Monday, September 26, 2011

The Measure of a Painting Day: GW Dark Elf Sorceress

I've been asked a few times how long it takes me to paint something in hours, once I set my mind to it and allow myself no dithering. So I gave myself a challenge on Sunday: how much of a reasonably detailed mini could I get painted in a day?

For my little test I chose the GW Dark Elf Supreme Sorceress, which is a fun piece to paint, what with all the hair, skin, and muscle tone to deal with. I wanted particularly to see how much of Mathieu's lessons on the human form as a structure of spheres would serve me. Turns out I was able to use it a lot to handle the elf's belly and her outstretched arm. 

At the starting line:

At one hour (model cleaned and assembled, ready for priming):

At two hours (primed and basecoat underway):

At three hours (mostly basecoated):

At five hours (basecoated, eyes and face, and miscellaneous initial detail work):

At eight hours (base is basecoated, blacklining around her gold bits and some detail to her tiara -- this is where I stopped for the day):

I could get faster, I suppose, but I find that I enjoy the sculpts so much that I want to take my time trying to bring them into vivid reality to the best of my ability.

And I just have more fun that way. So there.

Masterclass II with Mathieu Fontaine!

Coming November 12-13 to Games Plus in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Woot!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Chaos Nurgle Lord finished!

Aaaand of course I forgot to take a picture until after they put him in the case. Oh, well. Here he is courtesy of my iPhone's camera:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

On the Painting Table: Nurgle Chaos Lord

Our local GW Hobby Center has started a monthly painting competition called "The Brotherhood of the Brush." It's basically a way to create some friendly low-stakes rivalry and a sense of community among the painters in the area. The way it works is that everyone paints the same mini, and at the end of the month a winner is selected by popular vote. The winner gets to pick the next month's mini.

So to kick things off, the store manager picked the newly released Nurgle Chaos Lord. Here's mine, as WIP:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Slaying Wet Blending with Tim Lison

My local GW shop manager was on vacation this week, and minding the shop in his stead was Tim Lison, multiple Slayer Sword winner. Needless to say, I spent a chunk of time hobbying there this week. Tim was even good enough to bring in some of his Slayer Sword/Demon-winning entries for me to ogle up close, and he shared a lot of his perspective on painting. A highlight (ba-dum-cha!) for me was learning how to wet blend from him, one-on-one; we did so while also doing reverse highlighting. We practiced on a couple Black Reach Terminators, and I felt like I got the basic hang of it. Woot!

Friday, September 9, 2011

On the Painting Table: Zenithal Ultramarines

A few pics of work in progress. Trying a method that Thomas David uses in the Miniature Mentor Speed Painting video, where he paints a subdued palette onto the mini in the appropriate highs and lows, and then glazes the color in over that. The starting point is to airbrush the mini using a zenithal approach. In this case, the light source is pitched forward slightly, so that the shoulder pads, head, and top of the jump pack get the brightest light. These minis have had the airbrushing done and the initial glazing. Next steps are to apply some additional manual shades and highlights to force the light where I want it (the face and tippy-tops of the pads).

The idea is that lighting these guys like this helps create not only a point of focus, but also a sense of forward motion, which the Black Reach space marines really need. These shots aren't the most balanced, but you get the idea.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Already prepping class models...

For Masterclass II, in a fervent hope that we can make it happen. Details TBD.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Masterclass I with Mathieu Fontaine: Ogrepalooza

So we had Mathieu Fontaine come down from Quebec this past weekend to teach his Masterclass I, which is all about figure painting. We learned to paint skin, cloth, faces, eyes, and metal; we learned to see the figures as a collection of spheres (much as a comic artist sees a form in circles); we laughed, we was better than CATS.

Here's the ogre I worked on. No figures were "finished" during the class; rather, the mini was a canvas for learning techniques. I learned A TON, particularly about highlighting and shading muscles.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the Painting Table: Black Reach Dreadnought, Part II

Finally gave in and tried using Ultramarines Blue on the thing. I think it helped! Cleaned up the deets on the facing as well. Now for the legs, a purity seal or two and the bullet holes.

BTW, as I get asked this frequently, the base is made by Micro Art Studio out of Poland. Here's a link to their store page for this particular base: Click!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

On the Painting Table: Black Reach Dreadnought

Highlights are going to be the death of me. I need to push the contrast a lot more.

48 Hours at the Chicago Bunker: Dark Eldar Archon

One Finecast challenge later, here's a mini I painted last weekend. Pretty happy with it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Quick GenCon Paint-and-Take Fun

So I worked the Miniatures Hobby Exhibition tables at GenCon as a Paint-and-Take Instructor, and each day sat and painted the same minis the participants painted, using the same brushes and paints. Only fair, right?

In the process I discovered how much I love painting Wyrd miniatures. I didn't even know who these little guys were until afterward, but had a ball drybrushing them.

I'm even thinking of picking up a Malifaux starter set just to get more of the buggers.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Stormblades on the painting table again

Making slow but steady progress. I am using a method unlike the ones I've used before. Instead of highlighting and shading with lighter and darker tints of the same color (e.g., the Reaper triads), I'm using different colors altogether for shading and highlighting: colors distanced from each other on the color wheel.

Basically, Stormblades with their traditional blues, yellows, silvers and golds might as well have a half-finished "S" on their breastplates, because all they need to complete the Superman look is some red. This came to mind while attending one of Mathieu Fontaine's classes on color theory at Adepticon 2011. One of his favorite paints is P3 Sanguine Base, a deep purplish crimson color. So I'm using that to create more dynamic shadows. On the lighter side, some P3 Ryn Flesh is providing the other end of the contrast range.

Here's the Stormblade Officer as I'm in the middle of working on him. The blends are nowhere near ready, but the high contrast is starting to come out. To me, it makes him look like there's more...I dunno, like there's more "there" there. What was actually a pretty boring sculpt has a degree of interest now.

Friday, April 29, 2011

WIP: Erylium

Haven't gotten much work in on her lately, but am contemplating picking her back up, finishing, and selling her. Not sure. I tried to make her as close to the art in "Burnt Offerings: (Paizo's Rise of the Runelords AP #1); I append it below for comparison.

WIP: Pathfinder Goblins

This guy was painted up quickly along with three other goblin warriors for a Pathfinder campaign I GM. I decided to spruce them up and sell them. Work so far includes creating gradients in the sword blades, giving them eyes that actually shine, and adding a lot of Reaper Nightshade Purple for shadow. Next steps are flesh highlights on the leather, P3 Cryx Bane Highlight on the goblin skin, and some P3 Jack Bone on the, er, bones.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Viktor Pendrake, Scholar Adventurer

This is one I did last summer for a pal o' mine who teaches at Cal Poly. He's a mega-nerd like me, and even more so when it comes to comics. In fact, we're going to the San Diego Comic Con this year. 

Anyhoo, I wanted something that looked like a scholar conquering ignorance (here represented by the troll head) with an array of awesome literature at hand. "Awesome literature" here means:
  • A big leather tome version of Lord of the Rings (in back)
  • A collection of Thor comics (the green book with a hammer on the front cover)
  • A fusty old MLA Handbook (red book)
  • An illuminated abecedary of comic heroes, open to "B is for Batman" (thus the symbol on the facing page)
These pics were taken with an Iphone, so they ain't great. That said, the fig was close to finished, so I wanted to snap some photos. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

On the Painting Table: The Skinsaw Man

This is very much WIP, but I wanted to at least put a stake in the ground that I have something I'm working on. The guy's coat is a deep purple, but I wanted A) to create the look of dramatic, ghoulish green underlighting (to be emanating from some mold on its base), and to B) have the coat one of those almost iridescent silk affairs. Consequently, I used a few shades of green to provide the underlighting and the shadows (which are on top). It's been an interesting exercise in using a color wheel.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Priming, at least

God it's been a death march lately, what with work and family crises converging. The unfortunate reality is that my painting time has been eaten up. My work lately comes down to prepping my Arcane Tempest Gun Mages (the old ones, not the resculpts being released shortly), and boy do they need a lot of TLC. Them's some old molds, people. Pitted castings need filling, and even then the sculpts themselves are goofy. At least there's the Dude, and the Gun Mage Captain Adept. I have the latter, and in fact primed him just this evening.

And with the GMCA I also primed the Thunderhead, my converted Defender, and a villain for my upcoming encounter in The Skinsaw Murders. I'm GMing a campaign in Pathfinder, using their first standalone Adventure Path, Rise of the Runelords. Pretty cool!

On a sidenote, allow me to say that I simply adore Dupli-Color Sandable Auto Primer. In the pics I used White on the Thunderhead (hey, it's electric, not coal-powered), and Gray on the Defender. The nozzle on those paint cans allows for great control over the flow, it creates a fine dispersion in a vertical band, and it dries nice and neat. Although you can touch it nearly immediately, it's still a good idea to wait a full day (or at least overnight) to paint it. Sometimes I shorten the wait time by using a hair dryer to speed up the cure time. Laszlo Jakusovsky (of the Hot Lead DVDs) holds that hair drying a just-primed mini actually makes the primer harder and more durable.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sideways progress

Prepping the Thunderhead. Yes, I know it's a long time before I'll be ready to use the Thunderhead in actual play, but it's such a cool model that I want to paint it now.

Or maybe I just have a fear thing about finishing models, and like to spend my time prepping them instead. I mean, Stryker's been almost done for six months. The Lancer is about as close, and the Charger might need another two day's work at most. All the Ironclad needs is a quick light drybrush on the grass and a couple of arc markers.  I could have a Battlebox ready to use!

Except something holds me back. What?

Maybe it's some variation of the fear of commitment. If I call a model finished, then it's open season for others to criticize its flaws and rate me as a painter.

Or maybe it's that I'm restless in my planning, and I keep coming up with cool things I could do that would make it even better: all of which notably delay the finish date on the models.

Or maybe it's that I'm not fully satisfied with any aspect of what I've done, and I keep asking myself, "couldn't you have done that better? How might you improve it, now?".

Whatever the fear, rather than push through it I keep moving laterally, bringing multiple other models up to the same state of hand-wringing, almost-finished quality.

Like those damn Stormblades.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Brownlining continued

Subject line says it all. Making progress, though.

Here's a pic of the finished version of the Ironclad (subject of the very first posting below), and his little Lancer brother in progress.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Some pics from WIP

Finished basic basecoat coloring on Stormblades; began brownlining. God but it's tedious work. I made it about 3/4 of the way through one of them before I had to give it up. It does help, though, with defining shadow etc.

A while back I posted in the Privateer Press forums about swapping a Sturmhaubitze barrel in for the stock Cygnar Defender's barrel (which I think looks like a spare bit of plumbing otherwise); I made the leg swaps with a Nomad and got it ready for priming:

And here are a few of the battlebox Stryker, who is the farthest along: