Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Sigilist

I recently got my back drop mats from a kickstarter I backed a few months ago.  I was playing around with it last night and took a few pictures of some models I've painted in the past few weeks/months.  Since my blog was pretty much dead from May to January, I figure over the next few weeks I'll share what I've been up to.

So up first we have the sigilists from the northstar miniatures line for Frostgrave.  This was the first wizard duo I painted up for this game.  I dig the "battle nun" look and I loved the look of these models in particular.  I tried to go with the same color scheme that northstar went with, and I think I did a fairly decent job.  You be the judge.

I thought about doing some weird "glow" rune effect on the scroll, but decided against it.  I did a little free-hand on the trim of the main coats which turned out pretty good.  I also tried a different skin tone than I normally do.  I went with reapers "rosey skin" triad which was different and I think worked pretty good with the models.

One thing I will say when it comes to northstar, sometimes there molds don't line up and you get face stretching.  What I mean is part of the face gets pulled up and clearly from the box art this shouldn't be the case.  This happened a little bit on the main wizard (the one on the left), which wasn't a big issue on these guys, but I've had a few metal models from them which looked horrible and there was no way to fix it.

Anyways, just a quick update here...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Painting Eyes

I've been wanting to make this blog post for a while now.  I had trouble painting eyes for the longest time.  I watch numerous videos, read countless blog tutorials, practiced with other people's way of doing it and it always turned out like crap.  My miniatures would look googly eyed and terrible.  I've heard countless experts say "You don't have to paint eyes, just shade in the area", and every time I would do that it would feel like something was missing on the miniature.  That's because the face, specifically the eyes are a focal point on the model.  You're eyes are attracted to the face naturally, specifically the eyes.  Even animals do this, like when you yell at your cat and it looks at you in the eyes.

I've tried numerous methods of painting eyes over the years and I found a method that works for me and it might work for you.  I am by far no expert, but maybe this little tutorial will help someone.

The trick to this method is using the right equipment and keeping your paint as thin as possible.  If it's too thin, you'll lose control of it will run everywhere while if it's too thick, it won't flow right and clog up your brush.  I'd say a ratio of 3 drops of flow aid to 1 drop of paint depending on the consistency of the base paint your using.  Like I said previously, you want the paint to be as thin as possible.

I'll be using a one of my extra space wolf heads for this example...

I find painting the head separate from the body makes it easier to get into all the nooks and crannies of everything.  I basically just drilled into the bottom and shoved a toothpick with a little super glue on the end of it.

Next, you'll want to base coat the miniature or the head depending on how you're painting the model.

I mainly use reaper colors for most products unless I'm following a specific tutorial in which I'll use GW colors. I used reaper tanned shadow, reaper auburn shadow for the hair, and gw russ grey for the base.

Next, I shade the miniature like so...

I used reikland fleshshade on the face and hair and nuln oil for the base.  I like to put the shades in before I work on the eyes, that way I can see exactly where I need to put them.  Sometimes there's an eye lid, especially on gw models and if you put the eyeball on it, it looks horrible.

Now we're ready to define the area of where to put the eye.

Any black color will work for this.  If you make any mistake during this point (like I did with the left eye, getting some of the black on the lower eyelid) it can be fixed during the layering phase with the skin.  This is why I do the eyes after the washing as most mistakes can easily be corrected.

Next I used a cream color to do the actual eyeball.  It's good to use an off-white color as a straight white doesn't look right.  I used reaper creamy ivory for this.

Basically you want to draw it inside the black, leaving just an outline of black.  Again, you can see I screwed up on the right eye during this as I didn't thin the paint out enough which cause it to clog my brush which resulted in more of the cream color to come out covering the black at the bottom of the eye.  It's an easy fix as well since it happened right where I need to put black again for the iris.

Next, we go back to black (I usually add another drop of thinner at this point because it'll probably be too thick and this is very precise work) and I draw a line going down the center of the white on each eye, then slowly round out the sides in the shape of an iris leaving a little white on each side.

So you might be thinking the eyes are done.  Nope!!  Again, this is why I do the eyes right after the washing phase.  I know I'm going to make mistakes, I always do.  You can see I got black all over the eyelids, and I usually get black in places I don't want to.  It looks good, but it will look better after I layer the skin tone and can fix my mistakes... like so...

I reshaped the lids, kept the shade in the dark recess of the eyes, and added a quick tone all over the face and now we have a pretty decent face.  Sure, another layer of a lighter skin tone would look good, but I think I've made my point.

So, the take away points are as follows....

- Do the eyes after the flesh wash on the face.  Mistakes will be easier to fix and you can easily identify the eyelids and where the paint needs to go

- Any mistakes with the black can be fixed during the flesh layering phase

- Use an off-white color.  Straight white looks bad

- Thin your paints more than usual.  You need absolute control of it when doing this type of work

- Practice, this is not easy to do.  A steady hand is required, I also recommend using a head mounted magnifying glass along with a winsor newton series 7 3/0 brush

Here is a picture of the magnifying glass I use for anyone interested...

You can get these for pretty cheap off of amazon.  I think they're like $10 - $20.

Anyways, this is something different than what I normally post.  Probably not the best tutorial, but I think I get my point across with mistakes and all.  I hope it's been helpful.

Friday, January 6, 2017

An update

Hey guys, I know a huge portion of time has passed since I post anything on this blog and I just wanted to give an update on my personal standing in the miniature painting sphere as a whole.

As you can see, I'm still very much alive and functioning.  I have not quit painting, nor have I gone else where to post any work, nor have I slowed down at all.  I've been painting on a regular basis since my last post in late May.

You might be thinking "Well then how come you haven't posted anything here for over half a year?".  Well, I wasn't happy with how the past few updates pictures came out.  I didn't have the space to set up a light box or do anything photography related.  If I don't like something, I'm not going to do it.  It's as simple as that.  We've since moved into a townhouse where I have the room to set up something, but due to projects needing to be completed by a certain time, I just haven't gotten around to it.  I also recently invested in a kickstarter that will be sending me backdrops in February so I've been in this kind of limbo where I want to post pictures and get this blog back up and running, but I also want to wait until I can take professional grade pictures with a cool backdrop.  So more than likely, I'll start posting again in February when I have a good set up.

In the mean time, note that I haven't forgotten about this blog.  I'm planning on being more active here in 2017 than 2016.  The goal is 100 figures this year.  I also want to do a tutorial in the next week or so involving an aspect of figure painting that many people have problems with.... eyes.  I have my own unique way of doing them that will hopefully give a little insight to folks.  I also have 4 projects upcoming that have a time table, so those will be posted as I complete them.

So, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I look forward to a fruitful year in miniature painting.

- Dave