Wednesday 25 March 2009

102 Bookkeeping

[Interestingly, one of very few words containing three consecutive double letters.]

Hey, all.

I've been working on the step-by-step of how I paint my guardsmen (!) but until that little gem is ready, please let me share part of the Draxian thought process with you.

This is the Fourth Book of Arcane Scribblings. Books II-III, you may note, are bound to it:
Each volume is an exercise book (nicked from work) in which I try to write all GW-related thoughts, and where possible, I always use my trusty collection of Bic 0.7mm propelling pencils - seen above (covering my contact number) and below, tucked into the flap of the plastic protective jacket, alongside a handy flexible protractor and ruler and some odd notes:The illustrations in the remainder of this post are simply purposes.

Now some of you may have seen my scribbling book before, but I was discussing the forthcoming codex rumours with Col. Corbane earlier, and mentioned that I loved the paperchase involved in organising and reorganising my tabletop forces [this is not yet the time for my half-baked speculation, but I've a feeling the Cadian 24th will undergo significant restructuring]. This in turn led me to thinking about what it is I scribble, and why and how I do it.
Why and how I do it:

I use my book of scribblings to keep my thoughts in one place. Certain pages are earmarked, and certain others (eg: those with my standing OrBats on) are used constantly for reference. I'm usually out at work from 0730 to about 1700-ish, but by the nature of my job (teacher) I tend to work after dinner - usually until about midnight. Because work takes up a vast amount of my thoughts (I guess, teachers are notorious for having difficulty 'switching off',) I really, really like to empty my head before going to sleep.
So I go to bed (trying not to wake Mrs. Drax), light a candle, re-arrange the dog so I have at least some space to myself on the bed, and then I settle down to scribbling and I empty my head. I like rules, lists and numbers (I'm a boy) and I can quite happily fiddle with such minutiae until I start to nod off - usually about 0100-ish. That way the thoguhts in my brain as I doze are happy ones of numbers and FOC permutations rather than about the kid in my year group (grade) who's just been kicked out of home, or the vast amount of marking (grading) I have yet to get done.
The 'how' is everybit as important as the 'why', and it's a lovely pattern to be in. As for the 'what' - well, I cover all the following: post-battle notes; force organisation plans; painting records; future plans; army lists, wish lists; conversion sketches and plans; minor fluff; painting ideas; missions; house rules and clarifications. Some of this stuff can be seen on the images herewith.
Until I moved to Devon, I also played D&D once a fortnight with the world's best DM, and just as with my GW stuff I must've read and re-read the beautifully produced D&D v.3.5 rulebook time and time again before bed.
The books have been all over the world with me; they travel very well and the earliest entry in Vol II is 28/09/06.
Does anyone else do anything similar?

Pure escapism?

Convenient scribblings?

Mindless ramblings?

Thanks for indulging me.

- Drax.
(who should've got more work done tonight!)


  1. Unfortunately I have to type most everything. I can hardly read my own writing if I go back and try to read notes I've put down on paper.

  2. I'm not nearly as focused or specific as you are but I do carry around a little notebook that often finds itself being used for army list thoughts.

  3. Like the rest, I'm not nearly as organised as all that.

    I do have have a reporter's style notepad on my desk and I'm often scribbling down army lists, and then finding them down the side of the bed weeks later!

    After seeing your notepad I may try to centralise all my thoughts in one place some time. Either way, your book looks like it would be an interesting 40k read!

  4. I know exactly what you mean. Your way more organized than I am but I do write stuff down to be bloged about later. I'm always thinking about what I'm gonna do next. I would really dig to see a picture of all your volumes of notes!

    -come over to and vote for what you want me to do next!-

  5. Superlatively organized mate! It's something that I might try to do...

  6. I do the very same thing.
    Small black book... no lines on the paper though (I'm an artist).

  7. In a way, my blog is the start of my notes on my army, but it is a very good system you're talking about - so good, in fact, that I'm buying a pad as we speak (I needed the 5mm squared paper anyway for pre-heresy terminator templates).

  8. I keep most of my stuff in an Excel spreadsheet. I don't take notes so much as constantly organize things (mainly units in terms of actual military formations, rather than "kick ass army lists), hence the spreadsheet. I'd be way too embarrassed to show off what I've done.

    Which isn't to say you should be--keeping a notebook with your hobby related thoughts is cool.

  9. I trade off between keeping track of things in an Excel sheet and taking notes in various notebooks. I have little legal pads that we buy in bulk as I use them for 40k, D&D, everything.

  10. Cool - thanks, guys.

    I used to bash out army lists on excel, but I stopped for two reasons: 1) my work laptop crashed and I lost most of them, and 2) I'm not great with excel.

    As for centralising thoughts, it's brilliant to be able to refer back to 'that battle two years ago' or 'that house rule for ruins'.

    I'd like a book with 5mm or 6mm squares, but my current one is 7mm. Geek? Moi?

    Actually, mainland Europe's the best place in the world for practical paper - their school book and pads are a thing of geek-beauty.

    Don't feel left out though, my Stateside friends: although I prefer 'A4' to 'Letter' size paper, I must say your 3-hole binders beat the pants off our 2-hole versions.


    Thanks again,

    - Drax.

  11. I have a book entitled notes, I just jot things down, always have things on the go so not that much random stuff yet!

  12. Geek, we're mutual on that. I can write really fast but I can't read it again afterwards, or I write really slow and I lose it... and if I type it out my laptop breaks dowm... Is there any other way of doing it?

  13. I only have a small notebook with army lists that I make in Excel. Which annoys me so much I'm going to write myself a program to calculate points (Army Builder is meh). :p
    I think the idea of noting down everything is great, definitely helps to recap later what went right and what went wrong.

    Maybe I should do this too, if only I remember! ;)

  14. I didn't do this until recently, and it's helped me sleep better. That way I get all the 40k excitement out of me so I actually can sleep! :)


Thanks for taking the time to comment!