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Ask the Artist: William Brightley aka @Will_Paints

Updated: Jun 26, 2020

For this post, I have to admit an embarrassing amount of naivety...It wasn't until after I had already sent the request and received the response to the affirmative that I realized who I had asked! I have been a long-time follower of @will_paints on Instagram. I think I first began to follow him religiously after the Space Wolf Conversion arrived on his desk from the amazing and talented Baz Watkins (@anphiarus) I also had no idea he was a painter for a very prestigious commission studio! (I don't want to say the name, or run the risk of getting him in trouble, so I'll allow you to do the research for yourself). What originally caught my eye about his work is the immaculate precision of his lines and the perfection of both shadows and highlights. He was one of the first painters I saw on Instagram that I felt entirely captured the feel of different materials. His metal pieces look like they would be hard, and cold to the touch. The color and tones in his faces or exposed skin sections made me almost feel the warmth and life underneath. He has been a true inspiration for as long as I've been painting!

It was only when I realized who he was and what he does for a living that the gravity of my stupidity reached full maturity. I was speaking to someone that is living the dream of so many of us in the hobby. William's humility and excitement to participate speaks volumes about his character as well as the good-will within this hobby community. I went back through his content with a renewed sense of understanding. I'm sure you all already know who he is, but allow me to introduce you to the subject of this post: Will Brightley!

1. How long have you been involved in the hobby in general? "I’ve been painting for just over 3 years now! Before then I would read the books but that’s about it".  2. How long have you been actively promoting your content on social media? "I started my Instagram about 3 years ago also".  3. What initially drew you to the miniature model hobby realm? "I remember when I was younger my older brothers had some of the Warhammer models and would play, I never touched them but always loved how they looked and the universe they were in. Later in life I would read the books and jumped into the hobby for a form of therapy and it blossomed from there!"

4. What tabletop game would you say is your favorite? What particular faction within that game is your favorite and why? "I’ve got to be honest, I’ve never once played a single tabletop miniature game in my life! I think the one best suited to me would be killteam as I’d get to paint a small force up to the standard I want".

5. What is more enjoyable for you personally: painting or playing the game? "As the above answer would suggest, painting. I’ve always been artistically driven throughout my education years and it just clicked when I started painting models!" 6. If money or time weren’t a consideration, what single purchase/upgrade/expansion would you make to further your hobby enjoyment?  "Probably a good storage system for my desk, lots of drawers and plenty of racks for my paint, my desk at the moment is cluttered to say the least".  7. What tips or advice would you give someone just starting out in the hobby? "Never be afraid to try a technique or method! Waiting till you are ‘good enough’ is never the best way to approach something I think, take NMM for example, a lot of people avoid trying it because they feel they aren’t good enough but the only way to get good at something is to put in the time practicing!"

8. What was the moment you realized commission painting was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby? "Once I realized I really loved painting I wanted to do it every hour of every day, then people started to ask to buy the pieces I was creating and from there I realized the best way to keep painting was to go full time and try and make a living from it".  9. What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a full-time painter? "Learning my limits and where my comfort zone is. I would learn that painting armies was not the best for me, it really mentally strained me whereas painting single competition standard figures really pushed me further in my skills and made me happy!"

10. What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a painter? "Probably the first time someone wanted to buy a model I had painted, I couldn’t believe somebody actually wanted to pay for something I painted, I still find it hard to this day!" 11. If you could do anything to expand your company/studio/hobby footprint, what would it be? "I was hoping to go to some large painting competitions this year but due to the pandemic those were all cancelled, so hopefully when they are back up I’ll be going to those". 

12. What advice would you give to someone interested in taking the plunge to becoming a commission painter? "Know what you’re getting into, it can be incredibly tough to manage time and you may find it harder than just working on your own models because you can’t just stop and pick it back up whenever. So you’ve got to be strict with yourself and timeframes!"

William, thank you so much for your time and willingness to answer my questions! I love your work and can't wait to see more projects! Hopefully when things open up, you'll be able to go to those painting competitions!

Readers, go check out his work and give this man your follows and your love!

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