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A noob seeks progress

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Hi everyone.


After lurking for a while, and enviously admiring everyones skills, I have decided to finally try my hand at painting some of the miniatures I have. Hopefully it will make both my boardgames and my tabletop roleplaying a bit more interesting if one stops playing with gray and white blobs.


So I got some brushes, and some paint, and started to slap it haphazardly onto a couple of miniatures out of my Mansions of Madness box.The reasoning behind this was that I could get away with some slightly lower quality on miniatures for a boardgame.


A couple of miniatures in and it if fairly obvious that no amount of reading is going to substitute for experience, and that is where I turn to the people of this forum for critique and suggestions.


the first miniature I decided to try was one of the shoggoths which got a green coat of reapers muddy olive with a drop of black in it, and then got got coated with some glazes of pure muddy olive. I tried then to highlight with some olive green, but the contrast with the previous layer was way too high, and it looked quite off. the eyes obviously suffer from my inexperience with every single one having some wobly lines.


These are where I am with the miniature currently, and I am unsure how to progress with this one.Hopefully there will be some advice for how to improve it further.





The images link to my Flickr account to allow for larger images.


The second miniature I tried to do was the Dhole from the same box. I tried my hand at mixing my own colors here in order to get something a bit different from what comes in the box of paints from Reaper.


The body was painted with a mixture of Rainy Gray, Sunset Purple, and Deep Twilight. it then had shades done with a darker mixture of the same colors, (basically with more Deep Twiligh).

The tentacles are painted with a mixture of Pale Violet Red, and Blood Red. There is an atempt at a gradient from Blood Red to Pale Violet Red, but it does not show all that well.






Not sure how to move on with the highlight for this one, if I should add more of the sunset purple, the Rainy Gray, or perhaps a completely different purple or gray.


Sorry for the long post, and thank you for all advice, even if it should be "stop it you noob!"



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These are fantastic starts! The paint is smooth, the colors don't look splotchy and you have done some pretty cool stuff in places. I'll start with the Shoggoth. Its a great start. I like where you have shadowed places, this is something that takes some painters a long time to learn. I would try to make them a little darker in the deepest places it will make the highlights stand out more. I would try to draw fine lines around each of the eyes to define them from the rest of the body. Also, look at a picture of an eye, now don't try to do all the little striations and color changes yet, but do notice how there is quite a change in color from the outside of the colored part to the inside. Try to imitate this. I've given you plenty to chew on here. Give it shot or be happy that these look great as table top pieces. Something I have learned is that there is always something that can be done, no matter how good a job.

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Great work! You have nice smooth paint application, tidy brushwork and lovely color choices! If you want to smoother transition, you can accomplish this in 3 ways- either 1) blend the two colors while each is still wet (wet blending with either 1 brush or 2), 2) use glazes (thin transparent applications of your highlight color) in successive layers, or 3) glaze back over your transition with your midtone. Each works great, and is more of a personal preference.


I love that Dhole's colors! For your highlight I'd go lighter with something like a creamy yellow or a light gray, and I'd use the violet red maybe mixed with a bit of dark brown like walnut in the crevices/shadows.


Welcome to the fun! Congratulations on stepping out of the lurking shadows!

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If you're worried about too much contrast, the general rule is: MORE contrast! In the beginning it will seem like you've gone too far, and you'll be tempted to bring it back to more "realistic". But painting minis isn't so much about realism as it is about style. The important part is contrast, and then working on your transitions between contrasts. You can think of techniques as "style cheats", and which ones you use will be a preference. Experiment a little. Lining is a decent style cheat, and one I like to use. But it's by no means universal, some people like Monkeysloth line very little.


But the point is still all about contrast. Contrast, contrast, contrast! Higher highlights, deeper shadows!

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Really good start! I'd suggest for your green dude using some brown washes on the claws, since a lot of pure white is really jarring. If you work up to the white from brown, through a yellow, it looks much more natural. A thin brown or black wash, applied very carefully just around the eyes, will give you that lining without having to trust your hand to be really steady. Just be ready with some clean water and a clean brush to soak up any wash that you get overtop of the eyes themselves. A little more highlight on the most raised skin parts would give you a bit more contrast as well, maybe try something funky like lightening it with a bright yellow instead of staying pure olive. Or shading down by mixing in some dark purple, just to give it a little more variety of color. I really like to brighten my greens with yellow instead of white. Maybe it's just personal but I think it gives a very nice effect.


As far as the Dhole goes, I'd continue to highlight the body by lightening the Sunset Purple with some white, and for the tentacles, a drybrush with something, maybe even straight sunset purple, but done carefully with a small brush to bring out the little "tastebuds" and contrast them from the red. Highlighting red is tricky because you don't want to go pink (edit: unless you're doing cloth, in which case it has a nice "faded" effect), I find it's best to start with a really dark red and reduce the amount of black until I'm highlighting with pure red. There may be a better way though, I'm not a competition-level painter.

Edited by Ronald X

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This is a fantastic start. My simple advice would be to not fear the contrast. Getting highlights right is a combination of training your hand and your eye. It's also about developing your own style!


If you want the mini to be very clear and easy to "read" on the table, you want to start fairly bright, like you have, then go for some bright highlights, and then add some deep shadows. One approach to this, which Buglips uses, is to "darkline". Think of it as a bit like a comicbook, where you have black and white pen work, then coloured inks: darklining is the black and white line work. You don't want to outline absolutely everything, that will look more like a colouring-in book. And straight black can be harsh.


But, for example, you could take a very dark blue or purple and thin it, then carefully paint it in around the bases of the tentacles on the Dhole and around the inside of the rim of its "mouth" where the tentacles sprout from. Actually, you could use a dark red in the centre of the tentacle nest then a blue or purple around the rim. This will add depth and shadow.


Then you could ink in a dark line where the Dhole meets the ground of its base. You could even use some dark glazes from that seam up, getting less and less dark, to make him emerge from the shadows!


For the shoggoth, you could put a slightly darker shadow around his leg, a lick of dark glaze to define the top eyelid from the eyes, and a very light lick of orange or deeper yellow glaze on the bottom 1/3rd of each eye to give it more depth.

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I can only echo what's already been said:


  1. Good start!
  2. Unless you're specifically going for dark and moody, more contrast is almost always better. Deeper shadows and brighter highlights.
  3. Shade the eyes a bit, and throw a tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiny dot of white in the pupils where the light hits them.

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Thank you for all the great advice! I have tried to follow some of it, and have yet to try the others.


So far I have tried to increase the contrast a bit. It has mostly been between the shadow and mid layer, as I have yet to get the whole highlighting thing down yet.


For the Shoggoth I have so far lined all the eyes, as well as it's limbs, and tentacles. I have also gone over most of it's little folds and deepened the shadows there with a mix of muddy olive and black.


This is as far as I have gotten currently:





For the Dhole I atempted to drybrush the suctioncups with a paler collour, unfortunatly all I managed to do with that was paint the entire tentacle. Possibly this might have come from being a bit too overzealous with the first layer of paint. The drybrush did however give me a nicer transition towards pink for the tentacle tips. Since I couldn't get drybrushing to work I instead handpainted each nodule I could find, and when I couldn't find any I painted a dot where I expected that one would be. I also gave most of the cracks a round of a darker purple than I originally used. I am however still quite unsure what I should do with the rocks at the bottom and the base, since one still needs to be able to read the stat-card through the openings in the base. Anyone have a suggestion ?






There is also a newcommer here. His name is Harvey Walters and is one of the player minis. So far only has jacket is close to done. I have tried to take the advice that you have given to heart and employ it on this one. As such I am wondering what I should do about his head.Shading the face has apparently failed quite a bit, and I am extremely unsure what to do with his hair which is supposed to be whiteish-gray. is it generally the consensus that one would shade that by having a light blue baselayer, and then brushing it with a whiter one, and finally lightly with a pure white one ? or is there a better way to do it ? I am also wondering about what to do about his cane. keep it black ? or do you have any suggestions for what kind of cane an elderly professor would have ?







Thank you for any comments or suggestions you might have. And sorry for not doing any Reaper miniatures yet. The snow here in the north makes it hard to prime minis.






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The Shoggoth and Dhole both look much much better, it's obvious that you've taken people's advice to heart! :)


Harvey is coming along wonderfully, his jacket in particular looks quite nice. I can't help you with the face, since I really struggle with those myself, sorry. :( What you said for doing his hair sounds like it should work nicely, though again, it's not something I've tried myself. Don't be afraid to experiment!


Sorry I couldn't be more helpful. :/



--OneBoot :D

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I have finally had time to get back to my painting during the weekend and have gotten to start on a few minis. And I thought I'd post them here and get some critique from  the far more knowledgeable people here. They are in various states of painting, from has not yet gotten it's base coat to needs a clean-up. But do not fear laying into the comments anyways, as it can only improve my understanding of the art.


The first one is 89010: Damiel, Iconic Alchemist

This one is close to done, he still needs some shading and some clean-up where the brushwork hasn't been as neat as I'd like it to be. I messed up the face on this one and I am unsure how to do the eyes on this one.



The second one is 77009: Werewolf

This one  is also close to done, but he still needs some work on the shading. his eyes ended up a bit missmatched, so I have taken to calling him derpy the werewolf.



Thirdly I have been working on 77149: Damien, Hellborn Wizard

This one is still only half-painted, but I am enjoying him quite a bit so far.



Finally I am working on a bit of a special project. This miniature came with the Collector's edition of Neverwinter Nights 2 and the factory paint-job has allways irked me. So I decided to try my hand at painting him myself.


This is what he looked like when the robot at the factory had had tried it's hand at it, from the front:



And from the back:



and this is what he looks like during the process of applying the base layer.

From the front:


And from the back:



This giant is a lot of fun. He is a lot larger than any of the others I have tried my hand at so far. Which makes it quite interesteng since any mistake I make shows up so clearly. Amd by golly do I make a lot of em. I am quite conflicted about what to do both about his detailing like the rivets and the edges of the armor plates. Should I pick them out in a different metallic, and if so, should I go as different as bronze or gold, or should it just be a darker steel color.


Thanks for any comments.


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Don't forget to enter him in the non-Reaper category of the "Year of the Giants" contest, when you're done.

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Missed this the first time around, so I won't comment on the first stuff, but I will comment on what you're showing us today. First of all, your base coats are nice and smooth. In my oppinion this is the most important aspect of painting. Get the base coat nice, and you can build up from there, secondly, your choice of colours is also very good. especially on the alchemist. The one thing I would suggest you work on is to bring the highlights up and shadows down a bit more. It's one of the odd things with minis, is at this scale to make them look natural, you have to at times take the light and shadows beyond what seems right in order to create an illusion. As you get onto large figure such as your giant here, you can actually back off some, because they create their own naturally. of course that only really aplies to looking god for the tabletop. Looking good for display is a whole new level of complexity

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The thought of trying to compete with the 6th miniature I have ever put paint to is quite intimidating. But with almost  7 months to finish it, and 3 vampire boxes of Bones to practice on, it might just end up passable. Guess I will gear up and take a viking whack at it!

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well. The reaper forums competitions are mostly just for fun, and are a great source of feedback as well. Honestly I encourage people regarless of skill,or perceived skill, to enter.

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