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Monday, October 26, 2015

Do you ever consider going pro?

Hi All,

Just felt like having more of a chat today. I came across this article on Bell of Lost Souls.

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2015/05/hobby-the-cons-of-pro-painting.html

I forget what I was initially looking for but I gave it a read and found it quite interesting. I know that some of you do take commissions to subsidize your hobby, and some are full on professionals. So I just wanted to have a conversation about "Is painting for money/figures/goods and services really for you?"

I suspect that it's not really for me at this point. I have my focus issues/ times when I'd rather gouge my eyes out than paint. Plus I feel like I struggle to get my own projects going and don't do the best job at being a parent/spouse without the extra work.

Feel free to share your thoughts on why or why not being a "pro", or however you want to term it, is for you.

I'll try to have a little more content wise for you tomorrow.

15 comments:

  1. Funnily enough, I've started taking commissions lately but as I do not see my skills good enough, I'm negotiating service against service.
    As I see for now, it's a 2 edged blade really, painting for others means not painting for yourself and painting things you may not want to paint. In no way am I ever going "pro" or even semi-pro. I'll keep painting for others when I can and when I'm sure I can meet the deadlines and expectations but going full pro would be making a job of a hobby which is not what I want. I've also considered starting miniature ranges like many are doing with success but once again it requires some skills, dedication and time/energy/money I just can't cash right now.
    Really intersting all the ends this hobby can lead us to isn't it ?

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    1. Hi JB, I understand feeling like ones own work is not "good enough". It's funny because I think your work is great. I'm sure there are others out there who think mine is "pro", but most of the time I feel it's just meh. I think exchanging work with friends is the best way to go. I've dabbled with the idea of sculpting a little, but am too timid to spend much time on it right now. Any business venture is a lot of hard work, so hat's off to those who do it. I'll be on the lookout for the Asslessman Kickstarter. ;)

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  2. I've certainly toyed with the idea of offering my services to friends, but the reality is that I work so slowly that if I were to paint for others then none of my own projects would get done. I have a great deal of admiration for those that can consistently turn out armies of miniatures in the blink of an eye.

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    1. Hi Michael, you've echoed my sentiments exactly. I'm slow on my best days, easily distracted and get horrible painters block. Sounds like not at all the right fit for a professional painter, or even casual commission work.

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  3. I wouldn't be a professional full-time painter even if you, well, paid me.

    I've spoken to a lot of former full-timers and they all say their experience was full of back-ache, heart-ache, eye-ache and ball-ache (not sure if that last one translates to North America - Basically a pain in the ass). Troublesome customers and not being able to earn a living (even though they were fully booked with commissions) being the number one issue as to why they no longer do it.

    I've most recently set to painting up figures for playing in my local clubs/groups and have so far set myself a time limit of an hour a figure (painted to a gaming tabletop standard). The painting's basic, but its neat and tidy and gets the job done. If I did paint for opponents in my local groups then it would be to this same standard and I would charge about half of the national hourly rate for full-time employment. Obviously this would be to pay for the paints, electricity, varnish, basing materials used. I probably wouldn't be making a profit, nor would it be what I was setting out to do - Just trying to help out opponents so I could get games using painted figures, so as to look more visually appealing and therefore more fun to play.

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    1. Hi Roy, what you describe sounds along the lines with my prejudices against going pro. I think the idea of painting things at cost for other players in your group is a good idea. As I mentioned somewhere else, one of the things that killed the hobby for me back in the 90's was my friends wouldn't play because they didn't like the hobby aspect of the games. Building armies in WFB was too much effort.

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  4. I've done stuff as a favour for some but if I'm honest my brain has to be in the gear for it and I dislike repetitiveness so armies would cripple me!

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    1. Hi Simon, the only figures I've painted for someone else are the entry fees to Curt's winter painting challenge (Analogue Hobbies). I barely have it in me to do armies for myself. Even so I've been working on Orcs and Goblins for over 20 years.

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  5. Hmmm If my painting standard was higher and I didn't get too bored whilst doing it I'd probably give it a go, maybe not pro as such but for friends in return for trades rather then money.

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    1. Hi Chico, yeah I thinking trading out a paintjob for stuff with mates is the way to go. I think you have the skill to do it, but having the patience is what most of us lack I think.

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  6. I paint on commission (for mates mostly), and occasionally paint items I pick up for sale on eBay. The main problem with going pro is that those of us living in the West are very much up against the (crazy cheap) prices being charged by those in the East. Unless you are one of a very few at the top of the tree there's almost no way to get a price for your work that makes it worth your time.

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    1. Hi Millsy, painting for friends sounds like the way to go. I was trying to get my son to paint to start my own in house sweatshop, but he's too distracted.

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  7. No. Oh OK it was an open question. Things I have found when I paint for other people:
    Their stuff that I have painted looks better than the stuff I paint for me.
    I have to finish it, which grinds me down, hence room of half finished projects
    It isn't worth it. When you look at what you get in cash terms you a are better off doing almost anything else
    It stops you painting your stuff.
    It sucks the fun out of your painting, making your hobby like work!

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    1. So not for me, though I have in the past!

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    2. Hi Stevo. Yeah, for all of the reasons above it doesn't look like I'll be going pro any time soon.

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