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Everything posted by dks

  1. Level-up work here, Meg! The blues are vibrant, the golds sing, the face has good expression, the skin looks smooth and has good color (and on and on). Some criticism/suggestions: The amount of blue in the front view confuses my eye, too. I can see that you've painted some differences among the values of the cloak, tabard, scabbard & bolt case, and fletchings, but I don't think it's enough. Since each of them has a lot of contrast between their highlights and shadows (i.e. the lighter blue gets pretty dark in its shadows, and the darker blue gets fairly light in its highlights), they have a lot of values in common. Maybe it would help to do one or more of these: a) make the inside of the cloak darker than the outside, almost black. I use this trick a lot, to make cloaks frame the body and be less prominent visually. b) add some freehand to the inside of the cloak. It could be a subtle overall pattern in dark blue or black, or a simple trim in a lighter or darker value, but it should cover a broad area or a long line so it disappears behind her body. Then the eye reads "cloak/patterned/back" vs. "tabard/solid/front" more easily. You could do the converse of this, adding some freehand to the tabard, but there's already so much stuff in front of (i.e. visually "on") the tabard. c) change the scabbards to be the muted crimson/red-brown that you used on the crossbow, or a very dark blue-black (against which the gold trim would stand out very well). d) change the fletching of the bolts to be white or pale gray, or maybe alternating white-and-blue stripes in each feather. The hair looks good overall, but I would reduce (and/or reposition) the highlights on the lumps of the braid closest to her head. Since the braid there is oriented vertically (hanging down), an overhead light would hit only a narrow area at the top of each lump but not the broad outward face. It looks like you did this in the side views, but the highlighting on the braid in the back view looks unnaturally uniform to me. I would rework the cleavage a bit, so it would be a contrast in value that differentiated the forms (sternum vs. breasts), not just a line where the forms meet. Surfaces that are oriented vertically would be darker than surfaces oriented horizontally (reflecting more light from above). I would darken the downward-facing face at the top corner of the hilt's crossguard (i.e. the corner closest to the top of the photo in the front view). With NMM, corners and edges are ideal places to heighten the contrast (very light if it faces up, very dark if it faces down) and reinforce the metallic illusion. Granted, if you painted the sword-arm before attaching it, it might have been hard to tell what faces would be facing up or down -- I run into this issue a lot, like on the sword for the Ghoul Queen, which I painted separate from her body and then had to touch up the NMM after attaching it. Anyway, you deserve to be proud of her! So, what's next? Derek
  2. Awww, you're starting to adopt Anne-speak! (scamper, scamper) Anyway, looking good so far... Derek
  3. Yeah, this was a lot of fun! Vikings vs Barbarians! If I remember right, the crossbow tended to smash the walls much more effectively than the catapults did, especially if you could hit the upper tiers of the bricks -- the bottom bricks were reinforced by so many others and wouldn't move much, but the upper ones would go flying. Derek
  4. Volcano Brown has a lot of purple in it, but it probably looks very red or pink next to the blues and blue-purples you mentioned for the dress. Highlighting it with golden browns (complementary hue) might be too lively a progression for a subdued/ethereal motif. Do you have Shield Brown (Pro-Paints or MSP)? It's a versatile neutral brown -- the brown that I used most when I was painting with Pro-Paints. You might be able to fake a batch by mixing some blue into Woodland Brown (to neutralize the orange). When you're using so much blue or blue-purple on the dress, even a neutral brown will look orange or yellow by comparison: Shield Brown is to blue as Woodland Brown is to gray, more or less. If you paint the angel's hair with the blonde colors you would use on another miniature, it might look too bold and yellow. I would probably start neutral (highlighting the base brown with white and a little yellow, i.e. Linen White) and then glaze with yellows/tans at the end if the hair needed a boost. If you've already gone to the store, though, have fun with the new paints. Derek
  5. Very nice. I like those iconic characters that Mr. Reynolds designed (including the iconics that used to be on the covers of Dungeon magazine) -- though a sculptor might have to edit out some of the fiddlier details to keep the figures painter-friendly. Is there an online announcement about the iconics? I skimmed the last few months of Paizo blogs but didn't see anything. Derek
  6. I wanted to do so, too, but I didn't figure out a good way to do it. My first idea was to use acetate/transparency film (with or without a light sanding), cut to fit the holes in the window, glued or puttied into place, and painted with thin inks. But my experiments yielded "glass" that was too cloudy, and it was very hard to cut the pieces accurately. My second idea was to remove the interior stonework back to the moldline, fit in a whole circle of acetate "glass", and then resculpt the missing half of the stonework, but I didn't have the time to do all that work then. So it was just an empty window. Someone else painted the Ghoul Queen as an entry for ReaperCon this year, and it had some "glass" into the window -- perhaps it was a film of glue? If you get something to work (or even if you try something else and it doesn't work), let us know... Derek
  7. Thanks, but I think I'll keep everyone guessing awhile -- even myself.... Derek
  8. He's intended to be a hobbit/halfling. The base of the dragon (Glitter) just fits diagonally on a 1"-square base, so she can be a Medium creature under d20 rules. (You could probably get away with calling her a smallish Large if you put her on a bigger base.) Roderic's ears are slightly pointed and elflike, but he has long sideburns and furry feet with bare toes sticking out from the stirrups. If you prefer your halflings shod (or want to make him a gnome or even a very small elf), it should be pretty easy to dab some green stuff over the toes, shave the sideburns, etc. Derek
  9. Quite the undead cutie! The overall effect of chill and pallor works well, and the additional basing helps. You've done a good job with a very mushy sculpt -- when the sculpt is as poorly defined as this one, you can use paint to invent some details that aren't there (strands of hair, sharper knuckles/tendons of the clenched fist, etc.). Looks like it's missing a darkline between the hair and her upper right arm, though. I don't know what would happen with cutting the long grass short. I don't think it would be the same -- it's horsehair rather than plastic filaments, so the physics would be different -- but I don't know how different it would be. Maybe you can experiment and share your results? Derek
  10. Strong work on the cloak (esp. the freehand) and the skin. Her hair could use a little more contrast (higher high, lower low -- unless they're already there and your photo simply flattened them away) -- as a wizard, she probably prestidigitates some extra shine. The green gem looks a little rushed -- I read the diagonal lines less as glints than as flaws in the crystal. Maybe try giving some more variation in the green before you add the reflected highlights, and/or simply extending the diagonals to the edges? In any case, excellent for 9 hours! Derek
  11. Depends on how much the lance tapers, how thin the final line is (easier if the line is thicker), what the proportion is between the spiral-line and the base color, how much the spiral advances toward the tip in a single turn (a consistent distance or at a consistent angle to the axis?) ... but here's one way: First (the hardest step), mark some guide-dots down the length of the lance. If you space the dots equally, then the distance per revolution will be consistent but the spiral will appear looser at the tip than at the base. If you want the angle to be consistent, then the dots will have to be more closely spaced toward the tip (same ratio of distance-to-advancement, but shorter distance per revolution, therefore shorter advancement) ... you can probably just eyeball this. After that first set is marked, turn the lance 180 degrees and mark another set of dots, halfway between each pair of dots from the first set (because the spiral has gone a half-turn). Then mark the dots at the quarter-turns. And then connect the dots. Start with a thin line and add as needed to make it thicker. ... or I just thought of another idea, perhaps easier: Tape a piece of thread (dental floss, whatever) to the tip of the lance, wrap it around the shaft until you're satisfied with the angle, and hold the end in place while you trace the thread lightly with pencil or thin paint. Remove the thread and paint over the line. Good luck! Let us know what you do and how well it works. Derek
  12. The only pointy stuff integral to the Queen is the small set of curling 'horns' that meet at the top of her head. As Evilbob mentioned, you can do a minor fill at the nape of her neck, where the big pointed crescent attaches. The scabbard has a few long bony spurs on it, which stick up over her left shoulder. I'll PM you a pic, since I seem not to be able to add one to this thread. Derek
  13. A knife fitted out with a #11 X-Acto blade is a very versatile tool too, either with the blade sharp-out-of-the-package or with the edge dulled... or one of each type (swap them out on the same handle or have two separate handles). Just be sure you don't lick the knife blade to lubricate it! Use a little moistened piece of blisterpack foam, petroleum jelly, etc. You can also explain your hobby to your dentist, and ask whether he/she would be willing to give you an old dental tool or two that are no longer useful. I sculpted my first figure with two such donated dental castoffs, and I still use the one with the pointy hook to sculpt chainmail. I painted my first two scratch-sculpts. People use Green Stuff for conversions and they just prime it and paint it, so priming and painting a figure that's all Green Stuff is fine. It will just feel light in your hand, like a plastic figure. I suppose you might get cracked paint if you flexed the figure too much. Derek
  14. Sandy Brown (one of the more recent RMS colors) is probably a good starting point, maybe with some Intense Brown mixed in (and/or for shadows). As I heard many years ago, but don't remember where, "The 'white man' is actually redder than the 'red man'." Don't go for actual red/pink with Indian skin -- save that for your sunburnt Celt figures. Simply choosing a base color that's more orange-/golden-brown (like Sandy Brown), not pink-brown (like Tanned Skin) should go a long way to avoiding pink Indians. Painting clothes/equipment in buckskin or khaki colors (pale muted yellows/greens) will make skin look pinker by comparison, anyway. I speed-painted a figure in 2006 that I intended to be an Indian girl, simply by adding arbitrary amounts of brown, yellow, and red to a stock skin tone (RMS Tanned Skin, come to think of it...), and then painting the rest in stereotypical colors (turquoise, red, buckskin, copper, southwestern red rock). Maybe it works. Pics are about 40% of the way down this page: http://www.darkswordminiatures.com/gallery...on2006_Aces.htm Anyway, have fun! Real human skin is all sorts of colors, so fantasy human skin could be even more varied. Derek
  15. It might also be more recognizable as ice if it has some smooth faces (crystalline) rather than being just a rounded mass (snow/glacier), so you can accentuate the way light reflects off certain faces or edges. You can see a very stylized approach to crystalline ice on the studio paint-jobs for the Dragyri figures (Dark Age). Also (1), I painted the Ice Queen (Reaper DHL 2821) as having a sword and crown made of ice. Those were pale greenish blue, highlighted up to white, including some diagonal "look at me, I'm stylized glass!" lines (which I wouldn't do if I had to paint it again). http://www.reapermini.com/gallery/2800range/2821_1ds Also (2), Jennifer Haley's rendition of the Everblight sorceress (Privateer/Hordes) is holding a bird (?) made of ice, in a deeper bluish green with white highlights: http://www.coolminiornot.com/index/whatm/P...Press/id/160204 Derek
  16. Matt Gubser is our local putty guru. He posted a review of various materials on his website: http://www.prophetminis.com/primer.html And Jason Wiebe's putty looks like typical green stuff when cured, but I think it's half green stuff and half green-colored Apoxie Sculpt. I got two 2-oz containers of Apoxie Sculpt last year as a prize at GenCon and I didn't know what to do with it. I mixed it with half green stuff to make the weapons of my two latest Reaper figures (vampire hunter girl and the dark elf sorcerer). If you look at the 8-28-07 Greens, you can see that the staff of the dark elf is a paler green, as it's half Apoxie Sculpt. It carves and sands similar to brown stuff, in my very limited experience. Use an armature and you should be fine; omit the armature and you might still be fine. Derek
  17. I have filled out the extra forms and schedules for self-employment in the past few years, lumping "painting and sculpting" together as my self-employed work. This has added up to about 10% of what I make at my day job. There are very few people who support themselves by sculpting only, but many more of us around the world have been paid at least once for something we sculpted. I'm probably a "professional sculptor", but not a "full-time sculptor". I'm a spare-time sculptor/painter who does it for fun and has the bonus of making some money from it. (The same goes for painting/painters. After the GenCon painting contest, some people debated whether "professional painters" should be in a separate category. There are lots of people who could be labelled "professional painters", but almost none are "full-time". Contests with a separate category for "masters" or "professionals" have to define that term in their rules.) Strictly speaking, a profession involves rigorous training, a process of certification or licensing, and a contract with society to uphold the public trust: this applies to doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, landscape architects, and so on. A "professional athlete" makes money from the game but is not practicing a profession, per se. But most people use "profession" and "occupation" interchangeably now, and the term "professional" has many meanings. More confused now, E? Derek
  18. "Overshooting the highlights and pulling them back down" is one of my maxims for painting fast! I don't generally jump to the very highest highlight from the basecoat, but rather I skip a few steps with a thicker-than-normal highlight, paint over the boundary with intermediate values until it looks decent, then skip a few more steps, etc. The biggest drawback of the "working backward" technique, I expect, is in the surface of the finished miniature: applying many successive highlights with thin paint is more likely to give a smooth finish, but covering the basecoat with the extreme highlight (especially with thick paint) is more likely to give an uneven surface and show brushstrokes. But, as with most of painting: if it works for you, it's right. Derek
  19. I used to take 3-4 hours on average, usually start-to-finish in a single session. Longer times meant either a complicated figure or redundant work (painting-over of parts that I didn't like). Then I distinctly remember taking 14 hours in 2 sessions (6 hours and 8 hours) on a figure about 5 years ago (Visions in Color 7, the special sorceress figure by Sandra Garrity), as procrastination during exam week in grad school. It was the longest time I had spent on one figure. Soon afterward, I realized how much I still had to learn (and how much more time it would take to paint a figure to my ever-rising standards...), and I've also kept timesheets over the last two years. A typical figure now takes me about 8-10 hours, over a week or two; "quick" means 3 or 4, in 1 or 2 sessions; speed-paints (for competitions) take 45 minutes or an hour; the longest I've spent on a single figure is around 60 hours (my albino Sebeki Master of Words for GenCon 2005). Derek
  20. At least one of these requests will be satisfied very soon. Derek
  21. Thanks for these shots, Scott! I didn't get to look closely at her at the convention. I like the sense of determination in the pose, and I especially like the details of the uniform. The components of the head (hat, hair, face) look very nice individually, but (minor qualm) the neck looks a bit off in the right photo -- too thick. Should the back of the neck be concavely curved, rather than straight, when the head is tilted up like this? Your figure last year was in a similar vein, right? Are you building up a line of figures to go with them? Keep 'em coming, whatever you sculpt next... Derek
  22. Kelcore: Thanks! The diorama is mine to keep, so I'll bring it with me to whatever future event we both attend. bikerdrew: Patience and practice -- a.k.a. "Step 1 - start painting; Step 2 - keep pushing your skills for 20 years." The last few years have been especially productive, since I fell in with the Reaper Superfriends. I'm amazed at how little time some excellent painters have been at it, but it's nice to see what new tricks this old dog can learn. TheHatedDM: Thanks too! ixminis: Tattletale! Now Meg will never fall for my "let me analyze your signature" ploy.... "Pleased to meet you.... Hope you guess my name!..." Speaking of sold souls ... (possible threadjack...) anyone else notice the ads for the TV show premiering next week, called "Reaper"? Derek
  23. You have a good eye for where to put the highlights and shadows and how high (or low) to take them, a good eye for color (like the complementary purple and yellow-tan tones of the skin, and the good value-contrasts among the equipment), and a good hand to get smooth results. Show more when you can! The yellow tone of the gold works well with the strong red and strong violet-blue here, but if you want a cooler gold, try using a midtone of Earth Brown, Bone Shadow, or even Khaki Shadow. You can use the same highlight colors, but that cool midtone will really change the overall effect. Also, I've found that Ashen Brown (the highlight of the Volcano Browns triad) makes a nice shadow for skin basecoated with Aged Bone -- the purple in it really shows up. I used the combo for the pallid ('ashen') skin on my Ghoul Queen and dark mermaid. Again, solid work! Derek
  24. <just checked the earlier thread> Create-your-own Transformers!! Stunning work, Bryan. (I was a Transformers junkie as a lad. I tried to write a Transformers RPG when I was in 5th grade, but didn't get far.) If you ever have time to break up the process into a series of WIP shots with notes, I would eagerly read such a thread/article. But I know that stopping to shoot (especially if the photo setup is separate from your workbench) and take notes can severely interrupt the flow of things.... Derek
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