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Everything posted by dks

  1. As a Last Breath, the pallor and necrosis are closing in to smother the last vestiges of life ... or it could be a First Breath, with the red rose radiating life and restoring the undead to live tissue, and she sheds tears of joy on reawakening. In either case, unique and superb. Derek
  2. Thanks for the further notes! @billeecats : Glad you appreciate those reworks to her hair. @Glitterwolf : I double-cheated on these eyes, since they're bigger than a real human's would be in scale, and I paint my elves as having extra-large irises to look pretty/fey. (An average real iris would be about 1/3 of the width of the eye. A bigger iris makes us think "cute" like a baby, or "inhuman" like many animals' eyes.) I spent a lot of time practicing and getting a feel for the right consistency of paint, and I use a brush with a sharp tip but a big enough belly that the paint doesn't dry between the palette and the mini. @Iridil : I didn't intend for her to be wearing "ray-skin" clothes -- I had a shiny black-brown in mind with blue-purple under-reflections, and I base-coated the clothes black -- but I kept adding to the light-side until this bronzy color was the result. The same Driftwood Brown midtone as on the ray, but has some blue and purple and a slightly colder highlight. Maybe the ray is swimming away because it doesn't want to be her next outfit! @Reaper Ron : Killer sea elf = the real Deadliest Catch. Derek
  3. "Eject! Eject! Operation: Warfare." Striking results, especially the glass and the silver-gray. When I squint at the front view, I can barely believe that it's a painted miniature and not an animated cel. Thanks for sharing. Derek
  4. Lively (and lovely)! Successful experiment. I'll keep this in mind for my own future projects. Thanks for sharing! Derek
  5. Yes, well done! Your extra work paid off. All the parts contribute to an excellent whole: some areas crisp, others grungy (but deliberately so), etc. I like how smoothly you blended in the yellow-orange glints, and how they compliment the purple in the skin and leathers. I also like the pinker tones on the nose and cheeks. Derek
  6. OK! Or if you're over this figure already, then just let it be and approach your next figure's NMM with the idea that you'll go that extra step to white at the end. Derek
  7. Hmmm ... maybe, but shiny metal would show a full range from black to white, so there's little chance of too much contrast. Try it out, take new pics, and we can evaluate it together. If it is "too much" or just not convincing, you can always knock down some of the white highlights with a grey or black glaze. Derek
  8. Very nice! I used to own this figure ... I think I painted her as a fire giant, but sold her 25-30 years ago and I had forgotten about her til now. I painted her in my first year or two of painting, before I realized mini-painting involved any highlighting and shading! It continues to be great fun to see you taking these classics and giving them good "modern" paint jobs. Thanks, too for the links to your hill giant and centaurs. And the comparison shot to the 25mm human. Some of today's scale-stretching 35-38mm heroic figures would be near-giants themselves! (Good clean NMM. Adding a few judicious glints of pure white on the armor and sword should take only a few more minutes but would really sell the metallic effect.) Derek
  9. Great! Goblins that are both green and orange are even more disturbing. I like what both of you did on these -- the variety of markings, the variety of metallics (especially the patchwork scale coat), the use of neutrals to keep the emphasis on the colorful skin. Beware their dreadful warcry, "NORK NORK NORK!" Singers sing, drummers drum, and norkers nork. Derek
  10. Sure, @Metalchaos ... since you got such nice smooth results on the gloves and skin, I would suggest a slight change on the beard and eyebrows. I can believe that you may want the paint to make them look scruffier than the smoothly sculpted shapes, but I think the shadows of the areas higher on the figure (eyebrows, mustache, and top part of the beard) would better fit the rest of your painting if they weren't the same dark brown as on the lower parts of the beard -- say, a warm mid-gray instead. Still a shadow, just not so dark. It's our perpetual challenge to paint hair and beards where the sculptor has exaggerated the valleys running lengthwise between the locks of hair. Deal with the overall volume of hair/beard first, and then deepen the shadows and raise the highlights of the locks. The shadow and highlight won't be the same color all along a strand, or for all strands. On some figures, the shadows in one part of the hair/beard (the higher/lighter areas) will be the same color as the highlights in another part (the lower/darker areas). You can see it to some extent on my rendition of King Axehelm (link), though the sculpting isn't as exaggerated. The lower mustache and beard have dark brown shadows, while the upper mustache and beard have mid-red-brown shadows. If you can attend RVE next weekend, Geoff Davis is teaching a class on hair twice: https://reapervirtual.com/classes Sue Wachowski taught her 2-hour "Hair with Sue" class many times at ReaperCon and other conventions, and I think Rhonda Bender and other painters have also taught classes on hair. There's a lot of nuance to painting hair but it's a rich subject to focus on. What do you think? Derek
  11. Thanks, everyone. I didn't paint much in 2020, but I'm really enjoying the time I've spent painting in the past several weeks, and glad to share it with you. @R2ED : I don't often paint figures with this much skin, so I don't usually spend so much time on smooth blends! But I thought it was important here, especially her left leg out in front. @Rigel and @Kuroneko : When I was planning the reef diorama, I spent a lot of time looking at photos of underwater scenes, and I used most of the same colors here that I used back then. The blue shadows, blue-glazed midtones, and lack of strong orange or yellow colors all help sell the underwater effect. I also glazed some Cyan Blue into my midtones and shadows, which is a color I almost never use but Anne Foerster talked it up a lot on some of her recent shows, so I decided to try it. It is a really nice blue! @Glitterwolf : That image is a nice pull! @Metalchaos : Thanks for remembering the reef, 13+ years later. Yes, I spent about 8 hours painting each elf on the reef, but about double that on Quoralei here because she's the main attraction. I enjoyed designing and sculpting those details, so I'm glad you mentioned them. @billeecats and @Darcstaar : Glad you're enjoying the "deep dive" into the details. I enjoy putting in those little glints and specks of colors that you can find. Skin colors: I painted the whole model with a monochrome gradient from Blue Liner to Polished Bone. Then the "real colors" were Clouded Sea (9194, discontinued, but it's a greyed green-blue) mixed with a little Highlands Moss, up to Pale Lichen; down to Blue Liner in the shadows; Leather White (cool highlight), plus Linen White for warmer highlights on the face; Intense Brown and Rosy Skin for the pink tones at the ears, nose, cheeks, and hand webbing. @zoroaster100 : Thank you! Aaand.... Because I can't leave well enough alone, I just did another couple of hours on the figure, mostly on the hair. I didn't like how electric-blue it was, and how flat/monotonous some of the strands looked. So I glazed more green into the midtones, and I darkened the shadows (especially toward the back) and raised the highlights toward the front. This gave more depth to the overall volume of hair, and took the emphasis off the strands. (I also glazed some green into the conch shell to fade out that bottom blue streak, added white to the pearls on the headband, re-lined some areas that had lost it, etc.) Before and after comparison. Hmm... maybe I lost too much of the blue! But I like this contrast better. Her eyes look bluer by comparison, too. Face and hair detail: And a group shot with the duo from the reef diorama: Derek
  12. Nice! I like your rough "cast iron"-like metal textures, the gold on the shield, the yellow-orange tint on the hammer, the baggy buggy eyes, the pallid purple skin. Offstage: "We just killed some giant geckos. Who can help us tenderize the meat?" This guy: "Yo, right here!" Derek
  13. Creeeeepyyyyyy. Again, your skillful staging of the groups to make it look like there were only 3 figures and they were moving, and then that reveal in the 4th photo! If you pit these against some players, you could also start the figures with their backs turned ... and then ... surprise! I like the subtle mottling and speckling, the added bell, the book scriptures. Thanks for the share. Derek
  14. @72moonglum : Thanks! I like to paint my sculpts, but I also enjoy seeing other painters use colors that I never imagined for my sculpts. You can paint her bare-faced or masked, as you prefer. If you want the mask to leave her chin exposed, you could build out a bottom edge with a thin strip of putty (blended into the upper face), or just fake the edge with paint. @Loim : I hope you get to see her in person at a future ReaperCon! Derek
  15. Quoralei the sea elf bard (03631) is one of my sculpts from several years ago that I'm finally getting around to painting. Sharing the base with her is a sea ray, one of the aquatic familiars sculpted by Julie Guthrie in the Familiar Pack VII (02948). Pics first, then some more words: Reaper released several underwater figures around 15 years ago, including Bob Ridolfi's Slithe Queen (02902), Julie Guthrie's aquatic familiars (02948) and Werner Klocke's mermaid (03078). I was inspired by the way they simulated the underwater setting and buoyancy, with coral or seaweed on the bases, dynamic poses, and floating hair and fins. I extended Reaper's aquatic offerings by sculpting a male and female sea elf in 2006. In 2007, I made a diorama of a coral reef with my 2 elves hiding from the evil mermaid and her Slithe Queen hunting-beast. I intended to populate the reef diorama with at least one of the aquatic familiars, and I prepped and primed Julie's manta ray, but I ran out of time before painting it -- the diorama was a contest entry for GenCon. (It won Best of Show even without the extra creatures!) The primed manta ray went back into my bits-box. A few years later, in 2012, I sketched a few characters for ReaperRon to review, and he liked this female bard with the conch-shell horn and a boy-shorts swimsuit. I sculpted her, Reaper released her, and Reaper's painter at the time (Martin) painted her for the online gallery. Without the pressure of painting one for the gallery myself, I left my copy of the figure unpainted and went on to sculpting and painting other things. Now it's 2021 and I'm finding new motivation to paint. I've been watching / listening to Anne's Twitch show on most days, among others. I'm clearing my backlog of figures, with the added incentive of points in the Reaper Challenge League. I painted my Frost Giant Princess a few weeks ago, for example. The casting of Quoralei had some noticeable mold-shift around her arms and hair, but I used a knife and gloss sealer to fix the problems ... not perfectly for competition-level, but well enough. She already has a seahorse under her arm, but I decided that she needed a bigger companion to fill the foreground space. I auditioned some other fishes and sharks for the part, but I came back to the ray. I did a web-search for photos of real rays, and one blue-spotted ray inspired the colors that I used here. I used many of the same colors on the elf and the base as what I had used on my Reef diorama (since I still have my notes), but my techniques and eye for contrast have changed a bit. I'm especially pleased at the interplay of the blues and browns on the base. I didn't have a result in mind, but I just put some colors on my palette and mixed and stippled and glazed for a while. The colors on the conch shell and the seahorse are also mostly accidental -- several layers of glazes and fine stripes with whatever was on my palette, until I decided "enough". Enjoy, Derek
  16. Sorry I missed your post until now, but here are some thoughts from a painter and sculptor who still uses Green Stuff: Yes, this is "shift", where the 2 halves of the mold got out of alignment. It is more common with old molds that have gone through the spin-caster many times, but it sometimes happens with newer ones. In case you haven't done it yet -- or you want to do your next one better: A) I usually reduce a shift-step like this somewhat by cutting down the high side, before I fill/patch over it. B) You don't have to use 1-to-1 proportions when you mix Green Stuff. The yellow and the blue parts have different consistencies, and you can make your green mix more like one "parent" or the other by varying the proportions: Using more yellow (like 3:2) will give you a lighter-colored mix that is better for fine details and blending at the edges, though it is more difficult to make smooth. Using more blue will give you a darker-/bluer-colored mix that pulls back into itself for more rounded shapes -- better for bulking and massing. C) If the Greenstuff refuses to be smooth when you're working it (the 2 hours after you mix it), let it fully cure and harden (24 hours) and then use a very sharp knife/scalpel to slice or scrape it smooth. D) If the surface still isn't as smooth as you like, paint brush-on gloss sealer over the rough spots. It fills pockmarks and divots and forms a self-leveling surface. A few coats of gloss sealer can fix a variety of imperfections from the casting process. Enjoy! -- Derek (Schubert)
  17. Thanks, folks! Glad you enjoyed seeing the result and reading about the process. @Darcstaar : Blue and purple were the main colors, with small stretches around the color wheel from purple to red, and from blue to green. I used some red glazes on the ends of her hair to make it more lively (and subtly menacing), and on the blade of the spear to simulate blood that had frozen in the cracks. I also spent a fair bit of time managing the value and saturation of all the neutrals (the browns and grays and off-whites) to keep them distinct from one another but not command too much attention, and painting subtle blues and purples to keep them from looking dull. @KruleBear and @Samedi : Yes, it's not too late to finish that Ogre and Barros on your shelves! @SamuraiJack : She's a nice paperweight in metal, with sharp detail. She got translated into Bones later. She doesn't have any base (integral or tab) so I made a handle by setting 2 brass rods and clamping them into my sculpting block, as you can see in the WIP shots. She must be a lot lighter and easier to hold in Bones, but I don't know how well the details held up. Derek
  18. Happy birthday, Ed! It has been great to see you over this past year on Reaper's online shows.
  19. Wow! Nice unexpected choice of colors, with the juxtaposition of cold and hot. I like the textured brushwork on the metal, the variation of hot colors in the runes and details of the weapon, and the smoothness of the blends on the wings. Your WIP thread says you were going to do object source lighting from the ground, and I think that's a good call -- getting those fiery oranges to contrast with the cool blue and the dark metal. I think I see some OSL in the photos, but it seems to be getting lost in the shadows cast by your strong overhead light. On the advice of Anne Foerster years ago, I set up my photo area with 3 lights: 1 on top, 1 at low-left, and 1 at low-right. The side lights go into my painted shadows so they aren't swamped by the real shadows of a strong top light. Also, I find that I have to take my OSL or NMM-reflections a step or two lighter when they are in the lower areas of a figure. I haven't tried painting orange OSL on a light-blue object. I imagine that it would be a challenge. On the cylindrical tail, I would probably want to have a dark core-shadow along the midline, with light-blue above and a slightly drab orange (orange light on a pale-blue object) below. Anyway, thanks for sharing! I look forward to seeing what you do next. Derek
  20. Forged in Fire, indeed! I like this guy. He passes my "squint test" (effective highlighting/shading/contrast) and the extra effort on the face pays off. I also like the bark and inner wood colors and textures, and your directional brushwork on the apron. I would expect to see another step or two up on the highlights of the anvil, hammer-head, and tongs -- about as light as the values you painted on the hair and beard -- where light is glinting off their smooth hard surfaces. Those lighter highlights might be on edges or faces, depending on how you want to simulate the light. It can be tough to paint convincing dark-shiny objects, but clearly you have the skills to do it! Derek
  21. Great! I like the sense of material that you got with your shading and contrast, including the brushwork details such as the ribbed bottom edges of their jackets. (And happy birthday!) Derek
  22. Striking result! A good study. Good to see how you're eating the "Bones Elephant" one bite at a time. My two cents for you to take to your next OSL: 1) Differentiate the materials and colors that the light is falling on, and remember that the source of the light must be lighter/brighter than the objects it's illuminating. If I wanted this black cloak to be wool, I would use dark green from most of the lighted area, and a medium gray-green as the highest highlight; if I wanted it to be shiny black silk or magical cloth, I would go lighter because it's partially reflecting the light. Pale skin goes to a lighter greenish color. Shiny objects (such as the gems around the mantle) would show small glints of intense pale green -- reflections of the crystal light source on the staff. 2) Where an object is curving from in-light to out-of-light (such as the top of the hood), make a more gradual transition, such as by stippling the green and black along the boundary. Analogy: the fuzzy twilight edge of the half-moon in the sky. When I've painted figures whose eyes were deep in the recesses of their hoods, I've put just a glint of off-white in each eye, to show that there's something shiny/wet back in those shadows. Derek
  23. Welcome, O autumn offering! I like your unprecedented take on this figure, as well as the lemonade-from-lemons idea of the shadow on the face. If you wanted to spend another 5 minutes on her, I would suggest adding some subtle oranges/yellows/browns into the NMM of the swords, as "reflections" of a fall-foliage environment. And then if you paint rangers in other seasonal attire, you might add colored "reflections" to their NMM too -- snowy/icy tones, pale green or flower colors for spring, deeper green for summer, etc. Derek
  24. Incandescent fire! Very nice, especially for just a night's work. Effective contrast and colors overall. You could take those black spiky bits closer to white or pale orange to make them look like shiny smooth obsidian, but any other extra work would be smoothing and refining, in diminishing returns. Derek
  25. I've never taken so long, after starting to paint a miniature, to finish it. She is Svetlana, the Frost Giant Princess. The metal version is DHL 3431; in Bones, she's 77107. Read below the pics for the backstory of sculpting and painting. THE SAGA I sculpted her in 2009, from this drawing by Wayne Reynolds: He designed some other frost giants and the new icy-themed dark elf faction for Reaper around that time. Werner Klocke had recently sculpted Reaper's fire giant queen, with a clever metal-saving design: a body cast in front-and-back parts that left a hollow center. I stole that idea for the front giant princess. I took my sculpting kit along on my 3-week bicycle ride from ReaperCon '09 (late May) to Asheville, North Carolina (mid-June). I didn't sculpt much along the ride, but I do remember a day in Monteagle, Tennessee, when the fog was so thick I didn't want to risk being on the road. I gave my legs a rest that day and spent a few hours sculpting in my hotel room. I finished sculpting the figure in late July, and she was released in September. Some folks on the Reaper Forum debated whether the princess's face was exposed skin or a mask. I weighed in here. You can see how different people have painted her over the years, mostly with masks. I didn't get around to painting my own version with the bare skin. I got a metal copy of this figure in late 2009 or early 2010. May 2010: 1 hour cleaning the figure. ((wait 1 year 10 months)) March 2012: 4 hours assembling the body (but not the left hand and spear), and using Greenstuff to patch the gaps and adding volume to the back of the hair. April 2012: 3 hours doing a primer coat / value-study in White and Black Brush-On Primer. ((wait 3 years)) April 2015: 5 hours verifying the assembly, attaching the hand, refining the shape of the eyes a bit, setting wires for the extra hair strand & the spear strap (in WAR's sketch but not the stock figure), and then sculpting over the wires. Thin things like these can make a miniature look more dynamic and realistic because they aren't limited by the considerations for casting. (I got that advice from Jeremie Bonamont when he was at ReaperCon one year.) WIP pics then: That evening / night / early morning, I spent another 7 hours in 3 sessions roughing in blended base coats over everything. And then I lost interest. She went into the cabinet. ((wait 5 years 9 months)) I decided to include the fox in some way. (The fox goes with Feiya the Pathfinder iconic witch, #60048, sculpted by Julie Guthrie.) I occasionally got nebulous ideas for an ice/snow base, but I never sat down to give physical form to these ideas. Jan-Feb 2021: She called to me again at 1am one night / morning. I painted until 5:30am. More painting sessions over the following week, and then basing. Built the base from rough masses to final shapes -- just start building, and then edit and refine. Devised the sticks-with-straps elements to fill the front-right area and show the wind. Added the snow, including drifts and footprints. Refined the colors, especially the ice-spear and the snow. Glazed, glazed, glazed. In all, about 50 hours over the last 3 weeks. And for now, she is finished. I think the sculpt holds up pretty well, though I deviated on several points from WAR's sketch (partly from my own design sense, but mostly from my lack of sculpting skill). If I were sculpting her today, I could do better on some proportions and making the fur and hair more spiky/icy than wavy. Thanks for reading! Enjoy! Derek
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