Friday Quick Tip: The Notebook

No, this isn't a tip about a sappy movie, but about how you need to keep a record of your painting; not just the colors you've used in the past but the techniques and other details as well.

Earlier this year I completed a Black Templars army in a short period of time and I really didn't need to write anything down because it was all fresh in my head from the beginning to the end of the army. Hey, I'm not that old yet and for the span of thirty days it was easy to remember how I painted each guy and where each batch of base texture was lurking on my painting desk. But as I was going along and when I finished, I wrote down all of my color, base, shade and highlight combinations, the order which I painted and other details.

Almost a year has gone by since I finished the army and today I am glad I did write all of the details down, because this week I decided to add a few new models to the army. (And yes, shame on me, it has been almost a year since I painted anything for this army.) I used to make notes of just the colors I used, but this time I made detailed notes, mostly because I was pretty sure I'd forget the sequence of painting and putting on the base mud/splatter/gloss medium. And I did forget, so I'm glad I wrote it down. Now the snow on my new guys perfectly matches the snow on the existing army. (And fitting because we got some snow here in central Texas today.)

Here are a few other things to make note of and keep around when you finish an army:
  • Not only the colors but techniques and order of colors you used.
  • Basing material so new models match up with the old.
  • Extra of any custom colors you blended.
  • Any ideas for the army you didn't complete.
Besides copious notes, don't forget to save those things like basing material, custom colors and iconography-- all those army specific bits. It doesn't take much time to write down everything you'll ever need, but recording it all can save you a lot of time later. I even reminded myself of a few cool hobby ideas I had for the army. And it doesn't have to be a notebook. Just about everyone has a blog or forum they regularly contribute to. Why not post your information there for others to see as well?

What organizational tips do you have for adding to your hobby collection?