telling you to fuck off and go play 40K instead, that’s a pretty good ratio — 99% satisfaction isn’t bad. But I’m the sort of person where it’s easy for that one guy to get under my skin and next thing I know I’m arguing with some random person on the internet at 2am.
Haters gonna hate. I need to focus on the people I care about and the people who like my content more than salty internet randos.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about maintaining a healthy relationship with your hobby. With all the competitiveness, comparing oneself to others, and morons to argue with on social media, it can take effort to keep yourself in the right headspace to have fun. My goal in 2020 is to maintain that headspace and keep a positive attitude. From there, all else will follow.