Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Empress' Dragoons Officer Part 1

A month ago I posted a sneak peak of this figure.  This past weekend I finally got around to painting him.  This is a 54mm figure from Pegaso, an officer of the Empress' Dragoons.  I'd done a French dragoon once before (about 2 years ago) so this will be similar in many ways.  However, this is an officer in his dress uniform while the previous one was a trooper in campaign gear, so this version will be much more clean and spiffy looking.

I started with the face using my usual process.  A few details have been painted on.  I added the cleft in the chin just with paint (he's got a big chin, so it was nice to add a little something there).  I also did a big of highlighting on the side of the jaw to make it look like his face was being pushed/scrunched up by the chin strap.

From there I started working on the coat.  It's still very much a work in progress, I haven't started on the sleeves or front yet, but I've put in some time on the collar and back.  The color should be a dark green.  Dark colors like this (green, blue, etc) can be tricky to paint.  As you highlight them, they can easily start to look like a medium or even a light green.  To counteract this, I use grey to highlight rather than a lighter shade of green.  This desaturates as it lightens, which helps keep the overall look a dark one while still giving me a decent amount of contrast.  For the shadows I mixed in Reaper's Burgundy Wine.  The dark purple is a nice contrast to the green and provides additional depth/interest to the shadows without actually looking like purple.

Here's a comparison of the new figure with my previously painted Dragoon.  The new figure is a bit smaller (despite being the same scale).  You can see some of the differences in their uniforms.  The general approach to the green coat is the same, though on this new one I've tightened up the transitions from dark to light.  It gives the newer version an even darker look and also makes it appear a bit shinier... which fits, a clean officer's dress uniform should look nicer than a trooper's worn campaign coat.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fallen Angel Part 2

I've been continuing to work on the skin for the fallen angel figure.  It's been a slow process.  I wanted to push the contrast but, as a female figure, this also needed very soft/gradual transitions.  The pose does make the whole process a bit more challenging too.  Since she's crouched and leaning forward, the normal highlight and shadow areas aren't the same.  You really need to think about how zenithal lighting is supposed to be applied (what angle each surface makes with respect to the primary light source).

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Announcements: New companies and competitions

Every so often I like to take the opportunity to bring companies or figures and competitions to people's attention.  There's a lot of neat stuff out there but sometimes these things don't get noticed by that many people.

New Site - FigureMentors
Okay, I already mentioned this in a post the other day, but since I'm announcing stuff I might as well say it again.  There's a new painting site I'm working on called FigureMentors.  They've already got a lot of great content (articles, tutorials, reviews, etc).  If you haven't already, take a look and subscribe so you get notified of future posts.

New Company - Black Sun Miniatures

They've been on facebook for a few months now, but only just opened up their website/webstore to actually start selling their figures a few days ago.  So far all they have available are some 75mm figures and a bust.  But, if you look through their facebook page you'll see more stuff coming, including some 35mm figures.  Of what is currently available this is my favorite.  I already ordered a copy and can't wait for it to arrive.

Sculptor - Nelya
This is a sculptor I found through a post on facebook.  I've seen her work before (she did a lot of pin up and some fantasy sculpts for Andrea Miniatures), but I was only recently aware that she had been the one who was behind those pieces.  I really like her latest piece, a 90mm version of the Hell Courtesan.  Some great opportunities to paint skin tones and her clothing could be simple or covered in freehand work (either would look great on this piece).  She intends to get the figure cast and sell it herself.  She's still working on the details on the production of the kit, but I will let people know when it's available.  I didn't think I'd do another Asian piece for a while once I finished the samurai, but this is one I'd love to start painting ASAP.  I will definitely be getting one once it's for sale.

Competition - Golden Vinci's
This is a competition going on for the past 5 or so years run by another painting site.  You can read about the current competition here (English version of the rules aren't up yet, so you may need to use Google Translate if you're not fluent in German).
You can also check out last year's English version of the rules (seems like this year is pretty similar)
You can also check out last year's winners to see the level of competition

I've been to join the past two years but never got around to creating an entry.  Hopefully that will change this time.  The announcement just went up on the 1st of this month and the deadline isn't until Oct 1st, so plenty of time to put something together.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fallen Angel Part 1 and Coaching Session

Last night I lead a private coaching for a painting friend named Mario.  We had planned to do this a few weeks ago, but I got sick and had to reschedule.  But this weekend where we finally found a night that worked for both of us.  The main focus of the class was how to paint skin.  Because of some project's Mario has in mind we decided to work on female skin (not a huge difference for male or female skin, but some subtle things like an emphasis on softer transitions, downplaying some features, etc when you're working on a female figure).  I was looking for a good figure to do, one that Mario could get as well, and settled on an angel figure (named Molly) from Milosh Miniatures.  The kit comes in either 54mm or 75mm scales, but we decided to go with 54mm as that would be a quicker project to paint.  In the end we changed the plans a bit.  Mario also brought along a 28mm Kingdom Death Twilight Knight that he wanted to enter into a painting competition at an upcoming show, so it made more sense for him to work on that during the class rather than the angel figure.  But, since I still needed something to paint as an example piece during the class, I stuck with the angel figure.

One of the things I'd wanted to do with this figure since I first saw it was to paint it up as a fallen angel.  I already had some examples on-hand of 'normal' skin with the catgirl figure and the white speaker, so I went with my unnatural skin mix for the angel.  It's the same approach as with regular skin, just with some changes in the color (summarized at the bottom of this post).  That meant it would work fine for the class, as I could still use it to demonstrate the shading, blending, and general approach while using the other figures to show how the colors should look on Mario's piece.

As far as what I've done on the angel figure, my focus during the class was on the face.  I did sketch some of the shadows on the body, but there's been no effort there to do any blending or highlighting.  The face still needs some glazing for color variations, but that will be one of the last steps on this piece.  Luckily I had the chance to demonstrate that part to Mario when we met up at KingdomCon and then was able to walk him through glazing the face on the Twilight Knight during our session yesterday.

Color Summary

Regular Skin: 80% Chestnut Brown + ~20% Rosy Shadow
Unnatural Skin: 50% Chestnut Brown + 25% Rosy Shadow + 25% Burgundy Wine

Regular Skin: Rosy Shadow
Unnatural Skin: 50% Rosy Shadow + 50% Vampiric Shadow

Regular Skin: Fair Skin
Unnatural Skin: 33% Fair Skin + 66% Vampiric Skin

Top Highlight
Regular Skin: Fair Highlight
Unnatural Skin: Vampiric Highlight

Saturday, June 4, 2016

New Project - FigureMentors

I wanted to let everyone who follows this blog know that I've teamed up with Jason Martin and a number of other modelers to work on a new site called FigureMentors.  The site intends to be a resource for modelers, perhaps focusing on miniature figure painters but there will be content touching on all aspects of modeling (vehicles, garage kits, etc).  There will be tutorials, project walk-throughs, interviews, kit reviews, and more.  I have already written several articles that are up on the site:
1 - A guide to painting unnatural skin
2 - An introduction for modelers who are new to historical figures
3 - An article on OSL
Check them out if you get a chance.  And there is a lot of other great stuff on the site, so take a look around while you're there!

I do want to stress that FigureMentors will not take the place of my personal painting blog (this site).  I will continue to post regular project updates here.  The difference is this site will continue to be more about my personal projects.  You will continue to see what I'm working on at each stage of the project and I will continue to share my thoughts and approach as I go.  The content I provide for FigureMentors will be (hopefully) more polished articles including tutorials and kit reviews.  Hopefully that difference will become clear to everyone as I continue to post here and there.  I will not necessarily be announcing each post I make there, so if you don't want to miss anything I recommend subscribing to that site too.  As for the tutorials I write for FigureMentors, I will also be adding them to the list of tutorials on this site (but the links will take you to the tutorial on FigureMentors instead of that content being reposted here).

Hopefully that all makes sense, but feel free to send me any questions about all this if you have some!