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Everything posted by Corporea

  1. doh! Almost missed this. Count me in! PM sent. Happy Holidays!
  2. One of the tricks to contrast if making sure you keep your midtone. So at least 50% if not 75% of the color should be your midtone- the color you want your viewer to see. The highlights and the shadows need to drive the value up and down to as much of an extreme as possible, BUT, they are narrow- meaning the take up little real estate. So forgive my weak photoshop, but I'm away from the painting desk. See how I've taken the green and gone up and down the value scale, but left most of the space "green." If you look at it from a distance, it will still look like my midtone. So in your examples, the high highlights and low shadows should take up very little space. One area I see to take a highlight on your demon hunter is the on the bikini top in the center of the top curve, place a small line of lighter color. I'm not sure it that helps.
  3. Willing to help with black. Given you are doing warm colors with the scales, for the skin I'd go cool. Use something like snow shadow as your highlight. I like nightshade purple and dark elf skin with a bit of snow shadow for the final highlights. The purples will contrast with your yellows nicely. I can yell at you about contrast all you want! You're doing awesome! Keep painting!
  4. I have notoriously dim light in my house, with the only exception at my painting desk where I use 4 very bright lights. I was thinking about Rhonda's posts about contrast and snapped a photo of my shelf that has most of my completed minis on it: If you've seen my stuff in person, you know I go for some pretty strong contrast. But looking at everything under a dimmer light, it's harder to see. The main reason I took this picture was to show that the minis that stand out the most are the ones where I painted white- either fur or cloth or bone. It shows how reflective a color white is, even at a distance. But, it also shows that at "tabletop" distance, my stuff look pretty bland. This I think is interesting, because it shows how much harder we have to work to make things believable at our scale. Great posts, Rhonda! I'm really enjoying your blog!!
  5. (having school flashbacks of trying to finish posters in time... ) Maybe? I know Rhonda is good about printing out pictures. She has a whole stash of them. maybe we could do pictures and lay them out on a table? Pass them around?
  6. I think the problem with me teaching basing is that I take a mini, come up with an idea, and figure out the composition to make the idea work like I see it in my head. I... am not sure I am capable of teaching that. I could show examples, and let people play with bases and materials, or put in the description for people to bring a mini they want to base and let the whole class brainstorm and come up with a plan, but I'm not sure how valuable that would be. Probably safest to just bring me a mini and I'll brainstorm with you for free!
  7. That's awesome, Andy! One thing for everyone to remember when thinning paint is that even in one line of paint (say RMS, vallejo, golden, craft paint, etc) each individual color will behave differently. They all have different base pigments, opacifiers, varying consistency, etc. This makes the "use x amount of x" frustrating to painters, because they may see differing results. I remember getting so excited when Anne put out umber brown, since it's my favorite goto in acrylic for certain effects and color schemes. But, the RMS version is highly transparent, making it less suitable for basecoating, and more for glazing. Likewise, the clear colors from Reaper are very transparent, making them fantastic for glazing and finishing touches, but if you try to use them for coverage, you'll be disappointed. They also for the same reason, do not require as much thinning as other paints in the line to achieve a good glaze. What I am getting at is the need to experiment when using new colors. Play with them on paper. See how they thin, see how far they extend in a wash on something like watercolor paper. This will teach you a lot about the paint itself and you'll start to get a feel for how much water to use. I live in a humid area, so I tend not to thin my paints as much. sometimes I thin them on the mini itself because it takes awhile for them to dry. Certain ways we paint evolve from out environment and comfort level. There isn't one right way to blend or paint, and you'll learn more from experimentation then you might expect! Be aware some terms in mini painting differ in the "art world" and especially if you follow the Historical miniatures side of things, fine art world, or the Europeans, they may use terms completely differently. For example: in watercolor, a wash means just putting down paint for the most part, as water color relies on transparency. filter from the historical side of things means applying a glaze. tint in acrylic means adding white, but in watercolor means adding water (since the paper is usually white...) And color theory varies a whole lot depending on who you talk to. We use a completely different system than printmakers/computer graphic design folks and than lighting/electricians as well! shade can mean "a certain hue (meaning the color we see like ultramarine blue)" or adding black to change the value, or creating a gradient from light to dark... confusing, eh? English is a tough language to start with, never mind blending fields together!
  8. ok, so I figured I'd jot down some quick notes on feathering. I'm not likely to get a whole lot of painting done next weekend as I'm trying to top my personal best season start for Diablo... ie, I'm going to be a slacker and play video games all weekend. Hah! But I still love you guys and would feel guilty if I didn't do something. I borrowed this from google: Feathering is a technique that helps in two ways. It can hide brushstrokes and it can create a gradient of paint. Step one: have basecoat, will travel! Start with a flat area. The idea will be to build up to our highlights and shadows. When you lay down a stroke of thinned paint, the idea is to lay down more paint at the end of the stroke. This is sort of counter-intuitive, as when creating a typical gradient on paper, you lay down paint and using water, gradually thin the paint down. This would be the graded wash in the google picture. have you ever noticed while following a nice curve of a flaring cloak how the brush wants to leave a little gloop of paint at the bottom? Some of that is gravity, but some of it is the nature of thinned paint. The brush pulls paint and when we stop, deposits more at the end. Like the dot we get when we lift our pens after a stoke? Step 2: create highlight. (cue shiny music file) I'm pulling my brush from the left to the right to build up the lighter color on the left side. Each stroke is perpendicular to where I want my highlight line to run. Step 3: create shadow. spooky! Now I'm pulling my brush down towards the bottom to pull the darker color with me. It isn't always left/right or top/down. It is perpendicular to where we want the highlight or shadow to go. So let's go back to a blocked in photo: See the highlight on the ridge of the jaw? I want to pull some lighter paint along that arrow to the jawline to smooth my transition. I can do that by feathering down towards my highlight with lighter paint. I do it perpendicular to the area, because our eyes are naturally going to follow the jawline from side to side, and they are less likely to notice brushstrokes in the up/down direction. This works great on cloaks. We want to follow the lovely sweeping lines up and down, but we don't "see" as well sideways. It's a sneaky trick. A lot of the time I put down a bit of paint and then feather through it with a damp brush. this pulls water through the paint and leaves more at the end of the stroke. I can do that for a bit until the binder starts to dry on me. I can be sneaky and pull my paint where I want it to go, even if I was messy to begin with and dropped it not quite where I wanted. it;s just another way to blend.
  9. this is why I have been seen taking beginner level classes in things I totally suck at- like weathering and airbrushing. Just because you can do some things, doesn't mean you can do everything!
  10. yup- all safe here. My poor sister- they lost 1500 acres of crop from the rain and haven't had power or water for awhile. The scariest part was when she managed to get through on the phone, said the word "tornado" and then I couldn't get up with her again until she texted on her work phone 20 minutes later. A very long 20 minutes! They got about 3 feet of rain and the highways are all covered around them. They're inland, but they were on the north side of the storm which is generally the worst for wind and rain. Sigh. But everyone is alive and the animals are fine. I mourn the loss of my favorite seafood restaurant, though. Best hushpuppies ever. RIP Crab Shack.
  11. A great exercise with busts is to pick a high resolution photo and either have it up on the screen or print it out and copy it onto the bust. Look close at the eyes especially. On smaller minis the way I paint eye is completely different from on a bust. The lids I tackle a bit differently, and they are very dependent on the light source. Also, spend the most time on the eyes. They capture the soul of the mini and we tend to notice them first when we look at a person. I worked some green into her sclera (white of eye,) though often I'll work a pale blue in. If we look close at eyes... ...you can see the bluish shade. I use an off white for the sclera and only use pure white for the reflected light. Notice how the reflected light is usually over the iris, not the pupil? The iris is a muscle which contracts or relaxes to accommodate light, so in a larger mini, you can paint in the little striations or iris lines! Its' fun!
  12. This year has taught me to edit my class description. I listed my classes as intermediate in the system, but I never saw that show up anywhere for the purchasing of tickets. So, I think it is probably our responsibility to do a better job explaining what we're going to cover and what skills are needed. Also- I learned everything I know from Rhonda. She's a great resource for teaching and how to explain concepts. Mouse- you've got the right idea and are doing great! glazing differs from washes mostly in the amount of water in the brush. For a wash we want to get the paint in all the crevices so the brush is super saturated. But for a glaze we want the paint to go in a specific place only rather than everywhere, and to do this, we empty our brush of most of the water and only pick up a small amount of paint so it doesn't run away on us. I could probably cut back on one of my face classes and teach a layering, glazing, feathering class. That would be a good beginner class to learn brush saturation and unloading the brush.
  13. I do the same thing you do with my glazes. I'll clean my brush on the sponge or in the water after putting down the paint, and tease out the edges. I can get the edges very thin that way. Each little bit of water thins the edges more. If you don't have the humidity for that you can feather towards either your highlights or shadows to pull most of the color where you want it to be thickest. Or do a layering technique where the difference between the layers is minuscule- instead of the 9 samples in the pic above, you'd have to do at least twice that. I'll try to post a picture to explain tonight or tomorrow. The key with this is to not mess with the paint after it's reached a certain level of dryness, no matter what. Have you ever noticed how sometimes you move the paint and it leaves little holes in the layer? Or glumps up in one spot? Paint is made of a bunch of stuff, but the pigment is a very tiny particulate solid suspended in the binder, etc. It wants to stick to the surface, and if you mess with it after the binder has started to dry, you will be moving the actual pigment bits. This is irritating because it will ruin a carefully blended area. When that happens I just put a good opaque layer of paint over it and reblend around it. It's fixable as long as we thin our paint. If the area is getting bumpy from too thick segments, sand it and start again. I had to do that on her cheek in between pics. Somehow I manage to get a stray fingerprint of sealer I was using to smooth something somewhere else on her cheek and it left a raised area. I tried to smooth it out with sealer around it, but it was a wash and I just redid her cheek. It's cool- mistakes happen. They're not the end of the world as long as we don't panic. But know that they're normal and happen to everyone!
  14. Thanks everyone! Today was a good day. I had french toast and bacon. yum! I also painted for a little while... Ron- that book looks awesome! I bookmarked the site. So, I decided to run with the sideways gaze and started working on her expression. An bunch of things go into expression, and sometimes it's hard with a mini to change the expression beyond the sculpted anatomy But there are a few things that are flexible. The easiest way to play with expression is to mess with the eyebrows. Eyebrows do a lot to tell folks what we're thinking and feeling. They can go up or down, and their position lends expression to our faces. I've cleaned and even up her eyes a bit, added a frown line in between her brows and fiddled with her eyebrows. She's definitely got her gaze on something now! I still need to clean them and add some individual hairs, but their position helps give her some personality. Here's a different angle: Then I blended the skin some more. When I paint skin, I want smooth transitions that accentuate the curve of each segment of the anatomy. When I first start painting, I'm not too worried about the smoothness, and I tend to wet blend everything. As I get further on, it's more important to have myself a little gradient of paint that doesn't require as much mixing. I take my wet palette and mix a few shades in between each of my colors. That way I can grab a given shade and start glazing it on in thin layers and there won't be as much of a transition between each layer. Glazing is probably the most intuitive way for me to get smooth skin. I think of skin like what it is in real life- layers upon layers of thin cells. If I layer on a bunch of thin glazes, I can mimic it's nature, and make it smoother. Here I've done some glazing and then glazed over everything with lava orange. I wanted her to be a bit warmer. That's the other magic thing about glazing. It can change the color if I'm not happy with it. It's like a filter on a photo editing program. Old school style before we had those new fangled digital filters! Ok, more later!
  15. Ok Reaper Buddies! Since I can't go outside on account of Monster Hurricane and I still (squee!) have power, I'm painting a bust. I thought it might be fun to try to do another "how to" hopefully to give some insight into busts and how I approach them. I may ramble a bit like usual! So, my standard bust approach to to pick something I want to work on and pick a photo to use as a guide. This bust is Athena from FeR miniatures. I can't seem to find a good unpainted example and since I'd already basecoated mine, here is the box art from Pepa: Please note- Pepa is truly awesome and the painted example above is NOT mine! As you can see, it's the Greek Goddess Athena complete with her trusty owl. I'm tired of light skin though, and I need to practice my darker skintones. I'm using this bust to do that. The bust comes in several pieces: main torso, owl, owl wing and front arm. I drill all my holes for pins and deal with my mold lines, attach her to a cork and prime. Then I find more mold lines and tackle those. I wait on assembly until most of the painting is done to make it easier. Next I pick colors I think I might use and try to remember them. If I'm smart I write them down somewhere. I highly recommend that! Hmmn. This is one where the swatches don't really reflect reality. Walnut brown is dark, and mahogany brown is a nice deep red-brown but much lighter than walnut. At any rate, I'm also using Anne's fancy red shade yellow which is like a bright golden yellow for the cloth and some ochers. I'll try to list those later when I get into the cloth. But those are the skin tones I want to use. Initially I mixed a fun shade for my basecoat thinking I wanted to go more greenish in my shadows, but I changed my mind. For completeness sake, the basecoat below is a mix of: Ends up fairly gray due to the red and green together, which is why I decided to just go warmer. I think I'd fight too much working in the green. I may just glaze it in later in certain areas, but I'll get to that. Ok, next I want to pick a light direction. This is super important on larger minis, because they add interest. It allows me to go deeper with some shadows and higher with certain highlights. This makes the viewer's eye bounce around. This is a good thing. We want to keep the viewer interested in the mini, so all out little tricks are designed to do just that! Here I've held the mini up to a bright light source and taken the pictures. I could choose to use this as a reference as I go, to make sure I make the light look natural as it flows over the form. This brings up a good point. See how certain parts of the mini are brighter? Like the SCM muscle in the neck and the collarbones? They stick out when the neck is flexed in one direction and the collarbones have very thin skin over them. They catch light. Like the nose and the cheekbones, the area above the top lip and the chin... all of these either have thinner skin or stick out farther, catching most light sources. Using the idea of "volumes" in the face helps paint it more naturally. Knowing where things go and how they fit together helps paint the larger faces. Here's an example courtesy of google: See how they've broken the surface up into geometric shapes? We can do that with painting just like drawing. I decided to play with my olive skin and disliked it immediately. At this point I was playing around, and didn't have a model to follow. I wasn't sure what skintone I wanted. But as long as I use thin layers, I can always paint over it. I decided after this to go back to google like a good Erin and pick someone to copy. Isn't she gorgeous? Naema Hossain from Bangladesh. Yay! Inspiration always helps me paint, and it's a lot easier to follow a map than to make it up as I go along. The light source in this photo is more or less what I want, and it's a high resolution photo, which means I can zoom way in to get the eyes the way I want. Now I've worked in a bunch of the mahogany brown in glazes over the basecoat and added in highlights where I see them on the photo. See how that starts to define the face more. I've also decided on painting a yellow patterned sari and I'll go with black hair. Note- I am NOT using a pure black here, just the walnut brown as my off black. puttering along, pushing and pulling. The blends don't have to be smooth and I'm really only worried about making the anatomy make sense at this point. All minis enter this weird ugly stage almost up until the point where they're finished. This is normal. It doesn't mean you're doing something wrong. I worked in some shadows and cleaned up my lines and decided her eyes were just too blank. I can only have dead eye on a mini for so long. I still have to straighten up her gaze and clean the eyes, but at least they're not staring at me anymore. I also love how gaze helps develop personality in miniatures. It really changes then feel of the piece. Not sure what I changed, but I tried to make myself stop and take photos every now and then. It's hard because I get in a groove and want to paint while I have energy and direction. When I stop I lose focus. Sigh. Ok I played with the blending and the lips for sure. Probably a bunch of layers I don't remember. The key is layering and keep referencing the photo to make certain I'm following my map. I decided to take a break from skin and work on the hair. Hair is fun! See where I've taken the walnut brown and mixed it with the olive skin? I did a stark layer to show where I'd put the highlights. When anything bends in relation to light, you'll get a highlight on the bend- more or less. This is a good rule of thumb to tackle hair. Notice, I'm not painting individual strands, but blocking out my highlights? Same on the crown of the head. I like this photo- it shows how I've blocked in a lot of volumes, but haven't bothered with the blending yet. This will keep me from getting lost later. Then I worked in some linen white. Black hair is, well, dark, but it still has high highlights. Not all of them are the same. Again- I go back to my light source. Parts that sitck out further or are close to the light get higher highlights. This is probably another one of those sneaky tricks I should mention. Varying the intensity of both shadows and highlights add interest and make the mini more natural. Sometimes when we harp on contrast, we don't mean taking everything up to white and down to black. We mean contrasting the depth of our shadows and highlights- making some pop more than others. This is a gold-level trick I think. And I started to work on the highlights on the braid. As long as most of the hair stays walnut brown, it will look black. It just has some very narrow highlights. That's all black is- being very careful with how much highlighting I do. Ok, more when I'm done with my ice cream break! Or maybe after I clean out my Diablo stash... maybe tomorrow... fingers crossed for power! Let me know if you have questions or if I can explain something better or differently to make more sense.
  16. Bob and Julie's Sculpting details did the first part.
  17. here's mine in progress compared to a FeR and Scale 75 bust. She's smaller, which I think makes her a really good practice model if you're not used to busts. I like the shape Julie made with the arm in front. It makes a sort of hourglass form which is just lovely. In unrelated news, I'm running out of good champagne corks. I pawed through my collection today and found myself uttering these words: Ah! Yes! This one's quarter-worthy! (I attach a quarter to the bottom to give it some weight to balance the resin.)
  18. Yup. Case in point. Jen Greenwald entered her "RIP Charlie" this year in Open. Hope she won't mind too much with a quick explanation. It was adorable and most of us have probably had many a character that was done in by a trap, especially if we play DCC. Poor Charlie. So the painting is good. Jen is a gold level painter generally. You can see the highlights on the knuckles and definition in the stonework. We could argue the blood could have some texture to it, maybe be built up a bit rather than being flat. Maybe more color in the stone or variation. But this is the open category, where the painting isn't enough. In terms of a conversion, she removed most of a bow from a miniature and curved the remainder to look like a door handle. She cut the top off a pillar from the graveyard expansion's pillar. This is a great idea, very creative, well painted, but in terms of difficulty, very simple. Because of the simplicity, Jen got bronze. (Actually she told me she would have been mad at us for awarding any higher than that...) It's weird. Sometimes the things we work on the hardest go unnoticed, and the things we sit down and paint quickly for fun get all the attention. There's an indescribable quality to some miniatures that just have mass appeal, and it's almost impossible to predict it. Sort of like figuring out ahead of time what story to write that will go viral and be made into a movie. It's just blind luck more often than not. But there are certain qualities that make a well-thought out, well-painted miniature. It can be subtle, like texture or color choice. Or more obvious like composition and blending. This is not to say that smooth blending is required. The miniature I entered in painters this year had deliberate texture- I covered the cursed thing in stippling and crosshatching because I wanted it to look more like a painting, but I'll go ahead and let ya know- smooth blending would have been way faster! Argh! At any rate, Ian is right, we've all had things we love fall short of our expectations. Us arty types don't always take this well, because we pour our souls into our work and it hurts when others don't see the care we lavish on our creations. I wish there were a way to make it better. Trust me. Someone told me once they'd overheard a deeply negative critique of their mini years ago and it convinced them they should never enter the painting contest again. That literally (Julie and Bob can confirm) made me cry. That is the absolute last thing we want and it hurt me deeply to think of the pain caused by an offhand comment. We don't want to be like that. So, er, yeah! Keep painting and we'll keep working on helping!
  19. keep in mind that we as a small team have to judge the 500 or so entries we get starting at 7 pm friday night until we're done. We try to move at a reasonable pace, but I've been up super late before judging- and I turn into a pumpkin by midnight, if not sooner. I know folks love their babies- we all do. It's no fun to work hard and feel like no one notices the improvement. I'm not sure how to improve things, but do know we try our best and we want to encourage, not discourage, painters. I'm not sure we can ever make everyone happy, but we'll keep trying! Keep the ideas coming! I'm going to pick Ron's brain again about Rhonda's after contest critique class and see if we can get that setup for next year.
  20. also sometimes we're on the fence between two medals. We feel the piece is very close to silver or gold, but not quite there. So usually one of us will put in the higher score to indicate to the painter "you're almost there!" We even take turns doing it. I often volunteer to be the "softie" What that is meant to show is that the piece scored very highly in its category. A few more tweaks, and it will move up! One year one of my pieces got a high silver, and the thing that totally made my day was that Derek was the softie- he gave me the 4. It was awesome.
  21. I think of open as the place for something that may not tell as much of a story as diorama. Conversions and scratchbuilt sculpts live there. A weapon swap is a conversion, but it isn't as high difficulty as a heavier conversion-like a handmade cape. We look at the cleanness of the conversion- does the weapon line up, can I tell that the haft of the weapon is different below and above the hand, are there gaps that weren't filled, does the sculpting blend in to the original sculpt, are the scales on the wings different for a wing swap? That sort of thing. Can we tell that two adjacent areas are clearly different- does the sculpt break from natural flow of form, do the folds make sense anatomically, etc the categories for open are: degree of difficulty, creativity, workmanship, painting skill and overall impression. Some minis we saw this year had the "oooh shiney!" factor, and others were quieter, but more cleanly painted. Sometimes we went back to the percentages and worked it out on a calculator to help us judge where an entry fell. It's a funky category. reaper does have a link to the international judging criteria from historical miniature painting.
  22. yeah we pretty much bump things up to the next level for kids. We want to encourage them! I judged open this year, and actually, the sculpting is more important overall than the painting in this category. I know Bob and Julie were surprised their entries received the scores they did. Sculpting, craftsmanship, overall impression and difficulty comprise probably 70% of the score for open, so a scratchbuilt sculpt will usually score higher, even if the painting is at a lower level. One thing we found, which we probably need to clarify better is that fancy basing alone does not really qualify a piece for open. I've been guilty of this in the past. I do a great deal of sculpting on my bases, but if the figure is unconverted, it isn't truly open. We had to downgrade a few pieces for this. It's also harder to sculpt a human than a monster, so that affect the difficulty aspect of the score.
  23. The only figures up for a sophie are those made by reaper. So if you had an entry that was from another manufacturer and deemed better painted than your reaper figure entry, we would choose to judge the one that would score the highest. We always want to award the highest medal possible. In my case, I entered 2 dioramas- one from darksword and one from reaper. My darksword was judged for the medal because it was a better story or paintjob. But, it wouldn't be eligible for a sophie. So I had a black checkmark on my reaper diorama- meaning they at least looked at it for a sophie. The sophie judging is usually done on saturday after we get in all the saturday only figures. We do the bulk of the judging on friday night.
  24. I've done a few WIPs on the forum. Probably the most complete are the Tiefling Bust from Darksword and the Mother of Dragons from Nuts Planet, though I started a WIP on my Green Lady. I think a bunch of us are having an Athen-off this year by painting the Athena bust from FeR. Anne's is already looks awesome. I'm working on Julie's new one right now! Squee! When I get started on the Athena, I'll try to put it up in progress and cover all the basics.
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