Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Mythic Interview

Hey folks.  One of the coolest things about this hobby is the awesome people I have met through it.  One of those people is Mythic, a gifted custom artist over at Hisstank.com.  He gave me some advice on my last project, and I asked him if he would be willing to let me interview him for the site.  He was cool with that, and with no further ado, here is the transcript of the discussion.

Spec-Ops Scarlett.
Custom and photography by Mystic
David Draper: Thanks for taking time out of your Monday night to chat.
Mythic: sure.
David Draper: So Mythic- how long have you been making or customizing custom action figures? Or anything else?
Mythic: That is something of a two-parter.
David Draper: Ok.
Mythic: When I was little, I used to unscrew my Joes and make new ones by mixing parts.
David Draper: Nice.
Mythic: I made a few I still have today.
Mythic: More recently though I started seriously customizing about two years ago.
David Draper: What got you into it two years ago?
Mythic: To be honest, my dad had just passed away and I needed a distraction. I had bought a lot of VvV Joes and found my paints in a box I unpacked and just started playing around.
David Draper: No kidding. Wow.
David Draper: I'm sorry to hear about your father.
Mythic: Thank you.
David Draper: Were you an artist before that, then?
Mythic: My first customs were using the older construction with the rubber band hip joint.
David Draper: Ok.
Custom PoC Kamakura.
Custom and photography by Mystic
Mythic: I have always been kind of "artsy", but never considered myself an artist. I painted Warhammer and 40k minis and have always painted and such, and then got into Photoshop about 10 years ago.
Mythic: My mom always made sure there were markers, pencils, paints, clay and crayons in the house, so we were all encouraged with art.
David Draper: That's really cool. Did you ever study art, so to speak, or are you pretty much just self taught?
Mythic: My last art class of any sort was somewhere around 7th grade.
David Draper: Gotcha. That's about where I am too.
Mythic: I taught myself Photoshop as well as photography.
David Draper: Did you grow up in Arizona?
Mythic: AZ? Noooooo. I was born and raised in San Diego. I moved to AZ about 7 years ago.
David Draper: Ahh. How did you pick up Photoshop? In school, for a hobby, etc?
Mythic: I have always been a tabletop gamer and wargamer. And I wanted to manipulate some images to suit locations and NPCs in some games I ran so I got photoshop.
Mythic: I have done a lot of digital photorestoration as well for friends and family.
David Draper: Very cool. So you're kind of in that professi-amature creative type.
Mythic: I have always been a better writer than anything else.
POC/Battle-Ready Crimson Guard Immortal.
Custom and photography by Mystic
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David Draper: And a writer. no kidding. Do you have a website or blog?
Mythic: Kind of.
David Draper: I am looking at your gallery on Hisstank and its impressive.
Mythic: I used to work in advertising, doing ad layouts, scanning images and so forth.
Mythic: Thanks. A lot of my commissions work is not even on there.
David Draper: Is there a place online where people can see your work besides the hisstank gallery?
Mythic: I look at my [Hisstank] gallery now and really see how I have improved myself. I would be ashamed of some my first customs if I made them today at that level. Hehe.
Mythic: The 'tank is about the only place I post. I will have a Deviant Art page properly functioning soon and I have considered a blog. Right now it is just an issue of time.
David Draper: Ok. When did you start taking commissions?
David Draper: And do you advertise?
Mythic: I have been open to them from the beginning and my first commission was very shortly after I started posting on the 'tank and got some exposure.
Mythic: My posts on the 'tank are my only ads.
Mythic: heh.
David Draper: Very efficient.
David Draper: What has been your favorite project so far?
Mythic: Hmm... That is a tough one. I would have to say the "battle-ready" line of figs I have been doing.
David Draper: I'm flipping through the “battle ready” posts of those right now- what is the inspiration behind them?
David Draper: just making them look badass, or something else?
Mythic: Mostly I just enjoy updating characters while still keeping their classic feel.
POC / Battle-Ready Tomax and Xamot.
Custom and photography by Mystic.
Mythic: Here is my view on it:
Mythic: if you do a custom, people should be able to tell who it is of without an explanation.
Mythic: If people do not recognize the character, then you did too much.
Mythic: The PoC line was a good part of the inspiration behind then battle-ready figs.
Mythic: I saw the more cutting edge tech route they were taking and went with it.
Mythic: i.e. Reactive Impact Armor, Jungle Vipers' optical cammo and so on.
Mythic: PoC has more of a very near future feel to me.
David Draper: Sure.
David Draper: Your are a very skilled painter for someone whose last art class was in 7th grade.
David Draper: Do you have any advice for people who are just getting started painting and customizing their own figures?
Mythic: Aw thank you. That was my last class, but I have painted more than a few Warhammer 40,000 minis in my time.
David Draper: Joes seem to me to be much easier objects to paint than Warhammer figs. What armies did/do you play?
Mythic: ((I'll get back to advice in a sec))
David Draper: Apologies for typing the questions in so fast! No problem.
Mythic: Actually, Joes are harder to me
David Draper: Really?
Nightshade (OC Cobra sniper)
Custom and photography by Mystic.
David Draper: Why is that?
Mythic: You can get away with some things at the smaller scale.
David Draper: Huh. I would have thought the tiny details of Warhammer minis would be a lot tougher. Interesting.
Mythic: Essentially, the bigger the thing it you are painting, the better you have to be.
Mythic: The eye will easily note all the mistakes on a large piece.
Mythic: On a small piece, they are harder to see. Hehe.
David Draper: Gotcha gotcha. Interesting. I'm just getting into 40k, and thought the joes would be easier since they have such larger, smoother surfaces. I guess not.
Mythic: I learned to paint figs through painting 40k armies and Blood Bowl teams.
David Draper: What is Blood Bowl?
Mythic: Blood Bowl is an American football game set in the Warhammer Fantasy setting.
David Draper: Cool. So it uses Warhammer figures?
Mythic: It uses figs made by Games Workshop, but made for Blood Bowl.
Mythic: You can adapt figs though.
Mythic: I probably learned the most in painting the treemen for my bother's halfling team.
David Draper: What did they teach you?
Mythic: I have never even used a wash before or drybrushed and the guys at the shop were amazed at what I -did- pull of.
Mythic: then I learned about washing and drybrushing. a way to do the same thing I had done but in a fraction of the time. lol.
Rikka Seferis, Mandalorian Death Watch Member.
Custom and photography by Mystic.
David Draper: Nice.
Mythic: I did the treemen by just layering color and then glued in lichen and such to add a 'living' quality.
Mythic: The funny thing is, before I started customizing, I had not painted a single fig in about 10 years.
David Draper: Wow. no kidding.
David Draper: Your skills really are great- it must be kind of like learning to ride a bike.
Mythic: Kind of, but I still learn all the time.
David Draper: What advice for aspiring painters who would like to be able to paint like you?
Mythic: 1) There are great tutorials and the like out there. Check them out. I always do when I see one because you never know when somebody has a better way of doing something or a technique you had never thought of. I am always learning.
Mythic: 2) THIN YOUR PAINTS! I add a few drops of distilled water to my paints to keep them a little thin. They go on better and allow more control. A few thin coats is better than 1 thick one Mythic: 3) Practice with washes and drybrushing. They are two of the most basic techniques that will get you a lot of return.
Mythic: and 4) Use the right brush for the task.
David Draper: Where do you look for tutorials? All over? on HissTank? on YouTube? Elsewhere?
Mythic: Nowhere in particular. There are a lot of great ones on the 'tank. Some 'tankers post them on youtube as well.
Mythic: That is not to say I agree with every tutorial I see. Some people just find a different way than I do things, that works for them. Hehe.
David Draper: That makes sense.
David Draper: How long does it take you these days to do a custom figure? On average?
Mythic: That I really do not know because I am almost never working on just one.
Firefly.
Custom and photography by Mystic.
David Draper: Ahh. ok.
Mythic: I usually am working on half a dozen at a time.
David Draper: Wow. You are busy.
Mythic: I go back and forth between them, letting things dry and so on.
David Draper: Do you have a favorite custom tool in your collection?
David Draper: er, tool that you use in your customs?
Mythic: My fave is my dremel. It is a tool that you do not need often, but when you do need it, you REALLY it. The tool I use the most often though (aside from paint/brushes) is the xacto knife.
Mythic: A lot of tools in customizing are like the dremel. You do not use it much, but they make certain tasks much easier.
Mythic: My main tools are dremel, xacto, hair dryer, hot glue gun, snadpaper/files, toothpicks and super glue.
David Draper: What kinds of paint do you use? Do you have a favorite brand or line, or do you play the field?
Mythic: I use mostly Citadel paints (mainly because I know them from painting 40k figs). But I still have some Ral Partha and Vallejo that I use from time to time.
Mythic: I also mix a lot of colors myself from Citadel paints.
David Draper: Slick.
Chop Shop.
Custom and photography by Mystic.
David Draper: I want to let you go pretty quick, but before I do, if someone sees some of your work and would like to ask you to do a commission for them, what are your rules? Do you do minis and actions figures? Do you do any other work? How should someone get a hold of you?
Mythic: Anymore I do Joes (including vehicles) mostly. I can do dio stuff too. The best way to get a hold of me is through the Hiss Tank or eBay.
David Draper: Ok. what is your ebay name?
Mythic: akilles626.
Mythic: I usually have links to my auctions in my signature for my posts on the tank as well.
David Draper: Ok- good deal. Well Mythic, thanks very much for your time! I really appreciate you agreeing to this interview.
Mythic: No problem.
Mythic: if you have any more questions, just PM me.
David Draper: will do. Thanks very much!
Mythic: Catch you later!

(interview conducted via Yahoo Messenger on Monday, January 2, 2012 and ran from approximately 8:10 pm CST to 9:00 pm CST. )

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