Monday, September 24, 2012

Good old days at the blogsphere?

Still remember the wonderful Spyglass Asylum Blog? Steve Buddle writing about the hobby and the scene around it?? I really miss those posts full of wise an thoughtful words.

As we know, Steve got hired into Games Workshop and he can no longer share his wisdom with us that freely anymore... which is good thing in a way because Steve's a skilled sculptor who is top choice in the continuum of turning the GW heritage into 3D form. Steve happens to be my friend and Im really happy for him about that matter =)

What Im trying to say, or write in this case is that I have always wanted to do something similar that Steve did before. Share some of my thoughts about this hobby, or in my case - the attitude towards this hobby. Im no true artist nor Im not very experienced one either, But still I wish to share these few thoughts with you anyway

- OK here we go -

There are many blogs out there where people paint and convert miniatures but then always have excuses why their creations aren't as good as they have wished. Very often it seems to be "horrible" camera that makes the paintjob look bad, and how "in reality" it is so different and much cooler. If only they would have enough money to buy better cameras or optics with prizes starting from 1000 ->

The truth is that these days you can do miracles with budget cameras or even with mobile phone's tiny cameras. Kari shot these with just an iPhone 4 on a bright day in Nottingham. If you just want to share your painted miniatures with your blogger friends, that quality should be all you need? Below you see my modest set up, that I use to shoot my Punk Moth material - 6 year old camera with very modest specs and couple of daylight lightbulbs to get good lighting.

Good lighting is VERY important in miniature photography. You can get bad shots with a good camera if you have poor lighting, but you can get pretty impressive shots with cheap cameras with good lighting.

The backdrop you see in the picture is The Emperor's Will slipcover! (you gotta be creative)

Im not saying that I take perfect shots with my cheap setup, Im saying that that gritty quality is perfectly enough to transfer my vision in to the interwebs for you to see.

Smartphone camera, blister foam and good ol' daylight too expensive for ya?

Little men need little photo studios

Painting the miniatures seems to be problematic for some people also, why? because all the skilled painters have gained their skills trough some dark ritual, where they sacrificed their souls for their inhuman painting skills. how can you compete that?! better just carry on with Chaos Black as shade tone and Skull White for the highlights right?? The key here is practice practice practice, practice when you had an awful day at work and no strength to do anything but watch Telly or play Ps3, practice when you are inspired and full of good spirit.

Most of all study different styles. I love how John Blanche paints his miniatures and paintings rough and gritty, but full of soul - that's why I study his style very closely, very very closely. You must learn to copy well before you can find your own style. I have not found my own style yet, that's why the GW artbooks in my bookshelf are always worn out from continous browsing! But again I know that someday I will get there and find my unique style to do these things.

The attidude is all that matters. You don't have to be super skilled painter/sculptor to make cool miniatures, just carefully study what others have done and you get there some day. Try out different mediums, write cool background stories, draw sketches, paint with inks or oil colour and be very inspired, all that stuff.

You want to paint or sculpt the good looking miniatures but be merciful on your self for you are not able to produce the coolest stuff in the Cmon right from the start...

But also don't let yourself on too easy either. stop only when you are sure that you couldn't have done it any better at that moment. If you doubt that something could have done better, do it again and again (just browse through my old plogposts and you see how I threw almost finished sculpts into trash with bloody tears running down my cheeks) you gonna get it right eventually.

Hope all this don't sound like some old master of the art speaking or anything silly like that. Im doing hard work every day to be good sculptor, but Im not near the skill demanded to be a GW sculptor, not yet I mean;)

I just felt that this needed to be written for my own sake.

I hope that you could see, that it's the attitude and hard work you need to get to the top. Not technology or supernatural Daemon gifts!

Be creative, be very creative

- okkiW


  1. Thanks for this post - a lot!
    Every time I see Blanche's stuff I desperately want to convert one of my old marines into the Master's way...
    Maybe it's the only way for me to like space marines ^^

  2. Complaining and excuses certainly are a psychological issue... and the hobby certainly tends to expose these! Thanks for the post, I too miss Spyglass Asylum, there are few bloggers to take Steve's place.

  3. Damned fine post and encouraging stuff. You're right, practice makes perfect from sports, to art and this hobby's no different.

  4. "Im no true artist nor Im not very experienced one either, But still I wish to share these few thoughts with you anyway"

    Dude. You get a slap for doing yourself a great disservice. You guys ARE nothing short of artists!

    Yes I miss Steve's take as well I keep pining for more of his speed painting articles.

    Sometimes I think the most important thing is to give yourself permission to finish something. Get to a stage and say right I am basing it it's done! Then. Review it. Then paint something else, maybe a clean figure maybe get messy maybe grind up your son/daughters pastels and mis it with matt varnish and talc to make mud - just do something!

    PS You need to get the latest white dwarf for some more Blanche goodness. I am happy to pay for the White Dwarf each month if he keeps writing articles ; P

  5. Thanks for the encouraging comments guys!

  6. I was thinking about Steve's blog yesterday, funnily enough; I came across an old post of his on a google search and it made me a bit sad that his (and to a lesser extent) Tammy and Migs' blogs are now so quiet given how much of an inspiration they were in their different ways. For a brief moment, there seemed to be an explosion of pure raw talent that we'd never really experienced before.

    That being said, your Punk Moth experiment and the Spiky Rat blog in general really fills that gap nicely: your projects are always so well executed and I enjoy the dynamic between the two of you in the way that you seem to create things. I think some further insight into the why and how you do things would really work well on the blog.

  7. Absolutely! Steve, Migsula, Tammy & JRN all very talented persons. I remember seeing some of the Mr. Nielsen's painted miniatures in White Dwarf Magazine back in '97 or some and beign blown away of his style.

    I think it's so amazing, that nowadays (thanks to this blogging)Jakob reads and comments our stuff and vice versa!

    Spikey has been around about three years now (Woah!).
    Maybe it's only natural, that this kind of posts start to appear ;)

    1. Oops, sorry - yes, I didn't mean to sound as if I thought you'd just appeared out of nowhere! What I meant was that these new posts will go some way to fill that gap.

      Yes, I had to pinch myself a short time ago during an email conversation with JRN and Andy Hoare. It's crazy :)

  8. This was a great read. You're right we need more posts like this.

  9. I totally agree with you! But sometimes it takes time to get mature...I remember a few years ago I desperately tried to be a good painter, without wanting to put much effort in it, only to sacrifice the fun in the I paint those minis I like the most, feel how I get better with every finished paintjob and as you said: spend most of my time trying as well as possible to copy the paintjobs and the style in general I like the most. I know now where I want to go and know that I have to take one step after another to reach my goals! So maybe, of the many people out there on the web, there are some who still need to go through that maturation process in their heads...

    I also have to agree with the people posting here before me: your blog and the things you show on it are great and an excellent inspiration! I check it regularly and I always feel like a child in front of the christmas tree if you post one of your great and characterfull conversions/sculpts/paintjobs/artworks :)

    Keep it up!

  10. You are absolutely right over there. This is a hobby for most of us and therefore it should be fun, something that you look forward to do when you come home from work... I think that the maturation process comes naturally to those who work hard with this craft. I also think that it is somehow cyclic thingy - You get to the point, where you think you have reached something, only to realize that you still have a long way ahead of you and again.

  11. Nice post.

    I found my own place, my own style and my real muse a few years ago with the Shaddes offe Greye / Imunda and then the Legion project.

    First decade in the hobby was spent learning technique, then deciding much of it was irrelevant liberated the work to be something that struck with even the guys I respect the most.