In this latest instalment of Master Crafted, we caught up with one of Poland’s finest miniatures painters and one-fifth of the talented quintet that ply their craft under `The Brush Brothers‘ moniker, Adam Halon.
For several years, I’ve engaged in a sort of casual ritual that I’m sure many affiliates with the hobby will be able to relate. When the inner demand for inspiration boils to the surface, I often load Google Images into my browser, search for what I’m looking for, then scour the results for innovative, new techniques in the hope that I’ll be able to use some of them on my own models. Indeed, the internet is a wonderful medium for finding cool colour schemes, basing tips or quick “hacks” to get us the max’. But doing so can also lead the unwary hobbyist into a hazardous predicament: The wont to repaint one’s older figures. To some, this mightn’t be such a bad thing. Especially if channelling ones inner creativity isn’t considered a mammoth chore. But for someone like me, whose productivity is both flawed and lacklustre at best, it can lead to complete disaster. Put simply, we ain’t ever seeing that fully painted army on a table any time soon.
Of course, painting whole collections isn’t everyone’s thing. Unlike our last guest Brandon some hobbyists prefer to spend hours perfecting their technique to produce the most exquisite, dramatic-looking single figures they can possibly achieve. And that’s exactly how Adam approaches his hobby.
It was about five-years ago now that I discovered The Brush Brothers blog, and, incidentally, Adam’s quintessentially moody artwork. It shouldn’t come as a surprise – at least to the returning reader – that it was a Nurgle figure that first drew my attention to his individual painting style, too. Over the past half-decade, Adam and the guys have gone form strength to strength. Their knack for turning out excellent Si-Fi and fantasy pieces without compromise has seen their popularity rise, indeed justifiably, on social media and websites such as `Cool Mini Or Not’. Adam’s own style, however, is one that constantly evolves as new techniques emerge and he works tirelessly at perfecting his already prodigious gift. In recent times, he told me, he and his friends set up `Fellowship Of The Brush‘, a kind of social group for like-minded hobbyists to meet up, paint and party. Sounds like fun!
For me personally, it’s been a joy watching Adam’s skills develop within the goldfish bowl of the internet, and I hope to keep tabs on his superb artwork for many years to come. It is with great pleasure, then, that I present the man himself:
John: Hey Adam – how you doing this evening?
Adam: “Hey! I am great, thanks. I’ve just started my holiday, and I finally have some free-time to spend on my hobby, which was really hard to find during semester”.
John: What was it that got you into the hobby, and roughly how old were you?
Adam: “It all started around 2004, when I was 12. One of my parent’s friends used to collect Warhammer Fantasy armies. It grabbed my attention when I saw his Orcs and Dark Elves – everything was just so nicely painted and I loved it. That was the first time I encountered miniatures, but I first got my own when there was a hype for the Lord of the Rings range. I liked painting, but in the beginning I was more of a player. A year or two later, I switched to Warhammer 40k and played for a few years with my Iron Warriors. Now I don’t play any games; I just paint, preferably single miniatures”.
John: Tell us a little bit about The Brush Brothers and Fellowship Of The Brush, and how they came about?
Adam: “The Brush Brothers came first. Me and my friends – Redav (Krzysztof Kobalczyk) and Gimiak (Michał Gmitrasiuk) – thought that it would be a good idea to create a place where we could post our projects and armies as a group of friends. We were all from the same city, so we used to play a lot together and it seemed like a cool idea. People also liked our blog and it encouraged us to do more. The Brush Brothers expanded recently, and we now have Dexter and Czys in addition to the old crew. As for Fellowship of the Brush, that’s basically just a fun gathering of me and my friends from around Poland. We like meeting up and partying together, then doing some painting. It’s not really a big deal”.
John: Do you guys ever argue over who is the better painter?
Adam: “Not really. I think we help each other improve by judging one another’s work, but there’s no arguments”.
John: Over the past few years, I’ve regularly found myself in awe of the quality works produced by Polish `miniatures artists’, a term which – for me – sums up this type of painting. Would you say the painting aspect of the hobby is more or less popular than war-gaming itself, or is the scene fairly balanced in your country?
Adam: “There are far more gamers, I’d say, but painting is becoming more and more popular here. Of course, there are some tournaments that focus on having painted armies, which of course puts pressure on some gamers to paint their stuff, but it’s mostly about the gaming itself”.
John: I mentioned above that I’ve enjoyed watching your style develop over the years. What is it exactly that drives you to hone your skills and constantly improve your painting technique?
Adam: “There are a few things that inspire me to improve. Firstly, great painters who go crazy with their skills. Especially those who continually make my jaw drop with their freehand work and monsters. Some good examples would be Kirill Kanaev’s realism and texture skills and Dmitry Fesechko’s amazing ideas and extraordinary detail work; but there are so many others, too. Seeing the work of other painters always makes me want to paint something better. Also, looking at older projects is a good indicator to see how far you’ve come”.
John: I’ve got to admit, I found your earlier stuff – you could say – easier to relate to. It’s probably because it was almost achievable for someone like me. What advice can you give readers to help them `raise the bar’ in terms of their own painting methods?
Adam: “It’s always great to have a `painting buddy’. Someone who can point out your errors, discuss different techniques and exchange tips with. I know that it’s not always easy to find someone like that in your neighbourhood, so posting your work online and asking for comments and criticism can also help you improve. That always motives me to do better. Also, read tutorials; there are loads online. And stay inspired – keep an eye on other people’s work”.
John: You’ve mentioned before that you mainly focus on painting exquisitely-detailed single figures. Do you ever get the chance to paint entire armies, and, if so, how does your approach differ compared to your usual projects?
Adam: “Yes, I prefer single figures. I get bored easily when painting similar miniatures. I sometimes paint squads, but never entire armies. I’ve painted two armies in the past – Iron Warriors for 40k and Lizardmen for Fantasy – but that was years ago. Now, If I had to paint an army, I would approach it more like a job that I had to do rather than a passion. I’d paint it as fast as I could, focusing on all the same coloured parts before moving onto the next… Boring!”
John: As you know, I’ve been a fan of your work for many years. What do you think it is that draws people to your style?
Adam: “I think one of my strongest suits is my attention to detail, especially freehand work, textures and other tiny things that are often missed. I also try to use interesting colour combinations or contrasting colours to draw the attention to parts that I want people to see”.
John: How would you describe your style in three words?
Adam: “Detailed, colourful, shiny”.
John: If you had to choose one GW figure that you enjoyed working on the most, what would it be and why?
Adam: “Hmm… That’s really hard to answer. I’ve had a lot of fun painting GW miniatures, but if I had to choose one it would probably be the Warriors of Chaos plastic Nurgle lord, the one holding a two-handed axe. It’s a simple, yet extremely atmospheric miniature. It has a grim appearance, but the sculpt is really cool and finely detailed. It was a true pleasure to paint!
John: Before I go, what are your plans for the future, and where would you like your painting go?
Adam: “My plan is to paint more larger scale miniatures, as I really enjoy working on those. I would like to do more monsters as well but also try some more serious sculpting”.
John: Adam, It’s been a pleasure. Thank you!
Adam: “Thanks, the pleasure was all mine!
If you’d like to see more of Adam’s awesome miniatures, get yourselves over to The Brush Brothers BlogSpot or follow the antics of Fellowship Of The Brush on their Facebook page.