Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Brom Part 8 1/2

I'm working on an article about this piece for FigureMentors in which I'll describe in detail how I approached the piece and attempted to let the character's story guide me.  In that I'll discuss how I built the base, but I wanted to share a few pictures of the process here...

After coming up with the concept, I roughed out the shape of the base using cork.  The cork is torn, not cut, to create the rocky shapes.  I used some sculpting tools to break off pieces too, carving out the recess in the front.  The figure was set on the base at this time to see how it all looked in relation.

I then began constructing the bridge.  I started with the main posts and support ropes.

From there, I created the planks from balsa wood.  I used an x-acto knife to carve up the edges and make them look more like old wood planks.

With the bridge finished, I started to flush out the ground details.  I used a modeling compound (a bag of powder stuff you mix with water from the art store) to smooth out the soil surface.  At this point I also added a number of real stones.  That way they were submerged in the soil and not simply resting on top.  The modeling compound doesn't have a lot of grip, so when it had dried, I applied a layer of 'Super Thin' superglue over it.  This helped to lock them into place, without adding thickness (obscuring detail) like a gap filling superglue might.  That is the shiny look you can see in the picture.

To provide some further texture, I used sand.  Taking some white glue and an old brush, I applied glue to various areas on the top and sides of the base.  I then sprinkled sand over these.  This gives more of a rocky texture (the actual rocks are more like large stones, while the sand are small rocks) and helps to hide the look of the bare cork on the sides.  When dry, I used more of the super thin superglue to help hold the sand in place (as it can be knocked off more easily if only white glue is used).

The base was then primed and layers of brown were applied.  This is still early in the painting stages, but you can see how all the above materials look with some color.

Lots more painting followed, along with the final addition of grass, arrows, and of course the figure.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Brom Part 8

I managed to finish Brom with a few hours to spare before the FLGS contest deadline!  I added some grass to the base.  The figure's color scheme is primarily orange and green (with jut a hint of purple), so I wanted to introduce some green into the base too.  I glued him to the base and used putty to make the ground meet his feet, which then had to be painted to match the existing base work.  I also painted his feet right around that time.

With that done, all I had left was to put on the final details.  Arrows were added to the base and I applied the rest of the blood effects on the figure and base.  Here's the end result...

And one last picture for a sense of scale...

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Brom Part 7

This project has been neglected for quite some time.  But, we've got a contest at our local game store (Game Kastle) coming up next week, so I decided to finish him up so I could enter.  The main figure was mostly finished.  He still needs his feet painted and some final weathering, but nothing major.  The base, however, still needed a lot of work and that is where I've focused my attention.  When it comes to painting the figure, I usually have a clearer vision.  But bases tend to be more experimentation and reworking things until I'm happy (or at least happy enough to move on).

Here's a look at the last image I posted of the base. 

From there, I lightened up the center of the soil.  This is the path, so I wanted a lighter color for it.  It also functions to guide the viewer toward the figure.  The rocks needed painting of course.  For those, I went with a light grey.  The result was fine, though a bit boring.  So I went over them with glazes of brown and green.  Not everywhere, just to darken shadows, bring up some greens on the sides of select rocks, etc.  I also applied a mix of Linen White and matte medium to create some bird droppings, so give the rocks some history and a touch of realism.  For the wood portions, I wanted an old faded look.  So I went mostly grey.  I used Walnut Brown as the shadow, then Dusky Skin as the base (a brown-grey), and finally Weathered Wood (from Secret Weapon) for the top highlights.

The base is pretty close.  I've got a little bit of painting left to do on the ropes.  After that, I'll add some grass and other details on the sides (leaving the center path clear).  The figure still needs to be fixed to the base, so I'll fill in some gaps around his feet at the point and paint them to match the existing groundwork.

There will be some final details added after that.  Some blood, perhaps some dust with pigments, arrows into the ground, etc.  I've only got until Monday to get it in for the contest.  So we'll see how much I'm able to do before then!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Trumpeteer Major Part 1

Well, it's been a while since I've updated this blog.  I haven't had as much time to paint as I'd like and, when I had the time, it seemed like I wasn't making enough progress on anything to make it worth posting.  I think I've been in a painting funk for a bit.  Got a bunch of projects, but some just aren't inspiring me at the moment and others seem stuck, where I might know what I want to do but just can't quite figure out how to do it.  I spent some time thinking, trying to figure my way out of the funk.  I came to the conclusion that the best thing was to just start a new project.  Something without any big plans or complicated ideas, just something I could have fun with and recharge my painting mojo.

I settled on a 75mm Napoleonic figure from Pegaso.  Historicals are comfortable for me and I love the colors and details on Napoleonic pieces.  This won't exactly be an 'easy' figure.  The colors are primarily white, red, and metallic gold lace.  But looking ahead, I don't see a part of the project where I anticipate getting stuck if that makes sense.

I built and primed him on Saturday.  Got about an hour of painting in that night to do the base coating and initial shadow sketch.  Then had another couple hours on Sunday while the little on napped to try and finish the face.  Also on my mind is my upcoming workshops at Adepticon.  I'll be teaching a two sessions of a class on faces and skin.  So while I was working on this figure, I took pictures are each step along the way.  I'm planning to put together a handout for the class to supplement my demo and lecture.  So I expect I'll use this figure as part of that write up.  Anyway, here s how he began (basecoat only) and how the face wound up.

Something I've discussed in tutorials and will include in the class is the use of glazes to finish the work on faces and skin.  It's a subtle step, yet I think it really helps capture a more realistic look.  So I like to show these side by sides.  On the left, the face after all of the shading/highlighting.  It looks fine, but compare it with the image on the right (after glazes) and I think you'll agree the right looks much more life-like.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Gladiator Part 4 and Vax

I spent some time last night working on the chain mail for the gladiator.  Not quite right, but it's getting there.  I'm sure I'll spend a while messing with it to see if I can get to a stage where I'm happier.  I'm fairly pleased with the back.  I think the lights bring out the shape.  The front is a bit flatter, so I feel like the effect isn't that interesting.  I'd like to try and do a bit more with the shine.  And of course I still have the mail on both of his shoulders to deal with.

In other news, I've started on another project, the 28mm Vax figure from Steamforged Games.  This is a character from a web show, Critical Role, and was released during Gencon as a limited edition figure.  Luckily for me, it was also available online up until the convention, so I was able to get a copy as well.  This is still in the early stages and so far I've just focused on the face.  It really makes me miss doing 54mm and larger faces.  Those 28's are tough!  A good reminder why I like working on the larger scales. =)  I got the impression that a lot of people who follow the show have bought either this mini or their kickstarter set.  From comments I've seen on Facebook and elsewhere, it sounded like there were a decent number of first time painters too, so I decided to write a very thorough tutorial on this figure.  It's already up in the tutorials section of this site.  I'm adding sections to it as I go.  My goal is to provide enough information so that a beginner could work through the piece, so expect to see a lot of detail on the entire process.  For those of you with more experience who still want to check it out, I recommend skipping down to the bottom where I start to get into the painting itself.  I recorded a couple videos as I did the face.  Unfortunately the part where I did the blending did not record properly, so that part is just text.  But the rest, where I setup my shadows, do the eyes, and paint the glazes did manage to record properly.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Gladiator Part 3

I'm trying to wrap up the non-metallic sections on this guy.  I continued on with the legs, painting the linen covering behind the greaves, the leather of his feet, and the feet themselves.  I then moved onto his right arm, dealing with the leather and wraps there.  I still need to paint the wraps on the back of the greaves, along with some small leather details on his armor, but that about does it.

I've also sketched on the metallics for the sword, just trying to get the light/shadow placement how I like it. As with the armor, though I'm using metallic paints, I am still approaching it as if I were pointing NMM. I want more control over how the light looks on the sword, so I'm forcing the shine and shadow to be where I want. I still need to blend it (though lighting for the photos makes it look smoother than it is) and add a few top level highlights.  After that I'll have no more excuses to avoid the dreaded chainmail! =)

This weekend I'm hoping to stop by my storage unit. I've got some old kits in there and I think I can scavenger parts from one to make a dead gladiator for the base. It's going to require a bit of sculpting (though just the body, the head and limbs I think I can use). So we'll see how it turns out. I'm hoping it'll be good enough to use, otherwise I'll just do a more traditional arena style base for him.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Gladiator Part 2

I'm continuing to make progress on the gladiator.  Quite a bit more work on the armor.  I've got a little more to do on the geaves, but that's about it.  I also started a bit on the white metals, doing some of the details on the cuirass.  However they still need a bit of work.  After all that metal, I needed a break before tackling the chainmail.  So I working on the cloth and skin.  I initially based his clothing in blue, but the color just didn't work for me.  I decided to switch to a pale purple instead, which is a complementary color to the yellow metal.  I could have gone brighter on the purple, but those dyes were extremely expensive in ancient time.  So pale seemed a bit more realistic to my mind.

Here's a look at how the figure has progressed.  You can see the stages for the cuirass.  I begin with a dark base (metallics work best over a dark case), in this case purple as it contrasts with the yellow metal.  Then I do a sketch with metallics to help me figure out placement of the lights and darks (middle image).  This involves about 5 shades (base, 2 shadows, 2 highlights).  It's quick, without much attention to blending.  I just want to see how it looks and then I can make corrections to shadow and highlight placement as needed.  At this stage the armor looks decent, but it looks even better after I go in to refine it (right image).  I sharpen up the shadows, going to pure black, and further extend the highlights (using Citrine Alchemy from Scale75).  I also mix a number of intermediate shades and blend everything together.  Stippling is used in parts to help with the blends while also adding some texture.  You can see from a comparison of the middle and right images that the final result looks sharper and a bit brighter too.
This set also gives you a nice look at the difference between the base coated cloth/skin and the finished version.