Before I begin to explain what the Masterclass is, let me first explain what it is not. Though our Masterclass will be flexible, meaning that 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 be teaching 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 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 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.
Here is 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 at once, 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, and this is 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 go on to 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. Getting to teach 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 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 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 that 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 Masterclass is for you! You’ll learn how to take your painting and modeling inspirations 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. Also, I’ll teach you how to breakthrough creative skill ceilings with my “Understanding and Application Study” technique, and finally, I’ll show you how to take this knowledge and forge your own path into the grimdark style.
A Closer Look at the Outline
As a note, each video in the course will have an assignment tied to it that is relevant in helping you to 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 that 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 will 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 Skill Advancement
This portion of the course will cover my own personal view of what the Grimdark Style is 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: Understanding Grimdark Elements and color theory usage
Grimdark Elements are the usual tropes I like to use in my work. These elements can be objects, textures, or colors that clearly cast a dark vibe for the project. Next, I’ll explain how I choose and incorporate these tropes into any given project. Finally, we will wrap up this portion of the course with a segment on color theory, useful color palettes, and their usage in miniature painting.
V4: Design Theory 2: First Priority – Conceptual Environment Design
My first priority for any project is to conceptualize and design the environment that the miniature will be in once based. 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 give instruction on the two most important elements to consider when trying to achieve 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: Design Theory 6: How to Create and Log Color Recipes and Designs
In this video, we will learn how to be responsible with our time and efforts. I’ll first show you how to create color and weathering recipes and then how to document those recipes so that you can easily reference them later.
V9: Detailed Painting Demo One
V10: Detailed Painting Demo Two and Conclusions
In the final two videos, I will be wrapping up with an in-depth painting demonstration on the project I have created during the masterclass.
A Note on Available STL Files and Busts
In the Masterclass, there will be footage of me working with 3rd party figures, including the “Evil 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. However, the project I will be personally working on during the Masterclass will be a reposed Nasgash. So if you want to follow along and replicate my project, then rest assured all the pertinent information will be available for that build, including the reposing work. Before you run out and buy a Nagash or pull it out of your pile of shame, please understand that the assignments associated with the Masterclass will focus on the participants coming up with their own projects to work on during the 10-week course. The project that I use to demonstrate the methods is just an example, and I encourage you to work on your own project in order to benefit the most from the Masterclass.
It is possible that I will add the full painting demonstrations for the Bust and Practice Blanks to the Masterclass at a later date as bonus tutorials.