Interview With Albert Moreto
Interview with Albert Moreto. Albert is a very special artist. He loves to teach, as well as advocate for more miniature painters to try kitbashing in their hobby! At Redgrassgames we work with the best, so naturally we have asked Albert Moreto to reply to a few questions so we know more about him and his miniature painting.
1. Interview with Albert Moreto – When did you start painting at what you would consider a serious level?
“I started painting in 1997 when I was 9 years old, and started focusing exclusively on display models around 2003, aged 15. Of course, looking back at some of those models from today’s perspective, they look naive and outdated, but models need to be judged taking into account the context of when they were painted, what knowledge and tools were available, etc. Effectively, I’ve been painting at a “serious level” (understood as the best level I could paint at at any given point in time) for the most part of the last 20 years.
As regards what a “pro painter” is, I suppose it depends on what that term is taken to mean. It seems like two different definitions are generally in use, which overlap somewhat but not entirely. The first one would be somebody who paints as a full time job, irrespective of what level they paint at. The second definition would refer to somebody who paints at an extremely high level, regardless of whether they do it as a job or for leisure.
Focusing on this second meaning (i.e. a top-notch painter, whether earning money from it or not), I think they all share a particular set of traits, which include perseverance and a very strong awareness that they still have a lot to learn, as that’s the only way to continue pushing oneself and therefore continue improving. As Socrates wisely asserted: “”I know that I know nothing”.”
2. What words describe your painting?
“I always strive for excellence with my models (whether I achieve it or not is another matter!). I am a perfectionist in the strictest sense of the word―admittedly, sometimes to an unhealthy degree―and will spend as much time as needed until I am satisfied with the results, prioritising quality over anything else. Unfortunately, the downside of this approach is that my productivity is very low, with only a couple of projects per year. That means that I am very selective with the projects I undertake, not least because I never start a project only to abandon it midway. I really wish that I was a faster painter, for the backlog of to-do projects keeps growing at an eerily fast pace!
People tend to label my work as ultra-polished, smooth, and the like. I however feel like that’s only the outer shell, and that behind this nitid finish, my pieces encapsulate a more important and difficult use of colour, light, and volumetry.”
3. Interview with Albert Moreto – Do you have any formal artistic background?
“Not at all, I’m entirely self-taught. I have never attended a painting course or workshop. The only source of learning I had at the start were the rather rudimentary White Dwarf articles from the 90s. I have learned to paint with the heuristic “trial-and-error” method and, most importantly, through conscious observation and study.”
4. Interview with Albert Moreto – What inspires you to paint a new miniature?
“My main sources of inspiration and influences are mythopœia, sword & sorcery and high fantasy, nordic mythology and scandinavian folklore, and other genres in all their forms (art, literature, comics, films, RPGs, card and board games, heavy metal lyrics, etc). Any of these can spark an idea that I then mature through a brainstorming process that ultimately takes shape into a specific project.
Of course, other miniature painters are also a good source of motivation. I could mention Kirill Kanaev, John Chan, Marc Masclans or Arnau Lazaro as some of the miniature painters I look up to the most at present.
I also like to challenge myself with ambitious customization or “kitbash” projects involving significant sculptwork, and try to alter my own models to keep my skills fresh in both disciplines, from small æsthetic refinements or atmospheric enhancements to more challenging conversions.”
5. Do you have any other ‘creative’ hobbies you do?
“I enjoy anything DIY-related, or any craft that requires the use of my hands. I’d love to improve my illustration skills (whether traditional or digital) as well as to delve into digital sculpting. I have also been always tempted by woodworking and blacksmithing, but alas I don’t have a garage with the necessary tools nor the time!”
6. Interview with Albert Moreto – From your experience, what were the most difficult techniques to learn and to master?
“I cannot pinpoint any specific technique that I thought was more difficult than others, as my process of improving encompasses all aspects of miniature painting at the same time. In my opinion, it is pointless to focus on painting amazing NMMs if then you cannot paint hair, for example. I’d rather be less good at any single element but be better at the overall result.
I can however mention a few techniques that I don’t use much and would like to tackle more, such as OSL. I also need to improve my airbrushing skills!”
7. Interview with Albert Moreto – Have you ever won an award?
“‘I have won a number of major awards internationally, most notably the Golden Demon Slayer Sword in the UK (with a Black Orc Warboss) and the Best Painter award at the Monte San Savino Show (with a Dwarf Longbeard Chieftain), as well as medals at the World Expo and others.
However, prizes and awards should be given only relative importance, not least because art cannot possibly be judged 100% objectively. As pleased as anybody is when winning an award and receiving recognition for a job well done, awards should be a natural derivation from enjoying painting miniatures, and not an objective in themselves. Living off old glories can also become a hindrance to further improvement; it’s important not to sit on one’s laurels.”
8. Is there a miniature you have already painted you would love to paint again, what would you improve?
“I don’t really take a fancy to revisiting models, even though obviously there are models I have painted with which I’m not really happy. But I would rather take the learnings from these shortcomings and apply them to a different model, than painting the same model twice.”
9.Interview with Albert Moreto – How long does it take you to finish a standard 32 mm scale model?
“I’d paint a standard 32mm in a week or so, but its hard to tell because each model is very different!”
10. What advice would you give to someone interested in taking the plunge to become a commission painter?
“As I mentioned above, I do not paint on commission, so I’m definitely not in the position to give any advice on this! However, I have seen too many a hobbyist lose their passion for painting after turning it into a source of income, so I would advise anybody to have a hard think about whether deadlines and the pressures of earning a livelihood will affect their love for miniature-painting before taking the plunge. I do really admire professionals who can overcome burnout and produce amazing pieces on a weekly basis!
What I can do however, is give my particular piece of advice to new painters. Oftentimes, in a sort of mantra, it is repeated that practice makes perfect, as though practice alone was enough to achieve mastery. Whilst I obviously agree that practice is a ‘sine qua non’ condition in the journey of any painter, practice based on the wrong foundations can only lead to frustration. Instead, I believe the real key to growth is observation. Before I start a model, I always undergo a process of study, both of the model itself and of associated references, whether they be other painted miniatures, artwork, pictures, or even real life.
I’d like to encourage you all to push yourselves beyond what you think you can do and I’m sure in no time you’ll be creating memorable pieces. And most importantly, make sure to enjoy the journey!”