In 2015 I took a giant leap of faith, said goodbye to my career as a retail store manager, and set out to paint miniatures for a living. At the time, I had a small family and very little knowledge of the industry. I could barely even paint a decent standard. Nonetheless, I persevered and through research (mostly watching Next Level Painting tutorials) was able to come up with a way to paint that was efficient and in-demand on eBay.
Less than a year later, I became more aware of my surroundings, if you will. At this point, I had a working knowledge of the Warhammer universe and realized my painting style was missing something. The way I imagined the 40,000th Millennium didn’t quite match up with what I was putting to plastic.
With some luck, I was able to find another artist that was painting in a style that I thought was perfect for the grim darkness of the far future. His name, Gavin Manners. The only issue was that he was a Gunpla designer and painter. He was using products I had never heard of and was getting fantastic results! I figured these products would work just as well over Games Workshop’s Miniatures and would help me to achieve the vision I had in my head.
I immediately bought up all the products I could find by Ak Interactive and excitedly got to work experimenting. Now, to understand how I developed as a miniature painter you would need to understand my methods for growth. I have a saying that I use often with my close friends and peers that I refer to as the 90/10 rule or 90% research 10% work. The more you know, right? For me, research doesn’t mean just pouring over hours of content and trying to emulate what you see. A lot of what I consider the most valuable research is experimentation. Just sitting down with the tools you have and honestly working through it. The best way to learn is to fail miserably and through these failures, I would eventually forge a method that worked really well for Warhammer 40k.
So after my research phase and as of January 22nd, 2016 I published my first tutorial using these products. Now just to clarify, there wasn’t a lot to go on for the Ak Products on YouTube and I hadn’t learned yet that they were primarily used in the scale model world. I don’t believe anyone was using them in the Warhammer scene and I had yet to learn about John Blanche or what was Blanchitsu. I know a lot of folks out there tend to say I just copied his style or what have you; but to be honest, he was so niched that I had no clue who he was. Again, if I were to point to anyone for credit it would have to be Gavin Manners, I studied his painting style more than anything else at the time.
So it’s 2016 and at that time, there were not very many people in the community actively teaching how to weather or make a grimdark-styled miniature. The community was dominated by a very clean or very painterly style. So there was an obvious need and I decided to create a solution.
But things happen in life and sometimes opportunities arise out of nowhere. I don’t want to get too much into the details about this but shortly after I started making tutorials I just happened to get an opportunity in the movie and tv industry. In my time there, I worked on all sorts of tv shows, movies, and other large projects. The folks that I was working with liked my weathering style and so this was an excellent time for me to develop my techniques and application methods for these products that I still use in miniature painting today.
There is not much to say about the next several years of this timeline, most of you were here for it. I’ve been developing as an artist, developing the Grimdark Compendium, and teaching all that I can along the way.
The Grimdark Compendium is the future of hobby learning. I truly believe that once I am finished with the site and my vision is fully realized, many other content creators in the miniature painting space will follow suit or join me. For years, I have posted hundreds of tutorials and am now looking to expand the horizons of the platform. This means bringing in more skilled artists to teach and share their knowledge. This addition of new artists is a new development that many are just now starting to notice is taking place. Some will like it, others will not, but I fully intend for the Grimdark Compendium to be for the community, by the community. The amount of knowledge one will be able to glean from this site will be rivaled by none.
There is a lot more to say about these coming developments and the new artists I have lined up to work on the site. But we will save that for a little later…
Btw, a Zatcaskagoon is a fictional character/creature from a homebrew Dungeons and Dragons campaign I used to play as a kid.