Este artigo é a versão em inglês da resenha do livro Figopedia. Para conferir a versão em português você pode conferir o link aqui.
Aproveito para desejar desde já um feliz ano novo a todos vocês. Até breve.
This is the article I took way too long to write. It often haunted me and I’ve lost count of how many times I sat down to write it and left without finishing it, or gave up in the middle to organize my ideas. I think this time I’ll publish it.
If you follow the blog regularly you’ll probably remember that in 2014 I wrote an article recommending that my readers should pledge for the crowdfunding campaign of the FIGOPEDIA book, the first volume of a collection of books about the hobby of miniature painting written by Jérémie Bonamant Teboul.
The campaign for the book was a huge success , accruing the amount of €34,436.00 (thirty four thousand, four hundred and thirty six euros) guaranteeing that the book would be published. I must say that for €35 (thirty five euros) including worldwide shipping the price was a bargain and as I’ll always do whenever I recommend something to my readers I put my money where my mouth was and pledged for it, so now it is time I finally review the book for you, my readers.
“But did you just get your book ?” you might ask me right now. No, i did get the book a while ago, at the beginning of last year to be precise , and I’ve probably read it a couple of times now, consulting it whenever I need, but as I said in the beginning of this article, it took me a long time to write this down.
With no further beating around the bush, let’s get to the review.
To begin with, I must say Figopedia is everything I expected it to be when I published my original article on it. Printed in colors, on a glossy A4 size paper and bound with a soft cover and lavishly illustrated, the book is nothing short of exquisite, devoting 120 pages to the study and understanding of light and color applied to miniature painting, being available both in the French and English languages.
There are other books on the subject out there, as well as a myriad internet articles and Youtube videos about miniature painting, but the great difference about the Figopedia Vol. I (I believe that’s the best way to call this book as the idea is to come up with an encyclopedia about miniature painting – hence the name) is finally being able to see its themes (light and color) applied directly to the miniature painting hobby by someone who truly understands it.
The author talks about the book’s themes in a very didactic manner, first approaching the use of light in the painting of small scale models (and by “light” here I’m talking about the painting of a model in order to emulate a light source and not the lights on your working space), going from the very basic such as how light should be painted on different shapes, how to paint different light sources and the kinds of light we can paint on a model and later tackling more complex uses of light such as creating a focal point a model by the use of light and how to create an atmosphere for the paintjob by using different kinds of light when painting it.
The second half of the book focuses on the use of color and its application on miniature painting, addressing basic concepts such as the importance of color, hue, clarity and saturation , as well as the often mentioned (and seldom understood) color theory and its application in small scale painting through the use of different kinds of contrast and harmony. The color theme is further developed when he writes about the use of limited color palettes, contrast between hot and cold colors and the use of color as a way to convey feelings and an atmosphere to the observer.
Reading the two prior paragraphs might suggest this is a dense and complex book. It is as it is so different from your average “step by step” book (books which are made popular in the hobby by the big companies that produce models) especially because Figopedia Vol. I doesn’t bring a single step by step article or photo sequence. Quite contrary the book is an artistic treaty about painting in general that tackles and explains to the reader techniques and concepts belonging to the light and color theme applied ot miniature painting, but that would also be of use to painting in other medias, like canvas, or on a 3D modeling computer program.
“Oh, that book sounds too complex and won’t be of much use to me!” Trust me when I say it will. Despite the seemingly complex subjects addressed in the book, the text is written in a very didactic way, with simple and direct language, explaining how to apply the theories, concepts and techniques with illustrated examples and photos.
“GAAAAAAWD, I NEED THIS BOOK NOW!” I can hear some thoughts through the computer screen. Well I am happy to say it has never been easir to get your hands on a copy of the book as it is still being sold at the author’s website (Figone) for the very same bargain price offered in the campaign (€35 with included worldwide shipping) but without the accompanying miniature offered back then.
I think it is redundant to say by now that I urge you readers to read this book, as the themes addressed in it will directly impact the way you think about, and paint miniatures, and while it wond produce the miracle of trasforming you into the new Jérémie Bonamant Teboul, it will give you some help in your journey in the hobby while also giving you an unique insight into the creative process of the author, and a glimpse at why he is celebrated as an authority on the subject and as one of the greatest miniature painters of all time.
“Ok, I got you, it is a good book, but why do you keep celebrating the author?” Well, to put it simply, he deserves it. If you’re a recent convert to the hobby of painting and collecting miniatures you might never heard of Jérémie Bonamant Teboul, but those readers that have been in the hobby for a while longer will certainly have heard of him as he’s one of the great winners of the Golden Demon painting tournament organized by Games Workshop, as well as from the Crystal Brush held at the Adepticon in the USA and where he figured among the tip winners in 2013 and 2014, and a reference in the hobby for many of us, but, with other personal projects taking prominence he left the community’s spotlight for a bit.
I also make no secret of the fact I’ve always been a fan of his work, which brings us to the second part of this article. When I came across the Indiegogo campaign trying to fund the Figopedia book I could barely contain the excitement at finally being able to read material produced by one of my miniature painting idols in a language I was actually able to understand (as I’ve mentioned in the original article about Figopedia here on the blog, I have other books about painting in which Jérémie collaborated, but those are in French, a language I need a dictionary and some dedication to understand).
It was clear to me I’d pledge to the book, but browsing the campaign’s page I noticed an unique opportunity was being offered there, 5 days of private lessons with the author in his house in the city of Lyon in France, food and housing included. At the time, with the exchange rates we had back then, it was something I could afford, and not expensive at all, so without much thought, after a quick check with the wife, I pledged for the campaign selecting the painting course option as my reward.
To my surprise I was promptly contacted by Jérémie, that explained beforehand how everything should work concerning the course, staying at his house, etc. He couldn’t have been more solicitous and available during all the communication, even while still being in India, where he travelled by bike for a year (from 2014 to 2015).
With the campaign’s success it was only a matter of time before the date we arranged for my course to take place, and that’s how I found myself in the city of Lyon in April, 2015, for a painting course with none other than Jérémie Teboul.
I got to Lyon late in the afternoon without speaking a single word in French, and struggled a bit to make myself undertood by the taxi driver. With a little help from Google Earth I was able to locate the building where Jérémie lived and was soon being welcomed by the master himself. The course itself would begin on the very next day, so we got to chat a bit while Jérémie evaluated my painting skills from some of my masterpieces I took with me for that purpose. Being uncerimoniously classed as an “advanced intermediate” painter it was clear to me from thhe beginnning that the learning curve would be a very steep one.
I was offered the choice of what miniature we’d work with during the course choosing the giant Moloch, still unreleased at that time, and with that out of the way Jérémie quickly assumed his role of master and I resigned myself to being the apprentice once more. That’s how I found myself watching mesmerized over the course of five days the painting of the figure using the wet blennding technique, which consists in applying distinct colors to the model and mixing them together while they’re still wet. That is the technique most often used by the teacher in his paintjobs and was, according to his suggestion, the main focus of our painting course.
Good examples of the wet blending technique can be seen on the following videos by Jérémie Bonamant himself:
The apparently simple technique takes a lot of practice to be mastered. I must admit being surprised by it and I remember thinking while watching “how will that muddy mixture look in the end?”, but in the end of every painting session the final result was there and looked amazing.
Seeing him painting up close and being able to watch each brush stroke contributed to the idea I already had that he is indeed a master miniature painter, but it also showed how much of an artist in essence he is, creating art in many different mediums, like miniatures, canvas, paper and music. What for me was the result of years of study and practise to Jérémie seems to come without much effort, when in truth it is also a result of a lot of hard work, experimenting and dedication over the course of many years which contributed to making him the well rounded artist he is today.
To my dissapointment I must confess that my attempts to put into practice the lessons from the master have been shameful, a lot because of my own limitations and rooted painting habits. Nonetheless, both the course and the overall experience can only be described as fantastic, and had a significant impact on my painting routines (Jérémie now haunts me, appearing from thin air to tell me not to touch the model while painting it) and on my life. Our long talks while painting where great as well, so thanks for that as well my friend.
I’ll admit having brought with me much more than simple painting lessons from the week spent with Jérémie in Lyon and hope to one day be able to return the warm welcome extended to me and my wife during our stay, so Jérémie, Nathalie and Regis, if you guys ever read this article, please accept my gratitute for everything you guys have done for us. We loved it, so from the bottom of my heart thank you, or “mérci!” as you guys say!
“Am I done?” Almost!
This is my final article on the year of 2016, and it is also the end of a personal challenge I proposed myself, in which I’d publish an article a month for the entire year here on the blog. As I write down 2016’s 12th article I can’t avoid the smile on my face as I’m really happy about being able to fulfill that promise to myself and my readers and finally showing myself that the terrible beast of procrastination can be tamed. So to celebrate that goal I’m going to gift you, the reader of the Painting Frog blog.
To accomplish that I’ll give away two copies of the Figopedia- Vol. I book for two lucky readers of the blog. Making yourself eligible to winning one couldn’t be easier. All you need to do is leave a comment here on this article saying what you thought about the content published here over the year annd what you’d like to see next year.
Besides leaving a comment you should also follow the blog’s other media outlets, meaning you should like our Facebook page, subscribe our Youtube channnel and follow our Instagram account. As soon as the aforementioned channels get 100 new followers, likes and subscribers (it has to be all of them) I’ll raffle a copy of the book for those who comment on this article and another copy for those who comment onn the Portuguese version of it. It couldn’t be easier. As I write this our numbers are 110 subscribers on Youtube, 257 likes on our Facebook and 447 Instagram followers,
So waste no time and comment right away, join our social networks and share this post so we’ll reach the required numbers as soon as possible. I’ll be away from home in January, so, in case we meet the required numbers in a month, expect me to draw the lucky winners in February 2017.
I’ll wrap this up thanking each and every one of you readers that paid the blog a visit, left a comment complimenting me on a well written article or encouraging me to keep writing. That was appreciated. I also wish all of you a happy new year, in which you may cherish your loved ones and our common hobbies while also enjoying good health.
That’s all for now, folks.
Over and out!