A recent one had their artist Kevin Chin for what I thought was a really exceptional interview that goes over a great deal of ground fascinating to me.
I don't really think this got enough attention so I spent, a long time, transcribing it, and have some essential quotes below.
(Also, sorry Games Workshop. I'll take this down if you ask. Not trying to steal clicks but I thought it better so ask forgiveness than permission.)
Becoming an Artist
I grew up watching lots of movies, action movies, and so, these things, stick with me and just say “okay, I just want to draw that” and that, that drive to draw something and doodle something has never left.
My mind is always wondering in places. And yeah, just drawing is just a form of expression.
For me as I, it's almost like a instinct, I just do it you know, it's not really something that I have to force myself to do. Nowadays is different from back then, I just draw cool stuff. And it's just changed when I went to art college. That's why I went to art school. And going into art school in Singapore, there’s only a few schools, not a lot, there's probably two or three of them back then. Or maybe actually just two.
So I just picked one and just went for it. I made sure I got the grades and the appropriate portfolio that I required to get in. And I know when I got in and say “there's no way they’ll let me do comic artists” as my you know, my final year, you present a final year project. So I have to be a bit more realistic. My brother kind of told me “Dude you can't do comics art at art school. So you have to try to use whatever they're telling you to do, and present it in your own way. So it's. you’re kind of still practising it.”
But all these knowledge comes back to me, like I, I'm using some of them right now. So it's that point, when you kind of in life, you go through a journey, and along the journey, you learn and pick up a lot of stuff. And you never know what you've experienced along the way, will come back and help you in some way or one way or another.
And that's why I realised that maybe back then, when you're doing it and not really feeling, like “why am I doing this, this is so boring” but when you're further in life, you go like, “Hey, I'm actually actively using the things that I've been taught”, subconsciously, or not know it. But you you become aware that “hang on, I didn't do this for a long time. But yeah, I still have that basic fundamental knowledge of of all these things that I've picked up along the way.”
Because you, if you are really serious about creating something unique or you know, something that purely belongs to you, all these parts of you will express itself one way or another. And learning how to have a paintbrush or be it traditionally or digitally, all these counts as a form of expression. These are tools. And these tools will help you express what you think of, what you were trying to, you know, bring out into life. Or not into life, into a piece of white paper, or digital canvas. Even though what you're doing may not be the most exciting thing to you right now.
But you use that opportunity to learn, to pick up things. And one day you will be eventually, for me personally, I always felt that you'll eventually be rewarded, that these things don't just resolve to nothing. These things give you something, and it's up to you. What kind of expression do you want to use? Do you want to opt out of traditional medium, digital medium, sculpting, you know, even traditional sculpting or woodcarving or anything. So is everything art is mostly like a form of expression. So yes.
I've been struck when I as I've grown older, because I'm old as well. But there are times, there were times when I was younger, I thought “I'm never going to need to know this”. And the amount of times where that knowledge comes back, a lot of maths particularly maths, I think, remember at school people saying “you need to know maths”, and then you start trying to work out army list in your head probability of dice scores during a game you think yes, that's actually quite useful, isn't it?
So it's, say "wow" are these works, you tend to realise that, grow older and "wow, this guy's amazing", and you kind of go back. But you can't really, you have to see it, you have to live through it in order to get that information. And it's only later in life that you when you look at it again, sometimes you look at it through nostalgia, and then you see differently, you see completely differently. I think that happened almost way too many times already when I grew up, as I just realised, okay, these things are actually all this information is very useful. It helps me grow not only as a person but also as an artist as well.
And of course the latest one so Dan Abnetts ‘The Emperors Gift’ [EDIT – its by Aaron Dembski Bowden]. a part in it, the highlight of the novel for me was when they had to fight Angron in the first war of Armageddon, and had 100 Terminator Grey Knights teleporting down at the exact same time forming a circle that surrounds Angron and his Bloodthirsters. And the feedback blew out all the all the windows in the Leman Russes. I was like “THAT’S AWESOME. I WANT TO DO THAT” I want to collect a hundred terminators, I know realistically will never be able to play 100 Terminators in a 1500 point game. But it's when I play another Apocalypse. Yes, I want to do that. I want to fulfil that that visual.
Most people won't understand because they never really, people from outside the hobby, will understand, but to you. And that's for you a personal achievement, that you've done this. And to me that that gives me the hobby shivers, I was like “yess”, you know, you feel you feel it, you feel it from your spine. Seriously, you will feel it. Because you…
So I try to be a bit more subtle with my conversions now. And I know that the ironclad I’m, planning to do is going to be a lot of work. But I but I guess that's what's rewarding about it, as well. “Yeah its a lot of work. But I think I'm going to enjoy it.”
So it's a very organic process. It's about discovery like that, that form of expression that we talked about in the beginning, is that you express yourself through converting models and John Blanche is great at that.
And to me it's always good to be in a hobby to be able to to express what you're what you're going through, or you know, certain aspects of what you think, your sense of aesthetic, what do you like about a model and what you're trying to achieve with the model. I think that when you look at the model, and you go “Wow, that's really cool”. You can already tell stories behind it. I think that's good. That's a good conversion. Okay, I get what you're trying to do there and that's really cool.
They get inspired and they try to make one. I wouldn't make one because I don't know how to express myself, through drawings and paintings that convergence is a completely different skill set. But they just did a good job of it, it was a water. It's really cool. Thank you so much. Oh, thank you. Thank you guys, for those. I mean, that to me is very rewarding to see.
The good thing about working in studio is that you get the opportunity to do everything in the book. Everything. Even from the little graphic that surrounds the page number. That needs to be painted as well. A lot of people don't realise that that needs to be drawn and painted. So from the smallest of details to the largest of pictures, there's so much things that you can do, and I enjoy switching around. I find that gives me better, it gives me more inspiration, more creativity as well. Because I need to switch. Different jobs have different requirements. I need to switch here to quickly understand what this is supposed to do and achieve the best result within a given time. And that that fosters my brain to work differently.
I find the advantage of working in studio is that you do everything. And you have the opportunity to do just about everything, from even designing tokens as well like gaming tokens. And you can do that, you can design it as well, you think about “Okay, well what do people interact, how do they interact with a token”? All of a sudden you're evolving a bit of engineering and know-how being a gamer. So how do they use the tokens? What's the best way to design it in a way that's intuitive for them that's useful for them? And these things, again, it clicks to buttons.
Some of the most rewarding projects that I've done is when I was when I was almost a given very little time. And I had to find a solution quickly for it. But it came out really well, as I think I've handled the situation well enough to actually own “it was actually quite fun”. Actually enjoying myself in the stress as well.
Oh yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm not enjoying myself when I'm doing it, I'm just thinking that, “gotta get this done, but how” you know, but “ah, got it” and just do this. And that process of it. I mean, you just “Okay, now I can go back to normal again”, because not every day to kind of do everything.
But it's, it's, it's good to have that challenge. Because you force again, that you just force yourself to think differently, and apply different stuff, different knowledge, a technical knowledge to achieve the end result. Like sometimes, because what we do now most days is digital illustration. My free time, whenever possible, I will paint and watercolours, sometimes I just walk out in lunchtime, just with watercolours in my hand at a sit down to start painting whatever's in front of me. Because that's life drawing is you're just looking at it. And you don't have to think about a toy soldier anymore. And trying to make it work. You just paint whatever's in front of you just do the end, sometimes very liberating, because you don't want to think about it too much. Just trying to accurately as much as possible, paint whatever you see in front of you, and use your unique expression to capture that, whatever you're trying to achieve.
Those are not mistakes anymore. They're stepping stones You switch your mindset into thinking, “Okay, I've done this now, I'm going to learn from this”, take that to the next picture. And that's why traditional drawing and painting it's good because there's less forgiving, you don't have an unsafe, you don't have an undo button. So you are forced to make, sometimes, errors or even foster explores and aspects that you never you never think of. So by doing that you learn.
You know more or less how to handle the medium, you can “Oh ok, I can try this and do that”. Just try to have fun. and not worry about “oh its gotta to be a masterpiece”. No it doesn’t have to be. It is a process. The more you do, the more you look at things differently your information about light about depth comes in and you know we've talked about and we’ve talked about anatomy, you gotta go for life drawing to learn all these things. Or if you can’t go for life drawing, just sit down the cafe and just start sketching people around your people walking on the streets.
And sometimes you, you force yourself to think differently as because they’re moving so fast, you have to draw them quicker. So you your gestures become more expressive, because you're not really thinking about the technical aspects anymore, just trying to capture relevance of what your impression of what you're trying, you're trying to catch.
So that you have your own language as well, you kind of developing in your own way because you learn this from books, all the facts are in books, all the instruction books there are all there, all the information is there but how you express it is completely on your own. You have to, either looking for self expression that's completely on your own little journey that you have to take.