Celestial Painters Interview – Enrique “Emuse” Velasco

July 3, 2018 by dracs

Enrique Velasco is one of the painters who took part in the awesome Celestial Painting Competition we are running alongside Diemension Games. Sam took some time to talk to him about his work and what he does...

Queen Of The Void - Enrique

Remember to hop on over to the Facebook Group to share your thoughts with the other artists and see some amazing WiP pieces too.

Hi Enrique! Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what work do you do?

My name is Enrique Velasco, aka emuse and I am a professional painter from Madrid, Spain.

Elrond - Enrique

Since I was a child I have been always interested in everything related to art, though perhaps more specifically with crafts, rather than, for example, painting and sculpture. I loved the models and dioramas that I saw in films or shops, and one of the things that drew attention was the traditional Christmas cribs, which ended up being free of religious context and were seen as a simple diorama full of figures.

Sometimes my parents took me to exhibitions and I was entranced by the array of materials, buildings, figures, water, vegetation and such that they contained. As I said, I was more interested in the physical, in the form and materials, rather than the content itself. On the other hand, the models appearing in movies were another thing that fascinated me as a child and I assembled and painted some Star Wars model when I was little.

I think of all these influences are what focuses me towards what I put into the base for each figure that I paint because it is the part of the hobby that I really enjoy. Other painters may give more importance to the figure than the base, either because they do not like working with scenery, find it boring, do not find the right materials or think that only serves to prolong the process. For me, it is a set. I can never paint a figure without something to compliment it and I love making dioramas that either try to convey a story to the viewer or simply as a visual support for the figure.

Frank - Enrique

Emuse studio arose six or seven years ago when I tried to professionalise what for me was starting to become a part-time job. That period coincided with the decline of internet forums and most painters began to design their blogs or personal web pages, perhaps, in my opinion, pursuing a desire to gain prominence more than helping the community as was the norm in the forums.

If I am being honest, it took much more time and headaches to design the blog, update and edit then upload the pictures than publish on a forum. Seen with perspective and with a little more maturity, that time seems to me now a little stupid. Everyone was their own "professional" painting service, regardless of the level of the painter, giving us a sense of importance and adding the term “studio” behind a nickname or your own name made us believe we were all Stan Winston!

The beginning of Emuse Studio coincides with the end of my studies in History and the beginning of my work in the library at the University. My disenchantment with college made me think of working in another field, and the increasing commissions related to painting in a short time encouraged me to try my luck. At first, the working days were endless, weekends included, accepting all kinds of commissions that have never come to light. The first three or four years of work at this pace were tough and led to a creative block but I have had to change this to help with my mentality and I have reduced those work hours to fit into a normal day!

Currently, the professional philosophy that I follow is different, since I only accept commissions that motivate me, ones that I think I can give the most of myself to. I also teach private lessons and compliment all of that with some other projects for the Step-by-Step Magazine. Over time, the blog has been abandoned in favour of social networks, which are a quick and convenient way to show your work and contact future clients.

How did you get started painting miniatures?

My first encounter with gaming figures, like many others, came with the HeroQuest board game and I was, once again, more interested in imagining the dungeon adventures than in the game itself. At that time I made some small dioramas with the figures from the box, which I painted with Humbrol enamels recommended by the clerk at the toy store where occasionally I bought the models.

Jack - Enrique

After approaching figure painting through HeroQuest and also Space Hulk, I abandoned it for several years in favour of other models. I continued to buy Star Wars models and my parents had given me my first airbrush. The truth is that being entirely self-taught led to me being able to produce what I thought were some great results. It was a hobby that I did not spend much time on and it was something casual to do in my spare time.

Much later during the era of the internet, I discovered scale figures and what really could be achieved with this canvas and I fell in love for this discipline because in the end, it integrated everything that I had grown up with...crafts, modelling, scenery, themes, and painting.

How have you found the painting competition so far?

Oh, it was gorgeous. There were ten awesome painters trying to make their best piece of art under extreme time pressures. I always go back to the same topic when I discuss a painting contest and that is that I love seeing original work, not just the same miniatures hundreds of times like in other contests on the internet. 

Khrom - Enrique

For example, I love Golden Demon, Crystal brush and the like when the painters make new pieces of artwork exclusive to these competitions. You can run the risk of seeing too many of the same figures on their own and in dioramas too. But, in this contest we were able to see ten models that had never been shown on the internet before, all finished in an original way.

From the point of view of someone following this on social media, this has been an amazing painting seminar. We have been uploading step-by-step pictures from the very initial ideas through to the final article. You can learn a lot about painting just by following the progress of an artist and we were able to interact with followers of the group to give them tips and tricks to help in their own hobby lives.

I wish more people would have asked us more questions!

You gave us a very striking take on the Queen of the Void. Why did you choose this miniature?

All of the Celestial range are awesome figures. They have strange creatures, creepy monsters, beautiful and delicate women...and I love all of these. The decision was very, very difficult to reach. 

Olfo - Enrique

I chose the Queen Of The Void in the end because of the painting opportunities. She had plenty of open surfaces to apply nice painting transitions and effects like stains, dots, weather and the like. The size was also a big point for me. She stands at 120mm tall, almost double the size of figures like Twilight and Jingwei and this meant I could get stuck into all of the little details. I also loved the pose and that face!

All of the range though are very good 3D sculpts, produced by Big Child Creative in high-quality resin. Diemension Games gave us the chance to choose two models from the range to take home and I have loved tinkering with both. They have also been exceptionally professional during the process and I am happy to have worked with them.

What ideas did the model give you? How did you choose its style and colour?

I chose to go with a different style to the concept art and studio version mainly to distinguish myself. It would have been stupid to copy the studio design for a contest organised by the company that produces the model!

Ambush - Enrique

I first thought about a non-metallic metal finish with a flash of skin tones but decided to change the idea for the red scheme complimented by golds and turquoise. During the painting process, I decided to add to the big surfaces like the legs with stains, dots and additional weathering to give more information and narrative to the viewer. 

If you see the other Queens of the Void, like Fabrizio's, he has painted a wonderful cracked effect and Antonio also added stains too. I think we were all loving the big surfaces to paint on. Later on, I delved into some highlights and gave the skin some reflections too. This effect, alongside the weathering, gave the model an ancient look.

Concerning the base and the background, I wanted a simple base which represented the weird terrain from other planets. In terms of colours, I need something which would be a strong contrast to the figure. At first, I thought of making it dark blue/green but it didn't work. I decided to change the background to ochre as a complementary colour. 

It was the first time I painted with an airbrush on a 2D surface and I know I made a lot of mistakes but I am happy with the result. 

You converted the model a little, giving her a spear and orb. Why did you make these changes?

I thought that the Queen needed to be more majestic so I sculpted her a spear. Well, that is the fast answer and there are a lot more reasons. I knew that two other painters had chosen the same figure and I wanted to be different! They are now the same figure but with a big point of difference to catch the eye. 

Barin - Putty & Paint

The orb adds another alternative element to the figure and allows me to work on object source lighting as well to show off that technique. 

When it came to composition, the spear balanced the figure and added visual weight in the right part of the scene as well as giving you another focal point. It was also a perfect way to show off good non-metallic metal techniques and grab the attention of the viewer. 

Do you have a story to go with the model?

Not at all. The creatures are from a strange background and the universe isn't too well defined so this was much more abstract. The viewer can then determine their own story behind the figure. A lot of the painters have taken different approaches to their models, be it Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Manga, and that speaks to the stunning sculpts. I went for the old Sci-Fi look, trying to make it look like an alien character from a galaxy far, far away that you might have seen on a magazine cover. 

The original background is based in Chinese mythology and only a few of us knew enough about that to take it into the painting of the models. I think maybe a cool story would be that the Queen collects these orbs from across the universe looking to obtain unlimited power? I don't know...you decide!

What are your thoughts on the other painters’ work?

I think that everyone has made some great pieces of artwork with various styles. A lot of the painters though are capable of a lot more and I think that the time constraints of the competition may have meant that we didn't have enough time to put into the competition. It was an interesting challenge, but a hard one to juggle with full-time jobs, painting classes, patreon, box art and other deadlines. Plus, some of us just had problems with the figures...as we all do.

Random Encounter - Enrique

I think one of the weaker points about the finished selection is the way the bases have been designed (including my own). A lot of them don't work for me in terms of composition, colour and painting. All of us are at a very high level here, do not misunderstand me, but I think that when you're working at this level you have to be critical and that is one of the weak points for me. 

If I was to go back three weeks I would have created a completely different base!

When it comes to the painting I think that we have seen a lot of different artistic approaches and techniques which is good. Some of us have been doing styles that we know we can control and that we do well...maybe not venturing out of their comfort zones, but I repeat, these are ten awesome pieces of art.

Where can people go to see more of your work? 

If you want to follow me you can find me on Facebook at emusestudioart, on Instagram at emuse_studio and via Putty & Paint HERE.

Thank you for checking out my work and the interview!

Not a problem at all Enrique, thank you for talking with us!

"If I was to go back three weeks I would have created a completely different base!"

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