Wren

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Wren last won the day on December 15 2016

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About Wren

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  • Birthday 07/13/67

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    Knoxville, TN (formerly Toronto, Canada)

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  1. Do you mean a very small strip of paper with circles on it? Ben Komets and Max Cexwish devised a system to allow people to test paint consistency. They have pre-printed transparencies of paint on a small strip the correspond to various dilutions (layer, glaze, etc.) The paper strips are coated with something so the paint doesn't soak too much into the paper. The painter can paint a bit of their colour onto the strip to test if the transparency corresponds. I don't think it would be a great way to record colours or mixes or anything though. I got some at a convention, not sure if they sell online or anything. (If this is what you're talking about.)
  2. I exchanged brief emails with Ron today. He's toiling away at Bones 3 fulfillment, and I'm not quite done with the painting. So I think it'll be at least another day or two before anyone should get too hopeful about previews. Sorry everyone!
  3. There are some similarities, and some differences. His technique is probably more accessible and quicker. I might give it a go some time! The way he paints his lines is what I was trying to describe. Stippling we did much differently. I used a brush with a sharp end to make lots of deliberately placed dots and blobs. He used a frayed brush to randomly apply texture quickly. He also did some drybrushing and edging prior to that to lighten up edges that would be more worn, which I did via concentrating my deliberate dots near edges and protruding parts. Colour we approached differently. He started with grey/white and glazed on transparent brown washes in between weathering steps. I started with a dark brown and layered up my dots and blobs with lighter browns. I only did one glaze with a dark blue to tone things down in the less worn areas and add shadow depth. I like the richness and variation he got with his colour application quite a bit. Another thing I like about his approach is that some of the different inks and washes he used have a bit of shine, so you'll get a textural variation via finish, as well. One thing I didn't like as much about his approach is that it is a very uniform application. The overall surface looks quite varied, but it's also important apply paint colours of different values in such a way as to bring out the depth and 3D nature of the model, just as you do when painting a smoother surface. He was working on a figure large enough to cast some natural shadows, so it's not as vital or apparent there, but for a gaming scale human, it's much more important. So I'd add some additional dark glazes to shadow areas, and I'd probably take a little more care about applying more weathering to areas that would receive more damage. I would also do darklining on something like the crevices between the leather wraps on his demo figure rather than just relying on washes to define those.
  4. I call the strings gribblies. ;-> Diamond file texture is a much better fit for Bones than crosshatch metal file type. I'll have to try the alcohol method some time!
  5. I have a small notebook I use whenever I attend a mini painting class/seminar. My learning method is such that writing things down helps me remember them better, but also I am forgetful and find it useful to refer back to. I think I've got years of notes in a little Moleskin type journal, and a bigger book I used before that in the early days. As a teacher, I provide pretty extensive hand-outs for all my classes. Largely this is to save in-class time so people can spend as much time as possible painting Partly this is because I'm not always super articulate in speech, but I'm a pretty good writer, so even if I don't make everything clear during the class, people have something clearly written to refer back to. Writing the handouts also helps me discover what I know on a topic, what I might need to do more research on to be able to clearly explain. (I was just watching a lecture series that recommended going into teacher mode, if only for yourself, to really cement your understanding of something, or discover whether your understanding isn't as good as you thought it was.) Many but not all teachers provide handouts, but even with them you might want to have your own notebook in case questions are asked and answered that aren't on the main subject or expand on it past the contents of the handout. (So it's not at all weird to see people taking notes at ReaperCon.) For a painting journal of my working habits, I've gone through a few different phases. When I first started out, I kept a sort written diary. There are some useful tidbits in there, but overall I don't think it has huge value. Later I switched to using blank index note cards. I listed colours used, and could swatch those on the edges if I did colour mixes I might need to match. I'd also occasionally do colour test sketches. (Like what Derek does, but more the stick person version. ;->) I keep the cards in a box so I can refer back if I want to remember a colour recipe or whatever. Recently I realized that index card paper is possibly not ideal for this. It's pretty absorbent, so the paint reacts weirdly on it, and they're small so if I do a lot of colour testing or need to write more, it can get cramped or I have to carry over on a second card. I've switched to using a Strathmore drawing paper notebook. Drawing paper is 80lb, so while it's not intended for wet paint use (and it's not good for actual watercolour because it doesn't have the nice texture), it can take the paint better, and I have bigger pages to write colour mixes and notes on. Those pages are also collected together by virtue of it being a notebook, but that has good and bad points. (I will sometimes bring some of my index cards to classes to show my process.)
  6. I wasn't feeling like you're challenging my authority, I'm just trying to assure you that I am in contact with Reaper and their paint mixer regularly, and have worked with them on paint related matters. So when I'm telling you that the intended mixer for Reaper paints is water, I'm saying that with both personal experience and the backing of the company. The other products made available are offered as a convenience for various uses, they're not intended to be the only mixers. I have answered your questions following both of those principles - you can use water, if you're having various issues with only water, here are some other products you can use in small quantities as an alternative. I haven't looked at paint mixes under 50x magnification. I do regularly paint at 3.0 magnification. Only rarely have I seen paint fall out of suspension detectable at that level. That is only with super thin mixes like washes and glazes, and only with a few colours. So I generally do mix those with 1:1 water:medium just in case, but I have also on numerous occasions mixed them with just straight water, or on some occasions with just wash medium or brush-on sealer. When working with paint over extended periods, yeah you'll have to stir now and then to redistribute the pigments, binder, and water. That's just the nature of paint. Some pigments or colours seem to do it more than others. I've heard of more problems with that in a few paints in other brands, where you have to stir pretty much every time you want to reload your brush. But I'm not sure if that's a medium/water issue or more a case of some pigments don't play as nicely together. Many years ago, not long after the introduction of the MSP paints, another painter and I noticed that a few colours of paint would not look the same painted over dry coats of themselves. This was visible to the naked eye as well as with the 3.0 lenses. It was also noticeable in layering mixes. Noticeable to the two of us, at least. Thousands of people had been using those colours with no complaints, and it took a bit of detective work to figure out what was going on. (Which was a combination of the two of us starting with darker basecoats than most people, using the layering and feathering techniques, and the base medium mix that was used in those colours, which Reaper changed after we noticed the issue.) I also noticed when my eyeglass prescription focal point was off by 1mm, so it fell within government ANSI standards, but not mine. I likewise cannot wear contacts because the correction is not precise enough. And I can see screen door effects and the like on projectors that don't bother the majority of people. So I have pretty fussy and fine-tuned eyes. When I take pictures of the figures I've painted, they're at 3-4x the size they get posted. They won't look as smooth, but I'm not seeing any kind of roughness like you're worried about from pigments falling out of suspension. (Also I paint mostly via layering, so the appearance of blending is a visual illusion not a literally blending, it will always show at some level of magnification.) What I'm saying is - I do not see the problems you mentioned in painting use or in my results. I'm not questioning that you might see some differences at 50x magnification. I'm saying 50x magnification is not intended use. 50x magnification is not how we paint, and it's not how we look at figures that have had paint applied to them. Tens of thousands of painters over decades of use have used paint mixed with water to paint miniatures and gotten results that depend a lot more on their skill, time input, and techniques used than they do on whether they're mixing in water or medium. I have been answering your questions as an artist, not a chemist, because I am not a chemist. :-> I think you're talking about chemist level precision at this point, so I'm going to have to tap out on trying to help you further. I just ask that you please not reply to other people's questions/threads suggesting that there is any problem if they add water to their paint. I'm sorry I couldn't answer your questions to your satisfaction, hopefully you'll find the answers you seek at some point. (Obviously metallic paints are a slightly different case, the large mica flakes will noticeably fall out of suspension and use of medium is helpful if one wishes to dilute them much.) Edit to add reply to additional question that you posed while I was typing: Reaper brand additives are intended to be used out of the bottle, they're not concentrated versions of those products like the ones sold by some art store paint brands.
  7. I'm confused about your complete aversion to adding water? The person who formulates the paint for Reaper recommends using water as the primary thinner. The other products are offered to provide ways to alter the way a paint mix behaves, not with the intention that they be used exclusively instead of water. I have addressed all of your previous questions with that approach - adding a bit of this or that to help shift the property of the paint. I did not understand that you were using (or wishing to use) exclusively additives and no water at all. That would explain things like why you're getting so much shine with Flow Improver! If you mix a wash with mostly water and a drop or two of Flow Improver, you will likely not notice that effect anymore. I don't know what the work was that you did 20 years ago. If you were mixing paint/ink for customers, that is different than the end use of whether a customer might add water. It would be a bad thing if Reaper were adding water to the bottles of paint they make to stretch the pigment and make things more cheaply. That is not at all the same thing as the end user choosing to add water to customize paint for various uses. I don't want a maker of fine scotch to water it down before I buy it, but I might choose to add water or ice myself. That's a pretty standard way to serve that drink. I can choose to use other mixers, or choose to drink it straight, but it's manufactured with the understanding that I might add water. Something else to consider is that materials available for industrial use can change in 20 years, and that even if they don't, materials available for different industrial uses can behave in different ways. I think you are carrying over an experience from your previous job that is not relevant to this material and situation. The paint binders and pigments used by Reaper are intended to allow for successfully thinning with water by the end user. It may be possible to dilute an acrylic paint to the point that you can damage the formation of the acrylic film on curing. I've had one 2D artist recommend not using water to thin thick tube acrylics down to a super dilute consistency for that reason. But she was talking about starting with a tube acrylic and thinning down to a glaze. And her second piece of advice was to buy paint that started out at a more fluid consistency. So for the 2D artists, if they want a very fluid paint, buy something like Golden's Fluid line. But if you're buying a paint line made for miniatures, like the ones Reaper makes (or Vallejo, or P3, or several others), you are already doing that. So you're good. Adding 1/4 or even 1/2 or more water to that isn't the same as adding the amount of water to a thick tube acrylic that it takes to make a wash. And even with that piece of advice from one 2D artist, I know several miniature painters who do it as a living who are using thinned tube acrylics at least in part to paint miniatures. If the paint on the figures that they're painting for people was failing to cure and rubbing off, their customers were be letting them and a whole lot of other people know, and the concern about acrylic paint film in miniature painting would be much more wide-spread. You're the first person I can really recall ever mentioning it. The Craft column is a dozen years old, and it was written by a forum user, not an official Reaper person. There are fashions in painting as in anything else, and many of the current additives were not available when the article was written. I'm not sure the current paint line was even released at that time. The bottle I see in the picture is from the previous paint line. The current paint line includes some flow improver in the binder mix, and is a little more fluid in consistency than the previous one. One of the problems with Internet advice is that it in a sense becomes fossilized like a bug stuck in amber. There are quotes all over from Jen Haley about the complex mix she uses. Except really that was also from a dozen years ago. What she paints with has evolved, and so has the way she paints. Want to know what she uses to thin her paint now? Water. :-> (And a 50/50 mix of water and brush-on sealer for super thin mixes like washes.) I wouldn't be able to get a quote from her because of Kickstarter fulfillment, but I promise you, the woman who formulates the paint for Reaper mixes them with the intention that you can use only water as a mixer and they should work well. She has also specifically designed the paint to thin down well for applications like layering and glazing. I and a whole lot of other painters use the paints in that way. I have mixed glazes so thin they're basically coloured water, and I have mixed them using just water, and not experienced any problems. I have painted entire miniatures thinning paint with just water and not experienced any problems, and so have thousands of other painters. I am the author of Reaper's how to paint kits, and the author of the FAQs on Bones that they regularly refer customers to. They consider me an authority on painting with their product, and so do many other people. I did not include a bottle of any of the mediums in the kits, which are intended to include everything you need to paint the figures they come with. The instructions include lots of mixing in water for various uses, and even specify the number of drops. These instructions were tested by me and other painters repeatedly, and they were reviewed and edited by a number of Reaper personnel including the paint mixer before being included in an official Reaper product. The official Reaper policy is that you can use water, plenty of it, and if you choose only water, to thin Reaper paints. There are only two situations where I will advise someone that using only water could be a problem. The first coat of paint directly applied to the surface of a Bones miniature will bead up if you add more than a drop of water. So apply it straight from the bottle or mix in additives if you want to dilute that first coat or do a wash directly over Bones. Once you have a coat of paint on the Bones surface, you can go nuts adding water to make glazes and washes the same way you would on a metal or resin figure, it's just that first coat that matters for. That is a property of the Bones surface being hydrophobic, it's nothing to do with the paint. The second situation is that when shooting paint through my airbrush, I found it clogged a lot more if I used only water to dilute it. I got fewer clogs with airbrush thinner plus water. Once the paint hit the figure it was fine either way, the issue was how the paint behaved in the airbrush. Seriously, the recipe to paint miniatures is paint + water. That is what works for the vast, vast majority of us guys. :->
  8. Actually the cooking thing makes me think of another way of putting it. You are approaching use of additives like ingredients in baking. In baking it is important to use fairly precise measures and ratios of salt, baking powder, etc. to get the correct reaction in the mix and correct end result. I, and many other users of additives, approach it more like cooking - add a dab of this and a pinch of that, sub in the other if you don't have that one ingredient. It's much less precise, and much more about figuring out what works with your preferred techniques and working methods. So while it's useful to have a recipe guideline, don't get too locked into it and never deviate from that. (Also the basic recipe for painting miniatures uses two ingredients, paint and water. ;->)
  9. For thinner mixes I'll use half water, half wash medium, if I'm just diluting the paint a little I'll add just a drop or two of wash medium. I don't tend to subscribe to the idea of find some master mix and mix it into everything all the time. I use the products I need for a given application as I need them based on what I'm painting, the paint, current climate conditions, etc. On the other hand, don't overthink it too much. These are helpers, they're like adding a pinch of salt to a stew. They can make certain techniques or effects a little easier. They're not the main ingredients, and they're not a replacement for the skill of painting. There's no quick fix or skip to spending time in the chair learning how to do the basic skills. If you have good basic tools like quality paint and brushes, those skills can be done with no thinner other than water. Note that even experienced painters don't get a cheat code. I normally paint via layering. If I sit down and try to wet blend or two brush blend or whatever other new skill, it takes me much longer than if I'm painting the way I'm familiar with, and it requires much more concentration, and it's more frustrating. I just have to suck it up and deal with that for a while until I get more of a handle on the new skill, or accept that if I want everything to be comfortable and easy, I'll have to stick with the limitations of what I currently know how to do. Unfortunately when you're new to painting that sort frustration can apply to all of the skills. And it also means you might not have enough experience under your belt to know what kind of additive or whatnot would be helpful. It may be that the best thing you can do right now is just pick one or two basic techniques and spend as much time as you can with paint, water, and brush using them on some figures. The more you log the miles, the more you'll find all the other stuff start to make sense, and the more you'll be able to judge what works for you. (I say this with the memory of being likewise confounded by all the talk of additives and whatnot when I started painting, and there was less whatnot around then. Must be even more confusing now!)
  10. I have posted more pictures and some information on how I painted the leather and constructed the base for Eli in Show Off. Sorry that took longer than I'd intended, but I'm really crunched for time lately. (Which may be as much to do with why you haven't seen a June preview yet as how busy the Reaper crew currently is...)
  11. I promised to post more pictures of this figure, and also to explain a little how I painted the leather. Unfortunately I've been pretty pressed for time this month. (It's possible that part of the reason you haven't seen a preview for next month's figure yet is the time pressing...) So this is definitely going to have to be just an 'explain a little'. I will try to expand on the leather in another post at a later date. Or if you're coming to ReaperCon, sign up for my texture class and I'll explain texture painting too much! ;-> The last photo is a not great WIP from my phone. I started by spending in a few hours roughing in the colours, shades, and highlights based on the direction of the light. This is a new approach for me, typically I paint one area to completion, go on to the next, and then touch up a little at the end. So far I am liking this approach, it helps me to see if the big picture is working before I've put a lot of fiddly work in. I was immediately unhappy with the colour of the innermost layer of clothes, as being too similar to the armour. I needed to keep a little lighter to contrast with the dark leather, but I shifted the colour a little for more contrast with the armour. The basis of the worn leather was to highlight up with stipple strokes, concentrating on the edges and other areas that would get rubbed and worn. As I refined it, I added thin lines, painting a darker line to create a crease/cut, next to a lighter line facing towards the light source (which was located roughly just above the dagger in his out-stretched hand.) If the stippling got too light or too even, I'd just go back in with a darker colour and stipple over the stippling to break it up. A lot of texturing is back and forth like that. The armour got a little light at this stage. I added a thin glaze of one of the darker blues from the cloak in shadow and middle areas. That was very effective in making it look like dark, somewhat dirty leather. But possibly that glaze should have been even a little thinner, as I think it dulled the texture look down a bit more than I intended. I don't think you can paint this kind of fine texture with a synthetic brush. To keep good control over the size and placement of strokes, you'll need a good sable brush that has a needle fine point. That is particularly important for the fine lines stage I didn't use a particularly small brush for the general stippling, but for most texture work, I will use a brush that's got a pretty narrow head. I tend to prefer a shorter bristle head for very fiddly stuff when it's important to be super precise or uniform (like the stipples for Tara's cloak, which are much more even than these). Using a body posture to help minimize movement and brace your hands is helpful to holding steady. (And one of those things I can explain in two minutes in person but probably not in text.) Good lighting is also super helpful, and magnification. Even if you're younger, if you're having trouble trying to do something like this and you have decent brush control, try magnification before assuming you can't paint tiny detail. (If you don't wear glasses, the test will cost you all of a $5 pair of reading glasses.) I don't thin the paint as much for this kind of painting as for layering. You want the stipples and strokes to show up. If you compare the WIP to the final version, you can see another few changes. I painted the face kerchief last. I tried it in black, but it did not stand out at all, and I needed to bring more attention up to the face. So in an homage to the bandits of Westfall, I switched to red. I glazed a bit of the red into the belt and pouch to tie the red in a bit more (which is also why I used it on the leaves on the base), and also to separate some of the leather pieces from one another a bit better. I think I also said I'd explain a bit more about the base. Unfortunately no time to go take pictures of various components. The stones on the base are from a press mould basing stamp. I think Basius, but I have Happy Seppuku moulds, too. If you scroll through the pictures on this page, you'll get an idea how that works. (Reverse impression mould, you stick some putty in it to get a positive.) You can make whole bases with most stamps, but I also use leftover putty in portions of the moulds to get pieces of texture to use as I've done here on Eli. (This Kickstarter is concluded and I don't think you can buy the stamps currently anywhere online, so this is linked not as a commercial item but for the general how-to of using texture stamps.) So to make this base, I first cut off the base he came with and glued him down to a plastic base. I glued pieces from the texture mould in a few spots. Then I filled in earth texture around the feet and stones by using an acrylic texture medium product. Golden and Liquitex both make these, and you can find them in the art store. The intended purpose is for canvas artists to mix these into tube acrylic paint to give it weird textures or make it super thick. So you can get a thick texture that is smooth, or you can get it with little bits of sand or pumice mixed in. The product I used is Liquitex Texture Gel, though it's years old and very possible they've changed their product lines or names for products. A good art store will likely have some painted samples of what each texture looks like. There are several that can be used for a variety of basing purposes. I apply it with a toothpick or an old damp brush. It's a bit like frosting a cake, it's not a super precise thing. Vallejo also makes a few products along these lines (or did several years ago when I purchased mine.) Regardless of brand, these come in largish tubs, so unless you're looking to make terrain boards you could easily split this purchase between friends. As a finishing touch, I added leaves. I've used birch seed pods and paper leaves in the past. These are actually another Vallejo product, Mica Flake Gel. It's small flakes of mica mixed with a gel medium. It's a super thick paste. The gel acts as a bit of a glue. I recently purchased loose dry mica flakes that I can likely use in the same way but glue on myself, but haven't had a chance to try them yet. I don't know why the formatting went a little weird in the second half, but I've already spent much more time than I had on this, so I'm just going to leave it as it is, sorry!
  12. There are different kinds of metallic paints. Reaper's commitment to being able to put non-toxic on the bottle does exclude use of some possible pigments/ingredients. You might try a bottle or two of Vallejo Air metallics. Those are about as smooth as I've seen for mica-based paints. Vallejo also makes a couple of alcohol based metallics. Those are terrible for drying out super quickly, but they're amazingly bright and shiny. You'd need rubbing alcohol to thin and clean them up, and it's very tough on brushes. (I use what they used to call super silver sometimes for the hot spot points on metallics.) I do agree with the comment that there are some lovely colours in the MSP Bones metallics. Also that it's worth trying to thin them with medium. I can confirm that Golden Air Brush medium also slows dry time, but not every medium will have that effect. I have found that metallics just get clumpy and weird left out on a palette for any length of time, wet palette or no. I just dispense a few drops at a time and start a new pool when the previous starts to get clumpy. Also, if you aren't already, try doing layered shading/glazing for shadows on metallics, using matte paints. Washes can sometimes just make everything look rougher. If you're looking at nice paint jobs from Michael Proctor or a few other the other metallic wizard painters, that's generally how they do it. There are buff on and other options used by model makers, but I know little about those and tend to assume they're not being used for our types of figures/scales because they're not practical for them.
  13. I have not noticed any shine added from Wash Medium. I do not understand the saturation point question.
  14. I like a long thin bristle head for lining, but a much shorter head for the controlled strokes of tiny dots and dashes. Absolutely I have to recharge the brush more often with paint than with a nice full belly brush, but I don't get paint drying on it between palette and figure, and I can get several dots/dashes out of one charge. I do live in a pretty humid place, though I'm pretty sure I've painted the technique in winter when the air is much drier due to the furnace running. It might also be worth noting that I do not significantly thin my paint for that type of painting, since the point is to have the dash/dot show up. So I only thin colours with a lot of white in them as necessary to keep from being too stark looking. Thinned paint may be drying out faster than the thicker paint does? Worth trying, at any rate.
  15. People have used spray matte sealer (Dullcote, most notably) on plastic minis to give the slick surface a tooth to paint over. My guess would be this is along the lines of the suggestions you're getting? I take the philosophy of using products intended for purpose, so I would try that with actual sealer and not bother about hairspray. I know in the early days of Bones, there were a lot of suggestions to use Dullcote as a primer. And it does give tooth and lessen the beading up that can happen with the slightly hydrophobic plastic surface. HOWEVER, I would also want to mention the results of my testing as an important caveat. While it makes the surface easier to paint ON, it makes that paint much less durable. In my durability tests, the figure I 'primed' with Dullcote suffered much more extensive damage to the paint job than the figures with no primer, brush-on primer, or Duplicolor spray primer. (Though I will now mention that I don't recommend spray products on Bones at all since they often don't cure and remain somewhat or very tacky to the touch depending on product and weather conditions. My Duplicolor test figure was a little tacky where I didn't paint over it, but still more durable than the Dullcote primed one.) So if your goal is figures you can play with, it's not a great answer, and I don't imagine the hairspray would be any better.