This article may only resound with a small portion of my readers, but it has been on my mind of late.
I am a hobbyist and gamer. I am also a commission painter. I distinctly remember my first commission job. My customer, also a gaming buddy, asked, "Are you sure this isn't an inconvenience?" To which I responded, "Are you serious? I get to do for money, what I would gladly do for free....just not for you!"
|courtesy of brokermojo|
I write about this to say that the money is nice, and necessary for my family, but my interest in the hobby and enjoyment of it is also important to me. I played a game of 40k last week, Blood Angels versus the new Necrons. The guy I played is a customer of mine, and in fact, we were playing so that we could meet for him to drop some Grey Knight stuff off to me. The store owner, who is also a customer of mine came over and they both began to give me a hard time because I painted their armies to a wonderful standard and my Blood Angel army isn't even halfway done. I was playing with unpainted models because I wanted to enjoy my BAs.
At some time, you have to achieve some balance in what you do. You can't always do your hobby (shock, gasp!), but you also need some break time. In my case, real world duties of family and work are compounded by the fact that I have a second job that utilizes my artistic skills and my love for the hobby to bring in some extra cash. As a matter of fact, I just finished a 180+ model Warriors of Chaos fantasy army that tops out around 4,000-5,000 points. It has taken me several months to complete. In all that time, I have picked up maybe one of my own models to paint.
There are a few things I have learned about in regards to the hobby and commission painting.
1) Even though I am constantly painting other people's stuff, I try to get reinvigorated by occasionally painting something of my own or at least going out and playing a game or two. Painting a high volume of models without actually getting to use them will, over time, steal your joy. Taking those breaks is a huge deal.
2) Not should you balance the hobby with itself if you are a commission worker like me. You should also take time to balance real life with the hobby...and correctly. We joke, but real life comes first. My wife and boy are #1. When I start to lose that perspective, I'm done. No issue. No second guessing. I'm done. Luckily, I have a cool wife who keeps me grounded and supports my interest in the hobby.
3) Take care of yourself. I try to run regularly. Getting out of my house after 6pm is a huge deal as my wife and I are homebodies to begin with, but working out is a huge release for me. It allows me to get rid of pent up energy. It gives my body a much needed break from the awkward sitting positions I find myself in when I paint, and it's just generally good for me.
So, if you are a commission painter, I would love to hear your thoughts on balancing life, the hobby, and work. I know it's different for everyone, but sharing advice really helps. It is easy to let the hobby actually steal your joy and get bogged down by it, but it is a fun hobby and we invest too much of ourselves just to give up on it. It's all about balance.