5 Tips for Overcoming Painting Burn Out

Hey guys Cavalier here, commission painter for Frontline Gaming and co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast. Here today with 5 tips for avoiding or overcoming painting burn-out.

As a commission painter and an avid player who only fields fully painted models. I’m all to aware of the painting grind. For many people it can feel like the last thing on earth you feel like doing, but when you are hosting a podcast, playtesting for GW, working as a commission painter and only field fully painted models its something you just gotta do. So here are my top 5 tips for avoiding burn out.

1. Paint Something Different

For those who know me, they know I’ve got an obssessive personality. The fact beyond commission work I’ve painted my red and gold Eldar exclusively since 5th edition is frightening testimony to that fact. Yet despite my obsessive nature even I need a break from the grind of adding to my main collection. So one of the things I’ll do is paint a fun random model from time to time. Perfect example is painting this Handmaiden of the Everqueen from the old fantasy line as a stand-in for the Elf character in Heroquest (one of my favorite games ever) for my brother’s girlfriend. Getting away from Khorne Red and Retributor armor for a minute and using all the cool greys, whites and greens was so refreshing. Painting for someone else is also a totally different experience and I often find myself going the extra mile and really getting itch to push myself on my own models. Definitley give it a whirl if you are in a rut.


2. Stage your Models

One of the biggest obstacles for me painting my own stuff is not actually painting the model, but having to assemble, prime and airbrush it. Right now I’m hell bent on getting Warlock Skyrunners into the Saim-Hann list I’m building up. Commission painting is making that impossible at the moment, but as soon as the opportunity arrives I’m going to dive right in, because I’ve done all the annoying assembly, priming and base coating already. I did this weeks ago and soon as I get past a couple of check points in my commission painting I’ll be able to dive right in! Sometimes just clearing all the impediments to actually putting paint on the models is the biggest hurdle and by front loading a bit of the work, you’ll be able to dive right in and starting doing real work!

3. Crush some Terrain

Sometimes just get that rush from completing something is enough to get you hankering for more. The trick is finding something you can complete quickly so you dont feel like you are grinding. Painting terrain is a perfect way to get that quick fix of completion, all while giving you a ton of satisfication in knowing that you added something really valuable to your war-gaming experience.

4. Watch a Crazy Battle Report

Nothing gets me more juiced for the hobby than watching an awesome battle report. Whether its the visual and thematic feast which is Striking Scorpion 82, exciting high level tactical play from Drukhari hero Lawrence over at Tabletop Tactics, or an awesome narrative driven game by the guys over at Grim Resolve.

5. Great listening Material

I’m one of those guys for whom music just doesnt cut it to get me through a multi-hour paint session. I need something to keep my mind actively engaged and 40k podcasts or video-casts are really my go-to that have carried me through the years. I’ll often listen and re-listen to codex reviews just to get re-familiarize myself with the stratagems or unit abilities of the various codices I dont play, have a bunch of tactical tutorials like those from the excellent dudes over at D6 Evolution as prep-material for moves I want to pull off in my next game. I also find having a number of 40k news casts like Signals from the Frontline, Chapter Master Valrak, Kirioth all lined up back to back to back to listen to really allow you to get a lot of intersting opinion from a variety of perspectives which helps keep your mind off the grind of painting and getting juiced for all the speculation or analysis of all the new hotness to come. The number one key of regardless of who your favorite is, is finding a show to listen to that will take your mind off the grind and allow those hours to just breeze by.

Anyway so those are some of my tips for avoiding and overcoming painting burn out! Its really one of the most important things to master in order to keep churning out those nicely painted minis so you can win with style.

Of course if you are an Aeldari player looking for some help in passing the time check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!


And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!





About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

2 Responses to “5 Tips for Overcoming Painting Burn Out”

  1. Reecius May 3, 2019 12:54 pm #

    Great article, Cavalier! Been suffering from a bit of this myself, lately.

  2. Dan Egan May 4, 2019 1:11 am #

    First night roaming through your posts here, Cavalier. Nice read and helpful as well. Looking forward to cruising through the rest… Pointy ears forever!!
    PS: You’ve come a long way from our chats in the Scorpion comment section. Well done, mate!

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