quinta-feira, 26 de janeiro de 2012

Entrevista David Zabrocki


P: Depois de um bom tempo sem entrevistas, pela primeira vez temos uma em inglês!!!!
Gostaria de avisar aos que existe uma barra de tradução no blog, deixando as coisas bem mais fáceis.
E: Despues de un bueno tiempo sin entrevistas, por la primera vez tenemos una ingles!!!!
Solo me gustaria lamar atencion de los amigos que hay una ferramienta de traducion en el blog, dejando todo mas fácil.

Com vocês:

David Zabrocki


What is your age, where were you born and where do you live?

At the time of writing I am 39 years old.   I was born and grew up in Folkestone (the home of Euro Militaire) but I moved a few years ago and now live about 45 miles away near a small town called Snodland.  For anyone who hasn’t been to Euro Militaire, this is in the south east of England close to where the channel tunnel connects us to France.

Do you have a favorite subject or historic period/theme?
For the last few years my preferred period to depict in miniature has been the American Civil War.  I’ve also done a couple of figures from the British Victorian period and would like to do more at some point.   I think the abundance of reference material and Don Troiani’s inspirational paintings of the American Civil War have been influencing factors but also many of the figures Bill Horan has created from that period have really captured my imagination.

 What is your favorite scale?

My favorite scale for figures when I’m making them myself is 1/35 or 54mm.  For fun and a different challenge I have painted some busts during the past three years or so and for busts I prefer the slightly smaller 1/12 scale than the more common 1/10 and 1/9 scales.  Basically, I’ve found I struggle to keep up my enthusiasm if I tackle subjects that are too large as my painting technique seems better suited to smaller pieces.  When I’m looking at the work of other modelers I don’t discriminate between the different scales and can appreciate work of any scale, period or genre.

 Among your works, are there any that you consider special or remember?

I’d say a few pieces hold a special significance for me personally.  The American Dream is among the most special to me, since it was my second attempt at sculpting a piece and I was really pleased with the end result and got so much positive feedback about it from other modelers.   Finishing the piece itself gave me a real sense of achievement and the confidence to continue trying to sculpt my own figures. 

  Another personal favorite from my collection is the Mechanic bust which I painted from the JMD range - I put more time and effort into it than I care to admit - it was mentally exhausting at the time but I get a great sense of satisfaction whenever I look at it now.  More recently, I’ve finished a couple of American Civil War figures which I think are amongst my best sculpting work to date.  I’ve always been extremely self-critical with my work so it makes a nice change to have some finished pieces I can enjoy for what they are rather than just noticing a bunch of things which I think are wrong with them every time I look at them.

Which techniques and materials do you use in your work?
For painting I predominantly use Humbrol enamel paints but during the last few years I have supplemented these quite a lot with oils paints as there are certain effects which I’ve found are very easy to achieve in less time with oils.  So now depending on what I want to achieve I use either Humbrols by themselves, Humbrols mixed with oil paints or oil paints by themselves.  I larger areas of leather I’ll sometimes use Humbrols for the base colours then apply oils over the top for certain effects.  For detail painting I will use Humbrols as their slower drying time makes it easier to clean up the edges if you make a mistake.

When I can get some I use a low odour white spirit for thinning the paints.  Otherwise I’ll try and use an artists quality white spirit as it’s purer than the kind that is sold in hardware stores.

For metallics I use printers inks with humbrols and oils for the base colour then oils for shading and printers inks with and without oils/Humbrols for highlighting.

As far as brushes are concerned I have used Winsor and Newton Series 7 brushes since I started painting but when buying I always carefully select them from the art shop rather than ordering online.  I ordered online once and didn’t receive any that were acceptable - the brush tips weren’t sharp.

For the main painting of highlights, shadows and details I now always use a size 0 series 7 brush.  I find that with careful use and carefully cleaning the brushes with warm water and washing up liquid after each session my main paint brush will usually last (i.e. be able to hold a fine point) for several figures, I’m on about the fifth figure with my current brush.

I have a lot more brushes which I use for any kind of work which would be damaging to the brush tip on my good brush.  These are usually older brushes that I use for blending in the edges, stippling effects and so on.  Usually, the brush tip has been cut down to some extent on these brushes, down to about 3mm from the ferrule if it’s going to be used for stippling, perhaps only about 1mm taken off the tip of the brush if it’s going to be used for blending edges. 

For mixing colours on the palette I always use a cheaper and slightly larger brush (size 2) to avoid wearing out the tips of my good brushes.

When painting an involved area with lots of folds, for example a jacket or trousers, I will start with a mid range base colour and allow it to dry.  Then apply 2 to 3 shadows for which I use the Humbrols fairly transparent, often with some oil paint added to strengthen the colour in the shadows, carefully blending the edges where necessary, then allow the paint to fully dry - sometimes I speed this up by placing the miniature in the oven at a very low temperature (50-60 degrees celcius) if there are no parts which the heat could distort .  Then I will apply 3 or 4 progressively lighter highlight shades with blending in at the edges. 

Once everything is dry I study everything closely and decide if any areas need to be reworked because I haven’t judged the contrasts correctly and I will carefully rework these areas as necessary - there are very few occasions when I don’t have to rework a few areas - like anyone else I don’t get many things just right first time.  Then I will go onto the lining work (i.e. seams on trousers or jackets and edge detailing)  and then onto the weathering for which I use oils and enamels as I can vary the impact of the weathering quite precisely and soften the edges of mud splatters so that they appear more natural.

For sculpting, the putty I use for most things is a combination of Magic Sculp and Duro (also known as Kneadatite or Green Stuff).  I fully mix the Duro first, then fully mix the Magic Sculp.  Finally I mix the two together.  I find that adding some Duro to the Magic sculpt immediately gives it slightly more elasticity and a little more resistance to the sculpting tool, almost like Magic Sculp by itself that has been left for 40 minutes after mixing.  Plus the green colour makes it easier for me to see the details.   The ratio I use varies from 30% duro to 70% magic sculpt if I think I will need to do some sanding to perhaps 50/50 mix if I don’t think I’ll need to do much sanding or if I will be rolling it out thin and don’t want it to be quite so brittle when cured.   For details like buttons, buckles, hair etc, I will usually use Duro by itself.    I use bare Hornet heads and occasionally Hornet hands and will usually modify commercially produced rifles but other than that I usually make everything else myself.

 What advice would you give someone who wanted to start sculpting figures?

Several things I could say might be:

     - Try and find an opportunity to watch a master (or very proficient) sculptor at work.  This is invaluable and will enable you to see how they manipulate the tools to achieve certain results.  I’d virtually given up sculpting after my first attempt because I found certain things almost impossible to do and was too disappointed with the results even though in reality it wasn’t really so bad.  Then I had the opportunity to watch Bill Horan and Raul Latorre demonstrating at the World Expo in Girona 2008 and just seeing how they used the tools and worked the putty motivated me to give it another try.   I was very glad I did.

   - Try out some of the different putties available to see which one feels right for you when you work with it.
Consider getting a copy of Mike Blanks book ‘Body Language’.  It includes a lot of very useful tips on tools to use and building up a figure in stages.   Another book that has inspired me a lot is Bill Horan’s Military Modelling Masterclass.    There are probably a lot of internet references available now as well.  The only problem with books is that you can’t see how the putty is manipulated for all kinds of things and that’s why it’s important to watch a proficient at work.

    - Become a close observer of people going about their everyday business (without making it too obvious of course or you could run into trouble!)   Study how the folds occur in clothing, boots, everything else.  Also observe the difference between various materials, e.g leather vs wool.   This might be one of the hardest things to get used to when sculpting.   Taking photos for later reference is also a good idea.

     - Don’t spend too much time thinking about doing it, just get on and have a go.  Be prepared for some disappointment in the results to start with and try and remember that everyone has to go through the same process.  If something didn’t go too well for me I would carve the putty away from that part and do it again until it seemed about as good as I could hope to achieve at that point.   Remember, you can keep your results to yourself for as long as you want to.  

   - Try and study at least one book on anatomy to get a better understanding of the musculoskeletal system.   Believe it or not, when I was younger I used to do a lot of weight training and some of my boyhood heroes were actors like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean Claude van Damme and various other action heroes from films.  I don’t like to admit it now but I also used to buy a lot of bodybuilding magazines.   I believe this gave me a good basic understanding of the male human physique and musculoskeletal system which has probably served me well for my sculpting.

Which artists have influenced your work?

I admire the work of a great many artists and modellers, but I’d have to say that Mike Blank, Bill Horan have probably had the most direct influence as far as my own work is concerned, because it was their books that I continually turned to for answers, inspiration and motivation during the first few years.   Even now, I still flick through the Complete Bill Horan book a few times a month.  The artist Don Troiani has also influenced me a good deal in the sense that his wonderful paintings have continually inspired me to try and depict figures from the American Civil War period.

 How did you start sculpting?

I started painting miniatures as a serious hobby at the end of 2003 and for about 3 years I was content to paint a few commercially produced figures and concentrated mostly on medieval subjects.  After I obtained a copy of Bill’s Military Modelling Masterclass book I started to daydream about the possibility of sculpting something myself but it remained just that, a daydream, for a couple of years after that.  I guess it was the fear of failure that dissuaded me from even attempting to sculpt something.

Ultimately, I decided I didn’t really have anything to lose by trying to sculpt something myself and decided on trying to depict a Viking warrior since that wouldn’t involve so much equipment and uniform related difficulties.   Since I’d heard quite a lot of positive comments about Magic Sculpt that is what I decided to use along with a bare head I obtained from Historex.  I remember finding the process endlessly frustrating because nothing ever looked right to me and I was constantly having to carve areas back down to try and improve the configuration of the folds in the clothing, etc.  I also found trying to apply small pieces of Duro almost impossible since it had a tendency to stick to the tool I was trying to apply it with.  During the process I happened across a step by step guide to sculpting which the late Roy Hunt had put on his website.  In that guide among other things he had described the way to apply smaller pieces of putty and a few other useful techniques which helped to get me through the process.

Eventually, after several weeks of work I’d got a figure ready to start painting and that was also a different kind of challenge as when you paint a commercially produced figure you can always study the box art and other modeller’s versions to see how they have handled the highlights and shadows whereas when you’ve sculpted it yourself you’re basically on your own.   

When it was finished I did have a great sense of achievement to start with but I later became somewhat disheartened with it after seeing it next to much better work at Euro Militaire.  As I said earlier I didn’t then try and sculpt anything else until a couple of years later after seeing Bill and Raul demonstrating at the Girone world expo.

What do you consider the most difficult to do in a figure?

I’d have to say one of the hardest things for me is always getting the initial armature right to suit the pose I want to depict and making allowance for how the putty will be built up on it.  I usually have to spend an inordinate amount of time fiddling around with the paperclip wire making constant adjustments.  It also takes me a long time trying to get the proportions right, especially for arms.

I’ve never sculpted the face myself on one of my figures although I have sculpted one for a larger scale figure I started making but never finished.  I’d say that is pretty difficult.  But the fact is that with continual practice the most complicated things can gradually start to feel easier, even easy after enough time.  Many of the things I barely need to think about now whilst doing them used to feel almost impossibly difficult when I first tried to do them.

Do you do painting and/or sculpting courses?

No, I haven’t ever attended or provided any such courses.  I have given a couple of demonstrations at Euro Militaire but that’s all.

 What project are you working on now?

I’m currently just painting a commercial figure, the Union Cavalry Officer which was sculpted by Raul Latorre for Art Girona.  I cleaned it up and primed it years ago then it didn’t get finished.   Towards the end of last year I had a complete loss of motivation for modelling for about 3 months.  I got motivated to paint again over the Christmas break and so turned to this figure to avoid cleaning up another one (I really hate the cleaning up process!)    I’m hoping to start work on another original figure in the next few weeks, probably towards the end of painting this figure.

I wold like to say thanks for David for his kindness and comitment in pass soo much knowledge!!!!!


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