Painter’s Block – What To Do?

Painter’s Block – What To Do?

“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood,”


Painter’s block is something most of us will get once in a while and it’s not always the most easy thing to get rid of. I, myself get it quite often but I’m lucky that I rarely get it really bad.

So why do we get painter’s block? I have no idea why we do in general but I know at least one thing that makes me loose motivation faster and that’s too many projects at the same time.

As an example, right now I’m struggling to start painting my WW2 Soviets for Bolt Action and that’s mostly due to the size of the project. I have around 120-150 of them and just seeing them in their box makes me loose my energy. So I’ve put the box where I won’t see it all the time.

To help myself understand it a bit better and what you can do about it, I made a list of different things you can try.

  • There’s definitely some truth in that quote at the start of this post, at least for me. It can help to force yourself to paint and you might find some motivation.
  • Paint something different (change project).
  • Not having too many projects at once.
  • Reward yourself.
  • Organize your workspace.
  • Look for inspiration online, not necessarily miniatures, but art in general can be very inspiring just to look at.
  • Don’t get too upset that your having painter’s block, it happens to everyone and it will pass. It will probably pass faster the less you think about it.
  • If you are lucky to live in an area where there’s painting clubs, workshops or just have other painters, exchange ideas and experiences. Painting in a group can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.
  • Try a new technique.
  • Try to go outside your comfort zone, paint bright colors if you usually use mostly dark colors.
  • Do something else creative, draw, build terrain, paint a painting etc.
  • Set a goal (or many) and don’t make them to big, don’t have “I’m going to paint my entire lead pile in a week” or a full army but instead you could have a goal for each unit you paint or each character and so on.

It’s not an exact science and it might not work for everyone but it works for me and I’ll end this with another good quote:

“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work. And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never have dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great ‘art idea.’ And the belief that process, in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today, you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did today, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”

-Chuck Close






  • Another piece of advice I got about painters block. Do anything. Even if its a quick glaze on one shoulder pad. That is one less thing to do tomorrow.

  • That’s a great piece of advice, I’ll have to remember that one.