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Interview with Rob Cardiss


  • Interview with Rob Cardiss

    Our next interview is with Rob Cardiss, also known as demonherald. Rob is one of wyrd's studio painters, and he judged our wyrd contest here. He's also a multiple golden demon winner taking gold in duel in 2008 and gold in 40k vehicle in 2007 amongst others at the UK GD's. He's also a full time painter covering studio work, comissions and ebay.
    heres a link to Rob's cmon gallery
    Rob hails from Leeds, England and is a former Professional Rugby League player and has worked in the film industries creating models.

    You come up with some extremely creative and unique pieces, what sources of inspiration help forward your imagination into a miniature?
    I basically look at every piece I'm doing look at what others have done and think what ca I do differently... I like a story in my pieces so if it's mid combat what's it fighting where is it set etc etc.. I also love converting and I'm heading more and moe into sculpting so I try and push that . And my most motivating factor is how I can use it o develop myself what can I learn from it.Other than that usual inspiration of artwork movies etc comes into play.

    What sort of techniques do you generally favour when painting such nice smooth transitions in colour and highlights?
    Thin layers starting with mid tones and working to light and dark . I feather a lot .. so blend the colours while on the model and work in small increments of colour change to minimise any jumps and hopefully get a smooth finish.Rob's Duel won Gold at GDUK 2008

    How long does it take to balance models like your duel?
    about 20 years plus....... ... it's one of those things that as I have progressed in the hobby I have made my way towards doing a piece like that.. I had the idea about two years ago but just couldn't quite get my head around it back then. Last year the Gauntlet was thrown down by Nigel Carmen as he was going for some mega movement in his duel and I thought I'd dust off my initial raptor / devastator idea and have a crack.. The longer I've been in this hobby the more I've realised nothing is impossible if you really want it to work (levitating minis will b the next big thing.I' telling ya ) It's just some things take a lot more time and patience than others. Patience is something I don't have but I am working on it. The trick to any kind of dynamic movement piece like this is to keep looking at it and looking at it from all angles and tearing it apart ..Break the job into manageable pieces and where possible paint the components before assembly. I'd say all in all about 100 hours went into that piece.. around 30-40 building and painting the rest just looking at it and figuring in my mind what it needed next.People say that marines are difficult to get any movement in the truth is they aren't.. The kits straight from GW are anatomically poor.. None of them have an abdomen for example and their arm sockets are online with their ears. Correcting this makes the whole process a lot easier .A good sense of anatomyis also a great help with these kind of pieces.. If a piece looks out of proportion the whole effect can be ruined.

    How long do you spend on minis? Like a studio job and a competition piece?
    If a mini is on my desk more than 2 days it's a rare occurence. That said competition pieces can be an ongoing process covering months and the rate I'm going on a current project ..years.. I try not to spend too long a stint on any piece as boredom and slopiness can set in.I generally have two or three projects on the go at once and when I find I'm tiring of one I can have a crack at the other.

    How do you avoid brush marks?
    I don't always .... .. I find it's simply a case of working the paint smooth while it's still wet on the model.. Also painting cross hatch helps . by this I mean painting sets of strokes / layers over each other indifferent directions.. follow the points of a compass , paint one set N-S the next NE - SW etc . this avoids any one particular brush mark being emphasised . I'm also finding more and more working dark to light helps.

    Who's your painting hero?
    Nigel Carmen.....He is a god amongst men.... well a short arsed git...
    More seriously I have to say nobody in particular .. Like sports I don't support a particular team I just appreciate a good game.. same with painting there is no particular favourite just an appreciation of a great piece of work..
    As I came through the hobby Golden Demon was my only real inspiration, and Yes Nigel's work did feature heavily for me , along with Adrian Bay , Matt parkes , Jakob Nielsen , Chris Blair and many more.. The internet introduced me to the likes of the French painters and of course everybody's favourite Sebastian Archer ..but different people do different things with minis that all in some way influence how I see here are a list of a few.
    Remy Tremblay has just blown my mind recently .. I am a big fan of Natural History and Biology and his studies of natural subjects are unbelievable.
    Anders Eklund has a way with simple sculpts that is second to none bringing life to pieces in a way that I am nowhere near yet .. I do tend to rely on fashy OTT models rather than simple pieces.
    Adrian Bay jut a genius at what he does and an all round fantastic guy and a great support over the last few years I'm never dissappointed by any of his work.
    Nigel carmen.. he's my pal... we give each other so much stick but he is exactly the kind of person I can bounce ideas off and get a good honest opinion..
    Sebastian Archer . .. probably done more than anyone in the hobby over the last few years to just open up and explain a new way of looking at colours and lighting .
    There are many many more but that's a shortlist of people who's work I always enjoy seeing.

    How would you describe your own style?
    as my own.. Pretty much a darker style of GW painting.. It's what I grew with and what I have been exposed to more.. I tend to approach my painting more like an illustration and build up layers .. I rarely if ever paint clean I like dirty used and worn.But I suppose the best word I could use to dscribe my painting is evolving .. I am not at the level I want to be at yet but I'm happy where I am . I try and learn something with everything I do and if I didn't I'd soo get bored.

    What do you think has influenced your style, making it what it is today?
    As I say GW is the biggest influence , The books the art the studio.. along with the painters listed above and more. I guess another big influence on my style has been speed. Painting for a living means that I am on the clock everytime a brush is in my hand and spending f hours on a technique is a no go unless I want to charge thousands and thousands of pounds. so Most techniques I use are developed from a compromise between speed and look.

    What are your biggest sources of inspiration?
    Definately an artwork junkie.. black and white sketches like in the GW books. Very rarely am I inspired by another model. I'm pretty much ante any model trends. The first thing I do with most pieces I create is see what anyone else has done then see howI can do it differently.

    I know you painted your first 54 mm miniature recently. What did you think of the experience? How do you like working with bigger scales
    I won't swear on this board....Truth be told I loved working at this scale.. I just chose the wrong model at the rong time.. coming of recent painting drought caused by illness and still unable to spend more than an hour at a time working and jumping into my first 54mm and it being a big mounted bugger were all a recipe for disaster . but that said I found it a very liberating way of painting and cannot wait to do my next one. I would say the key differences are that building up highlight layers becomes less important as a certain element of natural light comes into play. Something I had particular touble with was red. It went pinky a lot quicker than normal. The other thing is that as I mentioned my style does involve a lot of shortcuts at times but with 54mm there is none.. every piece and detail is large enough to be seen so needs working fully.. So Yes big but fu learning curve and cannot wait to get on with the next one.

    You are a studio paiinter as well as doing comissions and ebay. do you prefer one of these aspects? is one easier or more profitable than others?

    Ebay is my preference . I am stopping all commissions.. I will still be doing studio work but not as much.I find that ebay gets the better prices but more importantly allows me to paint pretty much what I want to a certain extent. It also means my time is my own and I don't have to wory about any deadlines if say illness kicks in.. Little one is off school etc.This freedom makes the whole thing more enjoyable and means the work is better .

    As a full time painter are there any tips you have for people looking to earn money from the hobby?
    hmmm... Be realistic .. Be honest with yourself and figure out just how long a mini takes and then determine what price you want. The quicker you are the more you will earn but always make sure you look after the customer.
    reputation is everything and wether you like GW or not Golden demons do mean a lot. they are like a michelin star for chefs.. A kind of seal of approval. Don't take short cuts on ebay . pics are important .. I see so many great minis sell cheap because people only put one or two pics on to save some initial listing money.. It's false economy.. People want to see what they re paying for from every angle . Picture pack is about £2 and is more than worth it.. I have had pieces that have been on 20-30 quid without it. Relisted with it and they have gone over £100 .. suddenly that £1 extra on listing doesn't matter.

    Bayou Gremlins
    Whats your favourite mini you painted?
    really don't know the answer to that one...I loved the Wyrd Bayou Gremlins just so much fn so they are high up there.. My Ultramarines dread was the first mini for a while that pushed me and was pretty much how I pictured it from the start. I always enjoy what I'm painting so picking favourites ain't really possible. I have on my desk at the moment rackhams Varghar which so far has been very enjoyable.

    Whats the one mini you wish you had painted?
    Do you mean one that someone else had painted and wish I had done?? in that case Thomas David's eldar autarch .. Or the sculpt I really want to paint that I haven't .. In that case I have one sat in my drawer that is waiting until such time as I am ready to really do it jutice.. Ilyads Taurg the Axe.. Big ass Minotaur...

    Apart from wyrd do you have any particular favourite miniature ranges?
    Well this just in but the recent smart Max line really floats my boat along with many others as I can see from the forums.
    Hasslefree are full of little gems and are alwas great to paint.
    Tale of war consistently knock out interesting sculpts as do Enigma.
    Of course GW will always be my staple but I am always on the look out for more.. Got some Kabuko models at Salute and really looking forward to having a crack at them .

    Your bases are exceptional - do you plan them before hand or is it an organic process?
    Very Organic... I have certain ideas kicking around in my head but put nothing in place until I have the sculpt and pretty much work the base around the sculpt.. the best looking base in the world doesn't mean anything if it doesn't suit the model. I guess no matter what I'm painting I always feel the base is where I can add my own personal stamp so I do often spend a lot of time thinking about it and am always trying to push myself with it.

    Is it true you paint Erics work for him?
    ..I wish..... love his style .. (add him to the list above) Although technically before I joined Wyrd Eric and Anders did all the painting. since joining Eric has dissappeared to do the game and Anders hasn't had the sculpts he fancied come along too often so in some way .. Yes I do......

    Do you set yourself goals in the hobby (aiming for certain awards or painting so many minis in aa month say)

    Yes I was hobby development manager for a while with GW helping staff get better at the hobby and I find goals are essential...
    2005 for example was the first time I had a go at NMM .. My aim was for 2006 to do it to such a level I could enter in GDUK with it.. traditionaly NMM doesn't go down well with GDUK but I did it and managed to pick up gold.. But truth be told I'm not a massve fan of the technique but it seems to sell better than metallics.. funnily enough I'm now on a drive to up my metallics work.
    I AM going to win a Slayer Sword .. that is my main driving force at the moment.. I have spent a couple of years working on different techniques and skill sets.. look through my CMON gallery and you will see my trends as I develop a certain technique. I now need to take the time and put the techniques into the right places on the right Far I am 3 for 3 on GD . 3 pieces 3 trophies. 2 gold and 1 bronze . I aim to add another 3 this year.. It's all in the thought and preparartion and making no compromise or shortcuts . I never say to myself that'll do on GD entries . So yes definitely set myself targets otherwise it is too easy to stagnate.

    You seem to use a lot of glazing and washes - any tips on them?

    hmm .. no more than most I think?? I basically find it easier to add in shadows and colour changes building up in thin layers. Washes and glazes play a role in adding the colours and shades that tie everything togeher..
    Tips.. well clean water , very thin paint and time to dry between layers. That's about it really..Oh almost forgot the biggy.. don't put on too much.. use a damp rather than wet brush..Think of it as tinting the original colour each time rather than trying to obscure it.

    Why miniatures? If they didn't exist, how do think you'd express your talent?
    Drawing , making crazy lego buildings, Painting murals... Miniatures happened kind of by accident.. I've always loved beasties.. aliens etc.. Star wars was my fave growing up.. then my dad bought my brother some minis and he was too young.. I had a go picked up afew pieces and a magazine and that was it hooked ever since.I don't know quite what it is but I think a lot has to do with my family and friends NOT doing it.. This means they always have a fresh eyed look and are constantly amazd by what I do and very supportive. My little one is 4 and he spends ages just sitting and watching me and his excitement for the little monsters also drives me on.
    Brother Captain Severus - Gold Vehicle GDUK 2008
    if you could have carried on your rugby league career would you choose that or would you still paint minis for a living?
    Of Course I'd have chosen that .. I have been lucky enough really in my short time on this planet to have 3 career paths before me that have been enjoyable and have led to a kind of semi stardom.. I signed autographs on the rugby field .. I signed autographs at a film con when I was doing special effects work (nothing too glamorous . mainly building ships and buildings spending days to watch them get blown up and then starting again..)and I have even signed the odd army book and codex for folk doingwhat I'm doing now.. so yeah lucky guy really. I don't think however I would have ever hung up my brushes . It has always been an escape for me .In fact I remember on my first match representing the county I was knackered because I'd been up until 4 finishing an ogre.

    When you paint on commission or for a company and you absolutely hate the miniature in question, how do you handle that?

    Commission I simply won't do it... I am lucky enough to have enough people wanting me to do work that I can say no and even f there wasn't anybody asking I would never take on a model I hate.. Life's too short to **** your hobby up.. For a company well it's kind of a funny one.. not Long back I was having a real struggle with Wyrd minis .. I had a few sculpts come to the desk that just weren't doing it for me and it is hard to get motivated. I then hit allsorts of health and technical problems and although I finished the pieces they were never used.. (In fact I don't even think they've been seen yet.. ) in the mystic post portal somewhere. The good thing about the Wyrd team currently is there are 5-6 really top class painters all with different tastes so hopefully down the line this won't be a problem.. The other thing with Wyrd is that the development and design of the minis is a very organic process with the painters having a say on certain aspects of look and design which generally means by the time a mini is finished we are all ready for it and the mini is generaly a great mini to paint.

    A big thankyou to Rob for answering these questions for us.
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