Monday, August 25, 2014

Dragoon WIP 2

Managed to make some more progress on his uniform.  I started out by cleaning up a couple of the shadows on the pants (two of the lines on the right side didn't make sense so I smoothed them out).  From there I wrapped up the dark green and moved onto the yellow sections.  I went with more of a pale yellow, I wanted to avoid anything too vivid and I also liked the contrast it made with the dark green.  After that I began on the white belts/straps.  I tried to get some nice subtle transitions on these.  The ones across his chest remained pretty bright but there's more variation on the back.  Up next I will probably try to wrap up some small details like the metal on the belts and then do the hands before I move on to the black for the horsehair crest and his boots.  I've still got a few bits to add like a plume for the helmet and his sword.  Once the crest is finished I'll add the plume.  As for the sword, I'll probably wait until after I finish his musket as it would make painting that a bit more difficult.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dragoon WIP

Work on the Dragoon has been a bit slow and I've been a bit distracted.  I recently received a kit from Industria Mechanika, something completely different for me, and I've been busy cleaning and assembling parts.  Not that I'll be painting it anytime soon.  Going to be a lot of airbrushing and vehicle weathering techniques that will require some practice first.  Still, fun toys to play with. :)

Anyway, back to the Dragoon... I base coated the rest of his uniform and took an unsuccessful crack at the dark green on his coat.  I don't work with green a lot, but I was able to pull off a nice dark blue on my Officer of the Navy Guard and I figured I could do the green the same way.  Unfortunately my paints did not want to cooperate.  I started out trying Reaper's Green Shadow and Green Liner, two of their really dark green colors.  One was chalky and didn't cover well and the other had a super satin finish.  Ugh.  They're old bottles so perhaps that's part of the issue but whatever the reason they won't work for me.  So instead I switched over to a lighter green, Grass Green, and darkened it with Burgundy Wine.  From there I mixed in a medium grey to highlight.  In theory it should have worked but the results weren't good.  As you can see below the contrast doesn't pop much and the blends weren't smooth.  So I took a break and worked on his shirt and pants, something I was confident I could do without issue.  The shirt is an off white, Bone Shadow, Weathered Stone, and Leather White.  The pants are a khaki, Black Brown, Terran Khaki, Khaki Highlight and Weathered Stone.

Happy that I could at least do something right, I returned to the dark green for another attempt.  This time I abandoned the Reaper Greens and pulled out on my new Badger Minitaire paints (thank you Draconic Awards!).  Their Dark Green is deeper than Reaper's Grass Green but still not as dark as the Green Shadow or Green Liner.  So I again used Burgundy Wine to create some nice shadow tones.  My midtone was maybe 2 or 3 parts Dark Green to 1 part Burgundy Wine.  That ratio was reversed to create the deepest shadows.  To do the highlights I picked a lighter grey, Reaper's Misty Grey, and slowly added that into the Dark Green - Burgundy Wine mix.  On the left you can see the old version and on the right this new attempt.  I still need to do the right arm and make some minor adjustments here and there.  But overall I am much happier with the contrast range and I feel like the coat still reads as a dark green.  Up next will be the larger yellow sections followed by the finer green and yellow piping and details.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Painting Faces

Here is a quick step by step on painting faces.  I'll be writing a much more indepth tutorial on this figure, this is just a sneak peak.

That are a lot of different approaches to painting faces, this is one that has worked for me.  The following example is a 54mm face (for Pegaso's French Dragoon) but I follow the same general idea when painting 28mm, 75mm, and 90mm faces.  The main difference is the level of detail I can reasonably expect to achieve.  Check the Roman work in progress to see a similar approach at the 90mm scale.

The following numbered steps correspond to each row in the image series seen below.  Unless otherwise specified the paint names refer to Reaper Master Series paints.

1 - The face is base coated with Rosy Shadow
2 - I rough in the shadows with mostly Chestnut Brown (I like to use a reddish brown for the shadows) but then a bit of Mahogany Brown in the darker shadows around the eyes, in the nostrils, under the chin, and a bit in the left cheek (his head is slightly tilted so the left side will be darker). The main reason I do this is to get the shadows around the eyes finished before I go in there to do those fine details.
3 - Start on the eyes
I first lay down a reddish pink layer (Rosy Skin + Violet Red) and cover up most of it with an off white (Weathered Stone). Ideally a little of the pink will remain in the corners.
4 - Eye details
I went in with a dark blue (Ritterlich Blue) and tried to get the shape of the irises. Because his head is slightly turned to his right I also painted the eyes looking a bit to the right. Straight ahead would have been fine, but to the left would have looked awkward. I then went in with a light blue (Ashen Blue) and tried to lighten up the irises near the bottom half, while retaining the dark border. Then, as carefully as I can, I add a black dot for the pupils and a dot of pure white for the catch light. Pretty tricky to do at the 54mm scale, so if you left the eyes at the dark blue stage you'd probably be fine. But if you can get those extra details that's great. On a larger scale, like 75mm or 90mm, I'd really try to get those in there.
5 - Returning to the skin, I go back with various mixes of Chestnut Brown and Rosy Shadow to smooth out the shadows I'd roughed in.
6 - Now I add in the highlights, with blends of Rosy Shadow into Fair Skin, and then into Fair Highlight.
7 - Details and Tweaks
Based on the previous picture I thought the highlights needed a little more pop, so I went from Fair Highlight to Linen White on the tops of the cheeks, tip of the nose, and a touch on the chin. I use a mix of skin tones and red for the lips, then repeat steps 5 and 6 for the ears. I also add in the eye brows with a dark brown.
8 - Glazing
This final step helps to add a little more life-like quality to the face.  I take some of the GW glazes: Bloodletter Red, Guilliman Blue, and a mix of the two for purple (although further thinned down with water). I add some red to the cheeks (pushing away from the highlights into the shadows), tip of the nose, and ear lobes. The blue goes on the lower part of the face to change the tone for a subtle stubble look. And the purple is used to deepen the shadows in the cheeks, under the chin and jaw, and a bit around the eyes. Lastly I go in a touch up a few of the highlights as needed.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Jack - Part 1

Well, my next project will hopefully be coming with me to the Crystal Brush competition.  It's not until March... but the way I've been painting I better start early!  I'm planning to bring a couple historical figures, but those categories haven't been too tough the last couple years.  So I'd like to also enter some of the more competitive categories and see what happens.  For the large scale (54mm and up) I thought I'd paint Jack in the Plucker from Terrible Kids Stuff.  This figure is 75mm scale and based on the cover art for a illustrated novel by Brom.

It's a great kit, very close to the original art and it even comes with that creepy background.  I was lucky enough to get a copy (they only made about 150 and it sold out fast) and I've been really looking forward to painting it.

I'm really trying to follow the original art as closely as I can, from the colors to the lighting.  I even made a few minor changes to the kit, like adding the nails in the background, using a bit of wire to add the wisp of hair down his forehead and the thread on his right arm, and adding the ribbon to his baton (metal foil).  For now I'm leaving the arms separate.  The joints are well hidden and it's going to be a lot easier to paint the stripes without the left arm in the way and the hair without painting around the sword.  Below you can see them just held on with sticky tack.

My focus so far has been the face.  Below is my first pass using Chestnut Brown, Rosy Shadow, Tanned Highlight, and Linen White.
From there I went back in with a variety of GW glazes (red, blue, and purple).  I also carefully added some freckles to the nose and cheeks (a mix of Chestnut Brown and a little Rosy Shadow)

I'm having issues with the far side of the face.  As with the cover art, I'd like the light source to come from above and to his left (as opposed to just straight above the figure).  So the right side of his face will be mostly in shadow.  However there's also a bit of OSL with that purple glow coming from below and to his right.  I've painted and repainted the right side, but I'm still not satisfied.  Unfortunately if I do much more I'm going to overwork it.  So I think it's best to put it on hold for now and paint more of the figure.  Hopefully once I've got his hat and upper body finished I'll have a much better idea how to do the rest of the face.