Learn Painting with a Purpose

If you’re tired of wandering in the hobby jungle not feeling fulfilled, checkout my guide to getting out of that hobby rut and learn painting with a purpose!

Learn Painting with a Purpose

For the past year, my motto as been “No excuses; hobby like a champion”.  I’ve grown pretty tired of wandering aimlessly and not getting the results I wanted out of painting.  Believe me, finding your purpose is way easier than it sounds!

This is a hobby after all; I want to feel good about it, not get bummed out.  And I’ve come to the realization that I am not alone in this.

What this quest/motto/inner-self-yogalike-discovery has lead me to understand is that even in something as simple as painting, we are all result-oriented.

Only, the result we are looking for is not always crystal clear.

So I’ve devised this simple guide that helped me get back on track and hobby like a champion, so you can too.  What’s the point of bringing hobby back if you’re not doing it like a champ, right?

In the immortal words of Tom Cruise:  Help me help you!


Before you embark on your next project, assign it to one of the 2 purposes below:

  • 1- Finishing
  • 2- Improving

No in-between, no “I’m more of a number 3…”, no “well a mix of 1 and 2 but definitely more 2”; pick one, stick with it, be awesome .  Compromising is the enemy of purpose.  We don’t want to dabble in multiple aspects, we want to conquer one and master it.

1- Finishing

This is what 90% of gamers who enjoy painting want, but too few will admit.  Having a fully painted playable army is what most gamers aim for but  get lost on the way.  But not you, not this time.

Short term finish means having your stuff ready to play, but with room for improvement for later, whenever that is.  Get 3 colors and some simple base on those 51 jetbikes and 30 warp spiders and you are good to go.

Spray can red on everything, white helmets, black guns and unpainted sand on bases. WHAM, BAM, Best general every single events here I come!

Get these ridiculously simple 4 steps done before you do anything else.

There is room for improvement, but we’re not there yet.  We don’t need to, our purpose was playing with our OP-cheesebag new toys, and we did it.  Yay us!


Nothing impressive about these guys, but they look better than unpainted models.

2- Improving

Personal growth, being a better artist, all that hippy-artsy stuff is in there.  In fact, the is what most people assume ‘learn painting’ means.  Improving is an important part of painting – if you enjoy painting that is.  Doing the same thing over and over grows old pretty fast, so it’s important to find a way to make things better and cooler.

However, there is a time and a place for that, and that place is group 2.

When you pick a project for improving your skill, the first step is to make sure you are in no hurry to get that project finished anytime soon.  This would defeat the purpose.

Learn a new skill and putting it to test.


NMM, OSL, Airbrushing, Wetblending, Oil Washes, Weathering, or name it; something that’s wicked cool and you want to learn.  It can also be something you know how to do, but want to learn how to do faster.

Go out there, look for tutorials or reference pictures, and try your best.

Then ask for feedback.

Take criticism like a G

And when I say ask for feedback, I mean, ask, listen and don’t fight back.  Feedback is both what you did well and what you did wrong.  If all you want is to be told it’s pretty and how great of a job you did, show it to your mom; she’ll tell you how great you are.  If you want to truly improve, get the cold hard truth.

The cold hard truth is better found in either a mentor or internet communities.

The problem with asking your friends, or your mom, in my previous example, is that usually, they will tell you it looks great and won’t be real with you.

Online people don’t know you and usually don’t care about your feelings that much, so they make for better judges most of the time.

A mentor, while harder to find, is worth its weight in gold.  This is the way I used back when I learn painting.

Where the internet community might fall short is on constructivity.  That’s where a mentor can usually help you progress and tell you specific ways to improve.


If you’re looking for a mentor, first look for a friend that is a better painter than you and who knows how to do the technique you want to improve on and ask them.

If all your friends are douchebags, feel free to slide in my DMs.  I’m a douchebag as well, but I’m Canadian, so I’ll be really sorry to be hard on you.

Remember that whichever option you pick, commit to one or the other.  No compromise on this front yield better results.

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