Adam Abramowicz – The Army Painter – Ask the Artist

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Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - The Army Painter - Featured

Ladies and Gentle-dudes, let’s get cracking with this week’s artist, Adam Abramowicz, Media Director for The Army Painter!

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Thanks to my new-found sphere of influence (aka, capitalizing upon Fauxhammer’s pre-existing relationship) I was able to speak with Adam over at The Army Painter. In keeping with the original spirit of the series, I wanted to get to know more about the man behind the Camera at The Army Painter.

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - The Army Painter Logo

Although we do ask a couple of product-specific questions, we feel it’s important to emphasize the passion over the product, the motivation over the merch…and so on. (one thing my long-time readers know and new readers will soon find out….I’m addicted to alliteration) So, sit back and settle in as we get to meet the Marketing Director at The Army Painter: Adam Abramowicz!

Who are you / What is your place in the hobby?

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - Profile Picture

My name is Adam Abramowicz, I am the Media Director at The Army Painter. I’m mostly responsible for our video tutorials and social media communications, but I’m also the man at events and working with events and collaborators like FauxHammer to reach our fellow hobbyists in new and exciting ways.

I used to be a somewhat competitive painter and am still a competitive gamer as the creator and host of The Best General Podcast and current coach of the WTC: Team America.

How long have you been in the hobby in general?

It all started back in 1996-7. I was visiting my cousins in upstate New York over the summer. We read The Lord of the Rings and built Middle Earth out of Legos in their basement. My uncle took us to the mall running errands and we happened upon a Warhammer shop. We saw Elves, and Orcs, and Knights! From then on, my cousins and I were passive collectors and painters. I lost touch with the hobby when I began high school and started chasing sports and girls only to find my way back into it around 2004. Tau had been released, and my girlfriend at the time was doing mission work somewhere in South America.

I started collecting and painting again but once school restarted the models were put away. A few years later, after a long bike ride with some friends, we were drinking beers and hanging around the pool when one of them threw a pool noodle under his arm like a joust and screamed, “I’m a Brettonian Knight!” as he drunkenly flopped into the pool. When he emerged from the water, I was like, “So you…” And he was like, “Yeah, totally.” The next day we paid a visit to a local hobby shop and the rest was history. I’ve been painting and gaming ever since.

What initially drew you into the hobby?

For me, it was all about the idea of customizing my own army and marching it into battle. Making my daydreams come to life and seeing it manifest through paint and plastic, or pewter, and if absolutely necessary…resin.

Then I fell into the lore behind certain games and armies, and being a total sci-fi and fantasy nut, I was totally drawn in. Initially, however, I think it was something that connected my cousins Alex, Jason and I. They were all close in age, but lived so far away. We’d only get to see each other once or twice a year, so when we did, it was a great opportunity to show off our paint jobs.

What do you enjoy most about the hobby?

While I do enjoy subtle conversions, I would say that there are two things that I enjoy the most.

1) That rush of excitement when you get a new batch of models to build a new unit or detachment and you scramble to organize the bases and sprues and slowly see a flat injection molded sprue turn into the models you will paint and push around the table to glorious victory, or agonizing defeat.

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - Deathwing Captain Tutorial

2) and this is a strange one, but that final step, after you’ve painted your models, and you have a large brush like our Monster Brush, and you just haphazardly slap on that black paint around the rim of the base. It’s tedious, and monotonous, and you get a bit sloppy (inevitably) but it’s that final stretch to the finish line. Unlike many painters, I love it.

How did you refine your skills?

While there’s been many painters out there who have inspired me through the years, and luckily for me today I get to work with many of them through The Army Painter, much of it has come from trial and error. And the realization that there are no true shortcuts, just refined techniques. Even using the Quickshade Dipping method isn’t fool-proof. But for those that master it, the results are astonishing!

What types of models most interest you?

Minis for sure, I also enjoy painting vehicles quite a bit. That probably stems from assembling old-school scale models with my grandfather.

What is your favorite tabletop game?

Warhammer 40K: I play marines of all shapes and sizes.

My Custom Chapter ‘The Fists Adelphi” are really fun because I can play them as Blood Angels one week, and Raptors the next. I also have a scary amount of Tyranids and Genestealer Cult. I have no idea how it happened, just one day 400 alien and alien hybrid models just sort of assembled themselves and painted themselves quickly and then I opened a drawer and there was double that amount assembled and unprimed. I think I have an infestation. Or…an uprising!

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - The Army Painter - Fists Adelphi Tank

Saga: Age of Magic is a big one at The Army Painter. Not only is it a great core rule set that is basically impossibly to break, but you can use virtually any model you want provided it fits on the right sized base. For example Bo plays Drunken Dwarfs as Undead. A bunch of puking mini models with blitzed out characters riding giant roosters.

I’m a bit more passive, and I play Lords of the Wild. I pull models from Age of Sigmar: Sylvaneth, and Steamforged Games: Guild Ball to field an army that is an ode to my first love: Wood Elves.

What advice would you give someone interested in starting the hobby?

You genuinely never know until you try. I meet many people that are so afraid to try something or even apply their first coat of paint because they don’t want to “ruin” the model. I always remind them that the paint can be painted over, or removed, and the model will still remain, and just the addition of colour, your attempt is an improvement. I always recommend keeping old models so that you can track your progress.

As I always say, “The magic in miniature painting is that it can be as simple, or as challenging as you want it to be. But with the right techniques, you’re sure to achieve some great results.” 

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - Feather Drybrush Tutorial

It’s about refining those techniques. Muscle memory plays such a huge part in any activity. Including painting.

What advice would you give someone struggling to find motivation to finish a project?

What works for me won’t work for everyone, however, I tend to paint in batches. As a former commission painter and avid competitive player, I’m always adding to my force, and somewhat fiercely. It’s the same colours, just different models. It can become tiring. So, I like to establish a stopping point before I even start.

  • Step 1) assemble and base the model.
  • Step 2) apply the base tones and highlights with an airbrush.
  • Step 3) paint any freehand work [my armies feature a lot of checkers because I hate myself].
  • Step 4) apply a wash to the main parts of the model.
  • Step 5) While they aren’t perfect, they are at a solid tabletop standard.

So I allow myself to play with the models, and see how they work in the list I’m working on.

After Step 5, I generally take a little break. And after fielding them in a few games, I’ll either have a LOT of motivation to finish them because they worked, and I want them in my list right away. Or, they join the Island of Misfit Works in Progress for another day. Motivation is hard to force but adding some discipline can have its rewards with any project.

What resources would you recommend for inspiration?

I always recommend just asking people. Sam Lenz is a god amongst painters, so is Duncan Rhodes, or any paint celebrity you see in the videos and on the internet.

But they are all genuinely nice, available, and open people. They are paint nerds just like you and I are. More often than not, they are probably just as excited to see your work too. So don’t be afraid to be a little social, put yourself out there. The worst that can happen is that they ignore you, in which case, you probably didn’t want their advice anyways.

What is your greatest achievement in the hobby?

I’d be lying if I said being hired by The Army Painter wasn’t one of them. It’s such an amazing company to work for and it’s full of dedicated hobbyists.

Bo and Jonas, the founders, really do a great job of maintaining a family atmosphere, even during especially trying times when we’re burning the candle at both ends.

It’s great to work for a company that appreciates the work you put in to it. I would also say winning Best General at Warzone: Atlanta, a three year long goal of mine, was pretty high up there as well. And it’s an absolute honor to represent my nation at the WTC.

What has been your most memorable obstacle?

Life is all about the obstacles, right? Learning from how we overcome them is how we grow. I’ve faced a lot of it, in the hobby, and out, and the key to overcoming any challenge is to never stop believing in yourself. It sounds cliche, I know, but it’s true. If you keep telling yourself that you can’t wet blend, or airbrush, or ask our that girl or boy, or go after that job, than you never will.

Wayne Gretzky once famously said, “You lose 100% of the tabletop games when you never roll dice.” Right? Right.

What is something you feel you need to improve on?

I am not a good modeler when it comes to sculpting. Which is funny because I took a lot of sculpting glasses in high school and college. I’ve just not dedicated enough time to learning it. Same goes for applying transfers.

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicz - Common Item Package

That’s one thing I recommend giving up on though. Just freehand it. That should be a hashtag…

Calling it! #JustFreehandIt

What tool would you say is your secret weapon?

While I’d never call myself a Masterclass painter, I’ll never win a Golden Daemon or Crystal Brush, maybe I could, but I really enjoy getting a lot of really nice results, fast.

I think that’s why I’m such a good fit at The Army Painter, where everything is literally about painting armies. I take a a lot of pride in having one of, if not the best painted army at any event I go to and still being able to play at a competitive level. And I think a lot of it boils down to allocating your resources well.

Your resources when it comes to painting are essentially skill and time. Focus on the things you’re good at, and spend less time on the things you’re not. If you’re really great at weathering, but not so great at edge highlighting, play up you strengths – especially if you’re attempting to get an army done to a high standard. For me, it’s usually about picking a striking colour scheme and executing it well.

Nailing it down so it’s hard to mess up when it’s lather, rinse, repeat time and you’re finishing off the 300th model in 20 days.

If it had to be a single tool in my arsenal. That’s a really tough one. I think my Wargamer: Character Brush may be the best do-it-all brush on the market and I’ve abused mine so much and it still get’s me through 90% of the painting I do on any given project.

I also rely heavily on our Quickshade Wash Mixing Medium. For my Fists Adelphi, they feature minty blueish greens like Hydra Turquoise and Kraken Skin and being able to mix my own washes and thinning them down to the perfect consistency is an ace in my back pocket. It’s also magic in a bottle when you combine it with our Dry Rust Effect paint as it makes for really eye-catching rust effects.

How long have you been promoting your brand?

While I have been a commission painter in the past, I think more than anything I’ve just somehow thrown myself into the community headfirst (See my comment about advice above). That in and of itself has given me opportunities to be in front of the right people, at the right time, and at the end of the day connect.

Whether it was The Best General Podcast, Team America or The Army Painter. In fact, if I hadn’t been at an event schlepping for another company as a consultant, I’d never met Bo. Had I not taken the chance to just say hi, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

You have to create opportunities for yourself.

What are your social media channels?

www.TheArmypainter.com, @TheArmyPainter wherever you like to gather digitally, and if you’d like to see my very low-key personal project that I’ve developed and have been inspired to do thanks to @IDcardproject, The Fists Adelphi, by all means.

I hope to get more personal projects up there when things settle down a bit.

What was the moment you realized this was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?

I’ve always sort of thrown myself into whatever I’m passionate about. Whether it was making movies, or riding bikes, or painting minis so it was bound to happen I think.

What is the first thing you consider before starting a project?

Is this a model I want to play? If not, can I convert one that’s cooler because the rules work.

How do you keep your project(s) organized?

Work always comes first. So, even if I’m dying to paint that last unit for an event coming up, I have to prioritize. Even if it means burning the midnight oil.

Have you ever walked away from a project? 

Yes. I’m fortunate that I do not have to do commission work, not that there is anything wrong with it, it’s a noble trade but for me it just became too much.

Now when I paint something it’s because I want to, or because there is a bigger picture at stake. Whether it’s a new license, or collaboration, or release. That makes painting really fun, even under pressure.

That said, I once had a customer back in my commission days ask me to paint something that was questionably racist and I’m not about that, even for money. In truth, no amount of money.

For me, no matter what job I undertake, I want to be proud of the finished project and I think it’s perfectly fine for artists to draw a line in the sand.

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicz - Effects Paint

Also, don’t ever bargain. While it’s my job to convince more and more people that painting is actually really, super fun and to give it a shot. I’ve done commission painting, and I know how valuable that is for some painters and customers – as an artist, you should never undervalue your work.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made? How did you recover?

Accidents? We don’t make accidents. Just happy little mistakes, right?

I’ve made many mistakes and there’s nothing wrong with making a mistake. It’s just plastic and paint. You can always go back and start again, or work with it, turn your mistake into something meaningful in the project.

For example, in my very first army, and arguably the army I won the most Best Painted Awards with – (My good friend and fellow teammate at Team USA, Frankie at Frontline Gaming, now owns it) – it was a Tau army and it was my first attempt to batch paint an entire army at once. 3,000+ points of models. It was also my first time airbrushing. I was a complete novice and no one had told me that you could not apply a wash through an airbrush in the same way that you could acrylic paint.

So, after painting all of the bone armor, and masking off bright, vivid red accents, I attempted to apply a wash. Almost immediately, my airbrush started spattering and splattering specks of paint all over the model. I was completely shook. It was several weeks of work…just…lost.

After a lot of contemplation, I figured I could replicate the splattered effect all over the rest of the model, then the rest of the army. I went on to refine the technique of splattering wash all over to create a very grim and worn armour. After finishing the rest of the models they looked fantastic, and uniform, and unique. I had so many people ask how I achieved the subtle, layered weathering, and tell me they had never seen a Tau army painted in that way before.

I then went on to win Best Painted at the next 3 events I attended including my first real Grand Tournament and many after that.

Happy little accidents.

What was the moment you realized making and selling gear was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?

To be honest, I never really had that a-ha moment. It’s just something that sort of happened because I knew it was something I was halfway decent at.

I can speak on camera, I trained for that in my college years and high school years as a radio host and television host. And I’m pretty okay at painting. I never thought to combine the two until I was provided the opportunity from Bo and Jonas at The Army Painter. So I guess that was the a-ha moment.

Those guys believed in me, and they respect my talents and limitations, and it’s a great relationship. I know I’m supposed to say this, but truthfully, I have a dream job and I love working for The Army Painter.

Speaking more broadly for the company, I think it was somewhat similar for Bo and Jonas when the founded it 13-years-ago. They had been working in the industry for a long time because it was something that they were passionate about, and one day, they had this idea for a product that never really existed in the market before. Quickshade was born. And out of a red shed in Bo’s backyard it grew to producing brushes, and Colour Primer Sprays (an industry first at the time), and then a full acrylic paint and accessory line with tens of thousands of retailers all around the world.

It’s actually quite remarkable especially witnessing the growth I’ve seen in just the 3-years I’ve been involved. It’s astonishing. As the only American in the company, I think that I can say that it is the American Dream, it’s just happening in Denmark.

What was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome on your path to becoming a product provider?

It’s hard to say as I wasn’t there from the very beginning. That being said, there are basically only a handful of brands that really dominate and drive this industry forward. The hobby and games industry can be a volatile one as fads come and go and the economy waxes and wanes.

The Army Painter started from a shed and is now one of the top paint and accessory brands in the world and I think that the root of that stems from provided quality products, that are priced well, and available. It’s not often that our paints aren’t in stock at a retailer, and that’s because we work hard to satisfy the demand for our customers.

I always tell retailers that the hardest bottle of paint for them to sell is one that they can’t get in stock. Customer service is key, and that’s something Bo and Jonas have ingrained in each and every member of their team.

What was the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a company?

I believe that any and every time we get a happy and positive response from a retailer or a customer, that is the most rewarding experience. We’re fortunate in that we experience that quite a bit. It makes us all very proud and it’s why we can stand behind our products.

If you could do anything to expand your company footprint, what would it be?

Well, we’re basically already everywhere. We are Disney and Lucas Films approved, we produce the Official Nolzur’s Marvelous Pigments for D&D, and we’re constantly developing new products like our Wet Palette, Airbrush Medium, and the new Masterclass Drybrush Range which is still available for pre-order!

I think that there is room for us to grow in the airbrush market, and our customers ask for it a lot! I’d also love to see us expand on our Quickshade range.

Ask the Artist - Adam Abramowicsz - Quickshade

If you ask Kenny Boucher of Next Level Painting, they are “The best washes in the game, dawg!” If the customers want it, we’ll try to find a way to make it, and make it widely available so that they can better enjoy and improve their hobby.

What about your products do you feel sets you apart from your competition?

I know that honesty and integrity aren’t usually associated with paints and accessories, but that’s what comes to mind first.

We don’t hide behind any big budget marketing. We truthfully try to make the absolute best products we can and at the best prices (We’ve got more minis to buuuuuy afterall!).

So I’d say it’s less about the products but it’s more about the people behind the products that set us apart from the competition. We make the products we want to use, because we’re gamers and painters, and we work very hard to ensure that you can access them.

If you could land a Content Creator or event to sponsor, who would it be and why?

Wow. Really putting me on the spot here. We’re actually very privileged to work with a vast array of very talented painters of all bandwidths. I’m a huge personal fan of Andy Wardle and Sam Lenz, I also really appreciate Scott at Miniac’s perspective and approach, but he’s someone we can’t seem to really nail down for a review.

There’s also something so whimsical about Naomi at Sword and Steele’s channel. I feel like she really captivates that feeling I had when I was a teen getting started in this hobby. It’s really approachable and honest and I find it quite charming.

Dana Howl is great as well. Down to earth, and there’s a style about her videos that’s really unique and all her own. What I really enjoy seeing is new people in the hobby, painting, and gaming communities. I love that we have more women and people of colour playing now more than ever before and I’d love to see more of them creating in and for the community.

So I’ll take the bureaucratic approach and not choose one content creator, but instead make a challenge to anyone out there to be the next content creator that The Army Painter should work with. Just put yourself out there, be yourself, and see what you can do. If you’re noticing a theme by now: don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and create the opportunity!

Is there a product in your lineup you’re currently promoting, and if so, what is it and why do we need it?

2020 was scheduled to be a really crazy year in the way of new product releases, but the Covid Pandemic really put a hold on a lot of that. The goalposts keep moving on us as to when and how we will be able to bring certain products to market simply due to the shift in demand for manufacturing and raw materials all around the world.

That said, we’ve been fortunate, blessed even, that when things looked very bleak at the beginning, we’re now seeing some of our best growth as a company. We have more than doubled our staff since Covid began, and we’ve moved into a new factory for the first time in 12-years. So we’re excited for what’s to come and it’s all been because of the support of hobbyists like you!

To get back to your original question, I briefly mentioned our Masterclass Drybrush Set. It’s something I along with the team have been working on for a while now. In it’s many iterations, it’s always impressed me. It’s a totally different approach to painting and the results you can achieve are so different than a standard flat bristled drybrush. (YouTube Video Here)

I love the dome-shaped design as I like to add texture to my models by working in subtle layers and these brushes do just that and more. From weathering, to simple drybrushing, to push-blending. They are the real deal and they only retail for $24.99 for three. These come highly recommended and I hope you jump on the pre-order so you’re the first to try them out.

Beyond that, keep your eyes peeled for a new Metallic Paint Set that we’ve been developing and slowly leaking in some of our video tutorials. I actually used our Gemstone Red for the first time Live during tutorial last week and I’m very impressed.

Adam Abramowicz - Ask the Artist - Metallic Paint Line Reveal

Adam Abramowicz – The Army Painter – Closing Comments

Adam, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me about our shared hobby! I know there are many of us that benefit directly from your team’s hard work and dedication. It’s clear to see your love and respect for the craft in every product with your name on it. Personally, I bought the Army Painter Wet Palette about 4 months ago and I haven’t looked back. I absolutely love how long it lasts, and with a few sneaky tips and tricks, I’m able to push it even further.

I cannot wait to see your next project, and I look forward to the opportunity to test out your drybrushes and metallic paints!

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Author

  • I'm a proud Papa to 3 little kiddos. I'm a Marine Corps Veteran, served 2010 to 2018. I've been in the hobby for nearly two years, but I've found an awesome little niche and I absolutely love painting commissions and getting to know all of the amazing people in the hobby!

About Trevor Lang 11 Articles
I'm a proud Papa to 3 little kiddos. I'm a Marine Corps Veteran, served 2010 to 2018. I've been in the hobby for nearly two years, but I've found an awesome little niche and I absolutely love painting commissions and getting to know all of the amazing people in the hobby!

1 Comment

  1. I have to admit – as soon as I saw this in my mailbox my #1 question was: When is TAP going to update that website?! But I read thru the entire interview and kind of forgot about that. Excellent stuff, thank you!

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