Earlier last month a copy of Angel Giraldez book on miniature painting turned up, which if you had been following any of the pre-release hype you would think heralded the second coming. As Corvus Belli’s star miniature painter, Angel’s book is unashamedly ‘Infinity’ centric and covers in some detail his signature technique of applying acrylics using a combination of airbrush and brush to achieve soft colour transitions and contrast with sharp edge highlights; a method that particularly suits the high impact anime style of the Infinity miniatures.
Is the book any good though? Especially when you consider this was his own pet project and all of the content was ostensibly by Angel himself.
In my humble opinion yes it is. In fact it’s very good! Angel’s methods are covered in methodical detail, each step supported by clear photographs and context, all well considered to best emphasise and educate. Although the use of airbrush is a big part of Angel’s approach, it’s not the only method covered in the book. The opening chapter describes other techniques including washes, glazes, stippling, NMM and light sourcing. Taking each in isolation none are anything new that you won’t have encountered elsewhere either online or seen covered in a lot more detail in other publications. Briefly covering the basics of each technique in the opening chapter however does lay the groundwork for the rest of the book and it’s from that point onwards where it really shines.
Each step by step miniature walk through is a mini master class in how each of the different tools, techniques and mediums can be layered to great effect. The miniatures Angel selects for the walk throughs are diverse, each emphasising different aspects and finishes. The photos are clear, tips and advice scattered generously throughout exactly where they are needed. If you have followed any of Angel’s work for Corvus Belli and other miniature companies such as Studio McVey then it should be no surprise that Angel is a good painter. What may be more of a surprise is how well he articulates his methods via the medium of a book. For me this was a solid 9/10 for content, quality and value making it one of my favourite purchases so far this year, not to mention a useful tool in its own right.
The only question remaining is who is the book aimed at helping, the novice painter or a more seasoned campaigner? I would say it was somewhere in between personally. I don’t think you need to be a brush master to appreciate the lessons within, but some basic knowledge and experience of miniature painting is probably a pre-requisite to get the best out of the book. Although many of the techniques covered such as glazes and stippling describe how he makes best use of them alongside the airbrush, he doesn’t go into detail of the science behind how glazes work. A degree of prior knowledge and understanding of the different mediums and their properties is definitely beneficial.
Worth the hype? Yes, absolutely in my opinion and a great addition to my workshops book shelf.