Thursday, June 26, 2014

You probably want to see all the models I have painted...

That's great!  But first, you should know a little about me.

A drawing my brother did of the dog and I.  He's an amazing 2d artist!

Hey all,

An "about me" is something I have been meaning to add to the site for a long time.  I am not really one to sit and write about myself (I would rather be tinkering on something!) but I recently had a customer ask more about me and I realized - he shouldn't have to!  So please bear with me as I do a bit of a write up on my painting history. Until next time...

Hello out there!  My name is Brandon Palmer, also known as GMM and the painter of every model on this website.

Who are you?  Where are you from?

My name is Brandon and I live in Bloomington Indiana with my dog Ryder, a blue heeler.  I work from home where most rooms have been overtaken by the hobby in some form - whether stacks of new boxes of goodies, my Adepticon armies, my dedicated photography room, or my little pirate cabin room I paint out of. I love it!

So how long have you been modeling and painting, both casually and professionally?  How did you get started?

I have been into "miniature" worlds since I could first pick up a Lego when I was little.  In my youth I would sit in a room filled with whatever toy or building material I was interested in at that age. Usually Legos and homemade action figure playsets.  Most kids made cool forts for themselves.  I made cool fortresses for my figures out of whatever I could find.

I got into miniature gaming when I was about 14.  I was on a shopping trip to Greenwood Indiana with family and happened into a gaming store. I saw Warhammer and of course was instantly enthralled.  This was everything I always loved but so much more detailed and alive.  You could paint them any way you wanted!  You could make buildings for them and watch them walk across the table with written rules!  And I did.  I had just enough money for the Warhammer starter set and I  rebuilt and repainted those models at least five times.  I built all sorts of very rough buildings and castles.  That was 15 years ago and I have never looked back.

Over the years I stuck with Warhammer but of course life, and school, got in the way.  I went to college for Graphic Design in 2003, which I enjoyed.  I love art and art history, color theory and all sorts of different mediums.  Of course my classwork took over and I didn't paint so much.  However in my third year I found a gaming group in the area, and the flame reignited.  I did my work for school but with whatever spare time I had I would do modelling and painting in my dorm room.  I had a decent camera for school, so I started taking pictures and posted some for the first time online.

And something magical happened - people started asking me to paint them on "commission." I did a few single models, and had a bit of gas money.  Then I did a couple very small "army" sized batches, and was making as much as my below minimum wage school magazine job.  I saw other people doing it as well and thought, I love doing this so much, if I can make a livable income off of it, I think I should.  No, I had to.

So I had a choice.  I could continue with my design degree, be forced to move away, work at a print shop for minimum wage to get my "five years," or I could dive in head first and do what I knew I loved. I chose the latter.  I spent more time on commissions.  My final assignment in design school was my original website.  I was so proud of it and happy to have a place to put my work and show people.

After I graduated in 2007 things were slow so I rented a very cheap, $200 a month one room space in an old elementary school.  I started incredibly small, with a few great customers who gave me a shot, many of who are still in the game and I talk to regularly.  It was really tough in the beginning and in some ways always will be, but I am doing what I love.  Like Peter Gibbons famously asked: "what would you do if you had a million dollars?" This was always my answer.

I thought you were a group of painters.  Why GMM Studio(s) if you're just one guy?

I get the former a lot, and I am always a little flattered.  But the name comes from the very beginning.  When I started I really admired Shawn of Blue Table Painting (and I still do).  I thought that was what I wanted to do.  A lot of painting, have a big team, lead people.  I realized over time that wasn't actually for me. Painting and modeling always has been a very calming and peaceful thing for me.  The waters as it were are only calm when I am working on something.  I prefer to do it alone, watching something interesting, and I work best late at night.

Since 2007 I have had this strange fate where I am always working and storing supplies out of two places.  School and home, the first shop and home, and many others.  Even now that I have my own permanent setup I find myself weekly moving around the house assembling here, painting there, I go outside when it is nice.  So I kept it and am proud of it.

Why should I pick you for this project?  This is a job, and you are applying for it.  What sets you apart from the many other painters out there?

Firstly, I love it.  I never burn out.  I never will.  I won't get sick of your project.  Quite the opposite, I will love it and be as excited to make it as I will be in surprising you with wild army pictures.

Some people create just to create.  They like making things, painting things - things to put on the shelf and be proud of and show their friends. But there are other people who create out of a need to create.  They need to make things and be in the thick of it or they feel something is wasted. To bleed out the stress and vitriol of life that naturally surges in us, being flawed by nature, every day.

Some people vent these issues by doing nothing - relaxing.  Some indirectly by trying to be "the best" at something without actually enjoying it.  Others choose sports, cars, video games etc.

I create.  My fate happens to be miniature painting and modeling.  I do it because I love it, I am addicted to making things.  I don't do it to be well known, although more of that helps keep the dog fed.  I definitely don't do it for the prestige - I would do it if there was an internet to show it to or not.  I also don't do it to make every dollar I can in the least amount of time.  I do it because I need to make things, I love miniatures, and this is a way to do it and also eat.

I will also say that my greatest skill is not actually my painting ability.  It is that I have painted so many thousands of models, that a person can give me an army, three colors, and a few adjectives and I can mentally visualize exactly how your army will look when it is done.

You aren't going with a team of painters who each pair of hands only touch one step.  Not a part time painter who has more to gain by keeping your models and deposit than seeing it through, or has another full time job that can, and will, get in the way.  This is all I do, and I do it all.

Many factors come in when choosing a painter.  I may not be the perfect fit when taking into account budget, level of quality (high or low), and model count you are after, and that's okay.  But if I am, you're in the right place!

What levels of paint do you offer?

I only offer one level - the level you see in the gallery.  It is really important to me to keep my paint consistent.  I have found a sweet spot in painting that is what I really enjoy doing, what is a very nice and unique quality, and is also affordable to more than celebrities at the army level.  I will naturally improve as a painter with time as anyone else.  Painting as many models I do day in and day out it is inevitable.

I used to offer multiple levels but found people were confused by it and ultimately went for what you see now 95% of the time because it is such a good deal.

Do you prefer to paint any one thing?  Is there anything you do not like to paint?

No, not at all.  I have always joked I could model and paint Marines my whole life and be perfectly content.  I do not need variety and there is nothing I would not be excited to paint.  I make my paint work very consistent so there is only change in the sculpt, not difficulty.

Do you prefer models assembled beforehand, or to assemble them yourself?

When it comes to the final decision, I leave this 100% to the customer.  I understand some people hate assembly and feel it is tedious, or have injuries that keep them from it.  Some enjoy it and I do not mind as I can see that enjoyment in the work they did and it shines through in the paint.  I have one customer that doesn't like assembly but likes to pick out bits, so he puts every single trooper in individual baggies.  I love it!

Personally I enjoy assembling models as it lets me get to know the model beforehand.  I see the detail and pose of the model very intimately before I paint and subconsciously make an attack plan as I work on the models.  I also enjoy posing models, and I prefer my models to be very "alive," but not over the top.  I assemble models as if they were observing and interacting with the surroundings, and the posing is very natural.  This is one thing I have always been proud of, one thing I believe sets me apart.

What do you normally charge for paint and assembly?

I do not give a hard and fast price list, because with the variety of models out there and potential paint schemes it is immediately thrown out the window, or I have to give such a huge range I might as well not.  However I love interacting with customers, talking about army lists, and making paint scheme plans.  So I welcome anyone interested to send a list of models they are interested in and I will happily quote all of them and then you can adjust as needed.  Once I know the specific models, number, and a rough color scheme I can give you an exact price that is set in stone up to the day I finish them.

My pricing is very competitive for the quality you receive.  I prefer to make people happy and give good value over squeezing every dollar I can.  After all, this is what I would be doing anyway, and I plan to continue as long as I can.

Let's say I book a project today.  What is the turnaround like?

Even painting as many armies as I do, as much and as often as I do, demand for my work is high and my backlog is usually around 9-12 months. I book my time in rough blocks it would require to paint, stacking in my calendar in a first come first served basis.  Once a project is booked your spot is locked, and you are in!  I work on only one project at a time, and give it my full attention.

To new customers this seems like a long while, but I believe most have, after a project, been a bit glad because it allows them plenty of time to tweak their list of models, allow new items to come out, discover new bits and items to add, and give time to save the funds for the end.  I think it is common that with a very hurried turnaround people often after the fact find many things they wish they had tweaked, found earlier, or changed in the paint that they would have if they had more time to think about it.  I have never had a customer send in an army list and not make any changes by the time their turn comes around, and this is very welcomed!

At the end of the day, I paint constantly, and try to be fair.

How small a project will you take?  How big?  

Because of my backlog, I prefer to keep all projects in the "army" size of roughly 1500 points or more. Being one person and having as many projects in queue as I do, I have to in order to keep up with it all and leave some time for painting!

For other games such as Warmachine and Hordes, a "regular" force is sufficient to meet the minimums. Obviously neither of these are a hard and fast rule.  I will not ask for a pointed army list with wargear, it is just a general idea of project size.

There is no upper limit to army size.  I have painted many armies well above 10-15,000 points; armies so large each step takes multiple full days!  I love it and I say "bring it on!"

I have no idea what I want :( But I want you to paint something!  Can you help?

Absolutely!  I am not Iron Man and yes my butt gets tired, so I love to stop and talk with people about painting.  I have had army start out of a phrase, or one single picture!  Please do not think you are bothering me by not having a grand idea and full plan ahead of time, it's half the fun to help.

But if you do have a big idea that is fully planned down to the paint colors, that is certainly welcome too.

Do you ship overseas?  Where are most of your customers from?

I absolutely ship overseas.  When to another country I ship Priority Express and insure for the value of the army.  Most countries have an insurance limit.  In this case I split into multiple boxes.

I would say half of my customers are from within the United States, and half are from other countries.  It really makes no difference to the process other than a bit of different paperwork at the post office, so do not be afraid if you are from outside the USA!

I have more questions!  How can I contact you?

You can always email me here any time -

You can call me, just keep in mind I keep odd hours, so I may not answer, just leave a message - 8123607237

You can also get ahold of me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.  Each under "Gmmstudios" or through a link above.

Thanks all...