Wednesday, December 26, 2018

2018 Year in Review

Well, it seems like a good time to look back at all my painting related work from the past year. This year included a move to a new city, which provided a bit of a disruption from my normal hobby work. Unfortunately my new hobby space is a bit more isolated, so I'm still trying to find the balance between work, family, and painting. Of course we'll be moving to a new place (same city though) in another 3 or so months... so perhaps that setup will end up working a bit better for me. :)

There's been quite a bit of painting though, because I've got some bigger projects in the works, it hasn't resulted in that many 'finished' pieces.  Only three pieces were fully completed this year: a 28mm White Speaker (commission project), a 54mm Knight of the Third Crusade, and a 54mm dwarf (Brom from Enigma miniatures).  The White Speaker, like this post, was a trip down memory lane.  Several years ago I painted the 54mm version of that figure, so it was an interesting project to see how, with more experience, closely I could replicate that work at half the size.

The knight was a really enjoyable project.  I'd had my eye on the kit for a while.  It's a pretty simple figure from Romeo Models, but there was something about it that just stood out to me.  There was plenty of room for interpretation and personalization with the color scheme and iconography.  The piece was also a great project to work on my metallics and my freehand.  It ended up being the subject for two articles in the Illustrated Historical Artist (one on freehand and the other on TMM) and won first place in 'Eavier Metal's 'Eadbanger competition (Master Single Figure category).

The final completed piece was Brom.  I'd wanted to do a relatively quick fantasy project, so I picked up this old 54mm Engima figure from a friend.  As usual, my 'quick' project turned into something much more involved... but it was a piece I definitely enjoyed working on.  The sculpt is pretty unusual.  The figure is wearing a hodge podge of cobbled together armor, much of it corroded.  That, along with the pose, pushed me to come up with a narrative for the figure long before I even started painting.  Although I wanted to keep this a single figure scene, I still worked to tell a story with the piece.  I actually have another article in the works describing that process, though it will likely end up posted online on the FigureMentors site as opposed to in a magazine.  So be sure to keep an eye out for it! ;)

In addition to my finished pieces, I've got a number of projects in various states of completion.  The largest of them is the 3 figure fantasy pirate diorama I've been painting for quite some time. Two of the figures, Barbarela Lord of Mussels and Redghar, were pieces I started in 2015 and 2016! I've had this idea of combining the dwarf with some other pieces, so it's been something that's evolved over time.  Between then and now, I ended up repainting most of the dwarf.  My skills had improved and the orc was noticeably better than the dwarf.  So he needed updating in order to work together.  Those two figures are essentially finished and the third, a monkey, is nearly complete as well.  The base is still under construction (though that's nearing completion), but painting the scene will still be a significant undertaking.  I'd like to take this with me to the Crystal Brush competition, so hopefully I can get it wrapped up in the next couple months!

Another big project was the 75mm Tiefling figure based on Critical Role's Mollymauk. This started out as the Child Thief (aka Peter Pan) from Terrible Kids Stuff. While a neat piece, it never inspired me as much as I wanted it to. But, when I decided to create a figure based on one of the Critical Role characters, it seemed like an ideal piece to convert. So I redid a lot of the detail on the outfit and added the horns and tailed needed to turn him into a tiefling.  It was my biggest conversion by a large margin, but only the beginning of the project.  The character is covered head to toe in design work, so there's been a ton of freehand that's gone into this project.  Still more to do, though he does appear to be nearing completion.  I've got a base already planned for him (thankfully not as complex as the pirate scene).  But it also needs to be built and painted.  I'd like to also get this piece done in time for Adepticon/Crystal Brush, so lots to do and not much time to waste!

In addition to all of those, I've worked on a 28mm figure of Vax (also a Critical Role character) released as a special edition.  It's almost finished.  Just a little work left on the wings and then a small display base to build and paint.

I also worked on a 54mm gladiator from Pegaso.  This was a kit that I've liked for quite some time, but was a bit intimidated by all the armor.  After painting the knight (shown above), I felt a lot more comfortable with my approach to TMM and decided to give the gladiator a go.  While the main figure is mostly finished, I felt he needed another figure to complete the scene.  I picked up a fallen gladiator from El Viejo Dragon, but so far have only base coated him.  Since there's no specific contest I have planned for this piece, it's taken a back seat to some other projects.  But I do hope to return and finish it up shortly after the Crystal Brush.

And finally I did some early work on a 75mm Napoleonic Trumpeteer. Pretty much just focused on the face, so he's in the very early stages.

Aside from the painting projects, I've joined up with a new painting group in San Jose (at the Game Kastle in Mountain View).  They're a great group of painters and have quite a few people who are focusing on display painting (and larger scale pieces) and pushing themselves to improve their abilities.  It's definitely been a highlight to get to interact and paint with them on a weekly basis.

Looking ahead to 2019, I've made plans to attend Adepticon after missing the last two years.  I'll be teaching two workshops on painting faces and skin plus a demonstration for freehand.  A little closer to home, I'll be repeating the faces and skin class at KublaCon in the bay area.  I've also got a weekend workshop at Game Kastle planned for July, though we are still working on the details.

All in all, it's been a productive and fun 2018.  And I'm definitely looking forward to what 2019 has to bring.  I should be able to finish off a number of big projects and I can't wait to get back to teaching some classes!  I hope all of your 2018s were just as memorable.  And I look forward to seeing what projects everyone else will be working on in the coming year.