Darcy Bono is a talented painter and someone who first came to our attention last year with her stunning Riptide, which won Best Painted Sci-fi Single Mini in our first annual Goonhammer Lockdown Painting Contest. We recently sat down with Darcy to talk about her entry into the hobby and what she’s been up to over the past year.
Hi, Darcy! Thanks for speaking with us. Let’s start with at the beginning: How did you get into the hobby? What drew you to the setting?
First, thank you for that awesome introduction and for hosting a competition to keep painters’ spirits up during lockdown.
I got into the hobby back in 2004, when a friend introduced me to Warhammer Fantasy. Both of us were nerds who loved mythology and medieval/ancient history, so Warhammer was the perfect mashup of those interests. I played as the Lizardmen (what’s cooler than a Mayan dinosaur riding a bigger dinosaur?), but quickly realized I enjoyed painting more than gaming.
I was 14 at the time so just dabbled, occasionally painting after school as a way to relax. This continued right up through college, after which I fell out of the hobby for several years. I didn’t start back in earnest until 2017 when I became a mom and desperately needed something to help me relax.
Is it all painting for you or are there any games you play? Which are your favorites?
It’s about 90% painting for me. Sadly, I just don’t have enough room in my schedule for child wrangling, painting, and gaming. But that being said, I adore Age of Sigmar Warcry. It’s quick, brutal, easy to learn, and incredibly wacky at times. It also allows me to paint and play many different factions without having to commit to a full army. I can paint 10 Nighthaunt models one week, then paint 8 Ironjawz another and have two separate warbands to play as. From that I get two very different painting and playing experiences.
Speaking of child wrangling, have you introduced yours to the hobby yet? What’s the plan for that rollout?
Right now my son is only just about to turn 4 so he’s a little young for painting BUT I have definitely introduced him to the various factions of both AoS and 40k and even play games of “Mama’s monsters” with him. These games of course just involve action figure-esque battles between my more durable minis (Ironjawz and Ogors), but we have fun. He accompanies me to my FLGS and we look at all the different models. He adores anything mech related so is particularly enchanted with 40k for the moment. He does ask to paint sometimes so I’ve let him slather paint all over a little Bandai Space Marine my local Warhammer Store owner gave us. I’ve also bought a few cheap Reaper models for him
You’ve posted some stunning commission pieces online. How’d you get into the Commission business, and how do you balance that against painting for your own collection?
Thank you! It honestly just started with me painting a Chaos Lord and posting it on Ebay. I had painted it as a one-off “this mini looks cool project” and wanted to give it a good home. The buyer messaged me later and wanted to know if I wanted to do a couple army commissions. I ended up painting Elven, Sylvaneth and Legions of Nagash armies for this one individual and things grew from there.
I’m honestly terrible at balancing commissions and personal projects. I love the diversity of painting I get from commissions so I have a hard time saying no, and my stuff is put on the back burner. I do paint my own guys for a little while after a particularly large or detailed commission project.
When you sit down to paint a mini, what’s your process like? How do you choose a scheme or decide on colors?
Theme and color palette are all important to me. I can’t sit down and paint a mini until I have a clear picture of what I want it to look like. I’m mainly inspired by colors in nature and landscapes. I like to think of the environment the faction is fighting in or hails from and base my colors on that. I usually will do this in conjunction with a brief background narrative for whatever I’m painting. This way I understand the personality of the minis and then paint in a style to match that.
You’ve recently taken on the task of learning to paint OSL for a Warcry mini you were working on. How has that been, and what was your method for learning how to do that?
It has certainly been a challenge, but overall very rewarding. I have an incredibly short attention span and am a very tactile learner, so online tutorials only do so much for me. I mainly just researched different reference photos from amazing artists who actually know what they’re doing when it comes to OSL (Andy Wardle and NRM Paint to name a couple). Those helped me see where the highlights and shadows should be. From there I zoomed in to get an idea of colors and where they transition. I worked in thinned glazes of yellows, oranges and rust reds so if I messed up I could wipe it away without much trouble.
What’s next for you? What are you looking forward to tackling hobby-wise?
I’m actually hoping to start a combat patrol of Goff Orks in the next few months. I need more practice with the urban grunge style that is the essence of 40k because it’s the exact opposite of my natural painting style. I’d like to get more comfortable with weathering techniques and painting a more industrial look. I think the Orks will be absolutely perfect for that.
You can find more of Darcy’s amazing art on her Instagram, or follow her on Twitter at @Darcy_bono.
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