Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Basing Alchemy with the Bruddhas

I guess by now, most people within the painting community will be aware of the work Michael Bartels is doing with The Painting Buddha project, with the aim of helping us all become better painters. The people involved are all very talented artists and as such there is something for everybody no matter the current painting level you have achieved.

This first part in the Basing Alchemy series focuses on Earth, with almost 50 tutorial chapters across 3 discs, covering subjects such as vegetation and pigments, colour contrast and referencing and sketching, Matt Cexwish and Ben Komets, guide the viewer through building and painting gaming and hidden insert bases and stunning show bases.

So having watched the first two discs before deciding to do a review, all I can say is the standard of Matt's gaming bases are in themselves pretty damn impressive and it was very interesting and informative to see a scenic base built up using the plasticard walls as I have never done that myself.

The production quality is great and the menu system is easy to use with very clear and distinct chapter points, allowing you to watch what you want when you want.

So without giving too much away here are some of my thoughts.

On Disc 3, Ben talks us through the construction and painting of a show base, that is, a scenic base with display or competition in mind. He shows us the importance of identifying and studying details in your references eg the different tones of colour, volumes and vegetation types with emphasis on the theme or atmosphere of the miniature and it's surroundings.

Some very interesting techniques are shown, including his "lazy" way of constructing the sides of his base using a dice box, constructing the volumes of his scenic base with varying thicknesses of cork board. With constant reminders to refer to your references, dry fitting natural elements and carefully choosing what looks right, the base quickly takes shape.

The viewers angle of Ben as he works is great, you don't miss a trick, the dialogue and explanations are regular nuggets of inspiration that make you think "wow, I would never had thought of that!!".

In addition, to the techniques that the Bruddhas teach you, there is another underlying message that they conveyed to me; to be inspired by real life and to have the confidence of experimenting with my colours and base building projects and not to be afraid of making mistakes on the way.

I don't want to talk you through the various techniques, as the guys do it so much better in the DVD, but suffice to say that the series of DVD's they are producing far surpasses anything else that's currently on the market, in my honest opinion.

Join the Bruddha hood and become a better painter today!!

Friday, 1 August 2014

My little review of BrokenToad miniature series brushes.

So, BrokenToad apparently believe it's possible to "have high quality hobby products at affordable prices". Ever since I realised our great hobby was about so much more than citadel paints and Gamesworkshop miniatures, I always followed the mantra of buy the most expensive hobby products you can afford. For the last year or so I have exclusively used Windsor & Newton series 7 brushes and find them far superior to anything I had used before. I usually paint with three different sizes of brush; 0,1 and 2, prices ranging between £12 - 15 a piece. This represents a significant investment. Is it possible for one of the little fish (or toad) to produce and sell brushes on par with the big hitters, considering the price range of these brushes is only £4 - 4.50 per unit? Let's find out!!

The BrokenToad Miniature Series brushes are currently available in four sizes; 2,1,0 and 3/0. They arrived with bristle protectors with each brush in a sealed plastic sleeve along with a nice card overlay with some very useful care instructions for eg i did not know that by keeping the protectors on and storing them point down would prevent one off and paint pigment from gathering within the ferrule. Learn something new every day!  It's been long established that Kolinsky sable hair is the best for artist brushes and these brushes don't disappoint on that front. When I used them this evening, blaring out some punk music and working on my barbarian dude I was surprised at how good they are. The belly of the brush head holds ample paint and the finely tapered point allows for precise and smooth painting. Another important factor is the "snap". This terms refers to the natural reaction of the hair bristles following a brush stroke; for miniature painting it is important that the bristles snap back into their natural position and to a fine point, ready for the next stroke. The "snap" with these brushes is on par with my old trusty 7's.

In addition to the quality of the brushes I am also impressed with their manfacture.

 As an Ecologist, it is a nice surprise to hear that the hair of the brushes is ethically sourced and the varnished Birch wood handles come from sustainable forestry. I took the plunge, expecting in some ways to be disappointed, but I am honestly, pleasantly surprised. 

So to summarise, price is a no brainer being a third of the price of even the cheapest W&N series 7 brushes, the quality is excellent, Eco friendly, great service (ordered yesterday and arrived today) and you will be supporting one of the small guys. They can be purchased here in the UK from Artisan Quarters. BrokenToad get a big thumbs up for me but don't take my word for it, take a chance, you won't be disappointed!!