Hey guys, HERO again with an update on how my army commission is going so far. When we left off last time, I talked about how I ended up meeting the artist, Teemu Sihvonen, and hinted at what army I ended up going with. Before I dive into the army and preview some of the pieces, I want to talk to you about how we got started on the business end.
The first thing you have to tell yourself is that you're not just paying for a service, you're paying for art. When it comes to a commission, it's important that the artist has a portfolio. While what you're looking for is really dependent on your tastes, what I recommend is looking at a range of different miniatures to assess the artist's skill. When I looked through Gravehammer Miniatures' Instagram, I focused on different pieces that are thematically different. For example, when comparing something he has done for Nurgle compared to something like Necrons or even Nighthaunt, I'm looking for how he handles different themes. Specifically, I'm looking at his color choices with respect to the setting, OSL techniques (fire, reflection) and detailing (blood, bone, rust) he uses for fantasy vs. Sci-Fi, how he handles cloths vs. metal, and how consistent the work is over time, paying special attention to the earlier examples compared to something more recent.
|Lady Olyander, Mortarch of Grief|
Once you pick the artist or studio, the next thing you want to look into is pricing. As a general approach, most painting studios you find online have different grades so it's important to reach out or browse their store like you would a menu. The range typically goes from the basic tournament 3-color package designed to get your army on the table the fastest, to something more mid-range that's Tabletop Standard where there's more colors, techniques and highlights being utilized. Some studios specialize in a particular painting grade; such as mass producing armies for clients during the tournament season. On the polar opposite, you have artists who might be former Golden Daemon winners who takes commissions but only produces Masterclass or Display quality miniatures. For an artist like Teemu who is currently running a one-man shop, it's easier to just reach out to him through Instagram or Facebook to talk about what you might be interested in.
|Szarekh, The Silent King|
The best way to describe how this process goes can be best described with choosing what to eat for lunch. Depending on the art style i.e. Grimdark, this would be selecting which genre of food you're looking for like Chinese, Thai or Italian. Once you pull up that list, sort by price range with the cheapest first and you have the Tournament ($) quality to Masterclass ($$$$) being the most expensive. Then, once you get to the restaurant aka website and look at the menu, that's where you'll get full list of what's offered. Bad analogies aside, most commission studios these days provide services in a way that you can mix and match quality. This meaning that you can have basic foot soldiers run cheaper via 3-color Tournament so you can spend a bit more on centerpieces at higher quality grades. If you need the models to be built or based, it's going to cost extra. Once you go back and forth with your artist or paint studio, they'll typically send over a contract that seals the deal. Often times, there's a deposit involved to reserve a slot in the artist's queue. Just remember that when it comes to pricing, sometimes the price is negotiable, but be respectful. After all, you are paying for skilled labor and that takes time, energy and dedication from the person painting your army. Depending on the workload, single models can take a few days whereas an entire army can take weeks or even months.
With all the boring stuff out of the way.. it's time for the BIG REVEAL!
The army that I commissioned was Tzeentch Daemons for Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar. After seeing the amazing work that Teemu did for Tzeentch, I could not let it go. I just loved his interpretation of the Great Sorcerer and needed to have that army in my life one way or the other. On the gaming side, I chose Tzeentch Daemons because they're one of the armies that have always been close to my heart, but I was always afraid of owning due to all the painting challenges. There is just something mystical and intriguing about Tzeetnch, and their playstyle of mystical fire, devious trickery and magical supremacy is something that appeals to me greatly. Not to mention that Daemons of Chaos can be used in both 40K and AOS game systems so there is a significant price savings there. This allows me to optimize on my purchases for competitive play.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, Teemu has made some great progress on the army since the New Year. He has released a couple of vidoes and guides on how to achieve the look of the army, as well as a bunch of pics on his Instagram. This has been extremely helpful for both a customer and fellow hobbyist to learn on how he achieves the look overall. Not that I can ever hope to duplicate this, but it's still useful for at least simple repairs if they're ever needed. It also gives me great joy when I can see actual progress being made. That has been essential for trust and confidence.
Below is a tutorial video on how he paints Pink Horrors and the recipe book in his own words:
|Liber Daemonica: Daemon Skin and OSL|
The monochromatic palette for Tzeentch Daemons Miniatures are primed black. We process starts with zenithal approach with Administratum Grey, followed by mixing in white ink to increase the brightness but also to highlight the skin layers from higher angle. This will give the model a lot of deep shadows but also give room for working brighter skin layers.
Metallic parts are worked with cold, desaturated theme. Uses of Castellax Bronze, Sycorax Bronze and Runelord Brass, accompanied with edge highlights of Canoptek Alloy work perfect for the theme.
Model is then washes with first enamel wash, that will act as a color filter and also work in with the pink magic effects. Green is the opposite color of red, and the greyish green wash will work to emphasize the pink glow effect we paint later on.
Adding deeper shadows and skin tone gradient, the next wash is Black oil diluted in a mixing cup. This and the previous layer are then worked over with white spirits and q-tip or a brush.
Skin color highlights are implemented by using Abteilung 502 Faded White and Dust oil paints. They are stippled and smudged with a damp brush, and unified with a drybrushing method. This can have multitude of layers to work the gradient to perfection.
Once the skin effect is completed, the OSL is worked with Hastur Purple and Baal Crimson. First the Hastur Purple is focused on the hands creating the base for the magical flame, and we can also bring reverse zenithal towards the shadows with this color. The 2nd layer is with Baal Crimson, keeping this one light.
Mixing white ink to Baal Crimson, the color is bent towards pink. This layer should be rather bright, and focused on the hands. For unifying the color theme and to bring saturated layers over the theme, the magic glow is finished with first layering thinned down white ink on the hand and then airbrushed fluorescent magenta over. Keeping the magenta really thin, it will mainly tint the hand area while keeping the brightness intact.
Next up, I will be taking a break from the commission details to talk a bit more about the army itself, what units I selected and what strategy and tactics I have planned. I will do this for both 40K and AOS as the army composition varies quite a bit. No matter what, the army is going to look Hot! Hot! Hot! Flamer noises.