Monday, September 18, 2017

Knight Part 2

Well, once again I'm jumping from project to project.  This time I'm returning to a 54mm knight I started back in June.  This is really just about relaxing and having some fun painting.  My other big projects (Count Melenth and the pirate scene) are at points where I either need to sculpt something or build the base.  But I haven't done much painting lately and I really wanted to work on something that could get me back to that.

I decided to simplify my vision for this piece and reduce the amount of freehand I had initially planned.  I still intend to do some, but won't go overboard.  I'd like to keep this a relatively quick project so that I can get back to those other longer term ones.

When last I left this piece, I'd base coated the surcoat in red with a yellow stripe along the bottom.  So that's where I continued to work.  I'm taking it in sections.  First the upper body, then the waist, and now the parts around the legs.  The belts and splits in the coat break it up, so I can just focus on one region at a time.  For the red, I used Violet Red, shaded with Burgundy Wine, and then highlighted with Fire Red and then a mix of Linen White and Buckskin Pale.  The yellow is Palomino Gold, shaded with Burgundy Wine, and highlighted with Buckskin Pale and then Linen White.

I still have the lower right section of the surcoat to do, but you can get a good comparison between that region where I just have sketched in shadows and then the more finished sections of the figure.  I need to do a bit of tweaks to the highlights on the top.  I also plan to add some sort of design to the front of the figure.  Right now I'm thinking a lion's head... but I may change my mind before I get to that part.  After I do whatever design I choose, I'll need to do some clean up with the background red, so I'll take that opportunity to fix the highlights up top.

By the way, if anyone wants a real close up look, here's the full res version of the last image.  Just click on it for the big version

Monday, September 11, 2017

Count Melenth Part 4 - The Count Returns!

Wow, it's hard to believe my last post on this figure was a year ago!  I got a bit stuck on how I wanted to approach the OSL on his clothes.  My problem was the location of the OSL source. The glow on his face had gotten a bit too bright, so I couldn't get any brighter as I moved down the body. This makes it hard to have an unseen light source below the figure and thus I want to sculpt a hand holding a light source closer to the face.

By the way, for future reference, there were two mistakes I made here or at least two things I did which lead to this dilemma. Having the glow on the face too bright was one. The other was making the main light on the face so bright (and skin so light). In order for the OSL to read well, I needed it's brightness to be at least somewhere near the main light. If I'd made the main lighter dimmer and darkened the face more, then I could have more easily made the OSL dimmer and had somewhere to go in terms of brightness farther down the figure. I suppose I could try and repaint a good portion of the face to correct that, but I've done so much work I really don't want to redo it all (hence my attempt to sculpt a solution instead). Still, it's a good lesson to learn and if I do something like this again I will approach it a bit differently.

Anyway, a few months ago I made a first attempt at sculpting a hand. Well, technically third attempt, but first actually completed hand.

I was pretty happy with that, but I still felt it wasn't good enough. The figures felt a bit boxy, the pointer still looked off, and it just didn't seem to match the figure. In testing it's placement, I also felt that no matter how good the hand looked, it's positioning would still feel awkward. So I decided to try a different approach. Instead of the right hand holding a magical blue flame, I'd have his left hand holding a cane with a glowing orb on the end. I think I can position this so it won't look awkward and will still provide a logical source for the light. I started sculpting this weekend. I've still got a ways to go, but here's how it's looking...

I began with an armature, slightly different than the last one but I liked it better for positioning the fingers.

I then started sculpting over it. I began with a very thin layer for the main body of the hand and baked it so I had something to work over. I then did a second layer where I started the figures and added another wire for the thumb, then baked that. Reasonably happy with the structure, I started to flesh it out and further develop the shape and start adding details on the back of the hand. That's the current state and I plan to work on it more before baking it again.

It will be positioned so that the main view is of the back of the hand and upper part of the fingers, so those are my main focus. Once those are done, I'll do the rest of the fingers and inside of the hand. Still got a ways to go and, if it's not good enough, I'll give it another try (and perhaps another try after that). But I'm hoping if I continue slowly and carefully, this one will be decent enough that I can use it. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What's Next

I just got back from NOVA Open and plan on writing a review of the show, my experience in the seminars, and the Capital Palette competition.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share a quick post on what's next for me...

With NOVA behind me, I'm thinking about the next big show on the horizon.  Okay, there are a lot of shows coming up, but due to family and work obligations (not to mention cost) I've got to pick and choose carefully.  The next big show on my schedule will be Crystal Brush coming up next March.  That gives me about 6 months to finish up some new pieces.  While plans may change, here's what I'm thinking I'd like to bring...

Redghar, the dwarf pirate, and one of the monkeys - These three will be combined into a pirate crew themed diorama.  Two of the three figures are almost done, so I'm starting to plan out the base/scene.  That won't be simple, but I think this is far enough along I should definitely be able to finish it in time.  The diorama category is super competitive, so if I can even make the cut I'll be happy.

Count Melenth - I'd like to bring him along for my entry into the bust category.  There aren't any easy categories at Crystal Brush anymore, but this might be might best shot to medal.  I still need to sculpt a hand for him, but I've brought out the clay and am starting to give it another try.  This guy is maybe halfway there.  But, if I can sculpt a hand I'm happy with, I should be able to finish him in time.

Large Scale Piece - I've been going back and forth on this, but I know I'd like to bring something for large scale as well.  I was almost decided on the Celt I'd started a while back, but just decided to scrap that plan (though I still intend on finishing the piece).  My main reasoning was the Celt looks good from certain angles, but the pose or perhaps just my painting looks just okay from others.  You can't control how the judges see the piece or how the photos are taken, so better to bring something I'm happy with from all angles.  I've been debating this a lot, but I think I may have my mind made up.  I want to paint Lozza from Latorre.  I preordered this piece a while back and it's supposed to go out in October.  It's a 75mm fantasy piece, but some of the early WIP images made me think of post-apocalyptic mad max style scenarios.  So I'd like to do some minor conversions to him and reimagine the piece in that other setting.  I've already got ideas for a story and scene for him, so I'm eager to get my hands on the piece and get going.  Obviously that may all change once I have the figure in my hands, but for now that's my working plan!