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#1 superbug

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:30 AM

I know I need to improve my painting technique. I'm stuck and need some advice. Here is an example. On this mini, isn't much contrast. You see brush strokes. There isn't much depth. I used to blame it on the photo,because the mini always looks better in actual. I need to learn to paint in a way that will show better on camera. I would appreciate all comments. Thanks for your time

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#2 Maglok

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:56 AM

I am no expert, but can give it a whirl.

The face is quite nice, i like that. I think the blue is quite overdone though. Maybe try to make it blend with the rest of the mini a bit more, maybe a wash of brown or the like. You could also put in some more time in the base. Overall though, this is still quite nice. You can see the skill on the face.
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#3 Inarah

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:57 AM

Brush strokes means you're applying the paint too heavily, or you're messing with it after it has started to dry.
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#4 Doug Sundseth

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

You see brush strokes.


You need thinner paint and more layers to get a smooth surface. To facilitate this, you might need to use a larger brush to keep the paint wet until it gets to the mini.

On this mini, isn't much contrast.... There isn't much depth.


Higher highlights; deeper shadows. People are commonly seen under light sources that are relatively small (that subtend a small angle -- the sun subtends about 32' of arc, for instance). Miniatures are commonly seen under relatively large sources (a ceiling with a dozen large fluorescent lights, for instance. The result is that you have to paint the highlights and shadows that would otherwise be cast by lights. And the levels needed to look good are higher and lower than most people think.

I used to blame it on the photo,because the mini always looks better in actual.


For better photography without too much work, use a medium gray background and lights from 45 degrees to right and left of the subject. Colored backgrounds can give you problems with your white balance and dark or light backgrounds can fool your camera into underexposing or overexposing (respectively) when using automatic exposures.
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#5 superbug

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:30 AM

Thank you You guys are great! Keep em coming I'm learning a lot.

#6 Panzer_Engel

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:16 PM

Just a query first; Are you painting over a white or black undercoat? I'd guess white, but I'd like to know before making any suggestions.
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#7 ced1106

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:09 PM

The sword needs... something, perhaps a color selected by color theory to contrast against the blue. If you do NMM, mebbe you can add a yellow or light color reflecting off the sword or whatever.

Then stick a red gem on the hilt. You will have the blue-yellow-red triad color theory suggests!

As others have said, the blue is quite saturated.

I think you're stuck in a good place, though. The face, skin, armor, and boots look great!

Color theory, including saturation:
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#8 Panzer_Engel

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:40 AM

Black undercoat? You're getting remarkably clean results then.

Other than pulling the highlights up a step further than you think neccesary. And then using an ink glaze to tone them down, and even out the transitions, I really don't have much to suggest.

One area that I think does need more contrast are your metalics, especially the armor, but here you want deeper shadows and base colours, not more highlights. You might want to start from a darker metalic colour, and cut down on the total area that's bright metal, with just a few very bright highlights on the edges of the plates.

Hope some of this helps.
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#9 Darkmeer

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:31 AM

One thing I use is Liquitex Matte Medium for my glazes, which seems to help smooth the paints out themselves. I really think it works great, but, then again, I'm a novice compared to most on these boards.
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#10 Panzer_Engel

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:11 PM

Speaking of matte; if you do use inks, you should probably use a matte sealant after, as they tend to dry with a glossy finish. Which is probably the last thing you need it you're trying to get your miniatures to photograph better.
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#11 smokingwreckage

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 02:59 AM

I'm not sure how to explain this, but when you stay in a narrow range you can get disappointing results. So, with skin tones, if you're using a warm tan, shade it with a different brown, say a cooler or a greyer brown, and highlight it with a warmer brown, a slightly pinkish tone. This approach is also in play when you use a little brown to shade the blue, or when people use a brownish black to shade armour, and people even use a thin purple glaze on armour.

Now, I'm not good enough to tell you exactly what to do, but I can see a problem I have also had, and I think this is the solution.

Basically, I think you need to use more brown! It will let you shade deeper without muddying things up like black can, it will mute the blue a little, it will make the steel steelier and the skin-shadows deeper.

You need to deepen the SHADOWS especially on the face. Under his brows, under his top lip, under his chin, everywhere that shadows should fall. You're shading to accentuate the miniature, but not to accurately depict shadows. This is a major problem if you want to look top-notch.

Lastly, maybe higher highlights on the hair.
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#12 CashWiley

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 10:16 AM

I put in cool shadows by rote the first time (following someone else's WIP), so the second time was tough. I broke out the color wheel and it turned out pretty good. I mixed a blue/green into the shadow tone and laid it into the deepest shadows. Here's a link to that WIP post.

It's way more subtle (and better) in my Drone project. I think for the Ogre I actually tried to glaze it in (not mixed with the flesh tone shadow), so it came out too strong in some spots.
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#13 dwarvenranger

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 08:53 AM

Isn't he scorpion clan? Shouldn't you have used black and red? JK
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#14 Corporea

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 09:12 AM

Shadows don't have to be cool toned. if you want to add some contrast use a brick red for your skin shadow. Rubens always used red shadows and it makes his work warmer in feel. example:
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#15 Anne

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 10:35 AM

Hi! Here's my 2 cents, hope it may be of help ::): . Also I just had 2 cups of coffee.... wall of text go!
I would give priming in white or gray a try, that way you won't have to build up as much color vibrancy to fight the black undercoating. You can still prime black with brush on primer for areas that you prefer to have darker, like shadows of chainmail armor possibly.

As mentioned above thinning with water is a good idea too. I have paper towels close by to absorb excess water on the brush and a test sheet of white paper to see how the paint is as I work, and how it comes off the brush, especially helpful with freehand detailing or eyes, to make sure the point is precise. I usually don't carry alot of water in the body of the brush, but the paint itself has been thinned down abit from straight out of the bottle.
Brush wise I use Reaper's kolinsky sable #1 or 2, (natural hair; synthetics tips curl fast).

Something to think about while painting regarding applying the brush to the figure, when painting shadow areas, pull dark color with the tip of the brush from the lighter colors into the shadows. When painting lights pull the tip of the brush from the shadow into the light areas, this will help with the displacement of water and pigment so it settles more where you want it to. I also find it helps sometimes to vary direction of brushstrokes, but I do this in thin layers, and most important -wait between layers so the spot is dry and doesn't pull more pigment up. Just work around the figure in different sections as spots dry.

Another thing that might be helpful, is to think about making each section distinct to the eye, where the separations are. Darklining helps with this, but also subtle Lightlining is useful too. I usually do that with a lighter shade of the color range in the section and faintly outline the area, or if it helps depending on the placement you can play with complimentary & secondary shading, to create colors playing off each other.

I wouldn't worry about going to light with highlights, you can always darken back down with thin glazing (not alot of water in the brush and very little pigment).

Sorry if I'm repeating above stuff, good luck! I like your work!
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