I’ve often made analogies to getting miniatures painted is like working out at a gym. If you do it with friends or in the right context, it’s fun, fulfilling and enjoyable. If you’re by yourself, you have nobody to share your excitement with, or worse still, nobody to encourage you; it’s quite a chore to even get to the painting table/gym.
And while they can’t help you put on your workout shoes, The Hobby Hangout can definitely help get you painting. The Facebook Group, which approve membership to any real person who isn’t trying to peddle sunglasses, offers open Google hangouts that any member can jump into.
There’s a lot of parallels between the Hobby Hangout community and the ubiquitous Team Hooman community familiar to most Geek & Sundry fans, including the positivity and support people find within these communities. People can post questions about painting minis, photos of works in progress (WIP), talk about their favorite paints and techniques and show off their latest completed projects.
Chatting with the group’s founders, Kat Jackson and Liz Hunt, helped paint the picture of the community they wanted to build and what motivated them. Liz describes the importance of the hangouts to her personally: “In the beginning, before Kat came to me about starting up a group, I was doing hobby hangouts within the Malifaux community almost on a daily basis. I was dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety, and being able to get on a google hangout and socialize/hobby with others was what kept me from sliding further into a depression.”
That social outlet helps many gamers in many ways, but in particular when it comes to miniatures. Building and painting toy soldiers tends to be a solitary task, which makes it both mundane and monotonous. Hobbying with others, even if it’s simply doing your own thing while throwing your two cents into the conversation sporadically, does make it a social activity, like hanging out with your friends around your painting desk, complete with lively discussion topics regularly posted by Liz and Kat:
The community itself, sitting around 3K members as of this writing, is made up of hobbyists around the world, so much so that the pinned post in the group includes a timezone converter. Liz describes the community’s diversity: “The members of the hobby community come from different artistic backgrounds. We have many who are just starting out and learning the ropes, others who paint professionally, and everything in between. Some of the members have years of schooling to back up their artistic knowledge, while others are self-taught. It doesn’t matter what their background is, most agree that there is always more to learn.”
And learn you will. You might even find a familiar face on one of the Hangouts or in the posts every once in awhile, proving just how small the world can be.
What are the most positive online groups you’re a part of, and how do they help you? Let us know in comments!
Featured Image Credit: Teri Litorco (Work In Progress)
Blog Image Credits: Eric Samson (Used With Permission from Hobby Hangout), Teri Litorco (Screencaps)
Teri Litorco will take any and all help getting her minis painted, as her pile of personal painting projects is perpetually growing. She has also written a book called the Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming, a survival book for gamers lauded by The New York Times. She also overshares on social media: : Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.