Before I begin to explain what the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass is, let me first explain what it is not. Though our Masterclass will be flexible, once you sign up for it, you will have lifetime access and may take it at your own pace; however, it will not be for the beginner hobbyist. It is recommended that participants have at least a working knowledge of the Grimdark Style as taught on the Grimdark Compendium. I will not be covering the basics or fundamentals as those tutorials already exist. I will not be teaching you how to paint a specific model, nor will I teach specific color recipes. Those ideas are better suited for tutorials, and we are going much deeper than that here. I will teach you how to become a visionary, execute your ideas, and develop and master your own creative process within the Grimdark Style. In short, the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass is a course in Grimdark Design Theory and Applications.
Introductions – Meet Kendon, your Masterclass Instructor
What’s up, guys? Zatcaskagoon here, and this time I’m very excited to talk to you all about my plans for the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass that’s set to kick off at the end of August 2021 and tell you a little more about myself and my background as an artist. I come from a family of artists; it’s in my blood, really. My father was a carpet maker in the ’50s, and more than a few of my siblings are excellent painters. I started getting into illustrations and paintings in my mid 20’s, and even then, I was always trying to be different. Instead of spending all of my efforts trying to find inspiration and mastering styles that I thought looked cool, I spent that time trying to create something fresh and unique.
A look at some of my first Illustrations: 2009-2012
Kind of cartoony, huh?! This is before the Grimdark Gods found and made use of me. Joking aside, these old illustrations are some of my proudest achievements. Not because I think they are mind-blowing or anything or even very good for that matter, I was a fledgling artist at the time. Instead, it was the development process that I created that makes me proud. At the time, I was making illustrations and selling them to pay my house payment. I needed a way to make a lot of art to sell for a meaningful amount of money. My little family depended on me. Through hundreds of hours of failures and frustrations, I emerged with a unique process that allowed me to pump these bad boys out in mass! I eventually figured out that I could make a Master of just the linework and use that along with tracing paper to imprint the drawing onto other canvases. Once I had multiple line-works ready, I could then paint them all simultaneously, creating multiple original copies. I went from spending 40 hours on one piece to finishing three to four large paintings in just 60 hours. Then and there, I learned a valuable lesson: Good design and a well-planned creative process can go a very long way.
These experiences gave me tremendous confidence in my ability to succeed. I went on to enter my Illustrations into competitions. I even won a few, which led to me making contacts, networking, and experiencing a massive amount of motivation to never give up on my dreams of making art for a living.
Remember that networking and those contacts I mentioned? A few years later, those contacts led me to Atlanta to work on Movies and Television shows as a prop maker/painter. By this time, I had only dabbled in miniature painting. However, I knew the end goal was to open my own miniature painting studio, and I never took my eye off that prize. The only problem was that a full studio in Atlanta would cost money and a lot of it. It turns out that painting props for the deep pockets of Hollywood was a perfect means to an end.
I’m not particularly eager to talk much about my time in Atlanta. It was the most limiting time I have ever spent as an artist. Nonetheless, I got to work on some fun projects, where I truly developed my method for miniature painting.
One of the cooler props I worked on was a robot called Hades. This guy was featured in “Escape Plan 2”, which is a horribly awful movie. One of the cool things about this creature is that it is essentially a huge puppet that was literally kitbashed from a bunch of random stuff.
The entirety of the metal on Hades was painted in AK Interactives True Metals and weathered with Dark Brown Wash and Streaking Grime.
Another cool project was a personal work for the studio head of Hex Mortis Studios.
Does this paint scheme look familiar? It should! This is where I designed the recipe that would later be my Death Guard “Thing of the Deep” recipe.
There was a lot of costuming I got to distress or paint and weather. One of the largest projects I took on was painting and weathering 16 suits of armor for Microsoft’s “Gears of War 4.”
There are a whole host of other film projects and tv shows I’ve worked on, including Antman 2, Stan against Evil, a bunch of Marvel spins offs, and the list goes on. Often, the projects that would come to me were fairly large in scope, leading me to hire folks in the industry to help me paint what was usually a large list of props. I ended up being a designer for the most part. I would design the paint and weathering recipes and then teach them to my team by demonstrating those recipes on the first few props. This is where I discovered my love for teaching. Teaching other people my techniques in the prop world was one of the few things I enjoyed about the film industry. However, I would soon learn that teaching my methods openly was indeed a slippery slope. Fabrication studio heads that would usually need to outsource the paintwork and hire my studio would instead send their hourly rate employees to learn from me, which would inevitably result in my studio being undercut out of a job. So finally, after a few years of working in film and being involved with some of the crumbiest, most underhanded people I’ve ever met, I realized how much I disliked what I was doing. So, I returned to miniature painting with my newfound love for teaching and started work on the Grimdark Compendium.
In the last several years, I’ve been making tutorials that demonstrate the ever-popular Grimdark Style. I’ve taught tens of thousands of people how to paint and inspired many others to fly the grimdark banner in their own teachings. I don’t pride myself on being the best painter in the style but rather someone who consistently makes the best instructional tutorials that are clear, concise, easy to replicate, and inspire other artists to try a new way of painting. The next step for me is the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass, and the Masterclass will have the same clear, concise, and easy-to-replicate instructions that will take you to the next level as an artist. So let’s get into it…
The Grimdark Masterclass – An in-depth Look
Why I am making the Masterclass and why you should take it
By far, the most popular tutorial series I have ever made is the Nighthaunt painting series I created a few years back. The recipe I demonstrated on Lady Olynder is the most replicated recipe to come out of the Grimdark Compendium.
After the release of the Oylnder video and many other videos, even today, a lot of the questions or feedback I receive go something like this: “Please do Reikenor! I have the model and will wait to paint him if you are making a tutorial!” or “Can you show how you would do the Grimdark Style on Night lords?” and many more questions very similar to this. It has become obvious that many people take a tutorial that covers a specific model or recipe at face value. To most, the Oylnder tutorial was just that, a tutorial for Oylnder and not a tutorial they could follow for Reikenor. Nor is it a tutorial they can take the techniques from and apply them to completely different models or factions.
When I contemplate this, it becomes clear to me that there is a lack of instruction or guidance on my part that could give people the confidence and knowledge they need to take what they learn in one tutorial and turn that into a “tool” that they can use at any point on any project or as a basis for their own technique. Since no one has glimpsed beyond the veil, and no one understands my creative process or what I call my development method, I can understand why these types of questions are the ones I encounter most often; It’s something I haven’t taught. So if you are ready and want to learn design and develop your own streamlined creative process, then the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass is for you!
The Grimdark Compendium Masterclass – Make Up Your Own Way
The Grimdark Compendium Masterclass is a 13-week online course designed specifically to help you understand the behind-the-scenes of the Grimdark Style and giving you the skills to do it your way. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have used my tutorials to improve their understanding of the Grimdark Style, with amazing results, and you can too.
As of now, I will only offer the course three times each year, and I’m excited to start the first class on August 27th.
The masterclass includes…
- Access to a private Facebook group of experts and peers ready to help you grow
- Weekly released videos with step-by-step instructions on how to develop your own creative process
- Weekly assignments with direct feedback from Zatcaskagoon, grimdark painting experts, and like-minded peers
- Access to STLs and the option to purchase limited-edition practice blanks and models. (files, practice blanks, and models are optional and are not necessary for participation)
- And perhaps best of all: accountability and encouragement from a private community on the same path
Every Friday, you will have access to a video prepared exclusively for the course. You will then receive a weekly assignment to complete, opportunities to engage with the community in a private Facebook group, and have peers and me for feedback, question, and answer opportunities.
The course offers everything a tutorial, social media, or blog post cannot do alone: community, accountability, and opportunity to get feedback.
The Grimdark Compendium Masterclass will teach you how to streamline your creative process with our “Method Development” technique to get the most out of your time at the hobby table. Learn how to take your painting inspirations and ideas from just ideas to fully recognized and well-developed painting, modeling and weathering recipes, and application processes. You’ll never get stuck with access to a masterclass exclusive group of experts and peers ready to help and give feedback. Break through creative skill ceilings with our “Understanding and Application Studies” technique and learn how to take this knowledge and forge your own take on the Grimdark Style.
As each week passes, I will show you the process that I use to take a project from concept to complete; all while you are following along, doing weekly assignments, coming up with your own ideas, executing them, getting weekly feedback from peers, and me, and by the end of the 13 weeks, you will have your very own fully completed project…or the understanding to do just that.
The first masterclass begins on August 27th. Registration is open now but will end a few weeks before the first class to let everyone have time to get prepared.
The cost for the 13-week masterclass is $395, but we offer an early bird price of $295.
I, Zatcaskagoon, am personally involved in every aspect of the course. Helping people master the Grimdark Style is what I am passionate about. I have created the best content in my life; after releasing hundreds of tutorials on the subject matter. I set aside time to answer questions in the private Facebook group; so you can clearly understand the deeper aspects of the Grimdark Style. I have come to understand how essential community, accountability, and ongoing encouragement are for people to succeed in their hobby goals.
When you join Grimdark Compendium Masterclass, you’ll receive lifetime access to the course, all future updates, and a private Facebook Group. That means you can take it as many times as you want (or need). I know life can be busy, and the unexpected can happen at any time. Know we’re here to help you achieve your goals. And if you ever want to do the course again or just enjoy a grimdark refresher, you’ll be welcomed back.
A Closer Look at the Outline
As a note, each video in the course will have an assignment relevant to helping you understand my exact method for Design and Application. By the time you complete the final tutorial, you will have gone through all of the steps I go through when designing the modeling, basing, color, and weathering recipes and application processes for any given project. While it is not mandatory that you do the assignments, it is highly encouraged.
V1: Getting Started: Safety guidelines, recommended products, tools, brushes, thinners, product usage, and practice blanks
In my first lesson, we will be looking at the safety guidelines that I would recommend. Some of the products used in this style can be harmful, so you want to make sure you are prepared. Next, I’ll be talking about my spray booth setup and the types of equipment I use to keep my lungs from melting. Furthermore, I like to use a wide array of products and tools, and I’ll be going over every one of them and how I use them. Finally, we will wrap up the first video with a segment on practice blanks. How to make and utilize them in your design phase.
V2: Into the Dark: Grimdark painting style explained, finding inspiration, and concepting
This portion of the course will cover my own personal view of the Grimdark Style and how to achieve it. Many folks like to say it is undefined and it should stay that way. I disagree. We will also be going over the methods I use to find and collect inspirations for projects while not overusing or directly referencing other’s material in our own projects.
V3: Design Theory 1: How to build your first Rough Draft Designs
Given what we’ve learned and practiced so far in the Masterclass, it is now time to truly start to flesh out our project with rough draft designs.
V4: Design Theory 2: Conceptual Environment Design
My priority for any project is to conceptualize and design the miniature’s environment. Here we will take an in-depth look at the steps I take to design and build the environment for my project.
V5: Design Theory 3: Understanding Environmental Effects and choosing Weathering Applications
A continuation of the previous section of the course. In this video, I will help you understand how to create a weathering palette based on your environment scheme and the effects an environment has on the subjects that dwell within.
V6: Design Theory 4: The Importance of Surface Finish Variation and Mottling
In this portion of the course, I will instruct on the two most important elements to consider when achieving realistic effects and finishes.
V7: Design Theory 5: Being Bold, Creating New Technique Applications and Concepts
We can’t be afraid to fail. Try new things! Go outside of your comfort zone! So here we talk about pushing the envelope.
V8: Masterclass Course Review: Reviewing the Method of Development
In this video, we will review what we have learned so far and prepare for the final steps in completing our masterclass project.
V9: Painting Demo One
V10: Painting Demo Two
V11: Painting Demo Three
V12: Painting Demo Four
V13: Course Review and Conclusion
In the final four videos, I will be wrapping up with an in-depth painting demonstration on the project I have created during the masterclass.
Recommended Materials List and Models
A Note on Available STL Files and Busts
There will be footage of me working with 3rd party figures in the Grimdark Compendium Masterclass, including the “Dark Space Warrior” Bust and custom practice blanks I had made. These products will be available to purchase for a limited time on one of my partner’s websites in either STL, 3d Printed or Resin cast form. Participants should note that purchasing these items is not required, and not having them to paint during the masterclass will have little to no impact on your experience in the course.
The project I will be personally working on during the Masterclass will be a custom design for a Kill Team of grimdark Headhunters in a Dark Industrial Environment. So if you want to follow along and replicate my project, then rest assured all the pertinent information will be available for that build. However, the project that I use to demonstrate the methods is just an example, and I encourage you to work on your own project to benefit the most from the Masterclass.
A Recommended Materials List
To reiterate, the instructions in the Masterclass will guide you on your journey into Grimdark Design and Theory. If you choose to complete the assignments, you will be working on a project of your own design and making. Thus, a specific list of colors or products will not be pertinent for the class. However, I will be covering the most useful products for the style in my first couple of lessons. Once you have completed the early assignments, you should have an idea of the products you want to use yourself and can pick them up then. If you want to get ahead of the curve and stock up ahead of time, I will include a list of all my favorite products here. The following list will be the products you can expect to see in those first videos.
Weathering Enamels and Washes
- Streaking Grime AK7001(From the Locomotive and Carriage Set AK7000)
- Streaking Grime AK012
- Rust Streaks AK013
- Rust Streaks AK7002(From the Locomotive and Carriage Set AK7000)
- Dark Brown Wash AK045
- Light Rust Wash AK046
- Crusted Rust Deposits AK4110
- Decay and Abandoned Weathering Set AK4180
- Slimy Grime Light AK026
- Slimy Grime Dark AK027
- Dust Effects AK015
- Neutral Grey
- Dark Mud
- Industrial Earth
- Light Flesh Tone
- Basic Flesh Tone
- Faded Flesh Tone
- Shadow Flesh Tone
- Red Primer
- Warm Red
- Dark Rust
- Light Rust
- Turquoise Lights
- Blue Green
- Copper Patina Oxide
- Yellow Ochre
- Starship Filth
- Dead Flesh
- Magic Potion For Brushes
- Magic Gel for Brushes
note: Any Brand will do. I prefer Abteilung502 Pigments
- Light Rust
- Dark Rust/Dark Ochre
- Light Yellow Ochre or Bone Dust
- Black Soot
- Medium Earth Or Medium Brown
- Faded Green
- Rubble Dust
True Metals by Ak Interactive
- Old Bronze
- Gun Metal
Acrylic Inks and Washes
I recommend the full range of Citadel Shade Washes. I will list the ones I use the most often below, as well as a few Vallejo Inks.
- Coelia Greenshade
- Carroburg Crimson
- Reikland Fleshshade
- Nuln Oil
- Agrax Earth Shade
- Vallejo Black Ink
- Vallejo Red Ink
I would recommend that you build up a collection of paints from the various manufacturers over time. I tend to use a little bit of everything from all the popular paint makers, including Citadel, Vallejo, and AK Interactive. However, I will note that the paints I personally use the most are from Citadel, Vallejo, or my own Mixes.
- Windsor Newton Series 7 sizes 0-4 Traditional
- Windsor Newton Series 7 sizes 1-6 Miniature
- Royal and Langnickel Golden Talkon Set
- Royal and Langnickel Camel Hair Set
- Various cheap brush bundles from local hobby stores
Various Tools and Solvents
- Wool Dobbers
- Various Palette Knifes
- Mold Line Removers
- Iwata HPCS Eclipse Airbrush
- Paasche H-3as Single Action Airbrush
- Iwata Smart Jet Pro Studio Compressor
- Isopropyl Alcohol 99%
- Klean Strip Odorless Mineral Spirits or White Spirits
- Klean Strip Lacquer Thinner
- Distilled Water
- Bulk Two-Part Modeling Compound for Basing. I use Aves Apoxie Sculpt
- Green Stuff
- 1/4 inch Cork Board
- Plasticard Sheets – Important to have these for the Masterclass
That should cover most things! If I think of anything else, I’ll add it asap.
The Masterclass Group
The Masterclass group will be a private group hosted on Discord. The group’s intended purpose is to give constant and lifetime support to the Grimdark Compendium’s Masterclass participants. Once you have signed up for the Masterclass, you will receive an invite to join the group and may remain a member for as long as you like. I encourage all members to be forthcoming with feedback and support for their peers and new members once the Masterclass is offered again.
I look forward to seeing you all there!