Alfonso Giraldes (aka Banshee) appears in the Figure Mentors magazine with the Hellboy.
This is not the first appearance of Alfonso in the magazine, but in this ocasion we have asked to the magazine creator some interesting questions:
Hi Jay, can you tell us something about the creation of the magazine?
Hi Hugo, of course. A few years ago, after I stopped working for a now defunct digital magazine called Figure Painter Magazine, I embarked on a journey into the realms of blogging. I teamed up with a couple of guys out of Canada called Legion of the Cow and cut my teeth on marketing and social media profiling. It was good fun and eventually led me to creating my own site called figurementors.com. I have always been grateful to the guys at Legion who still offer advice and help even today.
The idea of the site was to provide a media hub for all things miniature related, so we offered reviews, interviews, step by step tutorials and we also covered shows, new releases and news within the hobby. Deep down though I still had a desire to create my own digital magazine and as my inability to understand how to monetise the blog meant there was no income from all of my efforts, I started looking around for people who could help.
Step up Steve Bodycomb, a retired Graphic Designer with over 30 years of experience in magazine/newspaper design and publishing. Without his initial help I doubt we would be where we are now. Little did I know that someone else on the figurementors team was a designer by trade, but we can come back to that a little later.
Just over three years ago we released our first ever issue, featuring on the cover the work of Sergey Popovichenko. We had decided to focus solely on the historical genre. I found that many people I spoke to felt there was a need for a dedicated magazine to the historical miniature because the fantasy genre was so dominant and with the demise of magazine such as Figurines and the Andrea owned Figure International.
The response was great and now the hard work began. We had to set up a store for the site, set up PayPal and e-commerce, learn about the digital magazine market, collate articles from figure painters, translate, proofread and edit and get everything ready. It was a lot of work and so we decided that the magazine would be bimonthly.
I have read many modelling and painting magazines over my time in the hobby and I have to admit that more often than not I am left feeling somewhat disappointed by the articles. Very rarely do they impart any personal element of the writer, I’m left not understanding how something was achieved and they very rarely explain WHY they do things.
With that in mind we wanted a mixture of articles for our magazines, ranging from the more straight-forward step by step to the more in-depth write up that covered three key elements to any project, the WHAT, WHY and HOW!
Since that first issue we have worked with some of the greats of this hobby/Artform but it was also important not to appear elitist and with that in mind we continue to make the magazine ‘aspiring as well as inspiring’, we regularly feature up and coming figure painters too.
Going back to the other team member I mentioned, Kyle Kolbe, who I knew was in the process of writing his own book and was also a designer, so I begged and hassled him to join the magazine team. Nils Holmbergh also assists us with some housekeeping elements such as updating our store, adding products and the like. I am very lucky to have these people, without them and their efforts, I would not be doing this at all.
About a year into the life of The Illustrated Historical Artist I started receiving messages from people asking about a fantasy version of the magazine, they mentioned that they had heard good things about our magazine but had no interest in the historical genre. With that in mind and having spoken with the team we decided to create The Illustrated Fantasy Artist, another bimonthly magazine, that meant we had to create a circa 100-page, high quality, digital magazine every month!!
Issue 1 featured a whole host of names and a varied subject matter and Kristian Simonsen was on the front cover. This is someone who also writes for the site and he is always super enthusiastic and a great writer. In fact, he now writes regularly for the magazine.
Then we realised in discussions with Neil Kilshaw that our identity, our brand may have been weakened with the addition of the new magazine. That is, figurementors has always been the main brand but now we had products too. With that in mind, we redesigned the site with a super sleek appearance and introduced a font and colour that was replicated across all three components, thus bringing everything together.
We really hope everyone likes what we have done so far, although there have been some teething issues with the site change but once again, I am fortunate enough that Joan Pinto is super talented and was able to build the site and offer our customers tech support too, what can I say, we have a stellar team!
So that brings us reasonably up to date.
You can check out our new site at https://figurementors.com, feel free to pick up some copies of the magazines while you are there. We also have a Facebook page where you can stay up to date with magazine content and the best painted figures in the hobby! (https://www.facebook.com/figurementors/).
What are your objectives?
Our objectives have always been to help the figure painting community. Over the years I have built quite a lot of relationships with many others in the community, we frequently help others, promote works, etc. I have also proofread some Artists books such as Arsies ToolBox and more recently books released by Accion Press led by Rodrigo Chacon and his brother.
There was a time several years ago that my site and tutorials and all of my efforts were done in my free time but it has now become even more important since I made it my job. Figurementors keeps a roof over my family’s head and times can be tough. We are not a big organisation like Scale 75, Andrea, Pegaso and Kimera; even many of the painters have bigger followings and a larger customer base than we do, so every single sale is super important.
Going forward we want to develop Figurementors even further and get some more people on board that share the same passion and determination. We are really happy with our product; next we need to grow and expand our customer base so that we can ensure all of this is sustainable.
What do you appreciate the most in an article?
Yeah, this is a great question and I did mention it a little earlier. First, we are super thankful to everyone that contributes an article to our humble little rag but there are definitely some that are better suited to writing than others. It is really important that each contributor gives a little of his personality in his writing otherwise every single article becomes the same as the last.
I am a big collector, if I start collecting a magazine, I have to have every issue. So, my collection at home includes all of the issues of Mr Blacks Modelling Handbook, I have every issue of Figure International and so on. However, too many times I’m left a little disappointed in the content of the article.
We make a big effort to ensure that every article provides the reader with at least one new skill/trick to add to the reader’s quiver. So, to answer the question, the contributor explaining the WHY is easily as important if not more so than WHAT they did. Once we have an article that explains WHAT, HOW and WHY, that is when the article comes together and really helps the reader to understand how the result was achieved.
What are your future plans?
I think the most important thing is to continue to grow but to stay humble too. We are so appreciative of our hardcore fanbase but we need to get bigger. With just a small percentage of growth, extra revenues can be opened. We have been thinking about an e magazine Patreon, we have been thinking about a KickStarter to release a print version of a special issue and so on.
We would dearly love to get more involved with individual Artists to create special issues, just as we did with Banshee and the incredible Hellboy.