Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Germanic Knight Part 1

Sorry for the long gap in posts, I haven't had much time to work on figures recently.  It will probably continue to be like that for the next few months, so updates will be sporadic.  Since I'm having a hard time finding more than an hour at a time to paint (sometimes less than that), the Count Melenth project is getting put on hold.  The OSL on the body is tough and I really need 3-4 hours to just sit and work through it until I figure it out.  I just can't make much progress on that piece with these short painting sessions.  So, I decided to start on something else that would work better for the time I've got.  I decided to go with a knight from FER miniatures.  It's a great sculpt and cast, so should be fun to work on.  This should give me a chance to work on metals, leathers, and freehand (for the clothing and shield).  I started with the freehand and I thought I'd show you my process.  Hopefully the amount of information in the write up will make up for the lack in frequency in posting them!

A while ago I'd ordered a table mounted vice. Normally when I do design work I'll start by adding little dots as guides. Unfortunately I need one hand to hold the ruler, one hand to the hold the brush, and one hand to hold the figure... that's one hand too many. This was a huge paint when I tried to paint the samurai. But, with the table mounted vice I can free up a hand and that makes this early step so much easier! I was able to reposition the figure at different angles and work my way around it. I used a scrap of paper with the spacing marked on it and added dots around the figure (second image). When that was done, I connected the dots to form the borders for the edge design (third image).

I needed a design for the chest.  I decided to use a double headed eagle.  I like that image and haven't done it before.  I looked around online for references and found quite a few different versions of the eagle.  I settled on this one since it's a neat one with plenty of detail

To transfer it to the knight, I created a simplified version to start.  I had previously drawn a vertical line down the center of his chest.  This served as a guide for where to place the eagle.  Measured the height of the shoulders of the eagle (roughly halfway between the top of the heads and the top of the tail) and place a horizontal line on the knight where I thought those should fall.  I placed dots for the location of each eagle head (measuring the distance from the center line so they're spaced properly).  I did the same for the wing tips.  I then created a very rough version of the eagle design.

Once I was happy with the roughed in version (the size, proportion, location, etc), I started to fill it in and add a few more details.  While doing that, I rough in the shadows on the design as well (following the locations of what I'd previously roughed in).
And then the wings...

The design is by no means finished, but I've got the main idea of what I want to paint on his chest.  At this point I start to paint and shade the background (the bulk of his clothing).  This figure will have a black design on top of a white surcoat, so I started with the white.  Right now I'm just focusing on this chest.  Normally I'd do all the white together, but with the limited amount of time I'm breaking it up into small pieces which work better for those short painting sessions.
You'll notice that the white background made the design fuzzy, obscuring the clean edges from before.  That's fine.  The next steps will have me going back over the design to do the full shading and highlighting on it as well as adding further details and refinements.  What I've got here is meant to be a guide for the next step and not the final design.

An important question: why did I rough in the design before shading the background?  Well, I could certainly have done that first and then painted the design on top of it.  The reason I didn't is that I planned to use white with a high level of contrast for the background.  Getting smooth blends takes time and lots of work (layers).  Why waste time getting a nice smooth blend in an area that will be covered up with another color?  By roughing in the design first, I save time and effort by only painting/shading the background areas I need to.  I will have to go back and clean up the edges of the design, but that's a much quicker task than shading all of that white.