Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'Feathers'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Reaper Discussion
    • News
    • Reaper General & Faq's
    • Reaper's Product Lines
    • ReaperCon
    • Reaper Virtual Expo
  • Reaper Social
    • Exchanges and Contests
    • Birthdays!
    • Socializing
  • Painting
    • Show Off: Painting
    • Works in Progress: Painting
    • Tips & Advice: Painting
    • Shutterbug
    • Speed / Army / Tabletop Techniques
  • Sculpting, Conversion, and Terrain
    • Show off: Sculpts, Conversion, Terrain.
    • Works in Progress: Sculpts, Conversion, Terrain.
    • Tips and Advice: Sculpting
    • Tips and Advice: Conversion
    • Tips and Advice: Terrain
    • Tips and Advice: 3-D printing
    • Conversions, Presentation, and Terrain
  • General Discussion
    • General Fantasy
    • General Sci-Fi
    • General Modern / Historical
    • Kickstarter
    • Off-Topic Rampancy
  • The Sandbox
    • The Gathering
    • The Playing
    • Fiction, Poetry, and Other Abuses
  • Reaper Games
    • Dungeon Dwellers RPG
    • CAV
    • Warlord

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start





Website URL







Found 15 results

  1. We’re All Painting Feathers Wrong (a.k.a. real birds are even more amazing than you imagined) by Derek Schubert This article comes out of my work painting feathers on miniatures over the last 30 years, and especially since I started teaching the class “Painting Fur, Feathers, and Scales” at ReaperCon 2016, 2018, and 2019. A few weeks ago at ReaperCon 2023, I taught a class specifically on painting feathers. While preparing these classes, I realized some new things, including what I had been doing wrong all along because I didn’t know any better. Eventually, everyone paints a miniature that has feathers on it. Maybe it’s a pegasus or angel or roc, or just some individual loose feathers adorning a fancy hat or a druid’s staff. And I’m here to say that most of us (including me) have been painting those feathers wrong! Usually we want to make a figure’s feathers more interesting by painting multiple colors on them – maybe a different color for the tip, or stripes along the feather. We’ve all seen real birds or at least photographs or illustrations, so we know that an individual feather isn’t always all one color. For example, juvenile golden eagles have tail feathers (and some wing feathers) that are a distinctive white with a black tip. Blue jays have some feathers that are blue with black stripes, some also with a white tip. Many hawks or falcons have light-colored wing feathers with dark stripes. From a photo by Brad Imhoff on the Macaulay Library, https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/276052251 If a miniature with feathers isn’t a full bird, it’s usually something with feathered wings (pegasus, angel, etc.), so I’ll focus on wing feathers here. The long outer feathers include primaries and secondaries, usually 10 of each on each wing (and together these feathers are called the remiges (pronounced “REM-uh-jeez”)), as well as coverts on the upper and lower surface of the wings. There’s a modified arm of bone, muscle, and flesh under all those feathers. The primaries attach to the bones of the hand and the secondaries to the forearm; the bird can even move and twist these feathers in order to fly better! There’s a layer of covert feathers on the upper surface and another layer of coverts on the lower surface, but only one row of remiges (primaries & secondaries) that stick out from the fleshy wing. These feathers look translucent when lit from the back. Their top surfaces may also look different from the lower. Here is an overview of how feathers are arranged on the wings: From https://avianreport.com/bird-flight-tail-feathers/ , with copyrights attributed to peruaves.org Feathers on various parts of the bird have different shapes and sizes (primaries and secondaries and coverts on the wings, tail feathers, etc.), but here is the basic structure of an individual feather: From https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/ The central structure is the shaft or rachis. In the primary feathers (wing), the rachis is off-center and closer to the front edge. The flat flexible surfaces on either side are the vanes. The diagonal elements that make up the vanes are the barbs. I counted about 120 pairs of barbs on a blue jay wing feather (4” long), and 400+ on a wild turkey’s wing feather (16” long). Each barb has its own central stem with short fuzzy structures (barbules), which interlock into the flat vane. Birds use their beaks to smooth dislodged barbules back into place and repair the vane. Even a little blue jay’s feather has 120+ pairs of barbs, while a larger feather (such as a wild turkey’s or eagle’s) may have 400 or more, so at the scale of a miniature (roughly 1/60 life size for 30mm scale), the angled barbs would be so fine and shallow that they couldn’t really be sculpted into the feather. (Disclaimer: I’ve never sculpted a fully feathered wing on a miniature, just a few feathers as adornments on a few figures, or a simplified feather-texture on the heads and arms of my tengus.) Sculptors have to decide how to sculpt the feathers: rarely they make the feathers smooth (more realistic) but usually they exaggerate the texture (easier for most people to paint). With an exaggerated texture, the angled barb shapes are fewer and deeper, with 10 to 20 or even 30 little parallel cuts or valleys on each feather. That is far fewer than the hundreds of barbs on a real feather. (In a similar way, most sculptors exaggerate the ridges and valleys in the hair on a character’s head.) The sizes and shapes of sculpted feathers also vary widely from one figure to another. Some sculptors have studied bird anatomy in detail and they go to great effort to make their feathers realistic, within the demands of commercial production. On the other hand (or perhaps wing), some miniatures have wings with severely stylized feathers: often fewer than a real bird’s 10 primaries and 10 secondaries (but occasionally more), or no difference in the shapes of the primaries, or with a valley rather than a positive rachis (shaft) shape along the middle of each feather, or all long and thin shapes like primaries/ secondaries even when a real wing would have smaller coverts. Maybe these differences were deliberate stylistic choices by the sculptor, or maybe the sculptor just didn’t use reference but simply relied on incorrect assumptions about feathers and other points of bird anatomy. I remind myself that sculptors aren’t ornithologists, and I didn’t know most of this stuff about feathers until recently. A selection of feathered wings from Reaper’s offerings: When we see this exaggerated texture on the feathers, we make our biggest mistake. We imagine that when a feather has multiple colors, such as stripes or a different color tip, each diagonal barb must be all white, or all blue, or all black. (Maybe we draw a false parallel to our hair.) If we want to use multiple colors on a feather, we reason, then we have to paint V’s that follow those sculpted shapes, like I did on these figures from my collection: (I painted those blue jay feathers on the tengu’s staff in 2018! I didn’t know better, even so recently.) But that’s wrong. Real feathers do not have those V shapes. Look at these feathers: Blue jay secondary, 4" long Wild turkey primary, 16" long Juvenile red-tailed hawk primaries (9” long). Note the mirrored shapes: right wing (top) & left wing (bottom) Where are the V shapes? Trick question. There aren’t any! Let’s look even closer. The different colors line up along multiple barbs, and each barb has barbules of multiple colors! I was amazed when I saw this. So when we paint miniature feathers using multiple colors, we can take inspiration from real feathers and not be limited to our assumption of the "Fallacious V". The different colors will span across the sculpted valleys from one barb to another. I painted Reaper’s peryton a couple of years ago (2019). Julie Guthrie sculpted it. It is a fantastical beast that looks like a cross between a deer and wolf, with the wings of an eagle. According to the 1st-Edition AD&D Monster Manual, the body is blue and the feathers are green. Here are links to my WIP thread and Show-Off thread. I looked to real-world hawks for inspiration. The peryton's sculpted feathers have a good level of detail that accommodates both novice and more experienced painters, though now I'm aware that the feathers don’t quite replicate a real hawk, which would have 20 remiges (10 primaries and 10 secondaries) rather than 16, and the first/outermost primaries would be more pointed and asymmetrical. I also know that green feathers would be more appropriate to real-world parrots and other tropical birds. But I figured that a red-tailed hawk would be a good point of departure, so I used a lighter green with black bars and tips for the primaries and secondaries, and darker green with light edges for the coverts. From Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Press, 1966) And I didn’t know about the online Feather Atlas when I painted the peryton, but the following photo shows the differences in shapes and colors of a red-tailed hawk's feathers even more clearly: From https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/feather.php?Bird=RTHA_primary_adu As another example, here is my take on the pegasus miniature in Bones 5, also sculpted by Julie Guthrie. This is the link to my Show-Off thread for it. My inspiration here was a gull rather than a hawk: specifically the brown juvenile plumage of the laughing gull, whose adults are white and gray with a black head. I imagined this pegasus living near the sea, and the brown and black feathers harmonize with the buckskin horse parts (golden-tan body, black mane & tail). The lesser coverts (at the leading edge) are lighter brown, the median and greater coverts are mid-brown, and the primaries & secondaries are black; the secondaries and the greater coverts also have light tips, but of course the tips are not V-shaped! The overall effect of my layered highlights is exaggerated and fluffy rather than realistic and sleek. From Birds of North America: A Guide to Field Identification (Golden Press, 1966) My main point here is this: Use reference. I make this point when I teach almost any aspect of painting, sculpting, or drawing, including my classes on Non-Metallic Metals, Expressive Faces and Eyes, and more. You might think you know how feathers look, for example, but your imagination will probably fall short of the wonder of real Nature. Learn how things really are, and then you can decide how to deviate from your reference and make your own art. Now you know that V’s of different colors aren’t realistic for the feathers on your miniatures, so I hope this article inspires you to expand your options. Happy painting! - Derek For further reference: “Everything You Need to Know About Feathers.” https://academy.allaboutbirds.org/feathers-article/ “Parts of a Bird: Flight Feathers.” https://avianreport.com/bird-flight-tail-feathers/ The Macaulay Library, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. https://macaulaylibrary.org The Feather Atlas, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. https://www.fws.gov/lab/featheratlas/index.php
  2. Here is my rendition of Pegasus, figure #516 in the Greek Odyssey expansion for the Bones V Kickstarter. I love the sense of motion, grace, and power in Julie Guthrie's sculpt. This is a resin master figure, not a production piece in Bones plastic. It took me waaaaay too long to paint this. I got the figure more than a year ago but I couldn't decide on a color. I ruled out the traditional "white horse with white wings" but that still left ... well, infinity-minus-one options. I imagine this Pegasus flying along a sunny rocky coast. The pale buckskin colors are inspired by a photo of a mustang, and the wings by the juvenile (brown) plumage of some species of gulls, which I found in Sibley's encyclopedic bird book. When I painted Reaper's peryton (also sculpted by Julie Guthrie), I took my cue from hawk wings, but this time I looked at birds other than raptors. These wings seem to have a different shape from most hawks or eagles (falcons maybe), and I figured that Pegasus wouldn't have the colors of a carnivore/raptor. The turquoise-blue eyes tie in with the color of the water below. Enjoy, Derek
  3. I really like Julie Guthrie's rendition of the peryton, a monster (part deer, part eagle, all vicious) that casts the shadow of a human instead of a bird, and eats the hearts of its victims. Reaper released the peryton in metal (03702) and in Bones plastic (77392). When I taught my "Fur, Feathers, and Scales" class at ReaperCon 2018, I used the Bones version of the peryton to demonstrate techniques for painting feathers, inspired by real-world birds. And recently I decided to paint the whole thing, as I had intended to do all along. I ran a WIP thread about it -- read it here. [edited link 3/29/19] This is the result: (No, I didn't paint in a humanoid shadow under it. I just think it wouldn't have been legible on this small base and rocky terrain. Idea for a diorama, free for the taking: 1 or 2 perytons attacking adventurers on a plateau, with the humanoid shadows of the rest of the flock unseen but implied above.) Anyway ... Enjoy! Derek
  4. I painted the Bones Black, Bones, and Wizkids owlbears as Great Horned Owls. This is the Wizkids owlbear. When you put the three together, they make a crazy singing group!
  5. I painted the Bones Black, Bones, and Wizkids owlbears as Great Horned Owls. This is the Bones Black owlbear. Not sure why it isn't in the store, even under the special edition section. I used the number it was assigned my order form. Anyway, it is a pretty cool model! I have several of them so will be able to paint them as different types of owls. I definitely need a Hedwig owlbear!
  6. I painted the Bones Black, Bones, and Wizkids owlbears as Great Horned Owls. This is the Bones owlbear. My husband calls him the crazy chicken. He is a little on the scrawny side and more than a bit manic. His face reminds me of Animal from the Muppets.
  7. For my Lost World Project WIP here: http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/69308-lost-world-project-glitterwolf-paints-coldblooded-creatures-and-conquistadores/&page=138 I'm creating a piece of terrain filled with all sorts of critters from my jungle. These are 3 Ral Partha Velociraptors, 1 Bombshell Raptor Baby and a Toy Triceratops Skeleton. I added feathers to the Raptors and skin and blood on the Triceratops skeleton. The Raptors are feasting on their fresh kill. Eventhough they are part of a piece of terrain that isn't finished yet, I wanted to show them off separately. Enjoy!
  8. Glitterwolf proudly presents Kabuki's Bonny Ann Pirate Queen Bust. WIP here for those interested http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/77677-bonny-ann-pirate-queen-bust-by-glitterwolf/&page=8 She comes with different options. One fully clothed with hat and bustier and one topless. The Macaw was also optional. Here is the Hatless and NUDE version, LINKED: https://postimg.cc/image/g88jq3h45/ https://postimg.cc/image/6axix24dh/ https://postimg.cc/image/a7aut127p/ https://postimg.cc/image/z0ketp0np/ The safe back and mug shot: Here is the Clothed version with all options.
  9. Alright, so the moss came in and did brighten her up. Now she has happy autumn instead of dark autumn. The lights were getting dim but I had to take some photos anyway! I might update them another time. The colors chosen are based off real colors in actual peacocks, even the spotted sash (upper wing near shoulder) and yellow cloak (legs) and the hair (more wing colors). The tall grass is made of real peacock feathers that I snipped and glued together. I wanted her to be going between some fantastic brush on a rocky hillside. One of the feather pieces got stuck under her arm for photos... and by the time I noticed my sunlight was gone. The flowers are from I think Floranatur? Something like that. The rock is first painted as a gneiss, then drizzled in schist dust, with actual garnets glued in as cobbles, then they got mossed a bit. Not too shabby for first real basing batch? I intend to do a "how to peacock feathers" when 1) I get the energy to do another cloak in peacock feathers, 2) empty out my wet palette, and 3) pick a figure for it. I'll also be taking @Clever Crow's advice and increasing the contrast per feather next time. Enough blather - you all just want pictures!
  10. ...because I've got a helicopter for Battletech that I've gotten into my head to paint up in a green version of the Hind pictured below. Like I said...crazy. That being said, where should I even start?
  11. One more figure from the Memorial Day paint binge challenge. This is a figure for the Shadowsea miniatures game. I don't know her background story, but judging from her title and appearance I am guessing some kind of magic caster or necromancer.
  12. Mini appears to be this guy. I was going for a kind of unearthly celestial glow with him, though it came out really strangely in the hair. Still, fun to paint :-) Update: I didn't like how his base looked. Although it was transparent, it didn't give the illusion of floating, so I added some "clouds", which is closer to what I wanted, but still doesn't quite give the flying illusion. :-/ If anyone has any suggestions on how I can make him look more like he's flying, I'm all ears :-) Thanks!
  13. Don't have the greatest track record in finishing large minis, but lets give it a try:- He's only partially assembled at this stage, letting the glue dry overnight before trying to attach his feet. I also have 20+ tiny hands to glue to his wings, but that's a job for when I'm fully awake!
  14. I painted this couatl for OneBoot for the Summer Exchange. The couatl comes with a 1" square base, but I upgraded it to a 2" round base to make it the appropriate size for Pathfinder/D&D. First time doing a jungle base. Someone on the forum mentioned getting plastic plants from Michael's to use their leaves to make plants, so that is what I did.
  15. I'm referring generally to series 331 as well as some of the synthetics, 2230, 2240, and 2250. I guess these things are usually called rake brushes? Anyway, I've got some Deinonychus antirrhopuses I need to paint up and as a bit of an amateur paleontology observer nerd, I'd like to cover up the '70's era scales with something that looks like feathers. I'll probably try my hand at sculpting feathers someday, but not now! Has anyone tried using these rake or comber brushes to paint feathers? Any tips or tricks for avoiding abject failure? (I am okay with most failure, I just have to break out the liquid green if it's abject, I think!)
  • Create New...