Readers! Today I bring you someone I've only recently had the pleasure of discovering! Brennan Baker is the artist behind the work found on Instagram under the name @bb_miniatures. I had seen a couple of his pieces off and on, but, admittedly, since most of them were Thousand Sons...I enjoyed them artistically, but didn't research much after that. This is a true, self-professed mark of shame, and I have changed my way of thinking through this entire process. Honestly, it wasn't until I read his responses and went digging for pictures I felt resonated with his style that I understood the error of my ways. As you'll see later in the post, his mental picture of the Thousand Sons affects the way he represents them. After I understood the story he tries to tell through his art, his work has an entirely deeper, more emotional meaning. As a true wolf-son of Russ, I absolutely despise Magnus' witch sons, but as a legion that has lost our father and been forced to face our own inner demons, I empathize with my cousins. (and part of me still hates that! lol)
Join me as we learn more about Brennan's beautiful work. Discover, as I have, the sad, symbolic story behind Prospero's beloved and glory-bereft Sons.
1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general?
"I've been building model kits and hobbying with GW products since I was 11 years old. (Eldar firedragons were my first models!)"
2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media?
"Been on the 'gram since I got back into the hobby from a 7 year long hiatus for 3 years now. I never took it very seriously, but rather using it to share my work and more importantly to see what others have been doing".
3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm?
"I think it's just a wonderful hobby that encompasses many fascinating aspects. From the story-telling nature of the characters, the creativity that can be expressed, and the technical skills and dedication one can put into their works. It's all beautiful, and when you find others who encompass all the corners of the hobby similarly. It's like meeting others who speak the same code and understand what you see in the subject matter".
4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why?
"Age of Darkness - The Horus Heresy (30k) 15th legion Thousand Sons. The lore and cultural style of them is wonderful. It's a legion filled with tragedy. A loyal son of the emperor, doing only what he thought was right, but betrayed by his brothers. And Ahriman, doing everything in his power to steer his fate to bring back Prospero; the most Utopian civilization in the imperium".
5. What is more enjoyable for you: painting or playing the game?
"9/10 it's painting for me. The game does hold another dear part of me which I can't completely compare in the same realm of painting. Painting feeds my soul, as the other creative aspects of my life, both hobby and professionally. The game however lets me share a narrative and experience.. Something that can't be done with the painting".
6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?
"None. There is nothing that would increase my enjoyment of the hobby further at the moment. I tend to not look for things such as ("I wish I had more paints, better airbrush" etc. Or excuses of "If I only had this...") Art and creativity thrive when there is friction, limitations, obstacles. With these, they force you to be creative and find new ways to push boundaries and come with new ideas".
7. Where do you get the inspiration for your particular army theme or style?
"I've been getting a lot of inspiration outside of the hobby as of the past few years. Artists such as Rembrandt, Caravagio, Boris Vallejio, Paul Bonner to name a few. Looking at concept art from video games and film. The Horus Heresy novels of course. For themes, I like to write down some keywords that describe a feeling, or emotion that I want to portray in my models. For the Thousand Sons, I wanted to give the army a sense of sadness, to show their tragedy, and try to illustrate their fall from grace. No longer their armour is shiny and flamboyant, but rather shattered and broken. A legion of refugees in the warp, with their father broken in a thousand pieces and feeling betrayed. The White Scars are a new project, and I wanted to illustrate them in a more poetic form. Away from oil washes and realistic weathering, and more of a painting coming alive through models. Much like the poetic people of Chogoris".
8. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby?
"Buy a single unit at a time and have fun modelling, painting, and even playing a game with them. Then ask yourself what part of the hobby that stimulates you the most, and have fun with it. It's truly yours and you should own the experience 100%".
Brennan, thank you for your time and the opportunity to get to know more about you. You have made me appreciate the Thousand Sons in a new light, and for that I am grateful (albeit begrudgingly, :) Your work is excellent and I feel you truly capture the fall from grace of this once proud legion. Gorgeous work, and I can't wait to see your next project!