Crystal Brush: Miniature Excellence

Adepticon 2018 kicks off next month in Schaumburg, Illinois. Thousands of wargame and miniatures fans will descend on the Renaissance Schaumburg for four days of tournaments, sneak previews, special events, and more! One of the most exciting annual events at Adepticon is the Crystal Brush Awards, featuring some of the world’s best talents in miniatures painting. 

We got a chance to talk to Jen Haley, one of the organizers and the head judge for the Crystal Brush Awards to get some history on the event and what the judges look for when grading the models.

“The first Crystal Brush was held in 2011,” remembers Haley. “I joined the CMON team in 2014 to help manage and judge the competition. This will be our eighth year. “

While it’s easy to get blown away by the amazing talent that’s on display each year at the competition, the panel of judges have years of expertise on their side when critiquing the work. 

“Entries come in such a vast range of scales, genres, and painting styles, that the audience sometimes wonders how they can be judged against each other,” explains Haley. “The judges look for a balance of technical skill and aesthetic quality, whether the competitor has used a style that's extremely realistic or highly stylized. For the Diorama category, narrative quality (the story that is told by the figures) is important. We like to see traditional techniques and motifs executed well, and we like to see new ideas and techniques that help push the boundaries of the miniature hobby into the realm of art.”

Miniatures come in all shapes and sizes, and so to make the judging a little easier, the competition is broken up into a number of different categories. This year’s entries include:

• Fantasy/Steampunk/Historical Single Figure

• Sci-Fi/Modern Single Figure

• Units

• Vehicles and Monster

• Large Scale (54mm and up)

• Busts

• Diorama

• Chibi-style

There is also a special Young Talent category for artists under the age of 14 years old. 

For those not able to attend the show in Illinois, they still have a chance to take part with online voting. 

“Each year, we combine the scores from our panel of judges at the event, with votes from the online community, to determine both category winners and our Best of Show. The top 3 places for 2018 will be awarded $2000, $3000, and $8000, respectively. These are the largest prizes in the miniature community,” said Haley. 

Those familiar with the Crystal Brush Awards from previous years, might see some small changes to how the 2018 competition will work. 

“The base size allowance for single figures has been increased slightly, from 50mm to 60mm, as so many games now base character models on 55mm and 60mm bases. However, our primary change this year is in the distribution of the total cash prize allotment,” explained Haley. “Formerly Crystal Brush offered a $10,000 grand prize, with second and third runners-up receiving $2000 and $1000 each. But the talent and skill displayed by our participants has been simply incredible. We think that increasing the runners-up awards better reflects the level of mastery shown by all our winners.”

Miniature painting is a talent, and skilled artists should be recognized for their craft. The Crystal Brush Awards are an opportunity for the best in the world to come together and compete for the crown. Be sure to check out the event if you’re going to be at Adepticon, and if you can’t make the show, follow the event and vote online.

Stay tuned to the Crystal Brush Facebook page for updates.

Crystal Brush: Miniature Excellence

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