Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Medieval Raider (Workshop Figure)

 At the beginning of this month I attended a workshop with Ivan Hortal in the bay area. It was a 2-day class where we worked on this bust sculpted by Lucas Pina Penichet (Spira Mirabilis). It was a fantastic class and I learned a lot on painting textures as well as some nuances of light placement that I will definitely be using in my future work. I (and most of the class) painted the majority of the bust during those two days. I was very happy with the progress and, since he was almost done, I wanted to complete the figure at home.

Here's a look at the piece after the class. I had done a little more work on the hair the night I got home, but otherwise this is what I finished during the class.

And here is the piece after more work at home.

I painted the leather belts and redid the NMM. I really liked the approach to NMM taught in the class, I just spent a little more time refining those parts and adding a little more ambient and reflected color. On the skin I painted the neck and made some tweaks to the face (reflection under the nose, redoing the area under the eyes, adding some light reflection on the lips, some glazing, some highlight adjustment, etc.). I also worked on the chest, adding a little more hair texture and then using glazes to develop the shadows and add a little more color nuance. I wanted to add a bit of weathering on the shirt, so I add some small flecks of dirt. Finally, on the fur cloak I worked more on the highlights and did a little more ambient color glazing on the right, shadow side.

I'm extremely pleased with the end result. Here are a few additional views of the final piece.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Halfling Part 1

 I took a brief break from my charity piece to start on a personal project. I picked up a bunch of tips and ideas for improving my work at NOVA, both in classes and from talking with the other artists and judges. So I was eager to start something new and start to play around. As I said, I got a lot of ideas from NOVA but I need to actually start experimenting with them on a figure to really learn how to work them into my own painting.

I backed the Brave Halfling kickstarter last year and have had a printed copy of the figure kicking around my work station for a while. I decided he'd be a good piece to start on. I want to continue working on my use of light and shadow, which is what I've focused on so far. I picked a light direction that I thought made some interesting cast shadows and have started sketching them on the cloak and pants. I'm also trying to be aware of bounce light and how that can show up in the shadows. It's subtle, but along his jawline on the shaded side of the face, I've tried to paint some pale green light reflecting off of his cloak. I might increase the intensity so it's more apparent or maybe I'll leave it as is. This is part of the experimentation phase as I try to see what works and what doesn't.

The other topic I want to explore on this piece is the use of textures. Those parts are still to come, but I felt this piece has some great opportunities for texture on the cloak, the rolled up sleeping bag on his back, the metal pots and pans on his backpack, and the various leather parts. I'll hopefully dive into those parts soon. For now, I need to get back to the charity project and wrap it up in the next couple weeks. But, once that is done, I'm excited to get back to this halfling and see how the next part turns out!

Monday, September 18, 2023

Corvus Corax - NOVA Charity Primarch Project

It's been a while since I've painted a smaller scale piece, but I recently started on Corvus from GW/Forgeworld. I'm one of a group of painters each painting a different primarch. The whole set will then be combined and put in the upcoming NOVA charity raffle. While I still prefer to work on the larger figures, it has been fun to shake things up a bit and try doing a smaller scale piece again. Here's the progress so far. I'm hoping to finish up his body and at least get started on his jet pack this week.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Gurkhan Part 5 and NOVA Open Recap

 My painting time has been a bit limited over the summer, but I did manage to finish updated my pirate orc vignette in time for NOVA's Capital Palette competition. Here's a look at the finished piece. The main orc is pretty much the same, I added some color to the knuckles and feet plus some stains on the pants, but that's about it. The rest, however, went through more extensive revisions. I repainted the face on the goblin and the highlights on the hat to give it some more pop. The base was pretty rushed so I at least had something to enter at KublaCon. I decided to add a little more to the scene, placing a case of run in the front and a knocked over bottle behind the orc. I went over the wood with a variety of glazes to give it a stained look with a lot more nuance and visual interest. Then I added some blood stains/streaks and a bit of bird poop on the back. I didn't want to go overboard, but I spoke with Krzysztof Kobalczyk at NOVA and apparently he wished I had put even more bird poop on the base.

Looking at the piece some more, I feel like I could have also added some weathering to the goblin. Perhaps some splotches and stains on his coat for example. I don't have plans to take it to any more shows, but if that changes maybe I'll go in and add a bit more detail to it.

I brought this piece with me to the NOVA Open and used Gurkan, the main orc figure, to teach a class on painting large-scale display figures. It was a 6 hour workshop, so we have time to tackle a couple different topics including painting skin, leather textures, and cloth (including stripes). I had a blast teaching the class and was really happy with all of the students progress. I also loved seeing one of the students, Karen M., finish her figure afterward and enter it into the Capital Palette painting competition. She did a fantastic job and ended up with a silver in the apprentice division!

I entered my piece into the Masterclass division and ended up winning Best in Category with it for diorama. Overall it was a great show. I had fun teaching and taking some classes too. There was a fantastic group of instructors covering a ton of subjects. This was my first time traveling to a show since before covid, so I had a great time catching up with old friends, finally meeting a bunch of online friends in person, and getting to know some new friends as well.

The painting competition had a lot of really impressive entries. There was a lot of impressive work from around the US as well as some international entries. The show is judged on the open system, so there are multiple gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded in each category. However, the standard for medals was the toughest I've seen in the US so far. For example, the piece I'd won Best of Show with at KublaCon ended up with a silver at NOVA. And looking at the other entries, there were clearly pieces that were a level above it and I completely agree with the judges decisions. I ended up with two silvers and two golds. The golds were for my most recent pieces (these pirates and the Neko Galaxy figure I finished), so it's nice to see that growth over this past year. And it's nice to see the additional work I did to improve the pirates was worth the effort.

I would definitely recommend NOVA's Capital Palette to anyone interested in competing. You'll see some amazing figures in person, which I've found to be a huge help in my own painting journey. Just be aware this is going to be a tough competition and force you to push yourself. The show also has three divisions: apprentice, journeyman, and masterclass. So even if you're not an experience competition painter, you can still find a place to enter your work and be judged at the appropriate level. Whichever level you're in, the judging is still tough, but that also means if you do win something you should feel proud of the accomplishment. I'm excited to go back next year and know I've got to come up with something even better if I want to do well.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Nancy (Neko Galaxy) Part 3

This project has been on hold for the past few months while I was getting ready for KublaCon. I wanted to make sure I finished the class figure before the show, so even though this piece was close I needed to focus on that other one as well as the bust for my faces class. Now that all of that is behind me, I can get back to the final touches on my Neko Galaxy project.

Although I didn't show it earlier, after my last post I continued on with the figure and painted her gun, socks, and shoes. I then began to work on the base. I pictured her in an urban setting. The scene in my mind is there was an attach by giant robots and she quickly grabbed what was handy to fight back. The outfit doesn't quite seem right for a dense jungle or some planned battle field. I mean, I at least assume she'd put on some more armor if she knew she was going to have to fight and had time to prepare. So on the street of a city made sense to me. I didn't want an overly large scene, so I picked a pretty tight base and ended up even cutting some of the sculpted ground that came with the kit so she would fit. I built a bent and damaged street sign, I figure damaged in the fight, to help convey the setting. She ended up having one foot that was slightly hanging over the base, so I put her standing on another bent and damaged road sign to help extend the scene a bit over the edge of the plinth. I just attached the standing sign and need to paint the post. I also plan to add some more streaks and weathering to the sign itself. Now that the sign is attached to the base, I'll sculpt a bit of curb around it to finish off that corner to the base. I also want to dress up the base a bit more with trash and debris that you might find on a city street normally or perhaps items that came from the battle. I've got some rough ideas but still need to refine them a bit before I start gluing anything else down.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Class Figure (Gurkhan) Part 4

 I got back from KublaCon the other day and had a blast at the show. I had a workshop on painting large scale figures using Gurkhan which I think went really well. It's such a fun figure that can be used to discuss a lot of topics (lighting, skin, leather, cloth, metals, etc). I'll be teaching with it again at NOVA Open in DC this Aug/Sept. That class will be a bit longer (6 hours instead of 4), so we'll be able to go even more in-depth in some areas.

I also entered this piece into the KublaBrush awards and got the Big Child manufacturers award for the best Big Child piece at the show. There were quite a few Big Child pieces entered and I thought David Diamondstone's painting on their Idril bust was particularly nice. So I felt very fortunate to end up with the win. I also took my Vesha bust which ended up winning Best of Show.

Getting back to Gurkhan, I wanted to share the version I brought to the show. I could say finished version, but since I was trying to get all my class figures prepped, I ended up being pretty rushed to finish the base. Since I plan to bring the piece along with me to NOVA too, I'd like to send a little more time refining the work on the base and maybe adding a bit more detail in spots. But I think these images still give you a pretty good idea how the finished piece will look.

One of the topics I discussed in the class (and plan to spend time on at NOVA too) is creating focal points on your pieces. There's a lot of detail on the sculpt, a lot going on, so how do you help the viewer focus? One way is by using brightness. If we strip away the colors and just look at the light, you can see there are some brighter spots in the piece that draw your eye and create some focal points in the scene. I tried to also use color to reinforce this, so you've got multiple things helping direct the viewer around the scene.

I might take a little break and try to finish up my Neko Galaxy project (Nancy) from a few months back. But I don't want to leave this sitting too long, as I'd like to get the quality of the base in line with the quality of the figures before NOVA.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Class Figure (Gurkhan) Part 3

Work has kept me pretty busy this past month, so I haven't made quite as much progress on my painting projects as I'd like. So, with about a week and a half left until KublaCon, I'm working hard to get my pieces finished. The Gurkhan figure itself has been pretty much finished for a few weeks, but I wanted to create a little more of a scene around him. I thought I'd pair him with another figure from Big Child Creatives that I've had hanging around my collection since their first kickstarter. I liked their size difference and felt the poses worked well together. I picked a similar color scheme for the new figure, though leaning more heavily on the purple than the orange to help balance out the colors overall. I also went for a slightly different skin tone, introducing some Command Green and Grey Green into the shadows and midtone respectively. Just as skin tone can differ from person to person, I wanted to introduce a little variation between these two.

The base is certainly still a work in progress with just a simple first coat applied to get a sense for the colors. The scene is 3D printed. I mainly used the ship model from Loot Studios and clipped it down to a small section that would fit the 70 mm by 70 mm base. Then I added a few elements to go alongside the chest, representing some supplies they picked up (stole perhaps) and have now brought on board. Some of these are also from Loot and some are from Keta Minies.

I have some other work to do in order to prep for all my classes at the show, so I'm getting low on time. But I'm sure I'll find a way to get the base painted along with all the other stuff I have on my list.

Just for fun, here's a little comparison of the two figures from when the 2nd guy was mostly a base coat (plus some early shadow work on the face) and where they are now. I remember in my early stages as a painter I struggled with online images trying to understand what was just the lighting of the photos and what was actually painted. So I find these side by sides helpful as you can see the piece under the same lighting conditions (as you can see from the other figure) before and after the painting of highlights and shadows.