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Wren last won the day on December 15 2016

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About Wren

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  • Birthday 07/13/1967

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    Knoxville, TN (formerly Toronto, Canada)

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  1. Wren

    Christmas Tree for basing

    If you have a store that sells model train supplies, you can also check those. That's where I got the one I used in the Santa mousling diorama: https://www.reapermini.com/OnlineStore/santa/sku-down/03543
  2. Losing the midtone is a very common problem. Partly for just not thinking of it in the way that Corporea put it (which is 100% correct and useful). But most commonly because when you're trying to blend the transitions it's really easy for the highlights/shadows to expand out of their zones. Staying aware of the issue and painting regularly to build up brush control are the best remedies.
  3. To continue on with my series on contrast in miniature painting, I have a two part article. Part one talks about the mental aspect of commiting to paint with more contrast: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/06/how-to-paint-contrast-mind-games/ Part two gives you suggestions for how to visualize the light, and some methods of applying that to your miniature: https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/16/how-to-paint-contrast-hands-on/
  4. Wren

    [SPLIT] Vortex Shakers

    Hm, interesting. I'd been assuming holding something too large on to the cup would vortex, but seems like that might not be the case!
  5. Thanks for the idea Cyradis! I've got a bit of a stockpile, so I'm not sure when I'll get to it exactly, but I like it. (Also maybe best to give the realism fans a moment to calm down from my previous assault on their beliefs. ;->) Hopefully I'll paint something or two that fits in with the idea before too long to have some handy examples.
  6. Thanks Erin! I think your shelf is a great example of why contrast works so well. Sure, the figures with white or near white are what stands out on first glance, but you don't have to look a lot longer to see other figures start popping into view due to your skilled use of high saturation colours and other overall contrast. On your Dark Sword bust way at the back of the shelf the facial features stand out distinctly from the skin due to the great contrast between your darks and lights within the area of the face. (And the chest. ;->)
  7. I would actually say that contrast is even more important for tabletop miniatures than for display miniatures. With display minis, you're taking large photos and hoping people will pick them up and look very closely. We want tabletop miniatures to look great and read clearly from two feet away or more. Contrast is a strong tool for making things look good at a distance and distinguishing different items and textures. Colour contrast is pretty critical for tabletop, but dramatic light and shadow help too. That's precisely why I scaled down some of the pictures in this post and the previous one. So you can get an idea of how things look on a miniature at arm's length. If you go to the previous post you can see the figure I painted with more and less contrast scaled down. At the bottom of this post is a rogue's gallery of figures I've painted over the years. Some of them look pretty boring at that size because they are older figures that I didn't paint enough contrast on. Just like the row of real people. The ones with more dramatic shadow and light out in the sun stand out a bit more than the ones who are indoors. The other issue with tabletop minis is that they're more likely to be viewed in poor lighting (like a basement or dim game store) than a display miniature. So the more you exaggerate the contrast with paint, the more they'll stand out on the table even if the light is a bit dim.
  8. I shared a link recently to a blog post I wrote about understanding the feedback 'needs more contrast'. A common response that I've gotten to that is the feeling that high contrast is not realistic so what is a person who wants to paint in a realistic style supposed to do? So I thought I'd talk more about WHY so many instructors and painters emphasize increased contrast so much, and why painting with more contrast might be more realistic than you might think. https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/10/01/contrast-versus-realism/
  9. There's a bit in the blog post about that, but you may have missed it, so I'll elaborate here. :-> The original version was painted three years ago. While I usually write down the colours I used on a figure, I did not in this case. (Or if I did, I didn't find the notes. As I'm writing this I've just had a thought about where they might be...) I pulled out the colours I thought I had originally used, but very clearly I misremembered. The colours you use in shadows or highlights absolutely can shift the perception of the colour. Generally this is fairly subtle when used in shadows (I use purple, green, or blue all the time in skin shades for example.) It can be more perceptible in highlights, but since lighter colours that include white tend to be less saturated, this isn't always dramatic, either. Usually the effect you get with some variations in shadow and highlight colour (or in glazing in additional colours later as I often do) is one of greater complexity and interest. When I add purple to skin, or yellow, or green shadows, you usually won't see the purple consciously unless you turn the figure upside down and look at the shadows from another point of view. But even if the purple is not a darker value than the shadows, it usually makes the shadows look richer and deeper. In a similar vein, touches of yellow in highlight colours can add warmth and interest to highlights. (Brief pause in writing to search for notes.) I was right about where the notes were, and I misremembered more than I thought! My issue here was that I intially painted a completely different midtone and first few levels of highlight. Because my repaint colour choices were in the same family and started with matching values before increasing the contrast, this did not cause any issues when doing the touching up. I have thought about glazing over to try to restore some of the purple appearance, but I think I want to paint purple of the third Victorian lady, so I'm going to leave this one as is until I see where the colours on that one go.
  10. I don't bother. What I find most important to do with Bones is to store and transport them in such a way that they aren't rubbing up against each other a lot, since I've seen that demonstrated to scratch paint. I also try to pick a method so that thin parts aren't being bent to and fro very much. The plastic can handle that no problem, but eventually paint will start chipping off from the stress points, and I don't see that being something that sealer would help with. So basically my ideal is something like a piece of bubble wrap on the bottom of a container, layer of Bones, bubble wrap, etc. Sort of a Bones lasagna if you will, and then enough padding on the top layer that things aren't rolling around much. Even just wrapping them in Saran Wrap style plastic would probably be enough to take care of the rubbing together concern, but might exacerbate the movement of thin parts issue. There was no sealer on any of the figures that I tested in the linked FAQ threads. (Since I was at the time testing durability of primers and other starting options.)
  11. Oops, I didn't realize that was a preview colour, thanks for mentioning so that others were aware of that! I am a forgetful creature. You are spot on about lighting! Also the amount of time we spend with a miniature and our familiarity with it tends to make what we're doing look more extreme to us than it does to others. One thing that can help is to turn off your lights when you get up to get a drink or finish for the session. Then when you come back, pick up your mini and look at it under normal light for a while BEFORE you sit back down and turn on the bright lights and put on magnifiers and so on. I leave WIP figures up on a paint stand that I pass by a few times a day and occasionally stop to take a look at them. If something is nagging at me in that view, it doesn't matter how good I think they look under the light and magnifier, I need to figure out what I'm not liking about them in normal view. You can also take them into rooms with different lighting, or hold them up to a mirror and look at the reflection to shock your eye into seeing them fresh and getting a better look at them as a new viewer would.
  12. I think of this as more of a wine red or pink. With a proper red, you'll often get a situation where if you add something with a lot of white for highlights, it goes pink. If you add orange for highlights, it goes orange. Either can work in some instances, but isn't what you want in other instances. In those situations you can try a pinky or orangey skintone, or what I like even more than that is an orange with some white it in. Reaper no longer makes Red Dust, which was my favourite for that (it was a licensed colour for Heavy Gear). But the new Red Neon Glow 9321 looks like it should serve a similar purpose quite well. (Haven't painted red recently to test it out yet.)
  13. I know a lot of you who have entered the MSP Open at ReaperCon have gotten the feedback that your entry needs more contrast, because I've been one of the judges giving that feedback. It's a pretty common issue that comes up at most contests, or other feedback sessions. I know I've had it said to me a great many times, and I've been wrestling with the contrast bugbear my whole painting career. If you've been wrestling with it to, you might find it useful to read this blog post I wrote. I was inspired after I came back to this figure I started painting three years ago and then let sit a long while. I touched her up recently, and having before and after pictures of that also turns out to be a great visual example of what more and less contrast look like. I have already been working on follow up information based on comments I've been getting, so stay tuned for more! (Like why do we need to add this contrast, as well as how can we push ourselves to add more of it.) https://birdwithabrush.com/2018/09/27/compare-and-contrast/
  14. Anne does have a policy of not renaming the same colour something new, that I know for sure. I think she also doesn't reuse names for the sake of clarity, but I don't know if that's as strong of a policy. I just grabbed my old Bruise Purple and my new paint. Which I notice is actually named Bruise_D_ purple. That may be a typo, but I guess it's also possible it's meant to indicate it's not exactly the same colour. And my test swatches agree with you that it's not exactly the same. The newer paint is just a hair more reddish purple than the older one. There is another possibility here than that the pigment formulation is different. The pigments are mixed into paint 'bases'. These have the binder, matting agent, flow improver, etc. mix. But there isn't just one paint base and then everything that makes a colour that colour is determined by the pigments that are added to the base. There are several bases. Some work better with dark colours or certain other kinds of colours. My knowledge gets vague at this point, and more specific knowledge would probably be proprietary anyway, but I do know there is more than one base, and which base is used can affect the colour. I suspect some of the Sample paints that go out are a recipe that got mixed with the wrong base, so they're slightly off from whatever the colour is supposed to be. Kind of like if you make soup with a chicken, beef, or vegetable stock. It's still your soup recipe, but it might taste a little different. Anyway, while I don't think the pigments that Reaper uses have changed significantly, I do know there have been occasional changes to the bases. At least once one was discontinued by the manufacturer, and there was another that caused some paints to behave non-optimally and got switched out. That was around the era when the triad that included Bruise Purple was introduced. So the convention paint could be the same pigment recipe in a different base. I will try to remember to ask Anne if I get the opportunity. And then try to remember to come back to this thread. This may be a don't hold your breath situation... ;->
  15. Wren

    Pre-Painting: Mini Surface Prep

    Pretty much what Doug said. I'm a bit of a fiend for prepping thoroughly and well. I used to polish my figures with a Dremel polishing tool. (Kind of a wheel of wires.) Honestly it doesn't seem necessary unless it helps you see surface issues better by giving the metal a uniform finish. Large issues like mould lines and gaps are best addressed with files/knife and putty. Super fine surface issues should get filled in by a decent primer. (I most often use Reaper brush-on because humidity, or Duplicolor Sandable on the three days of the year I can use spray products.) If you find stuff in between that, like the kind of pitting Doug mentions, which tends to happen on robes and cloaks of thicker figures when it happens, I like to use a few coats Reaper's brush-on sealer to smooth out the area. For rougher problems I will use gloss sealer, but it is thick enough that you can unintentially add texture to a figure with it (either by not smoothing out the coat enough that you might see brush strokes, or by not pulling the edges out so you see a ridge where the sealer starts. Not super hard things to fix, just it's a transparent product so can sneak up on you.)