Monday, February 25, 2013

Champion of Tzeentch by John Blanche

Today I'd like to share couple of wonderful photos from my inbox, sent to me by John Blanche himself. These are actually pretty fresh, taken with an iPad yesterday by John (to be exact) from his most recent miniature, Champion of Tzeentch.

Champion of Tzeentch by John Blanche


Vibrant warm tones, picturesque and easy-going brushwork, limited palette and fierce ambience. These are some of the trademarks John so well executes in his miniatures - and this one is no exception.


Now John is a man who needs very little introduction. The same goes with his unique and bold style of painting miniatures. But I felt that we too rarely get to see or read about the routines John does when he does his art, so I went and asked if he could tell us a little bit more about the process he went throught when painting the Champion.

It was really kind of John to reply my request with couple of lines, explaining some of the magic he did with this miniature.

"6 paints and three inks plus rub and buff gold on the armour edges and an all over shading wash in a muted brown i have mixed miself from devlan mud, nuln oil and gryphon sepia - " John writes. "fairly limited pallette and all shades and colours muted  [ white, black, snakebite leather, orange, silver,  tiny bit of green ] - that is mixed with another colour to take away the vivid artificial feel - " John continues.

Rub and buff is a wax base metallic finish for antiquing, crafts and decorating. You rub the wax onto surface with finger or soft cloth, then gently buff to so that it starts to shine. Very peculiar way to make metallics to your miniatures and it just screams to be tested! But lets get back to John, shall we...

"red ink with black, snakebite leather with white pretty much the main colours - other than the buff theres no gold or red used at all .... " John explains the basics. "2 varnishes - one matt the other surprisingly gloss - one brush a winsor and newton series 7 size 0 but worn a bit - faint white spray undercoat - hot radiator dries fast -  only use daylight ever .... thumbnail and cartridge paper palette - radio 4 and the web as companionship ... " John lists and wraps it with couple of useful tips for bonus.

The miniature is part of a larger group that John is building for a Realms of Chaos anniversary game that will be played somewhere in the near future.

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We, the Spiky Boys, have learned a lot about painting and art while we've been studying John's fantastic art. I have even got many great tips from the man himself when I've asked the guidance for certain techniques. Perhaps the most significant tip that John has shared with me is the use of inks, in both traditional 2D art and miniature painting. Maybe it was just a side note in something that John wrote to me about, but when I learned about the W&N inks, my painting has never been the same. Sometimes you just need someone to show you the right path to follow.

Maybe the use of inks and some other techniques is the reason why so many thinks that our stuff has much in common with what John does. This is, of course, both intentional an unintentional; We share some of the same mediums in what we do, even same miniatures and themes. We're adapting some of his techniques to ours to get the similar effects to what we do, trying to get our stuff in line with his, maybe even shaping the same universe.

But what I think makes our work so similar with John's is the enthusiasm towards the hobby and the art around it. We get inspired by the works of other talented people and want to put our own best in the soup, mixing our own visions with theirs and therefor making more or less similarly themed creations. I'm fond to what John does and want to create similar visions, even with the same mediums and techniques to get there. Sometimes the creations are more or less similar to what he does, heck, even I get surprised by the outcome for time to time!

But the main thing for me is this: I feel comfortable of what I'm doing and I'm enjoying it wholeheartedly.

18 comments:

  1. Well said brother, I would have put it exactly like that too=)

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  2. And John - That is simply outstanding! love every single detail in it!!

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  3. amazing tzeentchian warrior, it is always inspiring to see work from the master. Thank you so much for sharing his painting guide! Your own musings are, as always, a delight to read.

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  4. Thanks for sharing with us. It was nice to get some tips, hope you will share some of yours some other day :)

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  5. Wow, quite an impressive model! I was pretty amazed at how well his art style and colour palette translated from 2d to 3d (have only recently started to see some of his models). It is wonderful that he is so connected to the community he helped build over all these years. I find it interesting, but not very surprising, that so many of his inq28 and others use Brian Nelson's plastic Warhammer character models as a base. They are probably some of the best models GW has released, all unique and filled with character. I suppose great minds think alike :)

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    1. Completely agree, in my opinion Brian Nelson is one of the best modern miniature sculptors. Looks like he has quite freedom to do his stuff. His last works are awesome, and all in PLASTIC.

      And what can I say about John Blanche?... He is just the soul of warhammer.

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    2. I couldn't agree more! Brian Nelson's minis are perfect blanks for crossover conversions.

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  6. wow, it really is a 3d painting isn't it, imagine an entire board made in this style along with some miniatures.

    One day ...

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  7. a combined ROC game with scenery and figures this summer - 6 of us taking part - ive thrown some beastmen and centaurs so more conversions to come and looking forward to seeing how the other guys warbands take shape - floating herdstones will be a starting point for mi scenery but it could go anywhere - first beastman nearly done so i will pass a photo of that on to kari soon ....

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    1. Looking forward to it, John!

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    2. I'm looking forward to it too.

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  8. Well, first of all, that's a fantastic JB piece, of course. I especially like the head and face area -- just like the champion stepped out of one of his pieces of artwork.

    Concerning your explanations about your style of work, I would say that the truly outstanding part of both your and okki's work is the fact that, while there's a clearly visible Blanchian influence, you two still manage to add something on top: a personal touch that blends your very own style with that of John Blanche. That, to me, is what makes your work so special. Well, that and the fact that your models have me look at the exact same plastic parts you used and think: "Damn, that's what these parts can be made to look like?"

    Anyway, great post!

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  9. The hands on that Tzeentchian are what grabbed me first. (No pun intended.) Perfect depths and highlights.

    Love your confidence in your art and glad you are comfortable enough to admit as much. One day I'll get there too, one day.

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  10. Hi.

    Just writing to say that this is a truly amazing miniature. I'm a huge fan of John's work and it's great to see recent creations and read insights into the process(even if I don't paint miniatures myself). This is all incredibly inspiring.

    For some reason this particular miniature reminds me strongly of Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique stories, it looks like a creature from a world that is both apocalyptic and exotic, burned by dying suns and full of all manner of strange and decadent things and beings. Terrifically evocative.

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  11. confidence or being comfortable in mi skin with both illustration, sketch and miniatures has taken a very long tyme to achieve - starting eavy metal and spreading mi techniques which have developed to a level far surpassing mi abilities and building an art department where they all surpass mi own art in many ways has lifted mi own to a level i could not have guessed at a few decades back - i do however have a deep satisfaction having developed techniques that are very individual and unique as well as creating a deep, dark and grim vision - knowing mi limitations have played a big part in mi techniques ......

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  12. "knowing mi limitations have played a big part in mi techniques ......"

    Very interesting. Limitations, self-imposed, or otherwise. I think I am finding this myself. Certainly patience is a kind of limitation! haha

    Ize, I've posted a link to this post from GP!

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    1. Thanks phiq!

      Patience grows with well fed but controlled ambitious.

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