Lockdown Lessons Learnt

How long has it been now? Twelve weeks? Seems both longer and shorter! Sometimes like it’s always been like this! Either way, as with lots of people, I’ve been able to get lots of hobby stuff done. Not as much as the efforts of some but I’m pleased with what I’ve done. Unfortunately, I’ve failed to actually play any games! A little remiss…but the painting has gone quite well in a variety if scales and periods. As it should be… 🙂

But this post, the first in a while is about what I’ve learn (hobbywise) during this time. Some of the things are obvious, some I should have known already, and some surprised me a little. So here we go.

Little and often

Doing a little bit of hobby stuff each day is a great way of moving projects on and keeping motivated. To be fair, I started this on 1st January but the lockdown has enabled me to keep it going. Each day (apart from the Saturday when I travelled to York for Vapnartak!) I’ve done SOMETHING! Sometimes it’s a good painting session of a couple of hours, sometimes just 20-30 minutes of priming or basing. But the important thing has been doing it and then recording it via Facebook and Twitter. It provides a good focus and a good way of getting positive feedback which helps maintain the motivation.

Wet Palette

I’ve pondered trying one of these for a while and last year, rather than buy one, I made one. I tried it with baking parchment from the kitchen but it always seems to make the surface VERY wet. So eventually I found a snack pot thing in my local Sainsbury and went to the art shop and bought some proper wet palette paper (Frisk). And with a couple of bits of sponge to raise the level I ended up with this…

I tried it but didn’t really pursue. And so it sat on the workbench. And then about 6 weeks ago I opened it up and thought I’d try again. And Lo! The paint was still wet! So at least I knew it worked! And it’s been a huge help in recent painting, more so in less wasted paint and easier blending. I know there are commercial palettes available but for now this one works great. And use of this leads on to the next revelation…

Thinning Paints!

Now I know LOTS of people say this is important but for whatever reason I’ve always found thin paint harder to use. Maybe because I black undercoat? Maybe I’ve just never really tried to get it to work… but using the wet palette has enabled me to use thinner paint, mix it easier, and the fact it STAYS thin for the duration of the session has really helped. My style has often worked with quite distinct triads with the difference in each shade being pretty clear. But using thinner paints has changed my style a bit and I find myself using thinner layers and getting nice transitions. And part of what has helped this as well leads to the next point…

Brush Care

I’ve always been a bit cavalier with my brushes and often use cheap brushes until they fail. About two years ago I bought some nice sable brushes from Rosemary and Co but never really felt a huge difference. I also bought three W&N Series 7 and they are STILL IN THEIR SHIPPING TUBES! Everyone said they are great brushes but I had this niggling fear that I’d try them and they’d make no difference. The problem would be me…But then I started looking after my brushes properly. I bought some ‘The Masters’ Brush Cleaner and Preserver and some W&N Brush Cleaner.

And that has made a huge difference. And with well looked after brushes that actually retain their point, and with the new thinner paint, I’m finding life so much easier! I’d often use small brushes for lots of a figure but the recent 28mm I’ve been painting I used a No.2 sable for almost the entire figure. A good point and a good load of thin paint makes all the difference. So, buy decent brushes and look after them! I might even break out the Series 7 when the current couple of brushes wear out…

Twitter and Facebook

Social Media is a two edged sword. As Umberto Eco said:

“Social media gives legions of idiots the right to speak when they once only spoke at a bar after a glass of wine, without harming the community … but now they have the same right to speak as a Nobel Prize winner. It’s the invasion of the idiots”

But the wargaming sphere of Facebook, and especially Twitter, display the good side of Social Media. Lots of positive feedback and inspiration and lots of news. The latter can be expensive though! But Twitter and FB have been instrumental in keeping my motivation going, especially during the lockdown. A little care over who you follow and you can avoid the bad side and reap the benefits! I’ve found Twitter much better for this and there are some great communities on there (I’ll single out the Lardy crew as a particularly good one) and it has made posting some progress (no matter how small) as simple as taking a picture on my phone and a couple of clicks and it’s done. and there are several lockdown related groups on FB as well. It does however mean this blog has suffered a little from lack of updates, not that they were that regular anyway! And I still like my regular forums but for quick updates Twitter wins!


I’ve sure there are other things I’ve learnt during lockdown (e.g. certain combinations of alcohol to avoid…) but being able to keep my hobby going, seeing how other people are doing the same, and being able to share in all that has almost made it bearable! 🙂 Now if only I can get motivated to actually play a game…

7 thoughts on “Lockdown Lessons Learnt”

  1. Well done – whatever you are doing! Indeed, its been a common theme that we are missing gaming during this long hiatus. Solo gaming is not appealing during lockdown for some undefined reason!
    I, too am finding painting and modelling more appealing, which will surely reap rewards when we return to club gaming!

  2. Thanks for the tips! I tend to use old PollyS paints which tend to be more watery than newer paints. They last a long time and require more than one coat sometimes, but I still love them. I have to try some brush cleaner soon.

  3. An inspiring post, Andy.

    I wish I could make myself doing something hobby related every day. You must have awesome willpower.


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