Ed Bradley is a well known painter with a wealth of experience in the collectibles industry, having painted products for Diamond Select, Bowen Designs, Gentle Giant, Kotobukiya, and Sideshow Collectibles, among others.
Ed’s style could be described as simple, clean, and effective. He takes great care in the details, but does not go overboard, resulting in a crisp and refined look.
We’ve had the chance to chat with Ed about all sorts of things over the last few years. His attitude is humble and down to earth, but his talent level is sky high…Ed’s portfolio speaks for itself. We’re excited to bring to you this quick Q & A with Ed…enjoy!
You recently made the leap from painting as a side gig to painting full time. Even though you had done freelance work for major companies prior, how scary was it to make that decision, and how satisfying is it to see your hard work pay off?
Making the transition was very scary. I had 14 years invested at a company, so there was security plus vacation, 401(k) and other benefits. As much as I felt that I was wasting my talents, I also realized I might be trading in stability for gratification. Now that I have both, it’s satisfying as hell! It’s one thing to have doubts or hesitations internally, but then there are other people who want to tell you you will fail. It’s great to let them see me continue to succeed, nothing else to say.
How did you get your first professional painting gig (i.e. painting for a licensed company)? Did you approach them with a portfolio…did someone discover you through social media or at a convention?
My first pro gig was with Bowen Designs. I approached him on Facebook back when it first caught on. I’ve consistently used Facebook to reach out when I’m trying to get work.
When you receive a piece to paint from a company, how much guidance do they typically provide on the colors you use? Is it up to you to determine which paints to use to match the color guide, or are you given a “recipe”?
All of the color direction is given by the company. They provide visual reference but I can use any paints that I choose.
Depending on the company, some will have me do a color swatch page to show the paints I used for each step. Others will rely on the factories ability to visually match the colors.
As a painter, your are likely presented with some intense deadlines. What is the craziest turn-around time you have ever faced (and can you say what piece it was)?
Definitely Kotobukiya, on more than one occasion…..24 hours to complete the paint, take pictures and ship it off.
You are preparing for an all-nighter painting session…what is your “pre-game” meal, and what movies do you have on hand to stay awake?
Pizza, almost always pizza. I have music and movies for noise while I work. Hellboy, Robocop, Predator are always in the rotation.
Who is your all-time favourite character, and have you had a chance to paint him/her?
It’s a tie between Wolverine and Hellboy. I’ve painted Wolvie twice, no Hellboy yet.
Answer mankind’s most burning question…shark vs bear…who wins?
The fish! Regardless of who wins the fish aren’t being eaten by the shark or the bear.
If you could time-travel one time only, would you go into the future or past, and what would you go to see?
Past. I would go back and talk myself out of getting married the first time, LOL!
Do you have any pets?
Yes two cats, Kiki and Dax.
What was the last movie you saw, and give your rating out of 10?
The Equalizer 2. 10 out of 10
If you could join the X-Men for a day, what would be your mutant power?
I would have the power to change matter into any form I choose- solid, liquid or gas.
Marvel or DC?
Favourite video game of all time?
Contra, Metroid, Shinobi, & Street Fighter 2.
He-Man or G.I. JOE?
If you could only use one colour to paint from now on, which colour would you choose?
What gear are you currently using for your paint work (air brush types etc.)?
I prefer Iwata brand air brushes
If someone wanted to start airbrushing, what is the minimum equipment they need to get started?
Airbrush, air hose, compressor and acrylic paints
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring painters, what would it be?
Be patient and be quiet. Take the time to learn your craft and always push to improve- you won’t get better overnight so be OK with small victories. Please don’t be arrogant, let your work be your voice.
I’ve heard from several people that painting/air-brushing takes 5 minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Can you estimate how many hours you’ve put in to get to the point your at now?
Wow. I have no idea but it’s a lot. I started in 2001 and didn’t start having success until 2006 but I was airbrushing off and on. Now that it’s become much more frequent I have days that are all airbrush so I’m doing 10 to 12 hours, but other days when I’m mostly hand painting so it varies.
What is your most satisfying paint job to date?
Groot! I really enjoyed working on Groot for sideshow. I’m a huge fan of Mark Newman so getting to paint over his work professionally felt amazing .
Were you a collector as a kid (or, are you still now), and if so, tell us about some of your favourite items/memories of your collection.
Yes I was heavily into the X-Men toys from ToyBiz in the early 90s. I also collected Bowen Designs statues and busts. My favorite items are my full-size Hellboy statue and Grendel Hunter Rose both from Bowen Designs.
What is your favourite comic book series of all time?
Invincible by Robert Kirkman
Thanks for reading, everyone! And, thanks again to Ed for taking the time to answer some very important questions…we will eventually settle the Shark vs Bear debate once and for all!! We’ll have more features in the ‘Get to Know’ series soon.