Thursday, 28 May 2015

Commission Painting: Is it a giant can of worms?

I recently got rid of a few Space Marine Space Wolves units that I'd painted for 40K via eBay. Like most of my hobby projects for Warhammer 40K over the years, I started painting them, full of eagerness and excitement, then ran out of steam, and stopped.

I did however manage to complete a Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf, a unit of Thunderwolf Cavalry, and a squad of Grey Hunters. Here's some pics, for those that are interested:

When I sold them (and they went for a decent amount, I am pleased to report), the buyer asked me the fateful question 'do you do commission work?'

Now, this is a lovely question to be asked as a miniature painter, because it means someone out there rates your work, and would like to own more of it. Lovely, flattering even. However, in my mind, it's also a dangerous question. Why, I hear you ask?

Essentially, it boils down to this: Do I want to turn my hobby into a job?

As I've mentioned in previous posts, my motivation for hobby projects varies greatly. The above Space Wolves can attest to that. It's why I've become increasingly fond of skirmish games, as I can paint small doses of miniatures without feeling overwhelmed or losing focus.

So, if I were to try my hand at commission painting, surely the same thing would kick in, but worse, considering they would not be my miniatures, and therefore potentially a subject material I have no interest in?

On the other hand, more money for new toys! All for doing something I enjoy anyway!

Hmm, seems like a bit of a conundrum to me. I must admit, I am sorely tempted, but am also very cautious.

Would love to hear from you guys on your experiences with this aspect of the hobby. Answers on a postcard below...




  1. If you're worried about your interest waning, why not just accept commissions for single pieces or small units, not whole armies?

    Surely, the beauty of it is that you can set your own rules. You don't have to do anything you don't agree to.

    I'd steer massively clear of big jobs.

    1. No way I'm touching big jobs. I'd quite like to focus on doing KM stuff, but I suspect that's a bit too niche.

  2. No experience in under-taking commission painting, but it sounds like you may be worried about losing motivation for your personal projects which is something to consider.

    Why not consider Kieron's advice and start small, and see if has any onerous impact?


    1. Motivation is a fickle beast at the best of times! It needs careful preservation! ;)