In around 2011 I thought I would start getting serious about painting. I was amassing a fairly big collection since coming back to the hobby in 2005, and had played a few games but I hadn’t really met anyone who I enjoyed gaming with outside of my long time mates from over in Manchester. So I had hundreds of miniatures sat there doing nothing, and since I had always admired painters from my childhood, I thought I would start trying to push that aspect of the hobby instead. I came across Miniature Mentor, which is an excellent, but seemingly dwindling resource offering video tutorials from some of the worlds most wonderful painters. The site, especially its beginner videos is a perfect first step. For its flaws however, the best thing about Miniature Mentor is how it blew open the door and inspired a lot of tech-savvy painters to take that blueprint and improve it. Enter Painting Buddha.

After Miniature Mentor, I managed to find a local painting group that met in Games Workshop each Wednesday. The first meet up we were talking about painters we liked, and I was shown my first piece by Russian master Kirill Kanaev, the Dwarf Tomb radier. This was the first piece to show me just what a painter was able to achieve on a miniature. So I was exceptionally stoked when PB announced that they had snagged him for the first in their ‘Legends’ series.


Dwarf tomb raider – 90mm, source: Cool Mini Or Not

Painting Buddha is a really interesting concept that seems to dip in to as many facets of the hobby as it possibly can, but its core ethos of ‘Be A Better Painter’ is always at its heart. With that in mind, recently Michael Bartels has started dedicating the direction of the company to the production of exceptional quality tutorial videos, at a bare minimum of cost to the painter, and with a very, very strong community focus. This results in an exceptionally successful synergy between the painter and the company, whereby PB is able to tap in precisely in to what the community is looking for. In addition to its ‘additional’ content, Painting Buddha uploads weekly video tutorials from some of Europe’s finest. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

The video starts with a short interview that introduces Kirill and mentions his style. This is important as, if you’re a regular viewer of tutorial videos you will know that there are a set few techniques that painters tend to stick with. Maybe it’s because Kirill is a painter from outside of mainland Europe, but he has a style all of his own, and it’s important to understand this.

The way the video is laid out is one of it’s key strengths. As with all Painting Buddha videos they recognise exactly what you need to see in order to replicate and build on the techniques being taught. As such, not only do you see the miniature being painted, you see the palette as it is being used, as well as the painter themselves so you can see how close they are to the miniature, and how they are painting it. This is something that sets Painting Buddha apart from every other video producing group out there. VidFootage

The tutorial is broken down in to nine individual segments:

  • Interview
  • Basic Flesh
  • Wrinkles
  • Eyes
  • Hair
  • Beret / Stippling
  • Buchanan Tartan
  • Belt
  • Tartan plaid

The reason it is so important to appreciate that Kirill does not employ the ‘standard’ techniques when painting, is because with his style, texture is key. That means he shifts his styles depending on the type of surface he is trying to replicate. You would be forgiven for thinking this would be exceptionally difficult to copy and learn from, but it is surprisingly accessible, and I genuinely believe that anyone with a solid footing in painting to tabletop standard would be able to take away a hell of a lot from this tutorial.


My version of the bust after watching the tutorial.

I watched each part before starting work on my own version of the bust. And then painted along over a few weeks whenever I had a spare few hours. I found it very easy to follow along with, and while I can see a lot of flaws in my version of the bust, I can say that it is one of the pieces I am most proud of. As a piece of art it is nothing more than derivative paint by numbers. But it’s the technical skills I’ve pick
ed up that make me so happy. This is money well spent, on a company that deserve your support.

Downsides? There really, really aren’t too many. I would have liked a little more discussion on Kirills background throughout the tutorial, and I’d like to have seen a video on how he painted the shirt, as that was my favourite part of the original paintjob. But trust me, these criticisms are minute when compared to how important a video this is. HighlandClansman1

If you’re new to painting tutorials, my recommendation would be to watch some of the videos in the Painting Buddha Community College. This will give you a good footing and get you used to how these things are laid out. After that I would pick up the bust and video deal from the Painting Buddha store. I promise you that you will be a better painter by the end.

Check out Kirills CMON profile here