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dks

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Everything posted by dks

  1. Also, Tre', crop one of those sketches (or a pic of one of your sculpts) into a 64x64-pixel avatar for yourself! Derek
  2. I enjoyed seeing these in person at ReaperCon, Tre', and I'm glad that you've shared them. Like I said, you give your drawings a great clarity of detail and material, with a quality of line that lends itself well to the sculpted volumes. The "Art of Star Wars" books for the last 3 movies -- very good books IMO, whatever your opinions on the movies themselves may be -- show a lot of Doug Chiang's designs in gray markers with black ink hardlining. I like the style: crisp and ideal for rendering forms, but without the distractions (or possible prejudices by the viewer) of color. I guess we'll have to wait on any more drawings until you've done their sculpts. Derek PS: Meg and Jason:
  3. I usually take Faded Purple up to Aged Bone and Polished Bone (from the first Bone Triad). This ends up on the warm side of neutral. Ghost White (pale blue) would also work, but would be much cooler in tone. And you could even use something like Rosy Highlight or Fair Skin for a much pinker result. Lots of options... if you don't like what you see at first, glaze until you do. Derek
  4. (This can apply to your other threads, too.) I like your variety in textures, from smooth skin to fur to leathery wings, and I like the originality of the subject. Good start! To push your skills, though, I think you have to be more diligent about understanding the substances that you're trying to represent. Consider the wings, for example. You can take some artistic license with a man-bat's wings, but first you should know how a real bat's wings are put together. A quick web-search on "bat wing anatomy" turns up a bunch of hits. http://www.brown.edu/Departments/EEB/EML/b...ing_anatomy.htm http://museum.utep.edu/chih/NHCD/mammals.htm See how the bones are expressed, how they hold the wing-membrane taut, and how the parts come together at the "claw" (thumb)? Then study human anatomy more closely and see how it applies to the muscles of your man-bat's torso and raised arms: abs, pectorals, obliques, deltoids, trapezius muscles, back muscles. What are the bones doing under the muscles and skin? What parts are tensed and what are relaxed? Then study the qualities of cloth and leather and other clothing (for the man-bat's loincloth, to start), lion anatomy (for the rear legs of your griffon), bird anatomy and the structure of feathers (griffon head and forelegs and wings), buffalo anatomy (catoblepas body)... etc. And think about how you should represent these in miniature -- should every patch of fur be deeply textured or is it sometimes better just to show the volumes and hint at the furry texture (and let the painter fill in the detail)? I know, I may not always live up to my own advice, and eventually you have to stop studying and just sculpt anyway ... but researching a topic thoroughly before sculpting it is still a good goal IMO. Derek
  5. Could you ask any friends to pose for you as you take reference pics? Or can you take pics of yourself? (That might not be as useful for this figure specifically, but it would be for the Indian warrior. I like his pose and attitude, but I don't think any of us can easily imagine the musculature in that pose, without some reference.) For most of my figures (Shadow King, male sea elf, new dark elf sorcerer, even the female half-orc pirate) I've taken some quick reference photos of myself in a mirror, limb by limb, a shoulder at a time, and so on. It's been a great help at least to locate the major indentations and overlaps in muscles, tensed tendons protruding from a joint, folds in clothing. It helped especially with any exposed upper backs. My figures have all been pretty skinny (like me), but if I had to sculpt a burlier figure I would probably ask one of my friends to pose. Derek
  6. I won a few Demons when there was only one contest in the US and it was in Baltimore -- 1992 and 1993. (Now, my entries wouldn't have made first cut.) Still, for a few years after that, people recognized my name and figures because they had seen the coverage in White Dwarf. In 1992, entries in the national contest had to qualify at a GW store, so Mom drove me three hours down to Philadelphia, the closest store to us. My Great Harlequin didn't win the Single Figure nomination, but I sold the figure on the spot to a collector; my Genestealer Cult (of Slaanesh) 40K Army and Blood Angels Command group did win, so the guys at the Philly store took them down to Baltimore the next month and entered them on my behalf. They won 1st place 40K Army and 2nd place Command Group. Neither of them was especially original -- basically minor variations on the studio paint jobs -- but they had nice banners. I was billed as "Derek Schubert of Philadelphia" in the White Dwarf coverage. Mark Dance (Canadian) won the Sword that year with a nice Chaos Centaur, and his Command Group (Slaaneshi Chaos Marines, in pink armor) beat mine. The guy at the Philadelphia store told me later that he overheard two judges saying at the end of the day, "Hey, why didn't we give the sword to that Genestealer Army?" "Because we ruled out any armies or command groups in advance." But the guy from Philly was probably just trying to make me feel better. Games Day 1993 had direct entries, so I drove down to Baltimore with my college roommate and entered Single Figure (a Terminator from the Luna Wolves -- the future Sons of Horus -- which I intended to use in a diorama that I never finished), 40K army (a larger Blood Angel force, including a huge banner, some scouts, and an Imperial Robot painted in scout colors), and Fantasy Army (High Elves, painted specifically as an entry, since I never played WHFB). They won 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, respectively. The Terminator was clean but rather boring, and I didn't expect it to place. An Eldar army beat my Marines; Eldar were newer while I was using plastic beaky Marines and mostly older models, which may have been a factor. My High Elves included a converted general on an imperial pegasus painted black, a head-swapped sorceress on a unicorn, spearmen with green-metallic scalemail and a banner indicating that they were the "Fire Drakes", some archers (the new models), sea elf wardancers (wood elves painted with blue or green hair instead of red or blond) with a small banner ("Sea Devils"), and a sea elf ballista with a twisted-wire bowstring added... so, a lot of customization and unique identities. I don't know whether those elves would be passed over as "not canonical" now, but they didn't use any real-world imagery. I was proud of them and glad that they won. I abandoned GW not long after that, because I couldn't afford the price increases or revised set of rules, but I've been considering entering a Games Day again, just to see how I would do. Where was I, again? Oh yes, I was wearing an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time... Derek
  7. Thanks for the rundown and the pics, 88. a.k.a. "Cheers, mate!" Derek
  8. I like the twisted staff for the right hand; left hand could just be a menacing claw. Greenhags with PC-class levels tend to be druids, I think, so maybe that will inspire you to add details and/or adjust the dress to be a little less courtly: feathers, bones, claws and teeth, bags full of magical reagents, semiprecious stones, etc. The hair deserves a more interesting hairstyle, too -- maybe worn up and secured with bone sticks or strips of leather, with some stray strands blowing out? And annis hags are still called annis hags, forming coveys with sea hags and greenhags; a night hag has dark blue skin like an annis's, but it's a different creature and isn't part of a covey. Derek
  9. Another good-looking piece, different from other barbarian women. Three points of anatomy bug me a bit: 1. Her elbows look too fragile. If I flex my elbow at 90 degrees, one muscle really sticks up from my forearm -- I think it's called the brachioradialis. The tendons connecting this muscle to the humerus should make the forearm flare outward toward the elbow joint, not pinch inward to a little hinge. My elbow is almost 5" thick when flexed, and only 3" thick at rest (and I don't have much muscle on my arms to begin with). 2. The position of the feet seems unstable. Since the rear foot is pointed straight forward and both feet are flat on the ground, the rear leg looks knock-kneed and she could be easily pushed over from the side. Pointing the rear foot outward would also point her knee outward and would give her a stronger stance on the ground. Since her upper body is in such a forceful pose, I think her legs should match it. 3. The biceps should be anchored to the torso under the pecs. The flesh around her armpit seems to put the biceps over the pecs, but maybe it's a trick of the light, viewpoint, etc. And, I know, on female figures the musculature generally isn't as defined as it is on a male. Hope this helps -- it's almost as much for my own benefit (for future sculpts) as for yours... Derek
  10. Ah, thanks for the hint. When I try rolling out Green Stuff, generally for cloaks or drapery, I get problems: my "rolling pin" (the wetted handle of my X-Acto knife) sticks to it and then tears away, or the Green Stuff doesn't come off the surface cleanly and it loses its consistent thickness (unless I freeze it and then pop it off), or the Green Stuff picks up my fingerprints when I transfer it from the rolling surface to the figure, or the Green Stuff traps bubbles when I lay it over the rest of the sculpt. I haven't tried your dough method for wings; my little dragon wings started as a ball of GS over some roughened brass sheet, and then I just mushed and pushed and pulled until it was a thin layer, and I popped most of the dozens of air bubbles that developed. What are you using as a roller? As the surface underneath? Did you try other materials unsuccessfully before finding those that work? Derek
  11. Strong work, IG88! The smoothness of it all amazes me -- you've become either an expert at determining how much putty to apply in one go, or an expert at blending in any additional bits of putty to cover your mistakes. (On my greens, I'm continually misjudging the amount to put on and then having a hard time blending in the new bits. I hope the metal copies aren't too hard to clean up, at least.) Having just sculpted a small pair of wings where I was having a hard time smoothing the membranes, I applaud the wings on your dragon. And I'll agree with the others on the abrupt changes in texture. Maybe there could have been (and could be on any future dragons) a transition zone where the big scales blend into smaller and shallower ones, eventually fading into the smooth-looking hide? Derek
  12. Nice work! Considerably more detail than I would have expected, too. You'd better not publicize this one widely -- once ReaperRon finds out that people can sculpt entire miniatures in 3 hours, the rest of us sculptors will be out of business... or else we'll be asked to do speed-sculpting in Green Stuff, rather than Fimo, at the next ReaperCon. Derek
  13. Ecch. I wonder how much Green Stuff someone would have to chew (and suffer any effects thereof) before it would actually seem like a good idea to chew Green Stuff? I recently switched to Werner Klocke's practice of using a moistened sponge (blisterpack foam) rather than licking my sculpting tools, but that was more because I wanted to use a sharp blade for tiny details without the risk of slicing my tongue. Maybe we should all wear muzzles when we sculpt and paint, to avoid any temptation of putting our art-materials in our mouths. (closed-mouth smiley) Derek
  14. It's nice to see your rendition! Sorry to hear that it was so hard to shoot, but I think we get a hint of the intricacy of the skin, and the rich deep reds and purples work well. Sorry to hear that the hand was malformed, too -- I didn't understand how the metal would flow through the mold when I sculpted it, and I hope I won't repeat the mistake -- but congrats on resculpting it. Derek
  15. Yes, I meant the lower-left hand, also holding the trident. Anyway, you win! About a dozen little ear-shaped blobs of Green Stuff, strung together with wire. I wanted to show that the two elves weren't merely targets of opportunity and that they had good reason to hide. The detail may not be as legible as I would have liked, but I'm glad that you got it. Derek
  16. As for my sculpting entry: I didn't take pics of the figure as-entered. But I've spruced it up in preparation for a trip to Denton, and took some pics last night. I'll send 'em your way, Erin. Derek
  17. Thanks, all. Yep, I'll send around some pics. Sorry that the images on the Yahoogroup aren't visible to non-members. A few brief replies for now: The elves are supported only by the end of the spear. (Good guess, Ali.) The girl is pinned to the guy. I replaced the pewter spear with a strong wire (back half), which is bent sharply and anchored in the male's wrist, but I kept the front half of the spear and the left hand, and attached these over the bend in the wire, so they're "non-structural". Similarly, the Slithe Queen is supported only by her hand. The mermaid is supported from below; I almost rigged it so she would have been supported by the leash, but I ran out of time and mental capacity and went with the default. I didn't plan for the elves to nest so neatly when I sculpted them -- but I noticed the coincidence when I was about halfway through sculpting the female last fall, so this diorama gave me the chance to do the conversion. The conversion involved removing their bases, moving his arm a bit, cutting off his hand, drilling for 2 pins (the second point of attachment is between her left shoulder and his abdomen), and sculpting a new hand over the pin stuck in her right shoulder. I also bent her left arm and added some green stuff for a pointier elbow and a thicker forearm. (And I stuck in a couple of thin brass wires, as floating strands from her bracelet.) Credit and thanks for the idea of the rippling-light effect must go to Anne. She told me last year that she wanted to be the first to do such a thing in a diorama, but didn't know when she would have time to do it. I asked permission to jump the claim, so to speak, and she said OK. There's plenty of room for Anne to do the next one better, anyway. It isn't blended well if you look at it closely, I couldn't make the rippling light work properly on the models themselves, and there are places where the rippling light should reach but I didn't paint it. Now, can you tell what the Slithe Queen is holding? (It may be too tough to see in the photo ... and no fair if I told you at the con ... ) Derek
  18. Here are some photos of the diorama that I made for the Gen Con contest this year. It features four DHL figures in a scratchbuilt coral reef. Some of the photos are linked (mermaid nudity); they're in a Yahoogroup's folder, so you might have to log in to Yahoo to view them. (Is putting a black strip over the nipples an acceptable way to make a photo suitable for direct attachment?) The diorama took about 60 hours of conversion and sculpting, 60 hours of painting, and many more hours of research and planning and dreaming. It won 1st place in its category and won Best of Show. This morning, I set out to write a brief description of my concept and process, but the writeup is already three pages long, without even going into detail about the paints. Maybe I can pitch it to Reaper as an article for The Craft, even though I didn't take in-progress photos. And when I set up my website, I'll be able to host the whole story with pictures. For now, please enjoy these photos. Overall shot (linked): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SFBAMP/files...ront-forWeb.jpg or http://www.electricocean.com/67/index.php?...m=194&pos=0 Back view: Top view: The two elves: The mermaid -- a head shot only: Mermaid closeup A (linked) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SFBAMP/files...eup2-forWeb.jpg Mermaid closeup B (linked) http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SFBAMP/files...eup4-forWeb.jpg Another closeup of the mermaid (linked): http://www.electricocean.com/67/index.php?...m=194&pos=6 The Slithe Queen (mermaid's hunting-beast): You can find a few more photos of it (and other entries from the contest) in the Gen Con galleries at Electric Ocean: http://www.electricocean.com/67/index.php?...s&album=194 Derek
  19. Yep, very nice! Thanks for the link. At first, I sculpted many bad heads where the whole face wasn't pointing forward, and then I switched to sculpting the face separate from the body (but usually I sculpted 2 too-big faces before getting one at the right size), and then last year I adopted the "understructure of a ball of hardened putty with the eyesockets carved out" approach after seeing Werner Klocke do it at ReaperCon '06. I still have trouble reserving enough material to make a good lower lip and chin, but at least I recognize this fault. FWIW, I add the ears and fill out the back of the head and the neck as an additional step after the face is done, and add the hair as a third step (especially if it's long hair, so it can drape over the clothing/armor on the shoulders). But then I'm still a slow sculptor. I don't think Stefan's tutorial mentions the joyful, magical interval when the putty does exactly what you want (about 60-90 minutes in), and every little twitch of the sculpting tool adds a lot of expression. Raise or lower the eyebrows, widen or narrow the eyes, flare the nostrils a bit, push up the corner of the lip for a smirk, etc. Derek
  20. Re: drow mustaches: They did have mustaches in some 2nd edition art... The picture of the drow in the 1st-edition Fiend Folio (by Willingham, IIRC) had starkly contrasting highlights and shadows, and the upper lip was highlighted, in a way that looked like a long mustache if you imagined one there. When TSR did the 2nd-ed Monstrous Compendium, the new artist (Jim Holloway?) drew the drow with a definite mustache. And then Ral Partha's line of Official AD&D minis (for 2nd edition) included a male drow with a mustache (sculpted by Dennis Mize). But the Dragonlance books and other TSR sourcebooks made a point of saying that elves had no facial hair -- Tanis Half-Elven grew a beard to prove that he wasn't a full elf, for example. Derek
  21. Thanks, IG88. I'm still working on the level of accuracy in sculpting the underlying anatomy, since the thickness of a new layer of putty is sometimes more than the scaled thickness of the clothing/equipment. And somebody please make sure that Meg never plays a female dark elf character... that would be too scary.... Anyway, I like all the art for the blood gnomes -- creepy little blokes -- and I like seeing what the various sculptors (Jason, Gene, Bobby, Werner too?) are turning out. IIRC, Jason called the shield "the most dangerous bit Reaper has ever produced"; the spikes are sticking straight into the mold so they should cast fine. (Right?) Nice work, Jason! The dwarf has great character and proportions. He's dapper but still tough. (I like how the feet aren't too big. A dwarf's legs are like tree-trunks anyway, that big floppy feet wouldn't look right to me.) And the details (axe handle, feathers, etc)are crisp but not so fine as to be too hard to paint. Nice work, Tom! The succubus also has very nice, um... anatomy... and I like the originality of the chained/flying pose. I think it's the bangs that evoke Vampirella the most. Nice work, Bob! Derek
  22. The drow (dark elf) figure is a male -- "sorcerer" rather than "sorceress". Some notes... The apparent mustache is just a trick of the light, on what I intended to be a small-lipped elven mouth. I would post an alternate view of the head, but I don't see the option to add a file. (Does the ability to add pics differ from thread to thread?) Under the plates, the hips are very slim. But he is wearing a corset. My contribution to Talin's concept art was the idea that even a powerful male dark elf is still subservient to the females: they make him wear uncomfortable clothes, no shoes, chains, etc.; he's emaciated and shifty, probably paranoid from lifelong mistreatment. I'll be painting whip-scars on his exposed back.... But if you want to call "him" a "her", who am I to stop you? Derek
  23. Yeah, a figure takes me 20-40 hours, including the 5 hours of redundant work that I later tear off (bad work) or completely cover with other putty (bad planning). I try to work in thin layers (1mm or so?) over a solid core, so the new putty can't deform too much -- especially on faces. E, maybe you should see what you can do if you take more sessions to sculpt a figure: e.g. Week 1, make a few armatures, pose them with proper proportions, and cover each with a thin skin of putty; Weeks 2+, sculpt their legs, torsos, heads, etc. Fast painters can do passable work in 2 or 3 hours, but I don't think any sculptor could make a decent figure in so short a time... just because of the limitation of the medium. (But let us know how your experiments turn out, Bodhi!) Derek
  24. Ali, I like your dark-skin take on this piece, and I'm flattered that you considered it a competition-worthy model in the first place. The subtleties of the yellows/oranges/greens work especially well in her clothing and jewelry. Here are a few small things that I might have done differently on this otherwise beautiful scheme: - Make the hair a more muted purple and/or incorporate the strong purple elsewhere in the figure (interior of the skirt, freehand on the skirt). Maybe add purple stripes or edges on the seaweed, so her hair functions as a form of camouflage? - Reduce the contrast on some areas of skin, e.g. the dark shadows under her ribs and above her left knee, since those surfaces are indented only slightly. - Add some warmth to her face -- e.g. a colored glaze (brown or orange) on the cheeks, nose, eyelids, lips, and/or ears, or use some color in the eyes themselves. Thanks for sharing the pics! Derek
  25. Michael, Congrats on buying the house! My training and current work are in landscape architecture. (I can't actually call myself a "landscape architect" until I finish my licensing exams.) Other people have more experience with gardening per se, but I can give some advice on organizing your outdoor space and making it appropriate to its setting -- i.e. embracing the environment and ecology of Napa, especially with regard to water. Some gardening books/sites assume rain in the summer, so their advice will lead you astray. California is a beautiful place -- every place has its own beauty, of course -- and it might be fun for you and your family to reintroduce some local ecology around the more "civilized" part of your garden. One book that I really enjoyed (but haven't gotten to put into practice for myself yet) is Gardening with a Wild Heart: Restoring California's Native Landscapes at Home by Judith Larner Lowry. And I continually go to the website for Las Pilitas Nursery, which has a wealth of information on California ecosystems, but aimed at the home gardener. You will probably find it useful to have an accurate drawing of your house and the lot: for example, drawn on graph paper with 8 squares to the inch, where 1 square equals one foot. You can use a tape measure and start at the street or at the house, and work your way around to record the locations of paths, driveway, trees, vegetable bed, etc. Also note what's on the neighbors' lots, at least roughly, to see what will be casting shade on your lot, what you don't want to look at, etc. Figure out what direction is north, too, since the patterns of sun and shade are integral to getting plants to grow well and to making outdoor areas that you and your family will use (e.g. a deck or patio). Remember that sun/shade patterns will vary through the year: lower sun, longer shadows, and shorter days in winter. You can put a dashed line on your drawing for the tentative expansion to the house, and just designate that area for short-lived plants (no qualms about digging them up in a few years). Plan for energy efficiency: start by adding some trees or shrubs on the south & west sides of the house that will grow to be big and shady, keeping sun off the walls and roof and making the house cooler in the summer. Plan for water efficiency: start by removing any lawn that you don't actually walk or play on, and put in plants native to California (or other parts of the world that are dry for half the year, like the Mediterranean, Chile, South Africa, or Australia) -- these can get by if watered once per week or even once per month in summer. Fruit trees can be planted with native bunchgrasses around their base, for example, since native grasses don't compete aggressively with the roots of trees. There are lots of beautiful native plants that attract butterflies (foliage for the larvae or flowers for the adults), hummingbirds, and other wildlife. We can grow plants from around the world here in California if we give them enough water, but so many people have surrounded themselves with plants from where they used to live (East Coast, Europe, Asia, etc.) that the authentic California landscape has almost disappeared. My firm is working on the new town square for Yountville, so I've been reading about the grasses and trees and shrubs and wildflowers native to Napa: fascinating stuff (to me, at least). As for the palm trees: if you send me a pic, I can probably tell you what they are. (Could be Mexican fan palm, could be a palmlike plant called cordyline, etc.) The roots of palms typically don't extend more than a couple of feet from the trunk, so they're easy to dig up and transplant. You can call a local nursery and ask them to recommend a contractor to dig up the plams and drive them over to your friend's place. Anyway, if your nightmare comes true and you do wake up to find everything dead and brown, that's probably nature's way of telling you that the plants weren't appropriate to begin with, and you should plant stuff that is easier to care for. For now, Derek
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