Interview with Simon Sikora
Interview with Simon Sikora. Czech painter Simon Sikora is well-known for his helpful YouTube channel tutorials. As ‘Zumikit0’ online, you will have seen his amazing NMM, Warhammer, Marvel & Kingdom Death models. At Redgrassgames we love to support the best, so naturally we had to ask Simon about himself and all his hobby secrets! Read on for more…
1. Interview with Simon Sikora – When did you start painting at what you would consider a serious level?
“I would say that I started painting on a serious level about 4 years ago. At that time, instead of painting just for my army, I picked up a model to paint it the best I can. I even tried to paint NMM to moderate success. When you start focusing on quality instead just getting the mini done, you will see results. I also followed tutorials from youtube, which helped me a lot.
Now to become a pro painter, there is just a single requirement: You have to make money from painting minis. Even if you paint to tabletop standard by drybrushing everything. However, to become advanced painter, I think that comes when you are able to paint credible NMM. This is not because NMM is some kind of Golden Standard of mini painting, but because to make NMM credible, you need to learn about values, highlight placement, blending and other skills that affect other parts of mini painting as well.”
2. What words describe your painting?
“Copycat and remix. I don’t find myself stuck on a single technique or style, because there are too many cool styles and I want to try them all! Because I take a bit from all of my favourite painters, most of my minis are remixes of multiple styles. The best example is Alexandra Uthgarde from Loot studios – the golden armor is painted in the same style that Flameon paints his minis and the face has been shaded by spraying magenta with an airbrush below her cheeks, which is inspired by Sergio Calvo.”
3. Interview with Simon Sikora – Do you have any other ‘creative’ hobbies you do? Do you feel they benefit one another in any way?
“My only other creative hobby (that is also a career at this point) is making videos. Usually when I edit my vids, there are some things that I think of only once I start editing – when everything is already filmed. And this is kind of the same when I paint my minis – I start with a general idea, like which main colors should I use for my paint scheme etc. but because it would be too overwhelming to think of EVERYTHING before you start, you figure out those details as you go. I never know what the final product will look like when I start, but if you have the general idea, you will figure out the rest as you go.
And of course, I paint more because I have to do that for my videos!”
4. Interview with Simon Sikora – How do you start a new piece: what inspires you to paint a new miniature?
“For me, there are 4 ways that I get inspired to paint a new mini. First one is that I have seen it painted on social media and I thought that it’s a really cool mini and therefore I would like to paint it. Second is that I have seen a render or just assembled mini, but had an interesting idea on how to paint it. Third is that it’s a mini for the games I play or armies I collect. Finally, if I feel like that people will like a certain mini featured in a video, I will paint it as well.”
5. Why and when did you start making videos?
“I started making videos in January 2019, with the intent of making it my career. I wanted to make money by doing something that I love – painting minis. There are mostly 2 ways that you can do this – commission painting or content creation. I tried both and I have to say that I dislike giving away something that I put my heart and souls into. By doing commissions, you also provide value to a select individual or company, but with videos there is no limit to how many people can benefit from them.”
6. Interview with Simon Sikora – What is the miniature you have painted that you are the proudest of?
“My painting is still evolving and improving so it makes sense that I would pick something from my latest work. So at this point it is either the goblin Loonboss on a Giant Cave Squig or Pinup from Kingdom Death.”
7. Interview with Simon Sikora – Is there a model you have already painted you would love to paint again, what would you improve?
“I would love to paint my Warrior of the Sun from Kingdom Death again. I think that it looks pretty ok, but I would go harder with the contrast, so it looks more like my latest Kingdom Death piece.”
8. From your experience, what were the most difficult techniques to learn and to master?
“I don’t think that any technique is super difficult if you break it down into smaller steps and you are willing to spend on it a lot of time. At the end of the day we are all just placing paint on models. It’s just a matter of how much of which paint do you use, where do you place it, what paint consistency do you want and what exact movements are you doing. If you are able to figure out all of these, you can paint anything.”
9. Do you play any games with your miniatures, or just paint?
” I started as a gamer – in fact, I played more than I painted. Now it’s the complete opposite. Painting is way more important for me than gaming, but I still play a bit – mostly Marvel Crisis Protocol.”
10. What advice would you give to newer painters in terms of setting hobby goals for the coming year?
“Setting goals is cool, but setting a routine is far better. Over a long period of time, you don’t have control over how many minis you get done, but you do have control over how often do you paint. If you aren’t army painter, set a goal to paint for 5 minutes EVERY SINGLE DAY. If you paint more, great! Consistency is the key. By setting a goal to paint for just 5 minutes every day, you will have some longer painting sessions during which you get some work done.
It’s also important to make it easy for yourself to paint. Don’t leave your hobby stuff hidden in a drawer. Make it so easy, that you can start painting in 2 minutes (or less) from the moment you decide to – have your wet palette at hand, water bottles ready etc.”
11. Do you have a list of favored colors?
Magenta is a very rare color in nature and I challange you right now to look around to find it. If you don’t own magenta paint yourself, you most likely won’t find any. So how is this useful? Because of it’s rarity, it will instantly pop on any miniature and make it look artistic. I also like to use Golden Heavy Body Quinacridone Magenta via airbrush to add shades to skintone – the same way Sergio Calvo does it.
2. Ice Yellow
This is a surprise to no one, since it has been popular for a long time to use Ice Yellow as a color for your highlights. Adding white by itself makes any mix lighter, but desaturated, this happens with Ice Yellow to a certain extent as well, but much less so, since you have the yellow which adds a bit of that saturation. It’s a good paint to have in your arsenal and once you get used to it, you won’t see yourself painting without it!
3. Dark Sea Blue
If you haven’t tried to paint Non Metallic Metal steel yet, all you need is this bad boy and white. Simply mix these two in multiple ratios – adding white for center of the reflections and use pure Dark Sea Blue for shades. If only it was this easy to paint NMM gold!
4. Cadian Fleshtone/Biege Red
This paint is so universal, I can not remember a single skintone I painted without it. I use it for my squigs as well! You can simply add any color into this one a make any skintone work. It might sound weird, but I used this relatively light paint even when painting dark skintone – it was used as a highlight color! (Storm from Marvel Crisis Protocol).
5. Sunny skin tone
This color has so many uses, it’s amazing. For those warmer Non Metallic Metals like copper and brass, it will certainly find it’s place. It’s good for warm leather highlights and leather weathering. Of course, you can use it for skin tones as well!
6. Turquoise/light turquise
if you have been painting for some time already, you know the struggle of highlighting blue – add yellow and you get green instead, add white and it’s desaturated. The solution is going for cyan/turquoise paints. Because of that it’s also my go to color when I paint “blue” OSL!
Redgrassgames In Simon's studio:
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