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Everything posted by dks

  1. I've painted another of my sculpts from several years ago. I started her in Paint Club last week, and finished her during Paint Club today: Esmeria was one of my characters in the Living Greyhawk shared-world campaign, 2005-2008. Living Greyhawk had a series of adventures set in the Bright Desert that featured the plots of the archmage Rary and the ruins of ancient empires, so I made Esmeria as my new character from that area to use in those adventures. She started as a monk (scion of one of those ancient empires) and later picked up a few levels of ranger and the horizon walker prestige class as she adventured outside the desert. I sculpted her as a Dark Heaven figure for Reaper in 2012. But as with my sea elf bard (link to my Forum post), Reaper's painter (Martin) painted Esmeria for the online store soon after the figure was released, and I didn't paint my own until now. (I had this arrow-shattering action in my mind when I sculpted her. But, you ask, if she dodged and the arrow misses anyway, why does she need to break the arrow? I guess she's showing off.) I spent a lot of time smoothing the blends on her skin and cloth garments, but I left rougher brushstrokes on some things (bracers and rocks). Color-composition challenges!: I wanted her eponymous emerald-green eyes (lined with kohl) to be the main note of color on a subdued desert scheme (browns, warm grays, bronze/brass), but it wasn't interesting enough without a few other blues and greens as accents. I kept those small and/or muted so they wouldn't steal the focus from her eyes. I especially like the play of color on her bracers. On the fan-shaped jewelry, I went back and forth on which part should be bronze/brass and which part should be colored stone. I even posted her photo for Reaper Challenge League a couple of hours ago with the fans one way (blue stone rays, brass vertex), but then decided there was too much blue, and I repainted them the other way (brass rays, stone vertex) for this posting. The arrows posed another color quandary. I blocked out their initial values in brown monochrome -- dark brown shafts and ivory fletching -- but it looked like someone was shooting her own arrows at her! They needed to be in different "enemy" colors, but also had to harmonize. Gnolls' grungy arrows with blood-soaked fletching would be too far off, for example. I took a WIP photo and brought it into Photoshop to paint over. Red/orange looked right ... but then it was too garish when I painted it on the mini ... so I dulled it but it looked too gray ... then I took it back to beige/white ... then settled on this red-orange-yellow gradient. Maybe it's a phoenix feather. After I painted her skirt with the base bone color, I used Photoshop to test some options for the freehand, including borders or patterns. I looked online for various Persian / Arabic textiles as inspiration, but I decided against an all-over geometric pattern because the garment itself doesn't have a realistic symmetrical shape (I used artistic license when sculpting it), and her leather skirt already has those rows of alternating diagonals. So I came up with this relatively simple border. Enough words for now! Enjoy, Derek
  2. Thanks, folks! @ManvsMini : You're welcome! I've been painting more this year and am happy to share. @Great Khan Artist : Yes, Rhonda Bender (birdwithabrush)'s paint-jobs on those Deadlands Noir minis are great! I did a sepia-monochrome paint job on the ReaperCon '05 Western Sophie, and again on some other Chronoscope Old West figures -- Doc Holiday, Buffalo Bill Cody, and Lobo Sanchez (link to Lobo). I've taught a class on monochrome painting a few times over the past 10 ReaperCons, but I wasn't planning to do one this year. Maybe someone else will, and/or I could teach one for RVE next year. Derek
  3. Excellent work. Good mix of smooth layering, painted textures, and variation in the colors. I appreciated reading about your process, such as how the inherent chaos of the corrosion freed you from the pressure to have clean or "perfect" results. Keep on sharing, Derek
  4. Very nice! It must be rewarding to see your progress like this. Now your skills allow you to use neat layering & lining, or a rougher-looking technique, where each is appropriate. I like the color-coding. And even though the Bog Skeletons don't have those colors, they're still RGB = Really Good Bones! Thanks for sharing. Derek
  5. I've finished another project that was on my to-do list for years. First the pics, then some more words: This was a special resin figure from ReaperCon 2014 (April 24-27 that year) -- sculpted by Bobby Jackson, given to attendees who paid extra for the Artist Banquet on Saturday night. I was supposed to paint him for Reaper's studio collection after the con, but I got distracted with other stuff and he fell off my list. He had the SKU 01529 for a while, and although he is out of production now, his clone will be back soon in Bones 5 as part of the "Dreadmere Personas" Core Set extra. I'll try to remember to revise the tags of this post when he has a new 77xxx or 78xxx number. Ian Markon (Kuro Cleanbrush) painted a spectacular rendition in 2015 as "Knight of the Blood Moon", with red armor and wings. You can find it here on the Forum by searching for "01529". So far in 2021, I've been finishing some figures left over from years past ... and getting points in the Reaper Challenge League for it. This guy earned 3 points for the April theme of "No More Sunrises" (vampires and other nocturnal or subterranean monsters). I couldn't decide on a color scheme so I started painting a cool grey monochrome as if he were in moonlight. I was going to add a warm light from behind, too, but I just kept going with the cool monochrome all around. I concentrated on the differences in contrast and texture among the materials: armor plates and trim, cloak exterior and interior, sword (blade, crossguard, pommel, hilt), gems, skin, hair, teeth, stone steps, skull, etc. I spent extra time on the face, as always, such as getting the blends very smooth. The eyes are sculpted very large, which gave me freedom to manipulate the expression. I painted the upper lids a fraction of a millimeter lower, to get just the right half-lidded look. And in order to make him seem more feral, I painted his scleras darker and irises lighter. I did this a few years ago on a half-orc Pathfinder figure I painted (Skreed Gorewillow). The specific colors were Blue Liner ("black"), the cold grey triad (9172 Stormcover Grey, 9173 Coldstone Grey, and 9174 Icy Grey, now out of production), Misty Grey, and Pure White. The blending was somewhat challenging, because the greys changed value from wet to dry! Stormcover Grey dries a little lighter, and Icy Grey and Misty Grey dry a little darker. On the back of the cloak, for example, I would see a spot where I wanted to deepen the shadow, and Stormcover Grey looked perfect while wet, but then it would dry lighter and the "shadow" disappeared! So I had to add Blue Liner to the Stormcover Grey, and trusted that what looked too dark at first would look right when dry. This phenomenon made it fun to paint little streaks of Stormcover Grey on the interior of the cloak or the sword blade, because the streak would go on invisible over the black, but then appear grey as it dried a few seconds later. Enjoy! Derek
  6. Good work so far. I would also say yes to another highlight, using one of the Tanned colors like Inarah says, and/or mixing a warm tan-beige like Golden (Skin) Highlight or Yellowed Bone into your Redstone Highlight. (It's tough to say whether the skin is "finished" until you've painted the rest of the mini.) If a painter doesn't paint light enough highlights on dark skin, then it looks unnatural to me, like suede or cloth instead of skin. The highest highlights should be reflections off the skin's smooth (and/or oily) surface of whatever the light-source is -- the sun, the clear blue sky, a cloudy gray sky, a torch, a light bulb, etc. The color of that highlight, then, might be warmer (yellow/beige), neutral (gray/white), or cold (bluish). To see how light the highlights can be on real people with darker skin tones, you could do a quick image-search for photo references ... and maybe put those photos into the Reaper Power Palette! Remember that the lighting and possible make-up (reducing shine) will affect how light the highlights appear in photos. It can be especially tricky to highlight and shade the upper chest, because of the complex shapes involved (junction of collarbones, upper-pectorals, sternum, and breasts). Slight changes in the pose and the angle of the light can dramatically change the lighting and shadows. Umm ... find a photo of a real person with an exposed upper chest in similar lighting? For artistic reference, of course. Two figures that I painted with dark skin: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/43288-14590-liela-dark-elf-sorceress-warlord/ https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/41709-60019-seelah-pathfinder-iconic-paladin/ Derek
  7. Big-n-scary! Good detail work on the mouths & teeth, and I appreciate the subtle variation in fur colors from the legs to the body. I like the basing/terrain work to show their large size, too. (I think I've heard "side-brushing" for something like the technique that you describe, but I don't think there's any agreed-on name.) Thanks again for sharing! Derek
  8. Very nice! You captured his jaunty smirk. I like your freehand on the bracers and the texture on the trousers, too. It has been several years since the release of the Jade Regent Adventure Path, so the touches of grey are appropriate. Derek
  9. Thanks, folks! I'm glad that you like how she turned out and that you found a variety of details to enjoy. I did some "paint plastic surgery" on her eyes (as I often do). I painted her left eye a bit bigger than it's sculpted. Her right eye was so deeply recessed and half-hidden by hair that I actually filled the socket a bit with a couple of thick layers of brush-on primer before painting the eye. Derek
  10. Thanks! You did great -- your vision in white -- and your partners in the RCL too. One of the best things about sculpting is being surprised at the things other painters come up with -- color schemes, basing, conversions, RPG characters, etc.. Derek
  11. There she is! Good work on the NMM. (Glad you like the sea elf, too.) Derek
  12. Really good. This guy is tiny and your crisp paintwork was up to the task. I especially like the smooth-wood sheen that you achieved got on the crossbow, and your choice of the woody tan skin. Derek
  13. I like her! Well done. Thanks for choosing to paint her. She is indeed tiny and very detailed, and you've shown your skillful brush control by picking out the details so crisply. Good decision to put her up on that rock. Painting darker-metal NMM such as bronze (especially if it's old/blackened bronze) can be tough. Your sickle is almost there. Find images of real bronze to inspire your colors, whether it's new and more orange, or older and more black/green/purple. I would suggest higher contrast: especially darker shadows and "glints" of light highlights. You could shrink your current highlights (yellow-green) by painting more of the base brown over them. Go even darker with very dark brown, dark green, black, or purple with the shadows (where it is reflecting dark things in the environment). Then add small highlights in a light tan / off-white, where the sun or other source of light would be reflecting off the smooth shiny surface. You'll have to decide which viewing angle is the one where it looks right, imagine where the sun is coming from, and then figure out which surface(s) would reflect that light when we see the figure at the angle you've chosen. One trick would be to paint a thin film of water over the sickle and see where your desk-lamp glints brightest off the wet surface; remember those spots, and then after the water dries, you paint the high-highlights there. In case it helps, I also used an effect like dark brown / bronze NMM on my recently painted sea elf bard figure: Forum link. And make sure you paint that bracelet! Derek
  14. I finally painted the human-form mini for this character. I've posted pics as a reply to my own thread in the Show-Off forum (link here), and on the Reaper Discord. Derek
  15. Reviving this old thread... I've been sweeping away the artistic cobwebs in 2021 by painting figures that have been lying prepped but unpainted in my cabinet. So here is the human form of the kitsune archer that I painted five-plus years ago. I briefly considered using a different color scheme (such as reversing the reds and greens) but kept it simple by using the same one. My style and sense of contrast are a little different. I used some pink on her base, for example. And the two together at last. Enjoy, Derek
  16. Good work! Glad you are seeing progress after the class and sharing it with us. Some minis just lend themselves better to certain techniques. OSL is harder with some and easier with others. This figure would probably show up better in photos if it had a darker background, such as colored paper or smooth cloth (even a dark t-shirt or pillowcase if that's what you have in the house). That way, the torch will be lighter than the background, and we can focus more on your paint. I use dark gray or dark blue paper as my background. I like how the bottom edge of the orange varies in the rear view, making it look like the flames are flickering and shifting. In the front view, you got a good blend in the orange and yellow, but the uniform horizontal banding isn't as lively as the effect on the back. Maybe just bringing down some orange on a few flames would help? Keep on painting, Derek
  17. I like these guys! Yes, their metallic things look more like metal. I'm realizing that my own advice was vague or misleading. The key isn't just "go up to white", but rather it's about controlling the rest of the colors on the NMM and using the white as glints of reflected light within a full black-to-white range of contrast. If you use too much white, it will look less like metal and more like light-gray stone, because the white will be too broad to look like reflections of light. Alas, words aren't as good as images to convey advice about miniatures. It would be much clearer to see one example of NMM that doesn't look right, next to the same figure with better NMM. Maybe I should make some side-by-side comparisons -- take one of my figures where I didn't do the NMM very well and then paint over it in Photoshop, or take a figure whose NMM was good but then make it worse in Photoshop. Anyway, I also never met Jim Johnson or heard anything about him, though I also painted a bunch of his figures in the late '80s and early '90s. But I think his style influenced my own sculpting, such as the scale of details and the degree of abstraction, allowing the painter to add texture and detail with paint. He sculpted many figures for Ral Partha, including boxed sets of official D&D minis and minis based on Larry Elmore's art. I painted the figures for one of those boxed sets: "Reflections of Myth" (10-315). The characters were based on pen-and-ink drawings by Larry Elmore, so there wasn't any official color scheme to follow. I deliberately painted each of the 8 figures with different skin and hair colors, like you did with these guards (and other sets you've painted). And you painted at least one of the figures from that set -- Dragon Lass!: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/80677-larry-elmore-dragon-lass-from-ral-partha/ I painted mine with pale green skin, dark green hair, red clothes, and a purple dragon. I think the art director was surprised by those colors. EDIT: Here's another one from that set, which you painted (the female pirate): https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/76216-two-ral-partha-pirates-and-a-larry-elmore-chick Derek
  18. Wow! Very nice. I had never imagined her in warm tones like this, and she looks great. (Right, the skulls she carries are smaller than the skull in her head ... so she's a 30mm-scale giant with human skulls or a 54mm-scale human with kids' skulls. Take your pick of degree of creepiness.) The background colors work well with the figure. As you said, the scene is a little confusing visually, in part because the figure and the background have similar contrast and color saturation, whereas a real scene would become probably lower-contrast and bluer in the distance. Maybe on the next figure, you could mute the background by putting a layer of tracing paper or vellum over it, or manipulating it digitally. Thanks again for choosing her, thanks for sharing, and congrats on your RCL points! Derek
  19. I like this big fellow! If your hands shake... Brace your wrists on your tabletop, and brace your hands against each other. That way, your hands shouldn't move, but only the fingers holding your brush can move/shake. Use relatively thin paint, but offload some of it on another surface before you apply it to the mini -- I use a piece of white printer paper, but others use their palettes, their other thumb, etc. -- so you apply only a small amount in the precise area where you put your brush. (Watch Anne Foerster's daily Pro Tips show on Reaper's Twitch channel. She has been emphasizing the importance of offloading.) The thin paint will let you touch up and correct your mistakes in multiple layers without building up a big thick goopy mass of paint. Before I had a good sense for properly thinning my paint, I painted many minis whose eyes got so gunked up with thick paint that I would actually mash it back down flat with the end of my brush before touching it up again! Thanks for passing along the side-looking trick, @Sanael ! I also paint bigger-than-realistic irises on my minis. A typical real person's iris may be less than 1/2 the width of the eye, but it's easier to paint a bigger iris, and it usually makes the mini look cuter/weirder. Using birds or lizards as a reference for dinosaur eyes is a great idea (which I'll steal for the first dinosaur I paint!). @William : If you want to repaint the eyes, go for it. Or you could say this is really a wildshaped druid or a polymorphed human! Derek
  20. OK! I like the clean blue lines on the tabard. Some people will want to put a symbol or pattern on the plain shield, while others will just appreciate getting a break from tiny details.
  21. Strong work! I like your bold jewel-tone palette with the juxtaposition of smooth areas with textured areas. The shine on the crystal is especially convincing. Right, to make something on a mini seem to be glowing, it needs to be lighter and brighter than the things around it that aren't glowing. And here her brow naturally casts a shadow from an overhead light on her eye, so whatever color your paint in her eye will look darker unless you shine a forward-facing or upward-facing light when you take the photo. On your next mini with glowing eyes, you could go darker with the painted shadows in the eye socket, use a darker-than-normal color for the sclera, and use a near-white (with just a hint/glaze of the color) for the iris. Thanks for sharing, Derek
  22. Nice work! Sandra Garrity sculpts are already so finely detailed with small contiguous surfaces ... plus this is a gnome ... so these striped pants are "hard mode" for freehand. I like how you extended the purple and turquoise palette to the sword, including the brilliant pommel. Congrats on getting painterly closure after fourteen years, and good luck to her new life as an NPC! Derek
  23. Worth the wait! I like your choice of pale skin / platinum blonde with the black and red outfit. Hack and slash, slice and dice: all systems go. Derek
  24. Good work. A bard inspiring herself in combat can hold her side of the battlefield... and help her allies hold theirs too! Did you paint any kind of emblem on the front of her shield or is she choosing to keep her allegiance secret? Derek
  25. Striking! I can just imagine what your players will think when they see him for the first time ("Uh-oh... this is going to be a tough fight") ... and maybe he gets away or maybe they think they've killed him, but he shows up again! I like that coppery / dark-red-metal effect that you got on the flail, and the shine on his damaged eye. The green areas look a bit flat by comparison. If you want him to look like he's made of green metal (or green enamel over metal), you might take a few more minutes adding glints of white or off-white where light would reflect off the smooth surface (specular highlights). Maybe put a dot of white on each bolt, too? It's tough to make dark objects on a mini look appropriately shiny/metallic, because it requires jumping from near-black to near-white in a very small space. This was some green-enameled armor that I painted several years ago: https://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/58340-60186-staunton-vhane-sculpt-and-paint-d-schubert/ Please keep us updated on how the game goes, anyway. Derek
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