Review: The Illustrated Historical Artist

The Illustrated Historical Artist

The Illustrated Historical Artist cover

If you’re anything like me The Illustrated Historical Artist probably won’t hit the right buttons in your head that signal ‘I should probably have a look’, namely because you’re a sci-fi/fantasy nerd and it didn’t mention spaceships, explosions, guns and all the things we normally go for. But that’s ok because on the surface it’s not really meant for us, it’s meant for historical figure painters (if you’re both then that’s cool, but I’m certainly not).

If you look past the cover, however, there is something very interesting going on here.

A lot of what puts me off about historical painting is the notion that everything has to be a certain way, such as colours have to be that exact shade of green from exactly 10 am on a wet Wednesday morning in 1750. Tank and Armour magazines oft have the same problem but are largely forgiven due to the presence of cannons and machine guns. The Illustrated Historical Artist, however, isn’t really for these people either.

So who is it for?

Good question, but one that is easily answered. It’s for the artists. Cunningly disguised as a historical figure magazine (or e-zine if you’re that way inclined) is a very very good magazine for artists of all stripes, not just the historical ones.

Olga Kropotova Tutorial
Want to learn freehand like this stunning work from Olga Kropotova?
How did it start?

A bit of background for you. A couple of years ago,  the owner/creator Jason Martin, started a blog called Figurementors, which is all about the journey a painter goes on. I helped him put together the site initially and get it up and running. I’m no web designer though so I made sure he could add stuff and that it wouldn’t explode, and that’s about it. Scurrying along a year later, and Jason had assembled a small but highly skilled team around him, and Figurementors was going from strength to strength, but Jason’s own personal painting journey was taking a different route, towards historical painting. To that end, and with a desire to create something lasting, he started The Illustrated Historical Artist, along with a few guys from the Figurementors team.

Me being me, with a fondness for alien’s, explosions and all things Fantasy/Scifi, had only ever seen the odd page layout floating around the group chat and didn’t feel I could be particularly useful and was content just helping out now and again with tech support for Figurementors.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when Jason asked me to quickly test something on the site. As it happened, buying a copy of the magazine was by far the easiest and quickest way of seeing what was going on (turns out, nothing was wrong but better safe than sorry!)

Go on then, what’s inside?

So after testing the website, I thought I’d have a quick look at the mag, after all, I’d just bought it.

To be honest, I was expecting to be able to appreciate the design and the writing but for it not to grab my interest too much. I was seriously wrong. reading through the whole magazine, I found myself being able to imagine applying the tips and knowledge inside to a multitude of different projects. It didn’t matter that these were historical subjects.

The magazine is packed to the gunnels with amazing content, with Issue 4 being the one I grabbed, there are two excellent articles on freehand from David Powell and Olga Kropotova, each article being longer and more detailed than anything you’d find online or in print.

 

It’s not just those two either, there’s an article about NMM (a subject of particular interest to me), harmonising the paint between a rider/horse and scratch building a motorbike and rider. Some of the more advanced articles aren’t step-by-step, but they aren’t meant to be, they’re just a glimpse into what the artist creates, why and how he/she does it. That being said though, even the glimpse is incredibly thorough.

 

The Illustrated Historical Artist contents page
You can see from the contents page just how much this magazine includes.

Did I mention they interview Sergey Popovichenko in this issue too? I probably should have, because it’s quite an interesting Q&A session. Jason is a seasoned veteran when it comes to interviewing and extracts some excellent in-depth answers from Sergey.

There is a review of a new figure in there too, but that’s not really my thing, I’m sure that there are many who will enjoy that though and it’ll help you make an informed choice for your next project.

The end verdict is this; You really don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy this magazine, the information is easily accessible and can be put to use anywhere, even if all you paint are Space Marines (and there’s nothing wrong with that)

If your goal is to improve your painting, no matter the genre, then I HIGHLY recommend grabbing a copy or two of The Illustrated Historical Artist.

Its priced at £5.99 for the normal copies and there are show exclusives which rock in around the £2 – £3 mark Available HERE

 

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