Thursday, 1 September 2011

My Painting heroes

Before I start putting my painting blogs up I thought I'd better clear a few things up. Firstly I know I'm not a very good painter, my stuff is passable. You see the trouble is while I might know all the tricks of the trade (well a fair few) I'm still just basically an overly enthusiastic amateur. So when looking at my painting blogs please take them in the spirit that they're meant, i.e. an enthusiastic bodger showing you what they're getting up too. However just to show you how crap at painting I know I actually am I've compiled a list of my painting heroes and explained why I've included them on my list, so here they are in no particular order:

Angel Giraldez

Is he the best painter in the world? Well that's a subjective thing really and I'm not really sure there will ever be a 'singular' best painter ever, because we'll all have our favourites. However what does continually impress me about the work Angel puts out is the speed at which he paints to a consistently high standard, now when I say high I mean stupidly good. Some painters might churn out a single masterpiece every 2 or 3 months or even longer 1 piece every 12 months, but not Angel. He is putting out fantastically painted mini's at sometimes 10 or more a month, every month and each piece is a work of art many of us will only be able to dream of getting close to. Not only does he do the Infinity studio paint jobs he's also responsible for a lot of the newer Anima Tactics paint jobs and many more besides. He has a style all of his own but he can adapt it like all the best painters out there depending on the subject his Infinity stuff looks subtly different to his Anima pieces and so on and so forth. Simply brilliant.

Mike McVey

Well he's the original master for me, when I was young my dad used to tell me about thinning paints and shading things properly. However he'd be the first to admit I think that he wasn't the worlds best painter and although it might sound big headed, even without doing all the right things I was a better painter than him so I saw no point in listening to his advice. However when I saw Mikes work... I waxed lyrical about his stunning Green Knight paint job that made me realise there was way more to painting than using a tank brush to do some dry brushing. He inspired me to become a much better painter than I was. I'm still awful but it was his work at Games Workshop and then Privateer Press and indeed now his own Studio McVey that inspired me to want to get better and look up painting techniques. I know from speaking to my many friends that an awful lot of them feel the same way as I do. He's the Godfather of miniature painting for a generation. His better half Ali's not too bad either.

Jen Haley

I don't really know how I'd describe Jen's style other than to say much of her work has a texture and depth to the colours that not many achieve. Her work looks realistic and stylised at the same time and she is able to imbue her work with a great sense of drama and she seems to capture perfectly the character of any mini she paints. She has a truly fantastic eye for composition and is incredibly adept at blending her paints to look like any surface material you could imagine. Just head on over to her blog and have a look at her gallery of work. Her body of work is as big and broad as it is breathtaking. I think its fair to say she's not half bad at daubing the old paint onto mini's. Everything she paints has this wonderful vibrancy and feel to it and the fabrics she paints just look so real. I wish I had even an sliver of her talent I really do.

Jeremie Bonamant

I hear many people talk about Jeremie's work as if he is the best painter in the world. He certainly has an awful lot of respect amongst his peers and most of the decent painters I've come across will mention his work and style... and I'm no different, I'm a fully signed up confirmed admirer of his works. He paints with such rich layers of colour that even in photographs the 3D element of his work jumps out at you in ways other painters works don't seem to achieve. I first came across his work a few years back when flicking through some forums and had assumed his work was actually a canvass painting given the detail and blending on the piece, because I honestly couldn't believe somebody could cram so much exquisite brushwork onto a 32mm miniature... I was of course wrong and seeing the bar raised yet again I might even have sunk into a depression and had a bit of a sulk, but hey his stuff is inspirational if a little intimidating!!!

Natalya Melnik

Her DVD might have got some bad reviews in some quarters but from what I saw of it I thought it was quite useful in terms of seeing how someone with her level of skill controls and uses her brush. What can't be denied is just how bloody good she is at painting and how stunning the gradients are that she gets when blending. Again I find myself extremely jealous of the look of the fabrics that someone can achieve also her use of Non Metalic Metals on her miniatures are some of the best examples of the technique you'll find. However its her ability to paint flesh of various types that I personally admire the most and the Daemonette to left shows off just how versatile she is when painting flesh and blending it. I also find her use of colours to be extremely subtle and naturalistic, more so than many of the other painters on this list.

Victoria Lamb

Right I first came across Victoria's work in White Dwarf a few years back, and its fair to say what drew me too her work more than anything else is her actual use of Object Source Lighting or OSL to those who speak in tongues and try to baffle people. Don't get me wrong the rest of her painting technique isn't bad but for me its her exceptional work using OSL that brings to life many of her pieces. If you want to learn how to do OSL or just want a bit of inspiration from somewhere then you could do a hell of a lot worse than flick through some of her works and see how deftly she deploys it. I particularly like her Warhammer Fantasy Witch Hunter Scene entitled the 'Rescue of Sister Joan' the way the light she has painted plays across the various surfaces is nothing short of splendid. Another personal favourite is her Imperial Guardsmen in a jungle who is illuminated by the green glow of some contraption or other, just brilliant.

Darren Latham

Even though the painting world recently lost Darren's undeniable talents to the sculpting world I think its fair to say he's a pretty damn good painter. Darren has been until very recently a part of the 'Eavy Metal Team (should that change now they're using plastic and Finecast to something like Moderate rock team?) and has contributed greatly to the work on Games Workshops miniature range. He is a splendid all round painter who is great at painting really clean lines and colours and even within the confines of the 'Eavy Metal Teams guidelines on how to paint has managed to stamp a bit of his unique style into proceedings. I however really like his work with None Metallic Metals (NMM) and think its here his class really shines through. I'm sure he'll be sorely missed by 'Eavy Metal, but hey perhaps he'll work his magic in the sculpting team now.

Cycil Abati

His work is undeniably his and its undeniably cool and stylish. Cycil's work has a pastel or I hesitate to say it... 'comic book' or 'cartoon' feel to it but also retains something of reality. I don't mean to say its cartoonish or in some way poor, because I often hear the phrase 'cartoonish' used as an insult, but here it's meant only as the highest praise. Seriously some of his works look like they've been pulled straight out of the highest production value anime film you could image, but the duality of his work is that it also has a textured and gritty 'lived in' realism too, and it is that what is missing from many peoples work. I first saw his work when a friend sent me a link and said "you've got to see this guys stuff its f***ing amazing, I need to sit down" those were his exact words as I still have his email saved in case I somehow forgot the link to Cycil's website and couldn't get back to his wonderful work.

Jean-Francois Pierre

Sadly I have no idea what his page says because my French is just bloody awful and google translate seems to have a bit of an issue with translating it. Luckily even I'm not so thick as to be unable to translate 'Galeries' and as they say a picture is worth a thousand words and there are plenty of lovely pictures to choose from. His work has unbelievable tonal depth to it and a richness and vibrancy that is born of a talent for blending and shading the hell out of a miniature. Some of his work is transfixing it really is, I'm personally at a loss to describe his Orc or Orque as the French call it, and his twin bladed Elf, which is pictured to the left, is something else entirely. The armour on that miniature has had me starring at it for hours on end, the shading, the blending and the highlighting have created a genuinely beautiful effect that I only wish I could come close to emulating. Fabulous stuff.

Jackob Neilsen

Another painter that a friend introduced me too. Jackobs work has a wonderfully 'lived in' feel to it, every single one of his miniatures is awash with detail that seems to give his pieces life. They carry their scars and battle wounds with them. They seem to be living the very moment they're in and I for one take an awful lot of inspiration off of his pieces. Especially in terms of weathering technique and naturalistic highlights and blending. His colours never seem garish or outlandish, even when they should be, like on his Slaneshi Lord his pink some how seems very earthy and real, in my hands that colour scheme would have looked like something from the Teletubies... but in Jackob's hands it just worked.

Hopefully that little list of personal painting heroes hasn't disheartened you, but has actually inspired you like they've inspired me over the years. I think I'll personally never achieve anything near what these masters of their respective crafts have, but having a target to shoot for makes me work harder and try harder to attain a level that's always better than what I last achieved. Peace out!


  1. Have you notices all these (seriously) Iconic Painters you have chosen, DON'T do the whole highlight all the way up to white thing that seems so f***ing popular at the moment (that I really REALLY detest as well, it makes everything look dusty) - Good Choices, Great Artists!

  2. @Doc I can see its a sore subject... but yes, I too get annoyed by the highlighting to pure white that seems to be dereguirre right now, and yes it has a tendency to piss me off as well!!! The work of all these artists genuinely inspires me every time I pick up a brush in anger. I just hope that if eople haven't heard of them before they're tempted to go have a look at their websites and get as inspired as I do by their fabulous work.

  3. Is it sad that i have only heard of Angel and McVey before...

  4. @Rogue Minigamer, no its sad that I have heard of them!!! lol. I would urge you to follow the links to their websites though mate, because what they can all achieve is truly mind boggling it really is. I hope they inspire you as much as they do me.

  5. I'm surprised not to see Vesa Mäkelä, Marike Reimer, or Ali Mcvey in your list!

    Vesa's Ariadna are some of my favourite ever Infinity figures (and his Yu Jing engineer... Wow). His blog is here:

    Marike Reimer combines silky-soft blending with solid bright colours and a great eye for detail in her figures. The eyes she paints on her figures are worth an article in themselves (and she even has a tutorial on her site for how she does them). Her site is here:

    Finally, Ali McVey. She's another amazing painter, and her paintjobs for Privateer Press and Studio McVey speak for themselves. Also a very approachable person; she's super helpful, and has posted lots of in-depth advice (and even video tutorials) on the Studio McVey website - there's a paint-along-with-Ali thread that's just solid gold.

  6. @Gilbear I could have probably listed another 10 or 12 painters on that list above but I chose an arbitrary cut off point of 10. Although I snook a mention of Ali in with Mike!!! :P I'm more than aware of how good her work is as I have it plastered all over my Studio McVey articles I've done.

    I'm also aware of Vesa's work too. I love the Cutter diorama, just brilliant but given the style I just personally think Cecil Abati does it better, but yes Vesa nearly had a mention.

    As for Marike Reimer I have to be honest and say I've only previously seen bits and bobs of her work and never really delved too deeply into her back catalogue if you will. I'll go and have a look now. But the painters above I do regularly check and have been inspired by. If other peeps have painters work they love by all means drop a link and a name down I'm always open to new heroes!!! Cheers.

  7. @Gilbear I've just spent a long time looking over Marike's work and you're right her stuff is simply stunning. She's another one I'll be adding to my list of painting heroes to draw inspiration from so genuinely thanks for telling me to go have a look. Some brilliant work there.

  8. *Doffs Cap* You're welcome! =0)

    I also wanted to point out that I think Vesa's style is different to Cecil's too. Whilst both use soft blending, pastel shades, zenithal highlighting, and heavy weathering techniques, Vesa's painting style makes much more use of colour theory, colour transition and more saturated colours than Cecil's (IMHO). Vesa's figures literally seem to glow (see his Orks for example!), and the contrast in the colour values is very well judged, helping to make his models really stand out. Ironically, I don't think the cutter diorama showcases his strengths and his style as much as the rest of his work.

    Finally, Ali and Mike... I hate to admit it, but I think Ali's the -slightly- better painter! (Just don't tell anyone I said that! =0P )

  9. @Gilbear I think Mike has said as much himself, but he made the list because he is one of my heroes and is the artist that made me want to get good at painting. He started it all of form me. Re Vesa / Abati I personally prefer the laters work and as i say you're never going to get a room full of people to agree on something as personal as taste in art. I love Vesa's work I really do but for me Abati just pipped him. :)

    Its a great topic to talk about though.