Brushfire Studios

Brushfire Studios

March 16, 2018

Welcome to the first edition of Commission Corner; a quick interview spot with artists I have the pleasure of knowing and treating my eyes to their work. 


Our first hot seat candidate is Zach Lyons, head of Ottawa based Brushfire Studios. He's been on the scene for a while now pumping out incredible work by staying true and consistent to his client's colour schemes, but also adding a little je ne sais quoi here and there. It's awesome to see his skills develop and try out more techniques and freehand.

Hit the interview below!


Let’s get the ball rolling: how did come up with the name of your studio?

Well, I'm a professional firefighter and a professional painter… Brushfire Studios. It was a no brainer.

What was the first commission you ever did? What was the latest one you completed?

Very good question. It was quite a while ago, but I believe that It was a few units from The Hobbit Games Workshop line. The latest is a Ynnari army for a local gamer to take to Adepticon.

Walk us through how you setup a commission with your clients. What are the questions you always ask?

I actually spend a good amount of time hunting down jobs and bidding against other companies. I probably end up 50/50 between me approaching people and them approaching me. This year has been booming so far and I've had way more approach me than ever before. I like to give them the brass tacks of my business and then talk about their project; budget, deadlines, colour scheme, quality. These kind of probing questions let me give a quote that is completely fair for everyone involved. BFS isn't the cheapest, it's far from the most expensive, but damn do you get some serious work for your dollar… or so I hear. (You definitely do - ed)

Would you say that you have one particular “style” that’s consistent across your projects? If so, what would that be?

See, this is a tough one. I consider myself an artist. The real McCoy if you will. I'm constantly trying to improve in all aspect of mini painting and I feel that It reflects in the quality. One reason that the popularity of BFS has increased so dramatically in the last year is my ability to paint to the client’s desire and not just handcuff them to any particular style. More often than not people are looking for a box art feel, whether it's Infinity, GW, or some Anime bust (yeah I've done those) they all have a unique flavour. When I'm given free reign I love getting my hands dirty with some real slick freehand and realistic shading but I do it all baby!

Check out this Raven Guard Stormraven gunship. First the scheme, but note the insane freehand on the wings, and raven's skull on the chassis.
What’s your dream project?

Oh man… do I even know anymore.When I was a kid it was just to finish an army. Now I do an army per month it seems. That’s the beauty of commission painting, I'm exposed to so many different models, armies, and genuinely cool projects. I did a replica building front for a client in the UK as part of a gift that for his dad. Was it my dream project? Far from it, but just awesome to be asked to be a part of something unique. But in short I'm going to just say some non-GW super exciting award winning sci-fi cowboy saloon fight diorama with laser pistols and overturned poker tables. Any sculptors care to collaborate? Hit me up!

Besides the normal “thin your paints”, what’s one tip/tips you want to spread to as many hobbyists as you can?

  • Even the greatest of painters need a good canvas and supplies to create their best work. Buy good sculpts and use materials designed for mini painting.
  • Follow the rule of cool. Don't be obsessed with hyper realism unless it's a historical mini etc. Have fun, and if it looks cool without taking away from your mini then go for it.
  • Also, buying online is great, but when you can, support local businesses because they are what keeps these hobbies going.

The floor is yours. Plug anything you want, where we can find you and your work, any upcoming events and your favourite show to watch while painting!

I don't watch anything while I paint. I sit and zone out behind a brush. Sometimes I just have to bear down and grind it out but I find I'm the most productive in silence.

Shameless plug! April 21st Brushfire Studios will be having our first ever Miniature Painting Essentials course hosted by yours truly. Seriously, I have tens of thousands of hours behind a paintbrush and I'm going to be guiding you through a tried, tested, and true method of getting a great quality mini. If Essentials is successful then you can expect more courses in the future including advanced classes covering non metallic metals, gems / lenses, weathering, power weapons, freehand, and more.

Check me out on Instagram and Facebook:

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    Also in Commission Corner

    Battle Brothers Studio
    Battle Brothers Studio

    June 14, 2018

    For this edition of the ol' CC I interview full time commission painter Adam Truax of Battle Brother Studios. Adam is super involved with this local gaming club; putting on events, paint nights and along with some friends is queuing up an awesome looking Toronto tournament this July called The Hogtowner.


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