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Review Painting Miniatures By Danilo Cartacci

Discussion in 'Reviews , Video Reviews and Open Book' started by Patrick Kamsma, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Patrick Kamsma Active Member

    Series: Historical Figures
    Volume nr 1
    Title: Painting Figures
    Published by: Auriga Publishing International
    Text: English
    Author: Danilo Cartacci
    Price: € 25,-Italy
    €30,- World (plus shipping)


    A golden oldie.
    This book was published in 2007 as a limited edition. And it became a bestseller and still is today.
    It didn't take long before the book was sold out. Of course, somtimes you could find several copies at shows but that was pure luck. I found myself a copy 2 years ago, but only at Euromilitaire.
    Auriga finally reprinted this book and it is now back available.

    This book is the answer from Danilo Cartacci to the simple question on "How do you paint your figures?" Although the book is already five years old, it doesn't mean that the techniques, tips and tricks are "expired". Even today, Danilo Cartacci is one of most inspirational artists in the hobby and his work can be found on a lots of boxarts, like La Meridiana, Pegaso, Romeo, etc. His figures are sold to collectors all over the world.

    The book:Everything is printed on semi gloss paper and has a glossy flexible cover. The book consists out of 128 pages.
    The book is divided in twelve chapters and a seperate gallery with some of Cartacci's work from 2002 till 2007. The book is written in english and the chosen font is clear.
    There are over 450 high quality photo's. A lot of them are used as step by step pics.
    The chapters are printed on white paper, the gallery on black.

    Chapters continued in next post.
    Trep, Jim Patrick and Karlosfandango like this.
  2. Patrick Kamsma Active Member

    The book has twelve chapters and it covers all parts of figurepainting.
    Cartacci is a masterpainter whose goal is to achieve an effect with whatever medium is necessary.
    So you will find all different kind of techniques with oils, acrylics, enemals, inks, metals, etc.
    He picks the medium that suits the job best.

    1: Materials
    A small introduction of all the materials Cartacci uses

    2: Preparation and Assembling
    How to prep white metal figures and which materials to use.


    3: Flesh
    How to paint flesh with oils, step by step.


    4: Creases/ Draping
    How to paint clothes, lights and shadows with acrylic paint.
    Also Tartan, white and black clothes are explained in a short paragraph


    5: Metals
    Some great tips about painting metal using enemal, printers ink and the material of the figure itself.
    Also Bronze, Gold and Copper are explained.

    6: Chevrons
    The explanation how to deal with epaulettes, braids and chevrons on those difficult Napoleonic and British uniforms.


    7: Heraldry
    SBS how to paint heraldry on shields, flags and uniforms

    8: Leathers and Furs / Natural materials
    Leopard skin, fur, natural leather, wood, with the use of acrylics and oils.

    9: The setting
    Different kinds of basework. Indoors and outdoors and in different seasons


    10: Painting a horse
    SBS of painting a horse and a small explanation of how to approach the different breeds.

    11: Weathering
    How to weather the uniforms and place the figure in the right context.

    12: A complex figure
    A combination of the previous eleven chapters combined in one project


    Big pictures from some of Cartacci's work from 2002 to 2007. Lots of pricewinning models showing lots of detail.


    Continued in next post.
  3. Patrick Kamsma Active Member

    Final thoughts:
    This book is not THE answer on how to paint figures.
    Like I started this review: It's Danilo's answer on the question "How I paint figures".
    Which means what works for him doesn't necessarily works for you.
    But this book covers all the things you need to know about historical figure painting.
    Sometimes a bit summarily, but it's in there.

    It has a lot, and I mean, a lot of pictures. So much, that there is nearly any room for text.
    And there is not a lot of text in it.
    That's a small point of criticism I have, you need to have some knowledge of figurepainting to interpred the photo's to see what Cartacci did. A bit of extra explanation was desirable.

    So, this book is not for the novice painter.
    No, this book is for the more experienced painter. And it's for the "fan" of Danilo Cartacci's work.
    You will get this book just for the models. It's not just a how-to-book, it's also the portfolio of a great artist.
    You put it on your nightstand and browse through it before you go to sleep.
    Just to get some inspiration or to check that one last thing so you can carry on with your model the next day.

    Available from Auriga website:
    http://www.aurigapublishing.it/libri_elenco.asp?collana=Historical figurer english

    Also available in Italian.

  4. Karlosfandango Active Member

    Thanks Patrick for your detailed review.
    I was looking at this book not long ago with an idea of picking up a copy but like you've mentioned I found it hard to pick up a copy so it kind of fallen to the side.
    I wouldn't say I'm a novice but I do lack the broad array of skills to fully bring to life the models I would like to achieve so I might still give this one a go to see if I can learn something and I do just like looking at amazing models.

    Thanks again for great review
  5. jai A Fixture

    I think it is also suitable for a novice painter ....

    I bought it years ago and even now flip through
  6. Nap Moderator

    Hi Patrick ,

    Good Review , this is a really good book , like you say its "how" Mr C does it and works for him , colour quality is really good and will certainly be one I keep looking at for pointers and to marvel at his painting .

  7. Tecumsea PlanetFigure Supporter

    I think this book is good for all levels of ability, any gaps in the text can be filled in from the internet or with a little experimentation..........if you have just one modern "How to do it book" this is the one,

    Filipe likes this.
  8. megroot A Fixture

    It's a good book on how to paint figures. Good explanation, and very imformative pictures where the text is to short.
    Some mistakes into the translation, but I can live with that.
    It's a must have in my opinion for every figure painter.

    Mike Stevens likes this.
  9. brian A Fixture

    I've got a signed copy of this book by Danilo.
  10. Babelfish A Fixture

    If only reading a book or two was all it took to become a great painter!!

    I've bought and read loads of books (this one included) and have even shaken hands with Pietro Balloni and Diego Ruina a couple of times, hoping that some of the "magic dust" would rub off. But even after all these years I'm still (in English football terms) kicking around in League One rather than challenging for a place in the Champions' League.

    At one stage I was also an avid reader of Men's Health magazine every month. But even after about 5 years of religiously reading all the exercise regimes, lifestyle tips and "healthy eating" advice contained within its pages, I still hadn't developed the type of magnificent six-pack, bird-magnet stomach showcased by the V-shaped, Adonis-like geezers on the front cover.

    So after all that, I've come to the conclusion that there's no substitute for practice, practice and more practice, and putting in the time at the coal face (so to speak)!

    But yeah, "The Cartacci" is still a great book and a "must have" - even if it's only to get inspired by all the nice glossy pictures inside to get the brushes out and start chucking some paint around.

    - Steve
    Redcap likes this.
  11. jan willem stokkers Member

    Again a great review Patrick and i was lucky to buy this book at De Lancier in Gouda, sadly does the Lancier not excist anymore. Okay i paint with acrylics but some part of the oilpainting explained in this book i also use for painting my figures because i think the best result is only to get with oilpaint.

    Great book and can only advise to buy the book!

  12. Johan Kees Active Member


    For me Danilo is for figure painting what François Verlinden was once for armour modeling. They both have set certain standards that fellow hobbyists try to emulate or surpass. It is these kind of people that are unvaluable for our hobby.

  13. Tubby-Nuts-REMOVED Guest

    Thanks for this Patrick. Just bought it, on a whim!... arrive's, Wed!...... All I have ever bought was 'Verlindens', the 'System!... Hopefully, I have already improved, as 'Steve Riley', says... Practise and fluff!.. then, practise more!.. Fluff it again, then carry-on!.. But this does seem to be a must-have!...(y), Granted it is a bit expensive, but I dont make a habit of such purchase's.

  14. Paul Kernan A Fixture


    Thanks for taking the time for this review. It is very much appreciated

    The main reason for my liking this book is Danillo's multi medium attitude/approach to painting....if it works, use it (acrylics, oils, enamels, etc). I'm sure there are numerous how-to books on the market but in addition to Danillo's book, I have a handful of must-haves (for me) in my library that I fall back on from time to time.

    All of Shep's books
    Bill Horan's Military Modelling (Historex Masterclass)
    Bill Ottinger's Napoleonic Plastic Figure Modelling (Historex Masterclass)
    Modelling Fallschirmjager Figures (Ortiz and Romero for Osprey)
    Modelling Waffen SS Figures (Tan for Osprey)
    Note...the Osprey books are great for oil guys like myself looking for a 'quick' fix on how to use acrylics
    Mike Taylor's The Art of the Flat Tin Figure
    and last but not least, ANY article by Phil Kessling in the older Military Modelling mags


  15. Tubby-Nuts-REMOVED Guest

    Thanks Paul,... Some more 'Browsing', ahead. I have 'Shep Paines, books. Completely forgot I had them!(y)

  16. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    You were Justa doining the Wronga exercises Steve
    contact Del of Bertorelli products he will fix it :eek:

    Re the book I had a flip through it and came to the conclusion it was more a show case than a tutorial albeit a very nice one.
    A picture is generally better than a thousand words but some things you just have to be shown in the flesh , and it certainly could do with
    a lot more explanation of how he got there.
    But should be in a figure painters library .
  17. DEL A Fixture

    Paul Kernan likes this.
  18. Wayneb A Fixture

    As somewhat of a novice..practice..observe..take little bits and pieces from the pics and posts on this and other sites and apply them to your own style.Personaly I've gained the most from the pics of others work and experimenting with determination.So many books out there regarding instruction on miniatures and other artisic and other hobbys and such.I know;bought many myself.Hardly any really helped me.Not to knock this book;I'm sure it's a great book from a well known painter.But it's his style and his alone.Plus the cost of the book?..Rather take my wife out for a couple of good dinners.
    The best book is Planet Figure.
    Sorry for rambling on........Just laying down my opinion; be gentle if you disagree.
    "Thinking is the best way to travel"...........Wayne
    housecarl likes this.
  19. Ron Tamburrini A Fixture

    Sounds about right, gotta develop your own style which generally comes observing others and taking the best bits and adapting them ,
    mind you a lot can be learned in the company of quality painters and modellers .

    The planet is a great book (y)

  20. Meehan34 A Fixture

    oh man, this reminds me. I need to return this book back to Guy.

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